COBA Grads Go Social!

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Imagine having a set of social listening tools that can measure exactly how effective your brand’s sharable content is. Well it is time to stop daydreaming and get social! In the fall of 2012, six founding members, including former ACU, SITC, and COBA graduates Brad Neathery (2011), Clay Selby (2011), and Braxton Huggins (2010), teamed up and created SocialRest, a set of specific tools designed to measure social shareability, engagement, and conversions made from a brand’s website content across social platforms. SocialRest measures how social users engage with a brand because of user-shared content from their website. SocialRest then follows that social user if they visit that brand’s website, listening to how they engage with content on the site and measuring conversion rates on the brand’s website.

In the fall of 2012, founder of SocialRest, Clay Selby who majored in IT in the School of Information Technology and Computing, pitched the idea at a conference in San Antonio called Three Day Startup. After the event, Clay and co-founder, Brandon Ashton, started developing the idea. After a long process of building, measuring, and learning, SocialRest became a reality, with potential to be one of the top start-ups of 2014. This set of social tools features social analytics, simple integration, impression tracking, customer behavior interest, and ROI tracking. SocialRest can also determine whether the content written on a regular basis is successful. News sites, brand-building blogs, and businesses that rely heavily on their content creators can benefit greatly with these measuring tools. SocialRest can help businesses observe, visualize, and adapt to customer responses on their site, making the process of seeing user engagement and conversion highly efficient.

The SocialRest team expects the site to become the premier listening tool for B2C (business to consumer) brands with shareable content on their website or blog. SocialRest has recently been ranked by ClubLab (a London philanthropic agency) as one of the 12 start-ups to watch in 2014, alongside high-caliber brands like Nest (acquired by Google), Topsy (acquired by Apple), and other legendary start-ups. In the month of February, SocialRest increased Twitter followers by 1200% and received over 20,000 social mentions. This company is definitely one to watch, with mentions from ClubLab’s “Top Start-ups to Watch in 2014” and Chelsea Krost’s “2014 The Year of the Millennial”.

Brad Neathery, an ACU and COBA graduate who  majored in marketing, credits their success to a number of factors, including the positive mentoring influences and constant engagement with potential users of the tools. Brad also stressed how much the Lord has aided in the process, working in miraculous ways to bring glory to His kingdom. “Christ calls us to serve his people in everything that we do, and philanthropy is nothing more than an act of service. SocialRest is made up of team members that are constantly stumbling toward the cross together, and our foundation is built upon accountability in business and in life,” says Brad. SocialRest exemplifies the values COBA instills in students, preparing them to go into the world with a missional mindset and determination to bring glory to Christ and his kingdom through all aspects of business and in life. SocialRest is looking for interns for the summer of 2014. If any students are interested in the internship, they can contact COBA’s career development team, Tim Johnston or Samantha Matta.

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“COBA craft’s the vision of its students to understand the world for what it is, and to then take their own approach on how to achieve their goals. There is an underlying belief that life should be seen as an opportunity, challenges seen as the first step to growth, and success to be seen as a humble awareness of how magnificent our creator is,” says Brad Neathery, former ACU and COBA graduate.




Internship Spotlight: Allie Rostron Works with Dell

Allie Rostron, a senior marketing major from Llano, had the opportunity to intern with Dell last summer in Austin. She worked as an undergrad senior analyst within the finance department but mainly worked on projects heavily rooted in marketing and communications. One of her projects included working with people from around the globe, including Ireland, Malaysia, China, and Brazil. The aim of the project was to completely revamp all of the recruiting for the CFO’s development programs, ranging from the Finance Internship Program, the Finance and Accounting Development Programs, and the Finance Rotation Program. She also worked with a team to produce a video that would be cued by Michael Dell at his global All Hands on Deck Meeting. This project included interviewing 40 plus employees asking questions regarding Dell’s future, Dell’s innovation, and how going private would affect Dell’s interaction with customers. Allie also worked with Dell’s internal blog, One Dell Way. She performed research on Big Data, Big Analytics, the evolving workforce, and virtual desktop infrastructure.

