EPIC Spotlight: Kristen Howell


“What I love most about Fayetteville is the abundance of small businesses here. It makes being a business major that much more enjoyable.”

Last summer, Kristen Howell taught Chinese business professionals a thing or two about American culture. For example, with the help of an English-speaking translator, she showed them the proper way to shake hands and how to speak to a superior. She also discovered that many of those she met learned English through movies and televisions shows. “Friends” is a big hit there, she says.

Kristen says she never thought of herself as a world traveler until her China visit, but she was aware of its global impact. “I knew that China was a force to be reckoned with in the business world,” she says.

She traveled to China with the help of the University of Arkansas and CRCC Asia. It’s offered through the George W. Edwards Jr. Career Center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Leadership Walton, a program that helps prepare students for the professional world.

Kristen says she found the transportation system extremely efficient in downtown Beijing, where she worked. Just getting around the city was educational on many levels, and she advocates that college students jump at the opportunity to go there. “I think [visiting] China is good for any kind of major,” says the University of Arkansas junior from Keller, Texas, which is located near Dallas and Fort Worth.

She says she worked for a small firm that wants to be more marketable globally. “I attribute what I know, and the knowledge that I had in the conversations with company department heads, from the core classes,” she says. She was referring to Walton College’s pre-business core classes required before a student can take junior- and senior-level courses.

Like many students who become accounting majors, Kristen says she always liked working with numbers. Though she had toyed with becoming a marketing major, she says it was her core class in accounting that made her realize she had a knack for it. Following her senior year, she says she hopes to continue her accounting education through the Integrated Master of Accountancy (IMAcc) program, which, upon completion, makes students eligible to become certified public accountants. After that, she says she hopes to be hired with one of The Big Four accounting firms: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young and KPMG.

Kristen currently has an internship in the state income tax department at Tyson Foods Inc., where she helps the company prepare its returns. She says the job was the result of her China internship, where her duties also included dealing with taxes.

As a student, Kristen serves as a Walton College Student Ambassador, where, among other things, she gives campus tours to prospective students. She is also a project leader for the university’s chapter of S.I.F.E. (Students in Free Enterprise), which has since changed its name to Enactus, and a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.

Downtime, she says, involves hanging out with friends and exploring the community that surrounds the campus. She says she loves dining out at the different restaurants and shopping at stores in the area.

“What I love most about Fayetteville is the abundance of small businesses here,” she says. “It makes being a business major that much more enjoyable.”