There have been few major changes in the physical retail supply chain that has served big box retailers for more than three decades. But as more consumers shift to online shopping and the “omnichannel” retail model becomes the norm, experts say the old supply chain model is beginning to see fundamental changes.
E-commerce sales are growing at a healthy clip and are expected to account for more than 10% of total retail sales by 2016. As much as 60% of all retail sales originate online even though they may be completed at a brick-and-mortar retail store.
“Changes in retail are being driven by technology advancements and that we can’t control. Retailers, their vendors and third party logistics partners had better be aware of these changes and make better use of technology themselves,” said Anníbal Sodero, assistant professor supply chain management at the University of Arkansas.
Autumn Parker, associate director for undergraduate recruitment, and Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, have announced the 27 members of the 2014-2015 Dean’s Student Advisory Board for Walton.
Sam M. Walton College of Business senior and honors student Maria Barrenechea is pleased with her international background. She was born and raised in Bolivia; went to high school in the Patagonia, Argentina; took some courses in Buenos Aires; headed to the United States for college; and this past summer, she studied in Italy. “I think [my background] will give me a competitive advantage in the future,” she said, “especially when having to deal with cross-cultural situations in the work-force”
Right now, though, Barrenechea is enjoying the new experiences that an American university offers. She mentions that the University of Arkansas offers in-state tuition to Bolivian students; “however, what triggered me most to come here was the opportunity of being exposed to college life in America. Living in the dorms, the football games, the student organizations, Greek life, and all the other on-campus traditions compose a different lifestyle worth experiencing” she said. Barrenechea chose the major that she believed would open the most doors for her. “I thought of business as a broad major that would give me the opportunity to explore the many areas it is composed of.” She said she was happy with the program’s structure of core and sampling of major courses, which helped her determined that transportation and logistics was what she wanted to do.
Barrenechea was selected to participate in the Center for Retailing Excellence’s two-year-long mentoring program. She recognizes how integral the program is to her professional development. “When I was debating between TLOG or marketing as a major, I shadowed both areas with Colgate-Palmolive. They also helped when I first started interviewing with companies. They would invite me to valuable meetings and answer any questions I had. It is great to have highly experienced professionals become your advisors and friends” she said.
Barrenechea studied in Italy during the first session of summer 2010. She hopes to add to her knowledge of world cultures while simultaneously adding to her knowledge of transportation and logistics. “I can’t wait to be exposed to the Italian culture. I am also planning to tour exportation companies and visit some ports just to learn a bit about the European supply chain system.” She is going through the CIMBA program with a group of business students from across the United States.
During the second half of summer 2010, Barrenechea was a marketing intern for Coca-Cola International in South America. “I was looking for a company with global presence, so when I graduate, my contributions to the company would not only be valued back at home but in different parts of the world” she said.
While on the University of Arkansas campus, Barrenechea works for the Supply Chain Management Research Center, a Walton College outreach center. She works as a research assistant. “I have had a good combination of indoor and outdoor jobs on campus. I was a student mentor for orientation and R.O.C.K. Camp. Most of that was about interacting with incoming students and parents, guiding tours, presenting the U of A traditions, attending parent panels, etc. My job in the Supply Chain Center is more in depth and analytical. It requires hours of dedication in front of a computer.”
She is also involved in Leadership Walton, a program that combines leadership, academics, and professional development. Barrenechea says Leadership Walton “enriches the student’s academic experience preparing them for future success.” She is also excited to contribute to the University of Arkansas chapter of the American Marketing Association as a vice president of fundraising during her last year of college. These extracurricular activities are just one aspect of the Walton College that she loves. “The college offers a wonderful learning environment and vast opportunities outside of class.”
So, where will Maria Barrenechea go after graduation? “Right now, I’m keeping my options open, but it would be ideal to start working in the supply chain or marketing department of a big company somewhere in the northeast part of the United States. Hopefully, after a couple of years of experience, I’d get the chance to go to graduate school for an MBA. I would still like to eventually go back home and contribute to Bolivia’s growth.”
Jonesboro native Locke Isaacson graduated from the Sam M. Walton College of Business in spring 2010 with a major in marketing management and a minor in finance, but she doesn’t want to stop learning just yet. Isaacson is applying in September 2010 to the dual degree program that partners the Walton College with the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. She hopes to use her education to better the lives of other through nonprofit work.
While pursuing her degree, Isaacson came to really appreciate her professors. “Several of the teachers here are incredible. The relationships they create with us, in and out of the classroom, are great.” She said she has considered becoming a teacher, too. “Eventually, I think I might want to be a college professor because I’ve really enjoyed several of my teachers here, and I would like to help others like I have been helped,” she said. “I also think it would be fun to teach a non-profit class in the business school. I haven’t taken anything like that; they might offer it, but I haven’t heard of it.”