Allie landed the internship by researching and emailing contacts in the professional marketplace. She asked for advice and feedback about her resume and the interviewing process and recommendations regarding fields and companies to look for. Her resume was forwarded to various employees within Dell and eventually to the hiring team. She advises students seeking internships to start early! If students are wanting to work in a larger company, she suggests that they start doing research now and contacting people to gain knowledge through the entire process. Secondly, she highly believes in the power of networking and that by using contacts made through networking, students are using a tool that is at everyone’s disposal.

Allie will begin working for Dell after she graduates in May. Allie is a great example of someone who used the power of networking and seeking advice from other professionals to land an incredible internship opportunity. If you are searching for an internship or job, schedule an appointment with Samantha Matta in the COBA Connections office. Congratulations Allie and good luck with your new position at Dell!


“Never underestimate the power of networking. Networking is not working the system but is utilizing a tool that is open to your disposal. You never know what can come from emailing someone and asking them advice.”


COBA Alum spotlight: Jenny Dodd

Jenny Dodd graduated from ACU, with honors, with a degree in Communications and a minor in Business. Shortly after she graduated from ACU, she began an MBA program at the University of South Carolina. While a student at ACU she participated in both of COBA’s study abroad programs – the Global Apprentice program in Oxford, a summer in Leipzig, Germany, Leadership Summit in Colorado, and was a student ambassador for COBA.

1) Tell us about your program at USC. What type of masters degree are you working on?

Currently I am working on an International MBA at the University of South Carolina, Moore School of Business. It’s a fairly unique program in that we compound a year’s worth of core MBA classes into a 6-month MBA bootcamp, and then have the opportunity to spend our second semester learning a new language as well as the opportunity to learn business abroad. After a summer-long internship in a different country, we return to school for our specialized courses, or we have the option to study abroad for the final year.
2) How did you decide to go to grad school?

Well, some kids dream of become a rockstar, others dream of traveling the world on a sailboat. I dreamed of spending countless hours in the library. Well ok, maybe it wasn’t exactly like that, but I have always enjoyed school and have known from a young age that college isn’t enough. I didn’t however, know what I would go on to study until my junior year of college. After an incredible COBA study abroad experience doing a consulting project in Oxford, England, I realized that this was how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Most MBA programs do not accept recent grads; however, in college I always held several internships and I graduated 6 months earlier so that I could get a little more experience. I was one of the youngest accepted to this program, and decided I was ready. 

3) Part of your program requires an international internship. Where was your internship and what did you do?
In the IMBA program, you are required to have an internship during the summer after your first year. As I began heading into this search I looked both in the USA and abroad. After a search, I found an internship with Michelin Manufacturing at their worldwide headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand, France. I worked in their Purchasing Department in a marketing communications position for a 6-month period. 

4) How do you feel ACU best prepared you for graduate school? The international internship?
One of the greatest benefits of being at ACU is smaller class sizes than many larger business schools and more importantly, a staff of genuinely caring professors. The faculty at ACU care and respect the potential of their students, and because of that, they invest in students. I had many professors, who took the time to give me projects that catered to my goals, or teach faster in classes where students progressed faster. I not only learned about business, but was nurtured as a future business person on an intellectual and emotional basis.

With COBA I did two study abroad experiences where we did a real hands-on project with a company in a different culture. This alone was incredibly formative in preparing me to do an international internship. Also, with such a community atmosphere at ACU you get the opportunity to interact with all different types of people. These people skills and flexibility are absolutely essential in any internship, particularly an international one.

5) What do you miss most about ACU? What do you enjoy about your new school? 

I miss that ACU community that I grew to love. ACU is unlike any place in the world, and I hope it will always remain a place of openness and community. I made friendships with students and professors alike, and there was always a level of support. It is this support that has allowed me to be successful in my graduate school program.
My new school is part of the SEC, so that means football football football! The unique thing about my program is that we get to do the big-school thing, but get to be in a small program (80-90 students/year).  During our first semester, we have all of our class together.The beautiful campus dates back to the civil war and is set in the heart of the capital city here. Most of all, I’ve met alumni and students alike, who are located throughout the world!
6) What are your plans after you complete the program in May? 

