Category Archives: Business

EPIC Spotlight: Ryan Frazier

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Ryan Frazier, a Sam M. Walton College of Business senior, has utilized his passion and drive to excel in the business world to catapult him to success in the Donald W. Reynolds Business Plan competition.

According to dwrgovernorscup.org: The Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup is a statewide undergraduate & graduate business plan competition designed to encourage students in Arkansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma to act upon their ideas and talents in order to produce tomorrow’s businesses. This competition is aimed at simulating the real-world process of entrepreneurs creating a business plan to soliciting start-up funds from potential investors. Students involved in this competition gain access to networks of successful entrepreneurs, lenders and investors, team building opportunities, business planning skills, and media exposure. Frazier entered the competition with a group of classmates during his junior year, Spring 2009. Frazier decided to enter the competition outside of the classroom and spent hundreds of hours planning, developing, designing and competing over the course of four months.

“Our company was SooiieeSake’, LLC.,” Frazier said. “It was a sake’ brewery located in Hot Springs, AR. It was our vision to produce a premium, pure and natural sake’ in Arkansas.”

Frazier said the sake’ would be made from world-renowned Arkansas grown rice and premium Hot Springs spring water.

After months of work, Frazier said his most memorable moment from the competition was when his team was announced as a finalist. “We were really able to visualize our business from concept into the finished product,” Frazier said. “I love entrepreneurship and the Governor’s Cup is a great way to learn by doing.”

Jeff Amerine, adjunct entrepreneurship professor, said of Frazier’s group: “I was really impressed with this group, they are true quick studies. The amount of work these guys put into this competition in such a short time is amazing. They did the competition because they wanted to compete, not for credit in a class. Their business plan was a good as a seasoned venture company and they did as good as I have seen in 20 years in the business.”

Frazier said the Walton College has provided a “tremendous learning environment” as well as vast opportunities outside of the classroom. “Professors become advisers and fellow students become friends, team members and business partners,” Frazier said. “Some of my most rewarding experiences in the Walton College were from simply getting involved. As President of the Human Resource Management Association and Treasurer of the American Marketing Association, I was constantly meeting new people, building relationships with my classmates and professors, and getting involved with a wide variety of projects to keep busy.”

He is currently preparing to apply to different MBA programs in addition to a teaching position in Japan, where Frazier’s International Business Marketing major and minor in Japanese and Economics will serve him well.

“I’m keeping my options open and still have a lot of decisions to make, but I’m confident that regardless of what I decide my experiences in the Walton College have provided me with the skills necessary to succeed.”

Frazier said he spends a lot of time analyzing the market with Felix Investment Group, a group he started with eight classmates in 2008. He also enjoys rock climbing, soccer and golfing with friends.

EPIC Spotlight: Quincy Jordan

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Quincy Jordan will admit she’s a country girl at heart – one who likes to ride horses and drive a pickup truck.

Yet when it comes to her life professionally, she envisions a future as a corporate lawyer. This was a decision reached during a career fair when she was in the seventh grade, she says. That was when a corporate lawyer visited. He spoke about his experiences working with Harley-Davidson, copyright law and his travels.

“That just fascinated me,” she says. “I’m very creative but, at the same time, I’m very logical.”

Learning that corporate law could combine those two skills, Quincy continued to explore a future in the field. In high school, she shadowed a corporate lawyer who tested Serta mattresses. Again, this fascinated her.

“It was so cool,” she says. “I didn’t know there was that type of corporate lawyers.”

When it came time to find a university to help reach her goal, she looked around considerably. She soon realized that the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business would prepare her best. Its No. 11 ranking among public business schools by U.S. News and World Report’s 2009 America’s Best Business Colleges played a major role in her decision.

“I just loved it,” she says, adding that the university is not far from her home in Oronogo, Missouri, located just a few miles north of Joplin.

Quincy is majoring in both International Business and Accounting, and will continue her education through the Integrated Master of Accountancy (IMAcc) program before graduating. After that, she says she hopes to be accepted into the University of Arkansas School of Law. Yet, she says it’s too soon for her to narrow down what area of law she would like to pursue.

“It’s hard because I’m one of those people who’s interested in so many things,” she says.

One of those interests is movies. As a resident assistant at Maple Hill West, she not only mentors many of those who live in the dorm, she also shares with them her vast collection of DVDs.

She has also channeled her interests through her various activities on campus. She is a member of the newly formed Future Alumni Awareness Network, a group of 10 students who work with both the Walton College of Business and alumni to create networking opportunities, whether it be at a Razorback baseball game or elsewhere.

