Category Archives: Finance

EPIC Spotlight: Diego Beekma

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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.

EPIC Spotlight: Caitlin Britt

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’s ESPY (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 15,000 applicants, 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 in Walton 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.

 

EPIC Spotlight: Ashley Jancuska

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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.”

Here at the university she is involved in Walton College’s alumni network and her sorority, Kappa Delta. She also volunteers in the Fayetteville community through Habitat for Humanity and the Northwest Arkansas Free Health Center. She served as a co-project leader in Students In Free Enterprise, where she was responsible for identifying the needs of students at the Fayetteville Adult Education Center and developing a program to address those needs.

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.

EPIC Spotlight: Alex Nunn

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“I want to make an impact beyond where I’m working.”

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)

EPIC Spotlight: Addison Scott

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“All of the opportunities that have been afforded to me here are amazing.”

Addison Scott resisted the calling to be an accountant. It was the profession of her parents, and she wanted to blaze a different trail. That is, until she took an accounting class.

And liked it.

“I got into business school and discovered it was the best decision I’ve ever made,” she says.

Now in her junior year at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Addison is keeping a busy schedule with three – yes, three – majors. She is working on an international business degree with an economics concentration and a minor in French and has a double major in finance and accounting.

Taking on heavy loads is nothing new to Addison. As a student at Little Rock Central High School, she was enrolled in several advance placement courses, for which she was able to earn college credit, placing her as a sophomore at the University of Arkansas immediately after high school graduation.

Addison says that she first considered pursuing a business career in high school when she found her economics class resonated with her. “The cause and effect nature of the field appealed to me,” she says.

Then, there was finance, which appeals to her banking interest while economics enhances it.

She says she didn’t seriously consider attending the University of Arkansas until she toured the campus. When she did, she says she “fell in love” and was met by a welcoming staff and faculty. “That’s something you don’t really get at other schools,” she says.

During her first year at Walton College, Addison joined the university chapter of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), which has since changed its name to Enactus, a global, nonprofit organization that does community service by teaching the principles of free enterprise. She says she was project leader for the GreeNWAy Initiative, which assists Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce member organizations with implementing ways to make their businesses green and sustainable.

Addison says she stepped down from her SIFE leadership to study abroad in Toulouse, France, in Spring 2012. While at the Toulouse Business School, she studied master’s level programs with a focus on international management. She says her class was composed of both French and international students, with each course a week long. She says she found working with diverse groups to be very rewarding. “I think that’s the most beneficial thing I reaped from traveling abroad,” she says.

Her student activities include serving as a founding member and various committee chair positions of the Walton College Honors Student Executive Board with her role transitioning to a leadership position this spring. Addison is also the event coordinator for the newly formed International Business Club, which serves as a welcoming team to international students new to Walton College and helps Walton College students explore international opportunities, such as studying abroad. In addition, she is a University of Arkansas Student Ambassador, a volunteer program with activities that include giving prospective students tours on campus and aiding in the admissions process.

During the winter break of the 2011-2012 school year, Addison received real-world experience when she interned in the accounting office of Windstream Communications, a voice and data network provider in Little Rock. Addison says after her spring 2013 semester, she will intern in the internal audit department at Walmart’s Bentonville headquarters.

There’s still school as well. Addison says she plans to apply for Walton College’s Integrated Master of Accountancy (IMAcc) program, a five-year plan that enables students to become certified public accountants. Upon completion, she says she hopes to work in the private sector but would like to eventually play a role in public policy and economic development.

She says Walton College is helping make her dreams possible. “All of the opportunities that have been afforded to me here are amazing,” she says.