I have several offers I am considering for after graduation, but haven’t decided yet. Sometimes It’s hard to imagine because at this moment, I have the world in front of me. It’s an eye-opening experience for a girl from Abilene Texas!

7) What advice do you have for current business students at ACU?

One of the most important things you can do for yourself, is set a goal, small or large, and once you have that goal in mind, run with everything you have towards it.
Never miss an opportunity to be involved! ACU offers an experiences like none other. You can travel, study, work and play with people like yourself. Build friendships. Love on some people around you, and let them love on you, because when you get into the real world, you’ll find that  it’s those people that you took time to invest in, that’ll be your rocks. Most of all, have a spiritual focus. My brother, when he was starting out in the business world, told me that it was his passion, to share love and Jesus while doing business. He now owns his own successful business, has a wonderful family, and has changed some lives along the way. He was my role model, and set a great example for how to be a successful person, not just good at one thing or another. This is your opportunity to choose the type of person you want to be when you grow up. Don’t waste it.


How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates [INFOGRAPHIC]/








As part of our professional development training and conversations, we are always discussing the importance of student’s on-line reputation and presence on social media websites. Here’s an interesting article and infographic that explains things from an employer’s perspective. Definitely worth the read… 

How Recruiters Use Social Networks to Screen Candidates [INFOGRAPHIC]/.

“Hey mom! I gotta job!”

Senior Finance major from Dimmitt, Texas, Kylah Riddle, is finishing up the last of her college final exams this week. She’ll walk in ACU’s Commencement ceremonies this Saturday afternoon. And Kylah already has landed a job with PFSweb, a leader in providing eCommerce solutions for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Soon to be ACU alum, Kylah Riddle has accepted a job with PFSweb

We recently sat down with Kylah to find out how she scored such an awesome job before she has even graduated!

What will you be doing for PFSweb?

The program I’ll be participating in is called the College Recruitment Program.  They chose 12 college graduates from different schools and we will all start this program on June 13th.  Through this program we will spend a week in each department of the business conducting research, doing projects and learning about that specific department and their particular duties.  The program is about six weeks long and after we’ve completed it, our managers will sit down with the recruits and will place us in the department we both feel will be our best fit.  This program is much more beneficial than being a direct hire for just one particular area because we will get to see and learn all aspects of the business as we move throughout the company, and find the best fit for our skill set and where we can make the most impact for PFSweb.

How’d you hear about the job opening?

I first heard about the job opening from Tim Johnston, Assistant Dean – Marketing Operations.  I knew about the company because Mike Willoughby, Senior Partner – President of PFSweb, helped teach a digital marketing class here in COBA.  When we learned there were openings in their college recruitment program, Mr. Johnston and Dr. Lytle (dean of COBA) both encouraged me to pursue the application and interview process.

How did the interview process work?

I posted my resume and a cover letter on the ACU CareerLink post where the job was advertised.  PFSweb chose several students to interview for the first round here on campus in the Hunter Welcome Center.  They came down and interviewed students all day.  A week later, they narrowed down their candidates and invited a smaller number to come back and interview in Plano at their U.S. headquarters. I drove to Plano and went through a whole day of interviews with several different employees and managers.  The following week they sent out offer letters.

What did you do before the interview to help you feel prepared? Mock interviews? Resume review?

Before the interview I had several meetings with Tim Johnston, Assistant Dean – Marketing Operations.  We went over my resume and highlighted what he called the “star” and applicable experiences.  He then conducted a mock interview and drilled me with questions.  I would definitely recommend to students who are searching for jobs to go through this process.  It was extremely helpful and it gave me a chance to really learn how to explain my strengths and the experiences I had while a student at ACU.

What’s one piece of advice you have for the underclassman here in COBA?

Learn and be involved in all you can while you are here. Take advantage of every opportunity to get to know your professors.  That is one thing I have truly cherished these past four years.  These professors mean more to me than just a teacher, I consider them my friends!