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.
Over the fall break, students from the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy and the School of Information Technology and Computing traveled west to Silicon Valley. Dr. Jim Litton and Dr. Brad Crisp led the group of 16 students to visit and explore several tech companies varying in size and function, from start-ups to some of the most recognized companies in the world. Some of these included Google, LinkedIn, Circa, the Silicon Valley Bank, Livingly, Yahoo! and Square. Students were able to learn about the fundamental principles of technological companies as well as having the opportunity to network with alumni and potential employers.
COBA and SITC students tour Yahoo!
Connor Osborn, a junior Accounting and Finance major from Southlake, enjoyed visiting Silicon Valley Bank. SVB’s mission is to “increase innovative companies’ probability of success worldwide” and is the premier bank for all venture capital firms. The group learned about the services the bank offers as well as the complex system by which the capital is distributed, put to work, and then returned.
Students were toured around LinkedIn by ACU alum, Asa Kusuma.
Spencer Woolfolk, a junior from San Antonio, found the trip to be highly valuable, learning what it looks like to work in Silicon Valley and the purpose and vision of the companies’ brands. The experience of personally visiting such well-known companies is unlike anything one can learn inside the classroom. Spencer is excited to use this knowledge going forward, integrating his passion for marketing with entrepreneurship and technology.
“I am very grateful to the faculty that put the trip together. It was invaluable to be able to learn more about Silicon Valley and the technology field,” says Woolfolk.
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.
“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.