“The Portfolio Management class was especially helpful in gaining access to the extensive alumni network.”
Katherine Cloud graduated from the Walton Honors Program in 2011 with a double major in accounting and finance. While a student in the Walton College, she studied alternative investments and management entrepreneurship at the London School of Economics. During the week, Katherine would attend classes and socialize with students from all over the world. On the weekends, she would travel around Europe, visiting the Czech Republic, Holland, Belgium and Scotland.
She was very involved on the Arkansas campus, serving as the treasurer of Pi Beta Phi sorority and being a member of multiple clubs and associations.
“I believe internships and extracurricular activities are attractive to employers,” Katherine said. She took this into consideration when she worked as an intern at Stephens Inc. in the Fayetteville office as well as at TME Inc., an Arkansas based engineering firm, throughout college.
Being a member of the Walton Honors Program helped her networking for her career, Katherine said. “The Portfolio Management class was especially helpful in gaining access to the extensive alumni network throughout the country,” she said. She garnered real world experience in class that transferred to her professional success and job placement.
Katherine currently works with Stephens Inc. in Dallas, Texas, as an investment banking analyst. “The experience has been a challenging but rewarding endeavor, and it is great to be able to apply what I learned at the Walton College to my everyday work,” she said.
“You won‘t regret the time you spend in the program.”
Jody Bland has advice for those considering graduate school.
“Prepare early and prepare often,” he says.
Jody speaks from experience. He earned his bachelors’ degrees in economics and finance in 2011 from the Sam M. Walton College of Business and is now a graduate student pursuing a master of science degree in economics and philosophy at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He says his experiences in the Walton Honors Program allowed him to compete at the state and local level and on the international stage as well.
“As the only American in my graduate program, I’m constantly reminded of my roots,” he says. “Such a fact provides strong motivation to represent the Walton College and my state as best as my abilities allow.”
He says students wishing to pursue a highly technical graduate degree, such as economics or finance, should take as many math and statistics courses as are offered. Students should also begin preparing personal statements before their senior year to better compete with other applicants.
“The student-focused nature of the Walton Honors Program allowed me to receive individual-specific advice, guidance and recommendations that is unheard of at larger, more ‘prestigious’ universities,” he says.
Growing up about 40 miles south of Fayetteville in Alma, Jody says he became interested in public policy and had initially planned to go to law school following graduation. After his freshman year, however, he attended a summer program at the London School of Economics and fell in love with both the city and the school. He says by his senior year, he decided to forego law school when he realized graduate school would provide all of the education and opportunities necessary to achieve his goals.
As a Walton College undergraduate, Jody says he was active in politics both on campus and off. He served for two years as chapter president of the University of Arkansas’ Young Democrats and two years as chief justice of the Associated Student Government’s Judiciary. Off campus, he was involved in local- and state-level politics by working on campaigns, organizing fundraisers and serving as a Washington County representative on the Democratic Party of Arkansas State Committee. Outside of politics, he served a year as vice president for the Sigma Nu fraternity on campus.
After graduation, Jody interned with Amazon.com as a summer financial analyst. His duties involved developing an analysis of the facility-wide cost implications resulting from a recent corporate acquisition and developing a recommendation to alleviate any potential productivity losses associated with it.
After he graduates from the London School, Jody says he will begin work with Ernst and Young’s consulting practice in Dallas. He says he hopes to eventually follow his passion back into public service. Private sector experience with a top consultancy will provide him business insight that is essential to serve at the public level, he says.
Which brings another piece of advice, this time directed at undergraduate students considering enrolling in the Walton Honors Program.
“Do it,” he says. “You won’t regret the time you spend in the program. You’ll make great friends for life, be provided with ample networking opportunities and graduate into a situation that could literally put the world within your grasp.”
“I definitely think the Walton College career center is one of the most beneficial programs at the university.”
Jessica Lind has another semester to go before graduation, yet she is already interviewing for a finance job. She says she is confident she will have something lined up by next summer.