Quincy is also a member of Beta Alpha Psi, an accounting fraternity at the college, and is the founding president of the new National Honor Society for First Year Students, a program offered through Alpha Lambda Delta. She helped bring the honors program to campus after being inspired through her mentoring at R.O.C.K. (Razorback Outreach for Community and Knowledge) Camp, which is presented through the university’s First Year Experience office.

Her studies also enable her to do something else she loves: travel. She has already visited 11 countries, including Greece last summer when she was part of the university’s Study Abroad program.

All of these opportunities were made possible through the Walton College of Business. Quincy says she feels her instructors provide an education that isn‘t available elsewhere, adding that Dr. Charles Leflar, an accounting professor, has been especially helpful as a Beta Alpha Psi advisor.

“Walton College gives me a lot of real world experiences as well as a lot of people to talk to,” Quincy says. “Plus, they provide you with a lot of opportunities.”

EPIC Spotlight: Nick Dintelmann

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“Getting involved right away at Walton College is key.”

After touring the University of Arkansas, it was the Walton College that helped me decide to enroll here. Seeing the Walton College campus and hearing about its programs and all it does for students, from Leadership Walton to the Research Institutes, made me feel at home. Even though I was at the last orientation, one week before school started, they worked with me to make sure I started out on the right foot and have kept me on that path ever since.

I knew that I wanted to do international business. Ever since my family adopted three of my siblings from South Korea, the world has interested me more and more every day. Walking into orientation, I was 100 percent sure that international business was for me, but I was not sure what to concentrate in.

Then we bumped into Renee Clay, a remarkable woman who helped me decide to pick Supply Chain Management. After my parents and I talked with her, we realized that International Supply Chain fit everything that I wanted, a global career that will always be exciting.

Getting involved right away at Walton College is key. I applied and was accepted into Leadership Walton of which I am a proud member to this day. They have provided me with many resources to success and knowledge into the ever-changing world of business.

I also joined the Transportation and Logistics Association, which helps students learn more about supply chain past, present and beyond. The Supply Chain Management Research Center and the department have been absolutely amazing, and I have learned so much through each of them. The research center encouraged me to apply to many of their programs, and through it I received a mentor from Kellogg’s who has helped show me the real life of supply chain. The center also sent me to Denver to participate in a team case study competition, which gave our team great skills and knowledge. Getting involved is the best thing you can do for your major.

On the international business side, I realized something – there was no organization! Through the Global Engagement Office and the Economics Department, we worked tirelessly in the year 2011 to bring about one of Walton’s newest clubs, the International Business Club, which celebrated its inaugural year during the 2012-2013 academic year.

We worked with the new Walton College exchange students and gave insight to U of A students who chose this degree. We’ve grown so much to around 200 members, and I cannot wait for this next year.

Walton College helped me to study abroad as well. The Global Engagement

Office made sure I knew what to do and when to do it and made sure everything was correct and in order. Through them and the Study Abroad Office, I was able to spend the summer of 2012 in Besancon, France, speaking French 24/7, staying with an great host family and gaining insight into the culture of France and its people.

The University of Arkansas has given me so much. I will now be a three-year resident assistant and am going to Maple Hill South this year. I will be working with the TLA and IBC as their president and working to bring Walton College students everything they need to take part in these two amazing organizations.

Because of all these things, I received an internship at the Hershey Company office in Bentonville. I enjoyed my time with them this summer and on into the school year as well.

Thank you, Walton College and the U of A. Go Hogs!

EPIC Spotlight: Clair Finke

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“When you walk in the halls, there’s always a familiar face.”

That initial view of the Boston Mountains from Humphreys Hall dormitory was breathtaking. The campus was large and the opportunities were exciting. Clair Finke soon learned the rave reviews she heard from her former next-door-neighbor weren’t bogus. The University of Arkansas was where she wanted to go to school.

Living in Leawood, Kan., a suburb of Kansas City, she had many possibilities of where to go to college. When Clair and her parents scheduled a trip to Fayetteville, she went on a campus tour, met with Undergraduate Programs at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and, to get a feel for the “realistic side” college life, visited her transplanted neighbor. Her father was also impressed, she says. Her decision to attend the University of Arkansas was solidified. She is an international business major with a minor in Spanish and economics.

The summer before her freshman year, Clair participated in the Business Leadership Academy, which continues to be offered each summer. Operated by Walton College’s Center for Retailing Excellence and Diversity Programs, it provides incoming freshman a taste of the college life while presenting them business concepts ranging from accounting to presentation skills.

Clair says a high point for her was when a buyer for Walmart came to speak to the academy. “That’s when it hit me I was doing the right thing by going to the Walton College,” she says.

During the program, Clair spoke with an adviser and learned she would be a first-year honors student. With smaller classes provided for honors students in a large campus setting, Clair says she has the best of both worlds.

