All posts by mclemore


Raised in Moro, a small rural community in east Arkansas, Lauren Waldrip learned much from that front-porch culture. She was introduced to a strong work ethic as a kid. From driving a tractor to LaurenWaldrip1laying polypipe, she was a great help to her dad’s business. Fifth generation of an Arkansas farm family, Lauren was surrounded by row crops, namely soybeans, and grew up without the interference of stoplights or stop signs. Those days taught her that the more time she put into her crops, the more she would be rewarded at harvest time.

Lauren was destined to attend the University of Arkansas, as has every member of her immediate family. Her parents, Mark and Angela, graduated in the late 70s. Lauren, now an MBA student at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, majored in both marketing and public relations with a minor in accounting. “During my first semester, I was undeclared,” she says.

“Then I decided to go with Walton College. I knew how strong Walton College is and what it means to a degree.”

If asked, Lauren’s friends will easily describe her as a sports fanatic. She remembers calling the Hogs at a very early age. She even turned her passion into a professional activity. Lauren’s involvement with the athletic department on both a professional and personal level was something that enhanced her college experience. She knows that the Razorbacks have a positive effect on recruiting, enrollment, the UA campus, and on Northwest Arkansas as a whole.

Lauren WaldripLauren is as passionate about her career as she is about the Razorbacks. When she interned in 2011 as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator John Boozman, she chose agriculture as her focus. She wrote press releases for Boozman’s website, attended legislative hearings and corresponded with constituents. She also served as student body Vice President, and created a Collegiate Membership specifically for students while recently working at the Razorback Foundation. The program garnered more than 2,200 members in its first year.

She is well aware that “a college degree is no longer all it takes to be competitive in today’s markets” and recognizes the significance of a master’s degree to take her place among business leaders. As a native Arkansan, Lauren knows the impact of the Sam M. Walton College of Business in state, national, and international levels and believes this opportunity is a vital step for her future success. She is excited to learn new perspectives on business and problem-solving from a diverse group of faculty whose teaching skills she has already witnessed. The dynamic market of Northwest Arkansas is another reason she chose the Walton MBA. Leveraging the Graduate School of Business’ relationships in area corporate offices, Lauren is gaining practical work experience and establishing a strong business network.

Lauren says she finds her motivation on a daily basis through her relationship with the Lord. She feels she has received many blessings during her time in Fayetteville and strives to glorify Him through all those experiences by sharing the joy of the Lord with others.


Since he spent the first nine years of his life moving from Army base to Army base, it can be said that Drew Bozarth was predisposed to entering military service just like the last three generations of Bozarth men had. However, Drew could not have been prepared for the honor and pride associated with being one of “the Few and the Proud.”

DrewBozarth_headshot1Drew graduated from Harding University in 2006, where he majored in English and played football for 5 years. The summer after he graduated from Harding, Drew married Becky Bowerman and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended the Washington University School of Law. In 2009, Drew graduated law school and commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps to become a judge advocate.

After completing initial officer training, Drew reported to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.  While at Camp Lejeune, Drew put his legal training to good use, serving as a civil law attorney, trial counsel (military prosecutor), and, later, as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate to the Commanding General of Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, a command that consists of all Marine Corps installations on the east coast. Once his tour in the Marine Corps was completed, Drew and his wife knew that they were returning home to  Northwest Arkansas.

DrewBozarth_group2As Drew returned home and began to settle into civilian life, he noticed that he lacked a basic familiarity with business. “Fairly early in my transition into civilian society, I noticed that I spoke a different language than the individuals I was connecting with at the corporations in the area. It dawned on me that I had a big gap in my education and training.”

Marines are trained to be focused and decisive, so Drew knew exactly what he had to do. Drew started the Walton Executive MBA program in 2013.

The military prepares service members for combat and humanitarian operations, but to climb up the corporate ladder, transitioning veterans may need a different kind of training. “Just like training is essential to be a successful service member, training is essential to be a successful corporate employee. If a transitioning service member lacks a business background and has decided to pursue that route in civilian life, I would encourage that individual to pursue some form of education or training.”

When Drew began to look at MBA possibilities, he recognized that he would need a program that allowed him to balance work, home, and school. As a Legislative Research Manager in Wal-Mart’s Compliance Department, Drew monitors and interprets pending state and federal legislation on non-food products and chemicals while providing his interpretation to managing teams.

“The Walton Executive MBA was geographically convenient and well-respected, particularly in Northwest Arkansas. I also thought DrewBozarth_classroom3the structure of the courses would be most conducive to maintaining a decent work/life balance.”

The Walton Executive MBA program has helped Drew become more familiar with the corporate world. Having been introduced into business culture, he has also discovered new ways to utilize his experience and leadership training.