She has the George W. Edwards Jr. Career Center to thank. Located in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, the center provides a variety of services from advising students to preparing them for job interviews. Jessica says she has made good use of it.
“I definitely think the Walton College career center is one of the most beneficial programs at the university,” Jessica says.
Jessica, who grew up about an hour south of Fayetteville in Alma and nearby Fort Smith, says she initially took science classes with thoughts of becoming an optometrist. She says she recognized, however, that she might be able to put her math and analytical skills to better use.
It was the business world calling.
She changed her major to finance with a minor in accounting, and she says it’s paying off. When she meets with job recruiters, they’re always pleased when they learn about her accounting background, she says.
They also look at her involvement in a portfolio management class, Jessica says. She is among the 18 students selected to take the class where the students manage The Rebsamen Trust. The student-management investment fund was established in 1971 by the late Raymond Rebsamen of Little Rock.
Jessica first tried out her business school knowledge when she interned in the summer of 2011 at Arkansas Best Corp., a Fort Smith transportation company. Using a complex mainframe computer system, she researched and compared costs for pricing household moves.
Jessica is a member of the Walton College’s Finance Club and a member of the Senate in the University of Arkansas’ Associated Student Government. She also is vice president of standards for the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks, an elected position where she keeps track of volunteers’ attendance and hours. “I had volunteered there a couple of times, and I really liked the people,” she says.
She also plays many roles in the university’s Greek system. She is Pi Beta Phi sorority’s social chair officer, which involves coordinating events with fraternities and other sororities, and is a delegate for Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol. She also serves as an administration committee delegate for the University of Arkansas chapter of the National Pan-Hellenic Council, comprised of eight sororities on campus that administers Pan-Hellenic rules and regulations. Jessica also volunteers with children’s literacy programs and picks up trash on Fayetteville’s walking trails and parks on behalf of Pi Beta Phi’s philanthropy program.
Jessica also knows what she’ll do once she settles into a job: work toward becoming a chartered financial analyst.
“Walton College is one of the best business schools, so where else would I go?”
Jackie Sandoval had to go to a meeting. She found the room, saw some familiar faces and a place to sit. But once the session began, Jackie quickly realized something was amiss. She was in the wrong meeting.
Instead of getting up to leave and drawing attention to herself, she decided to stay. The guest speaker at the meeting was Lisa Sarmiento, Walmart’s senior director of finance and strategy. Jackie was captivated by this successful businesswoman.
By the end of the meeting, Jackie was eager to become a member of the organization hosting the speaker, the University of Arkansas chapter of ALPFA, the largest Latino association for business professionals and students with chapters nationwide and over 20,000 members. The student chapter, which works with ALPFA’s Northwest Arkansas Chapter, serves as a mentoring program supported by the George W. Edwards, Jr. Career Development Center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
Jackie, a junior at the Walton College from Springdale, joined ALPFA and became vice president of community service, where she got fellow students active in charitable work, which included participating in Make a Difference Day. Now, she works 30 hours a week as a finance manager for the ALPFA Institute, which promotes advancement and leadership for Latino leaders globally. In addition, she is doing what many students would find unthinkable: She is a full-time student with an economics and finance double major and a double minor in accounting and information systems. While it may take five years instead of the traditional four to graduate, she says the additional concentrations will provide her with the needed skills that could open many doors for her professionally. “I’m not in any hurry,” she says. “I feel like the experience I’m getting here is invaluable.”
That experience includes ALPFA. Jackie attended its 2012 national conference in Las Vegas, Nev., which enabled her to make contacts and secure an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Washington, D.C. Jackie says she envisions herself working in the risk management field after graduation.
Jackie’s interest in business began when she participated in several mock trail competitions in high school. She became fascinated with corporate law and had the idea of becoming a lawyer. She made multiple visits to Walton College, looked at how many students got jobs after graduation and several other aspects. It was an easy decision.
“Walton College is one of the best business schools, so where else would I go?” she says.