Isaacson said she has been given many opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. One of those opportunities took her to Europe on a study abroad trip. In summer 2008, Isaacson spent six weeks on the southern coast of Spain. “It definitely threw me outside of my comfort zone. The main way I orient myself in a situation is by talking to people. When you don’t speak much Spanish in a Spanish-speaking country, it’s a little bit more challenging,” she said. This challenge didn’t take away from the experience, though. “It was great because I was able to learn about so many different cultures. The students at this school were from all over the world; even though they weren’t American, many of them spoke English, so we could communicate that way; or, it really forced me to communicate in Spanish. It was a great experience—very challenging, but a good time.”
She also had two internships during her time at the Walton College. She worked with PowerAde, an internship through CBS Sports, to promote the product to the University of Arkansas intramural sports program and to set up taste tests among students. She also spent a semester working for Tyson Foods, where her duties consisted of analyzing reports, budgeting, and setting up product cuttings to assess product quality. She said this internship was at times taxing, but well worth it. “Being involved on campus, going to class, and working at least 20 hours a week [at Tyson] was a full load. I’ve been pretty good with time management, but that semester was challenging. I think it was true to life, though,” she said. “The hands-on learning experience was great because it is something that can’t be taught in the classroom.”
From January 2009 to January 2010, Isaacson served as vice president over recruitment for the Panhellenic Council. “I helped host women’s recruitment for all the sororities on campus. I worked here over the summer and talked to all the students and parents during orientation, and I worked with all of the sororities to make sure everyone knew the process, rules, and schedule.” She said planning the sororities’ week-long rush event at the end of the summer contributed to her business education. She learned how to properly handle a time-sensitive schedule and plan for unplanned events. “It’s definitely shown me that I like working with people,” she said.
During her senior year, Isaacson also served as co-vice president of the University of Arkansas chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the national business honor society. She said she felt privileged to be chosen for such a position and was pleased with the opportunities she was given. “I was selected to go to Tampa to a business conference and was privileged to host the Beta Gamma Sigma benefit,” she said.
Isaacson has graduated from the Walton College, but she hopes to return soon, this time as an MBA candidate working toward a dual degree in business and public service, which is offered by the Walton College and the Clinton School of Public Service. Isaacson said this degree plan is compatible with her career hopes. “I’d like to work in the non-profit side of business,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to have a non-profit organization for underprivileged kids, but mainly those aged 12 to 18. I feel like most programs end once kids get older and are considered more mature, but I think 12 to 18 is such a vital period in their lives. They still need some influence—maybe a mentorship program in which education is really encouraged.”
In May 2010, Isaacson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas Honors College. She was also the Outstanding Marketing Senior for the Walton College.
“In TLOG, you have so many opportunities to learn things you wouldn’t learn otherwise.”
The devastating scenes of Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 Haitian earthquake that were broadcast on the nightly news caused Lauren Weems to change the way she thought about her life. She not only worried about the people’s welfare, she thought about how supplies, such as food and first aid, would be delivered.
Moved by the dramatic events from those natural disasters, Lauren, then a freshman at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, began encouraging people to donate to a student organization she created called Young Generations Need L.O.V.E. (Let’s Offer Valuable Education) and the American Red Cross, which was on campus at the time taking donations. Though her organization is now inactive, she says the experience got her to thinking about logistics and the supply chain, which is necessary when providing relief to those who are suffering. “Disasters happen all the time,” she says.
That’s when Lauren knew that Transportation and Logistics was the right major for her. Often referred to on campus as “TLOG,” she realized its potential for innovation, she says. For example, the field needs people to find ways to make the supply chain more environmentally friendly and to transport more health conscious products. She says she began thinking seriously about these concepts after attending a Leadership Delta conference, sponsored by Lauren’s sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and General Electric Co. But she says her main interests are relief and international logistics. Lauren says she likes the challenge of finding solutions to shipping goods to other countries where the laws are different from those in the United States. Plus, she says it suits her talents. “I think I’m just a literal, analytical, straight-to-the-point person,” she says.
Lauren, who is from Little Rock, says she always knew she would pursue a career in business, though she briefly thought about going into journalism when she was in high school. She says that before college studies took over her free time, she used to enjoy writing, including penning a poem or two. Yet, she says she feels she has made the right choice to pursue a business degree, adding that the education at Walton College is “second to none.”
“In TLOG, you have so many opportunities to learn things you wouldn’t learn otherwise,” she says. “I dove in head first and I love it.”
The opportunities don’t end there. Lauren serves as first vice president of her sorority where her duties include assisting the sorority’s president and being the chairperson for multiple committees that implement scholarship, sisterhood and service. “I love it,” she says. “It keeps me busy. I love to be busy.”
