Zach Jennings is a Management major from Abilene, Texas and graduated in December 2019. Zach interned with Edward Jones this last summer. “I learned the basics of what it takes to be a financial advisor. I got to work with other offices and two other interns in town. There were about 200 interns nationwide, so having even one intern in Abilene was awesome, but we had three!”
As Zach prepared for graduation, he also prepared to begin work with Edward Jones as a financial advisor. He says, “I believe my time at ACU helped me find out what I wanted to do moving forward. Not only did it prepare me for my future career, but I grew so much in my relationship with God because of the wonderful people here.” Zach found that he wanted a career with Edward Jones after his experience as an intern and is looking forward to the great opportunities laid before him.
Zach enjoyed his college career at ACU. We asked him what his favorite thing about being a part of COBA was and how the environment influenced his growth throughout his time here. “My favorite thing about COBA was attending Leadership Summit. I grew a lot in the Lord and made so many good friendships as well. It was a refreshing and soul-quenching experience. I would say that ACU offers not only some of the best education programs out there, but what makes ACU great is the community. You actually get to know your professors and you’ll realize they want to get to know you too. The community of ACU is welcoming, inclusive and Christ-like. The people here are what sets ACU apart from the rest.”
Helping students find how their gifts and talents can be used for God in the workplace is something COBA is passionate about. For those students who aren’t sure what career path they want to take, COBA and ACU provide exploration through the COBA Edge professional development program and the guidance offered at the Career Center. To learn more about the COBA Edge program, students can email Steph Brown at email@example.com. Students can also learn more about internships, interviewing, and career search information by reading the COBA student newsletter, looking through Handshake, or contacting Steph Brown or the ACU Career Center.
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.
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.
What is your educational background?
I attended Hardin Simmons University and majored in Mass Media and minored in Spanish. I am currently finishing my masters in higher education with a certification in Conflict Resolution & Mediation. I will graduate December 2015!
What is your work background?
I started my career with Hendrick Medical Center as their marketing coordinator. I worked for the physicians that were not employed with the hospital and were an independent branch of Hendrick called Hendrick Provider Network. My main role was to travel to the rural communities outside of Abilene and market our services of internal medicine, endocrinology, sleep therapy, and hand therapy/reconstruction to the physicians that were in our network. I worked with HMC marketing for several years and assisted with the development of the MedSpa at Hendrick where I served as the primary patient consultant as well as their marketing coordinator. I have worked in several departments at Hendrick Medical Center and I still teach classes at Hendrick Health Club that include Body Jam and Attack. Little known fact: I was also certified as a Stott Pilates instructor!
What do you do at COBA?
I currently serve as the Career Development Advisor for COBA and SITC.
What drew you to work at ACU? Why did you want to work with students?
Coming from the field of marketing with an emphasis in health care, I was ready to challenge myself with a change. Originally, I had no ties to ACU but once I went through the interview process I fell in love with the community. My gut told me I had made the right choice. I wanted to work with students because I love the atmosphere of learning and academics.
What’s the best part of working with students?
The best part about working with students is building relationships with them. Student development through a holistic approach is best described as social learning theory and the focus on how the individual acquires new ideas, behaviors, and new cognitive content. James Fowler’s first three stages of Faith Development: conventional stage, individual reflection, and faith developments can adhere to the experience and theory of students questioning their beliefs and values. These steps were integrated into theory to help illustrate the foundation of questioning a student’s transition into individual self-awareness. Working with students as they grow and develop is such a unique experience that I am so blessed to be a part of.
Samantha hosted COBA students at the Hispanic Unidos banquet held at ACU last month.
Outside of ACU, what passions and hobbies do you have?
You can never have enough hobbies! I may not be a master at any of them but I will always try something new. Currently, I have taken up boxing lessons. I have a trainer and we work on sparring and kick boxing. I also enjoy painting when I have the time. I started playing the guitar two years ago….it has been a slow process. I love to cook but I am a healthy eater so Paleo is right up my alley. I love to run and I have completed two half-marathons. I love to be outside; camping, hiking, caving and rock climbing. An annual tradition I have is to attend ACL… here I come Billy Idol! I am passionate about living life with family and great friends; Carpe Diem!
Do you do any charity or non-profit work?
I am a member of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce Red Coats. I also am a member of the Young Professionals of Abilene through the Chamber of Commerce. I am an annual volunteer for Cancer Service’s Fashions for a Cure style show. I also volunteer at the Abilene Food Bank and Global Samaritan. I occasionally volunteer at the animal shelter.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
To know every language in the world; I want to be like Nicholas Cage in the City of Angels.
What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?
The smell of cucumbers and watermelon make me nauseated.
ACU will welcome the first class of its online MBA program this fall. I had the opportunity to sit down with Brad Crisp, COBA’s Associate Dean for Graduate Business, to learn more about the new program.
Why is ACU launching a Master of Business Administration program?
We offered a residential MBA for most of the 1980s and 90s, but it was difficult to attract the number of students that we wanted to serve in Abilene. With the launch of ACU Dallas, ACU is better equipped to serve graduate students through online programs. We now have the opportunity to reach a new market of graduate students who are established in their careers, yet wanting to be challenged and have the opportunity to grow professionally. The online MBA is the perfect vehicle for allowing them to continue their careers and attain their educational goals.
What is the focus of the curriculum?
The MBA curriculum is designed to equip students in four key areas:
- leadership skills that will enable them to lead in their career, but also in their homes, churches, and communities
- organizational innovation that prepares them to meet new opportunities
- decision-making that engages data available in today’s tech-driven workplace
- the ability to let faith and ethical principles guide their work
What role is COBA faculty playing in the creation of this program?
COBA faculty in Abilene designed the program and have played an important role in the development of the core courses that will be taken by all students. Additionally, some of the courses will be taught by our Abilene faculty, while other courses will be led by qualified faculty in Dallas and elsewhere.
How is graduate education different from undergraduate education?
Education ideally helps us think about theory and practice, that is, how we combine great ideas with implementation. One of the key differences in graduate education is that the adult learner has a greater amount of work experience to connect with the learning. Having an environment where students can bring their work experience into class discussions and on assignments is a key component of a professional program like the MBA. That is why I encourage students to work for a couple of years before making the transition to graduate education, because the knowledge gained in industry adds a great deal of depth to their graduate experience.
What excites you about the launch of this new program?
Most ACU faculty come to Abilene to teach the traditional undergraduate student, and we are excited to help students in that stage of their formation. Now we have decided that we aren’t stopping there. We have the chance to connect with adults in the next phase of their lives as they’ve grown in their careers, their communities, and their families. We have the opportunity to serve them in another important stage of their life, as they are learning where faith intersects with work and life.
For more information on ACU’s online MBA program, visit www.acu.edu/mba.
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 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!