Since enrolling at Walton College, Jackie says her interest in business grew to the point that law school is no longer on her radar. She says she is grateful for the opportunities the college has provided her.
She also is grateful for the mentorship offered by ALPFA. Jackie says she aspires to pass it on to her fellow students. Currently, she helps students in many ways, such as making professional connections. She plans to continue mentoring students when she’s a professional, especially through ALPFA. “Without the help of ALPFA, I wouldn’t be as far as I am now in my career path,” she says.
Ethan Spiva thought he might become a physician’s assistant. It seemed like a natural choice since his mother is an occupational therapist and his father works in pharmaceutical sales.
When he became a freshman at the University of Arkansas, he took some science classes. His second semester in college, he tried out entry-level courses in the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
The connection was there, in a way it never was with the medical profession. He changed his major from “undeclared” to both accounting and finance. With his love for math, this made perfect sense, he says. “I’m very attentive and like having everything in order,” he says.
Now Ethan has immersed himself in the Walton College experience. He says the George W. Edwards Jr. Career Center has been extremely helpful in planning his next move: finding a job when he graduates. He says the center’s staff helped him refine his resume to give it a business focus instead of a general one.
“College isn’t just about your grades anymore,” he says. “It’s about building your resume.”
Ethan is building his resume this summer with an accounting internship at Koch Industries Inc. in Wichita, Kan. He credits the Career Center staff with helping him secure that, too. He says they coached him on how to give an effective telephone interview, which led to his in-person interview with Koch Industries, a company that specializes in energy.
Ethan says he’s keeping an open mind about what he might do after graduation, though he hopes to go into sales, preferably in Cincinnati, Ohio, which he says is a business hub for many major corporations. He says he hasn’t ruled out continuing his education with an Integrated Master of Accountancy (IMAcc) degree and is studying to take the Graduate Management Admissions Test, which one must pass before attending a graduate school in business.
Whatever he decides to do, Ethan is looking forward to the relationships he builds once he begins a career. “The business world isn’t just sitting in cubicles,” he says.
Ethan, of Springfield, Mo., says he was familiar with Fayetteville, having visited an uncle who once worked in Northwest Arkansas. He says the landscape, along with the town’s “strong football atmosphere,” was one of the many things that lured him to the University of Arkansas.
Ethan is active as a Walton College Ambassador, where his duties include giving tours to prospective business students. He is also a member of the university chapter of Students Acquiring Knowledge through Enterprise (S.A.K.E.) and the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi, where he will serve as president for 2012. In addition, he tutors for Business Foundations students. Ethan has also served in various roles, including treasurer, for the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. His spare time is spent hanging out with his friends, visiting Dickson Street and watching football games.
Yet, right now his mind is focused on his future, he says. “At Walton College, there are so many opportunities,” he says.
In 2007, Diego Beekma was one of four students that comprised the first graduating class of Bolivia’s Highland International School. It was an all-male group. “Needless to say, prom wasn’t that interesting,” Beekma said. He decided to attend the University of Arkansas for two primary reasons. One, Bolivian students are charged in-state tuition to this institution; two, it’s home to the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Beekma said his high school principle and advisor encouraged him to study business, particularly at the Walton College. “At the time, I didn’t know much about it, but he directed me that way and I’m glad that he did. Later on, as I learned more about the University and the Walton College, I thought it would be an excellent choice.”
His transition from Bolivia to the United States was a relatively smooth one, though not at first. “I remember my freshman year, I got here and I was just completely lost. At the time, I didn’t realize it, but I think I had a bit of culture shock. I walked out to Garland and Wedington and I just kind of stood there at the corner for a while, staring at everything. Then I went into Harps and just slowly walked around and stared at everything. The supermarkets look the same as they do at home, but I think the sudden change just hit me a little bit,” he said. Since then, he has gotten his bearings. Now that he’s here and accustomed to the school, he said he knows he made the right choice. “The classes are good, but there’s a lot going on outside of class like the career fairs and networking opportunities. There are a lot of resources besides the classroom.”