“Growing up near campus, I initially thought I needed to leave Northwest Arkansas to grow both academically and personally. However, as I learned more about the unique community and opportunities available in the Walton College, I realized that the University of Arkansas and the Walton College would give me every growth opportunity I was looking to find.”

Brooke grew up in Rogers, Ark., and makes the short trip to Rogers from Fayetteville frequently to see her family.

“While I have always been extremely self-motivated as a student, I have been blessed by the encouragement of my family. My parents taught me at a young age the value in being a well-rounded individual and always doing my best. Additionally, I have a great group of friends that hold me accountable and always support me.”

Brook AtwellWhen she’s not at school, she enjoys spending time on the lake, attending her little sister’s events, trying new recipes with her mom, and volunteering for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Brooke says she is confident that choosing to earn her degree from the Walton College was the right decision.

“As a student in the Walton College I have been given opportunities to study abroad, serve as a leader of student organizations, and gain work experience, while learning from highly qualified faculty. This unique experience encouraged me to remain in the Walton College and pursue an MBA.”

Last summer she worked at Nielsen in the Bentonville office as a summer intern on the Walmart team. Her project primarily focused on analyzing the explosive growth of Neighborhood Market stores and the effect the growth would have on Walmart. In her analysis she looked at demographics to compare the key shoppers at Neighborhood Market stores to Supercenters, sales data to determine the key categories at Neighborhood Market stores, and issues surrounding cannibalization of sales due to the close proximity of Neighborhood Market stores and Supercenters.

“It was an exciting project that allowed me to use multiple Nielsen tools and answer a unique business problem. I am looking forward to working for Nielsen again this summer.”

Brooke says the MBA program has introduced her to new ways of thinking, presented opportunities for professional development, and surrounded her with great students and faculty.

“I am confident that the skills and networks I build in the program will be important to my future success after graduation.”


“My dream job is to be a country or regional president of a multinational corporation.”

The Walton Executive MBA (EMBA) program is an important step along Nien Su’s path toward this goal.

Nien works at Walmart as the director of International Government Affairs supporting Walmart’s business in China, Japan and India.

Nien grew up in Taiwan and Southern California. He and his family moved to Rowland Heights, California when he was 5 years old. He is fluent in Chinese and English.

He watched his parents make tremendous sacrifices to start a new life in a new country and this gave him the drive to succeed at whatever he does and make the most of opportunities available to him.

“As an immigrant, I view success through the lens of the long journey that it took to arrive to my present situation in life.”

Nien began his career in the public sector. He served eight years as head of Asia-Pacific for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in Washington, DC. He also worked in China as a consultant and served in various positions at the State Department during the Bush Administration.

Although he enjoyed his roles in the public sector, Nien recently transitioned to working in the corporate sector. He moved to northwest Arkansas to work at Walmart, where he currently serves as Director of International Government Affairs. He provides support for Walmart’s business in China, Japan, and India.

The decision to pursue a graduate degree in business was guided by his desire to learn the fundamentals of global business. He felt that furthering his education would facilitate the transition from public to corporate sector and further his career growth and potential.

The EMBA program provides the perfect fit. It is a part-time program designed for working professionals. Students attend class on campus one Saturday a month and complete the remaining coursework online.

The program format is especially helpful for students like Nien who travel frequently as part of their jobs. Being a director of international business requires domestic and oversees travel.

Nien is able to balance his travel schedule with the Walton College EMBA program, although it does take careful planning and result in some unexpected activities, like carrying his statistics textbook around the globe. He even found a note from TSA that they had checked the book on a recent business trip.

Nien_Su_ExecMBA_profile_2“I’m on the road two or three times a month domestically and overseas at least once a quarter. The blended delivery method really helps me structure my studies around my travel and work schedule.”

Nien is happy with his decision.

“The program at Walton College offers the right balance of academics with real world instruction. After looking at all the possible programs available, I chose the Walton College for two very important reasons: (1) tremendous value; and (2) outstanding academics. The value proposition that Walton College offers – excellent professors, access to industry experts, and tuition cost – simply cannot be matched.”


Emily Harbuck is a native Arkansan who appreciates the creative side of business.

“Having a career that allows me to be creative and explore new ideas is where I want to be.”

While working at General Mills, Emily Harbuck is pursuing an EMBA degree.
While working at General Mills, Emily Harbuck is pursuing an EMBA degree.

She grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas. From there she moved to Fayetteville for her undergraduate degree and decided to make it her home. “From the world’s largest retailer, extensive hiking trails, and one of the largest American art museums, northwest Arkansas is an amazing place to be!”

Emily knew she wanted to find a corporate job that would allow her to develop innovative approaches and apply them to business strategies. Her first step toward meeting this was goal to complete a Marketing degree at the University of Arkansas, with minors in Management and Art.