The teamwork, friendship and little things, like ordering late-night fast-food while working with her fellow students in the college’s Underwood Family Honors Lounge, will be memories Clair will cherish. “When you walk in the halls, there’s always a familiar face,” she says.

She says she has also benefited from Walton College’s established reputation in the business world, like providing opportunities to visit local corporate offices. Clair says she has utilized the George W. Edward Jr. Career Center when needing help writing her resume and gaining information about internships.

As a member of Leadership Walton, which helps prepare students for the business world, she gained an internship in China working as a marketing planner for a travel company. Clair and two other American interns wrote blogs for the company to encourage tourism to the country. She also came up with the idea of having a photo contest on the company’s Facebook page to encourage activity on the website.

She is studying abroad this spring, traveling to Spain to attend the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Then, next summer and fall, Clair will intern for 22 weeks in the Innovations Department at Sam’s Club, where her duties will include merchandising and other assignments. She says the experience will allow her to see a project from the very beginning to its end result.

Clair is a member of the university’s chapter of the National Retail Federation Student Association, where she has served as secretary. Away from Walton College, she is active with the Kappa Delta sorority, where she has held leadership roles.

She says she plans to graduate in May 2014 and is keeping her options open. “Graduate school is definitely on my radar,” she says.

But one thing she says she knows for sure, attending Walton College was a smart decision.

“I love to travel, and I think international business is the right direction for me,” she says.

EPIC Spotlight: Chris Krittenbrink

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“I just think there are so many opportunities at the Walton College, and you don’t realize it until you get deep into it.”

For Chris Krittenbrink, the global experience is already happening. Last summer, he visited South Africa as part of the University of Arkansas’ Study Abroad program.
As a student at the University of the Western Cape, he took economic developmental classes where his studies included the World Bank. He even had an opportunity to hear former Capetown Archbishop Desmond Tutu speak. Through other people’s eyes, he began to see how foreigners view the United States.

There were also projects. “I was in a class where we picked a developing nation and talked about it,” he says.

It was not the first time for Chris, who’s from Norman, Okla., to travel abroad. He says his first overseas experience happened when he was 16 and lived in San Sebastian, Spain, with a host family through a Spanish immersion program. He says the experience led him to consider a career that would allow him to combine his interests for business analytics with opportunities to travel around the world. Majoring in international business management with a minor in Spanish seemed like a good start.

Chris says his parents and sisters all attended the University of Oklahoma, which is located in his hometown. “I was looking for something that was a different atmosphere than Norman,” he says. When he paid a visit to the University of Arkansas, the Sam M. Walton College of Business looked like a good fit for him, he says. The university, located about 250 miles east, provides some independence while being close enough for the “safety net” of his parents should he ever need them, he says. When he began his business classes that fall, his decision was reaffirmed. “On day one, I felt I had someone I could call and communicate with,” Chris says.

Now a senior, Chris says he hopes to work internationally in a profession that deals with identifying and acting on global trends in the corporate structure. He says he would be happy to working in the United States with clients abroad or living outside of the country, if need be. “I’d like my focus to be on global interactions and how to cope with them in daily operations,” he says.

His current daily interactions and operations, however, include student activities such as serving as a Walton College Student Ambassador where, among other duties, he gives prospective students campus tours. It also allows Chris to learn even more about the college. “You get to know everyone who works at Walton College a little better,” he says. His sophomore year, he was also a mentor for Freshman Business Connections, a first-year program at Walton College.

His other activities include membership with the university chapter of the Human Resources Management Association, which brings in local and national business leaders for presentations. He is also a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.

As Chris winds down his final year at school, he says he has had little free time, aside from the occasional tailgating at sporting events or hanging out with friends at local lakes. Instead, he says he takes every opportunity to do homework and tries to minimize his television viewing.

Yet, he says he’ll always value his college education, which he says offers diverse instructors from so many walks of life. “I just think there are so many opportunities at Walton College, and you don’t realize it until you get deep into it,” he says.

EPIC Spotlight: Brian McCaster

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“You have to ask yourself, ‘What do I want to learn from this?’”

When Brian McCaster was in high school, he spent 11 months in Paraguay as an exchange student. The experience opened his eyes to issues beyond his central Arkansas home near Conway, especially when Paraguayans would ask him questions about the United States’ government and economics.

This past summer, Brian returned to South America, this time to Brazil in the Study Abroad program sponsored by the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He and other students, through the guidance of Walton College economics professor Andrew Horowitz, met with business experts, including those with supply chain management and logistics backgrounds.

Brian plans to graduate in May 2012 with a degree in international business management and a minor in Spanish. He says his classes have been challenging but in a good way.