Since coming to the University, Beekma said building relationships has been important to him. He was a resident assistant in Yocum Hall during his junior year and found great enjoyment there. “I love it. Yocum is awesome.” As a resident assistant, he said the goal is to help students turn school into home. “More than anything, we try to build communities in the halls. We want them to feel part of the University. We want people to get involved.” Because the Freshman Business Learning Team is based in Yoakum, he said he is able to interact with many of his Walton College classmates.
Beekma spends time getting to know potential and entering students, as well. During the summer, he assists with First Year Experience Orientation. He enjoys it so much that he applied for a Walton College ambassador position. He was accepted, and in fall 2010 he’ll be singing the praises of his school to groups of prospective business students. Beekma said he is looking forward to this. “I like interacting with different people,” he said.
Building relationships is just as important in business as it is in life, Beekma said. Networking is becoming increasingly necessary for professional success. “Often times, that’s what a lot of business is. You definitely want to be meeting those people. You want to be making those connections. I think that’s important,” he said. “It allows you to grow professionally.” He said the Walton College has given him skills that he has brought to his extracurricular activities. “Sometimes I know the president of another RSO. Right then and there, we’re just talking; all of a sudden we’re making a connection; then we start realizing, ‘You’re doing a project now, and I’m doing a project later. Maybe we can combine our efforts and help each other out.’ You see that a lot in the Walton College of Business.”
When Beekma graduates in spring 2011, he hopes to keep learning-but outside of the classroom. “I want to see what the corporate world is about here [in America]. What is the work environment here? Hopefully, after that, maybe I can go home [to Bolivia] and be able to apply what I’ve learned.
It started as a high school project. The class worked toward getting clean drinking water to Ethiopia, and Caitlin Britt was in charge of fundraising. The students’ goal was met, the water was provided and the class received photographs showing the community benefiting from the clean water. “It made everything worthwhile, and it put a perspective on how we can help others,” she says.
Now a senior at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Caitlin hopes to channel her altruism by either working for a nonprofit entity or in a corporation’s community engagement program.
Caitlin, who’s from Oklahoma City, is the first in her family to attend the University of Arkansas, and, unlike her parents and sister, is not choosing a career path in the medical profession. With an interest in numbers and history – Caitlin believes the business field incorporates both – she began researching schools that could provide her with the best education.
She was impressed that the Walton College is ranked among the best colleges by U.S. News & World Report. She also wanted to attend a large university that gave a small community feel. The Walton Honors Program provided the surroundings she was looking for, she says.
Majoring in both finance and economics with a communications minor, Caitlin says she feels the concentrations will enable her to pursue many opportunities, which are being made possible with help through the Honors College, Beta Gamma Sigma and Walton Fellowship scholarships. “Being able to have those tools – hopefully to serve the community – would be the ultimate goal,” she says.
This past summer, Caitlin worked as a revenue operations intern for nine weeks at ESPN’s print and media division in New York, where she held a variety of responsibilities. One in particular involved assisting with the sport network’sESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) website, for which she entered data and coordinated polling for the ESPY Awards. Caitlin was one of 70 interns selected in a pool of over 15,000applicants, and the only one from Arkansas, she says.
While in New York, Caitlin also learned things not normally taught in the classroom: how to maneuver her way through the Big Apple and manage a personal budget. New York also offered great networking opportunities with its abundance in media and advertising, she says.
Caitlin says every undergraduate should get an internship in an unfamiliar city. “It does prepare you for the real world,” she says.
In 2012, she interned with Chesapeake Energy Corp., the nation’s second larger producer of natural gas.
Caitlin is active inWalton College’s many programs. She is co-leader of the Walton College Honors Student Executive Board, which is comprised of Walton Honors Program students who work toward building alumni relations and organize social and marketing activities for the college. She is also a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority, where she serves as the new member coordinator.
She has also had opportunities to give to others. Last year, she studied abroad in Belize with other Walton College students. While there, her team helped create several business plans for community groups, distributed a micro-loan and built a playground.