Emily participated in Leadership Walton while she was working toward her degree and credits this program for molding her into the professional she is today. This program, designed to provide developmental opportunities to business majors, was her introduction to all the Walton College had to offer. Now that she is well established in her career, when it came time to pursue additional education she knew where to look.

Emily_Harbuck_ExecMBA_profileEmily currently works as a Marketing Communication Senior Planner for General Mills. She works closely with Sam’s Club merchandising and marketing teams to plan in and out of club promotional events, such as Box Tops for Education and Outnumber Hunger.

“These promotional events are helping local schools and food banks, enhancing the member experience, and ultimately drive sales for Sam’s Club and General Mills. I have a really cool job that is a combination of tactical execution and creative, out of the box thinking!”

Even though she loves her job, Emily was ready to further her education. At this stage in her career the perfect fit came in the form of the Walton Executive MBA (EMBA) program.

The EMBA program is a two-year curriculum where working professionals attend classes in-person one Saturday a month. This face-to-face classroom setting is combined with online coursework to allow the flexibility required by students’ work responsibilities.

“My dream job was always to be a promotional events planner in major retailers, and I landed that gig much earlier in my career than expected! Now that I am on the supplier side of marketing, my job goals have changed slightly. I am very interested in branding and planning national power events (instead of planning for one retailer, all retailers).”

Not surprisingly, her favorite class so far is Marketing Strategy. “I enjoy the in class discussion and reading relevant marketing books versus a formal textbook. The class is interesting and enjoyable!”

The EMBA program’s reputation in the market and helpful staff factored into her decision to pursue the program. Emily also values the quality of students and professors and has taken advantage of the networking opportunities provided by the EMBA program.

“I’m only one month into the EMBA program, but I have gained a substantial network with my classmates and professors.”


One place you might find Mitch Heisserer is snowboarding in the Colorado mountains. He is adventurous and always up for a challenge, including the pursuit of a graduate degree.

“You have to find a program that will work for you.”

Mitch researched many different options before finding the program that was right for him.

Mitch HeissererMitch chose to earn his degree at the Walton College instead of Colorado, although he would miss out on a lot of snowboarding, because the business analytics program met the criteria he was looking for in a graduate program.

“It was a perfect fit for my goals and career direction. I wanted a program that was part-time and the format was very good for a working professional. This program was also ahead of the curve on data analytics, so that was a big bonus for me.”

Mitch is a logistics engineer at J.B. Hunt. His group works with the company’s rail partners to grow and sustain their intermodal business. He also prepares forecasts and is responsible for budgeting the company’s rail spend expense. To be successful in both his professional and academic career he must stay focused and manage his time wisely. “I budget my time through the week by focusing on the readings and other course materials early on in the week. I then try to have my work done by the weekend so I can have that time for my personal life.”

“I tell myself that it’s a temporary sacrifice for something that is permanent.”

Mitch says the short-term sacrifice is already paying off.

“I have gained an immense knowledge of big data concepts and how I can apply them to my current position. Not only do I look at data differently but I understand the importance of why and how the data is structured. It has completely changed how I approach forecasting and analysis techniques.”


Jael loves the quote, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet”-Aristotle

Jael, the youngest of eight siblings, knows what he wants and is motivated by his faith and family to achieve his goals regardless of any hurdles. “Having a supportive family and the desire to want to enhance my skillset and quality of life means I will have to make sacrifices. Making sacrifices now will allow me to enjoy rewards later.”

Jael FieldsWith a busy professional life, and a family to look out for, Jael spent two years researching programs before finally choosing to join the Walton College.

“I chose the Walton Executive MBA program for the prestige, reputation, and quality that the program is known for globally. The blended delivery format allows for flexibility, which is important to me as a full-time professional.”

Jael’s work experience is extensive. His career started in Iowa, his home state, with IBP (Iowa Beef Processors). A few years after the company was acquired by Tyson Foods, Jael relocated to NWA as a Senior Buyer. Then, in 2008, he left NWA to pursue a new opportunity with HNI Corporation. After a period of time at HNI, Jael returned to NWA to work for Sam’s Club in inventory management and logistics. Five years later, Jael now works for The Hain Celestial Group managing replenishment, logistics, and sales analytics.

JaelFieldsPresentationJael says the knowledge and new business perspectives he has gained further validates his decision to pursue his MBA at the Walton College. He says his professional background biases him a little in choosing Supply Chain Management as his favorite class. “The caliber of professionals, peers, and mentors are motivators that have been critical to my success. The faculty are unmatched. The professors’ passions for their respective disciplines are evident, and that for me translated into an environment that literally transformed the way I learned and how I applied the concepts and methodology in business.”

His advice for future students, “Know what you want. Be prepared to stretch yourself in order to achieve your goals. Do not expect handouts, and know you have to earn every grade.

“As an individual you have to know what you want, where you are going, and how you will get there.”