“Whenever you take those classes, you have to be focused,” Brian says. “You have to ask yourself, ‘What do I want to learn from this?’”

Though this background would make him suited for a career in international business, Brian says it has prepared him for something else: working with high school students and college freshmen. He already has experience in the area. For the past three years, Brian has served as a resident assistant at Maple Hill South dormitory, lending an ear to new students as they adjust to their independence.

Brian says he had planned to enroll in graduate school immediately after earning his bachelor’s degree. A phone call changed everything. A recruiter with Teach for America, a program where leaders commit two years to teaching children in low-income communities across the country, asked Brian to join the organization.

Brian was reluctant at first. “But I got on the phone with this guy, and everything made sense,” he says.

Brian says the program will help him test his strengths before he moves on to graduate school later.

Reaching out to the community’s needs is also Brian’s passion. He has participated with Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), an international nonprofit organization that has a Walton College chapter. His involvement has included replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in low-income housing and working with older people in various capacities from teaching them how to use the Internet to helping build a community garden at the Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center.

Raised by his grandparents, Brian says his business classes have made him think about his grandfather, who owned a concrete business before retiring. Growing up, he says, he never thought about all of the business decisions his grandfather surely made. Brian says his experience at Walton College gives him a newfound respect for the business and the man, and he now looks to him as a crucial source of guidance.

Brian also seeks guidance at Walton College. Naturally curious, he sometimes visits different professors during their office hours to find out their passions and motivations.

“You can learn something from anybody,” Brian says. “No matter who it is, you can learn something.”

EPIC Spotlight: Brad Audrain

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“I had great experiences with Walton College, and I’m proud I was able to graduate there.”

This past New Year’s Eve, revelers in downtown Fayetteville greeted 2012 with a new taxi cab service available – one with a minimal carbon footprint. Green Cab Co. made its debut by offering safe rides for those who had a little too much fun or simply wanted a safe ride home.

Several months later, the black hybrid automobiles can be seen all over Northwest Arkansas, and the company’s co-owner, Brad Audrain, says he is already making plans to expand.

“We try to use every new innovation and less energy than any other cab companies here or anywhere else in the country,” he says.

But driving cars with a lesser carbon footprint isn’t all the company does to stay green, Audrain says. It uses iPhone card swipe devices for credit transactions and offers electronic receipts via email, though drivers will provide paper receipts when asked, he says. Passengers are also not allowed to smoke in the vehicles.

A graduate of the Sam M. Walton College of Business in 2006, Audrain says he still refers to his textbooks when it comes to managing the dozen or so dispatchers and drivers who make up the business. They also come in handy when working with independent contractors, he says.

Though he grew up in Memphis, Audrain says one of the primary reasons he chose to attend the University of Arkansas was because it was his family’s alma mater.

“With parents, grandparents and great-grandparents on both sides of my family having attended the U of A before me, it was the obvious choice,” he says. “I was a huge Razorback fan since the day I was born.”

He says he selected a business management major because it is a broad field that can be applied to any facet of his professional life. He wouldn’t know, until years later, how he would apply that knowledge, he says.

“I had great experiences with Walton College, and I’m proud I was able to graduate there,” he says.

He confesses, however, that he wishes he had paid more attention to his studies as an undergraduate and advises new and prospective businesses to not dismiss any subjects being taught in the classroom.

“The stuff you don’t think matters, it’s there for a reason,” he says. “The professors and administrators know what they are doing, and you’re there for a reason.”

Following graduation, Audrain enrolled in law school with plans to become a lawyer. He earned a law degree, and even practiced for a year. But, he says, the legal profession was never for him.

A new career opportunity came through a conversation he had with Sarah Sparks Diebold, whom he shares Green Cab Co.’s co-owner title, along with Matt Powell. He says Diebold was looking at some ideas for a niche business in Northwest Arkansas, and the two explored ways to make a difference in the community. When they discovered an environmentally friendly cab company in Madison, Wisc., Audrain researched the idea and Powell joined forces. After “five or six” months of planning, Green Cab Co. secured an office in downtown Fayetteville in November with a fleet of four Toyota Priuses in place New Year’s Eve, Audrain says.

Now, the cabs run routes all over the area, including to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in Highfill. He says his customers are of all ages, whether it be professionals doing business in the area, people stranded due to auto troubles and, of course, the late-night visitors on Dickson Street. “It’s everyone from across the board,” he says.

As for Green Cab Co.’s future, Audrain says he would like to increase his fleet and, perhaps, expand into other college towns in the mid-South. He says Green Cab will continue to use either hybrid autos, like the Prius, or electric cars once they become more mainstream. He says this fits in with Fayetteville’s personality.

“They like to keep things funky around here, and so do we,” he says.