All of this makes for challenging work, but she says it’s beneficial to the real world and she will carry that knowledge and encouragement by Walton College’s faculty, staff and students for years to come. “I have enjoyed being here so much with the relationships I have made,” she says.
One might suspect that a Walton College Honors student would aspire to be an accountant, an investment analyst or an economist — but a physician?
Ashley Jancuska knew in high school that she was passionate about both business and medicine. The Walton Honors Program did not force her to choose between them – it equipped her for both.
“One day, I hope to use the knowledge that I have acquired in my Walton College classes to open and successfully manage a private medical practice,” she said.
“The Walton Honors Program fosters a feeling of camaraderie and community,” Ashley said. “Beginning with the freshmen core and continuing through my four years here, the small honors sections have provided me the opportunity to truly get to know my classmates on a personal level. Additionally, these sections allowed me to also get to know my professors.
“I enjoyed the challenge that honors classes provided as we explored topics in more detail. For example, the honors colloquium classes offered in my junior and senior year gave me an opportunity to study topics which are not traditionally covered in the normal business curriculum, like technical analysis and data mining. With the guidance of our professors, we are able to apply our knowledge to solve current business problems.”
Ashley also has studied abroad twice while at the University of Arkansas. She studied international business and e-commerce in Greece and global consumerism in Italy. As a member of the Walton Honors Program, she had access to “a number of grant and scholarship opportunities available to help defray the costs of studying abroad,” she said. Ashley said these grants and scholarships allowed her to “engage in international learning experiences and gain insight into other cultures.”
After completing her undergraduate degree, Ashley plans to attend medical school where she is interested in pursuing either primary care or sports medicine. She is excited to combine her business and science knowledge to effectively communicate and manage both administrative and clinical staff. Ashley is grateful to the “top-notch faculty, supportive advisors and abundant resources” that the Walton Honors Program provides to assist her in continuing her success.
Alex Nunn perks up when a law case is discussed in his classes at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. If there’s a topic that inspires debate among the students, even better. The combination has led to a revelation: He should become a corporate lawyer.
Hailing from Dallas, Alex will graduate in May with finance and accounting degrees and will head off to law school, either at Vanderbilt or Harvard. He was accepted to both. He understands what it takes to be a successful corporate lawyer. “You need a good foundation and understanding of how business works,” he says.
He says his father, who works in corporate law, influenced his career decision. Plus, Alex has a natural interest in the profession. “I have always been fascinated by how lawyers and courts can shift markets,” he says.
But first, he’s getting married. Walton College isn’t only a place for him to map out his career. It’s also where he found his soul mate. In July, he will wed Walton College senior Megan Dunham, who is majoring in supply chain management. The two met as sophomores in their Markets and Consumers class, he says.
Living in Texas, and with no immediate family members having attended the University of Arkansas, Alex say his longtime friend, Jon Reene, now a senior at Walton College, persuaded him to attend school here. Alex began researching the University of Arkansas. “I was reading about the Walton College, and I never knew it had such a prestigious alumni base,” he says. When he toured the campus and Fayetteville, he was pleased. “Beyond the academic opportunities here, it’s a great environment to be in,” Alex says.
Alex is a founding member of the Walton College Honors Student Executive Board, which is comprised of 16 honor students who work toward building alumni relations and organize social and marketing activities for the college. He is a member of the University of Arkansas chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, an international business honors society, and has served as an Honors College Ambassador. Alex also studied abroad in Rome.
Once he graduates from law school, Alex says he hopes to gain a judicial clerkship, which gives clerks access not only to the judge’s chambers but behind-the-scenes knowledge into the judicial process. Ideally, Alex says he would like a clerkship to the United States Supreme Court.
He says he hopes to eventually work for a socially conscious law firm or corporation. “I want to make an impact beyond where I’m working,” he says. “I want to touch the community.” (Posted April 2013)
News from the College of Business at the University of Arkansas