Walton Students Place Second in Denver Supply Chain Case Competition

Students from the Sam M. Walton College of Business placed second in the Operation Stimulus Denver Case Competition held Feb. 4-6. Teams from 16 top-ranked universities converged in Denver to take part in a transportation, logistics and supply chain competition hosted by the Denver Transportation Club, a non-profit dedicated to create interest in transportation.

l-r Sarah Wiles, Jonathan Schultz, Layseen Chen Torres and Andreas Kofler
left to right: Walton supply chain management students Sarah Wiles, Jonathan Schultz, Layseen Chen Torres and Andreas Kofler placed second in the 2016 Denver Case Competition.

The Walton team — Sarah Wiles, Jonathan Schultz, Layseen Chen Torres and Andreas Kofler – competed against teams from Syracuse University, Iowa State University and Weber State University, winning round one on the first day of the competition. In the final round, the Walton team competed against teams from University of Manitoba, University of North Texas and Colorado State University.

“Our team was well prepared. After receiving the case, they worked together without feedback from faculty or others for over 40 hours each prior to the competition. Their critical thinking, presentation and technical skills in their major paid off,” said John Kent, director, Supply Chain Management Research Center, and team adviser. “They described their solution as a ‘symmetrical rotational distribution center’ and presented it using graphical animation and created their own mathematical model used to calculate efficiency.”

The four Walton students are majoring in supply chain management and were selected from a group of approximately 25 students who replied to a call for case competition team members, which was open to more than 400 supply chain management majors.


Create Social and Environmental Change; Join Net Impact

University of Arkansas students are invited to attend an information session about Net Impact on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m. in Willard J. Walker Hall, room 427.

This informational meeting will kick start the first Net Impact chapter at the University of Arkansas. The chapter will be a new student organization that encourages social and environmental changes on campus and through the workplace. It is open to all University of Arkansas students.

Net Impact
Attend an information session about Net Impact on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, at 6 p.m. in Willard J. Walker Hall, room 427.

Jeff Rice, senior director, Responsible Sourcing Governance at Walmart, will be the guest speaker. Rice previously served as director of sustainability at Walmart and director of IT systems and strategy at The Sustainability Consortium. He holds an M.B.A. from the University of Arkansas.

Net Impact is a globally recognized membership organization that focuses on intractable global problems from poverty to climate change. It has more than 80,000 members across the globe, and a vibrant chapter network. Net Impact chapters provide professional skill building, networking and experiential learning opportunities to help students and professionals incorporate sustainability into their careers. Activities include networking events, campus campaigns, service projects, career development, fundraisers, community partnerships, conferences, speakers, case competitions and more.

“Net Impact is more than a club,” said Meredith Adkins, corporate outreach director for the George W. Edwards Jr. Career Development Center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “It is a global community of emerging leaders who care about making a positive impact through their careers. Many students across this campus want to make a difference. We just need to bring them together to make a bigger impact and inspire innovation through collaboration.”

Walton College’s Jon Johnson, professor of sustainability and chairman of The Sustainability Consortium, and David Hyatt, professor of supply chain management, serve as faculty advisers. Adkins and Eric Boles, director of sustainability, Office for Sustainability, University of Arkansas, serve as organization sponsors.

Walton Students Participate in Retail Conference in New York

Four Walton College students traveled to New York with Center for Retailing Excellence staff members to attend the National Retail Federation 2016 Big Show Student Program Jan. 14-17. They joined nearly 500 students representing more than 50 universities around the country for the retail conference, which provided students opportunities for internships, employment, training programs and networking.

Kelsey Casey, Jack Scaccia, Jessica Fuentes and Hoang Le Dang
Walton students (left to right) Kelsey Casey, Jack Scaccia, Jessica Fuentes and Hoang Le Dang visit Rockefeller Center in New York during their recent trip to the National Retail Federation’s 2016 Big Show Student Program Jan. 14-17.

Students Jessica Fuentes, Hoang Le Dang, Kelsey Casey and Jack Scaccia attended the conference with Center for Retailing Excellence staff members Claudia Mobley, director, and Pam Styles, associate director.

Conference attendees heard from senior retail leaders from Belk, HSNi, Nike, Williams-Sonoma, The Home Depot, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Walgreens, Walmart, Kohl’s Corporation and more.

Four years ago there were seven university members of NRF, with the University of Arkansas serving as a founding member of the student program. In 2016, there are now 67 university members.

Fuentes and Dang earned a conference scholarship through participation in STORE, Students in Retailing Excellence, a registered student organization. In addition, Fuentes received a travel sponsorship from National Retail Federation as the University of Arkansas NRF Rising Star; Dang was the NRF Student Ambassador for recruiting more than 25 members.

Fellow students Casey and Scaccia represented Enactus, a registered student organization that promotes entrepreneurship as a way to create a better world. Their travel was sponsored by the Center for Retailing Excellence.