And she is. Lauren also serves as a Walton College Student Ambassador, where she meets with prospective university students, as well as an ambassador for the Department of Supply Chain Management, which oversees the transportation and logistics program. As a supply chain ambassador, she meets with other University of Arkansas students who might be interested in the program. She says she also enjoys mentoring students, which she does through Connections, Razorback Bridge and Silas Hunt Scholarship mentoring programs, all with the UA Multicultural Center. She also served as a mentor at the Business Leadership Academy’s two-week summer program at the university and is currently on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board at Walton College.
Spare time, when it occasionally happens, is spent with friends, listening to music, eating and sleeping Lauren says.
“I’m a really relaxed person,” she says. “I love to chill.”
Over a four-year span, senior Ashleigh Toatley has gone from being unsure of what field to get into to becoming a leader in her department.
“From a young age, I knew I wanted to major in business, but I wasn’t sure of which specific field,” Toatley said. “Entering into college my objective was to major in a field that was growing and in demand. When I met with Barbara Lofton my freshman year, she told me about this major (called) Transportation and Logistics.”
While working at the Supply Chain Management Research Center in 2008, Toatley organized a research project outlining how interstate commerce trucking regulations vary from state to state across the 48 lower states.
“Through working with Dr. Terry Tremwel, I learned the importance of staying current about what is going on today in the transportation industry as technology and regulations are always changing,” Toatley said. “And though this was the hardest project I’ve ever worked on in my life, it was the most rewarding.”
Toatley made a great impression on the faculty at the research center during her time there.
“We certainly believe that Ashleigh is a talented student leader, but she also excels in research and presentation skills,” said Jim Crowell, director of the Supply Chain Management Research Center. “She displays attention to details and persistence in quality research.”
Crowell and his colleagues were so enthusiastic about Toatley’s performance on the project that they invited her to present her research at a General Electric Conference in Greenville, South Carolina, in front of 200 presidents and vice presidents of major trucking companies.
“It was great to see people interested in what I found so fascinating,” Toatley said.
In addition to being invited to the conference in Greenville, Toatley was also appointed to Walton College’s Operation Stimulus team as a junior. Operation Stimulus is a five-member undergraduate debate team that competes in a national conference in Denver against representatives from 13 other schools with top Transportation and Logistics programs. In the competition, teams are presented with a problem and must use analysis, qualitative and quantitative models, and research to develop the most practical solution.
“(Operation Stimulus) is a great experience because you are among some of the greatest schools in the nation, like Ohio State and Michigan State,” Toatley said. “It’s a great feeling to know that you are representing the University of Arkansas, and you want to apply everything you’ve learned to the case you’re given. It’s also great to work as a team with other classmates because so many minds working together can create extremely creative solutions to problems.”
Toatley will lead the 2010 Operation Stimulus team in the upcoming conference on January 28-30.
Throughout her college experience, Toatley said that Walton College’s faculty has been an asset to her development.
“Having faculty who care about your college career and have great advice to give during challenging situations is the best aspect of the Walton College and the U of A,” Toatley said. “It’s true that you’re not `just a number’ at the U of A. Everything that I’ve learned in the classroom has allowed me to hold conversations with executive professionals in (Transportation and Logistics).”
Toatley has applied her knowledge of the field outside of Walton College. She worked for Tyson Foods for about a year and a half, interning in both the Transportation and Marketing departments.
“It was a great experience (interning in both departments) because I was able to see them operate on a day-to-day basis within such a large corporation,” Toatley said.
Toatley recently accepted an internship at J.B. Hunt, which she said she is looking forward to because it will allow her to continue to apply what she learned in the classroom in the workforce.
After graduation, Toatley said she hopes to join a growing and large corporation, or perhaps to apply to the University of Arkansas’ MBA program.
“So far, I’ve had the opportunity to interview with great companies in Somers, New York, and Omaha, Nebraska,” Toatley said. “Although it has become challenging to manage school, traveling, and work I have enjoyed every minute of the journey as I prepare for the big transition from school to the workforce.”
Alice McMillan is determined to make the most out of her time at the University of Arkansas. The Kansas City native is a junior in the Sam M. Walton College of Business and is pursuing a degree in marketing with a minor in Spanish. In addition to her studies, McMillan participates in several programs and organizations on campus.
A number of factors contributed to her decision to attend the University of Arkansas. “I was looking for an opportunity to get out of [Missouri]. I wanted to experience something that I hadn’t gotten the chance to experience before. This school is one of the most affordable and the best deal at the same time,” McMillan said. She received the Silas Hunt scholarship, which not only helps pay for tuition and fees, but also waives her out-of-state tuition. “Also, the culture down here was nice. It was really friendly and I liked the vibe I got when I came for a campus visit. It’s a big school; but at the same time, it’s very intimate. I like that,” she said. “I also knew how good the Walton College was. It’s ranked very high and is one of the top business schools, and that’s what I was really interested in.” McMillan said she shares many of the qualities that tend to define business majors. “It’s just how my brain works. I’m really competitive, innovative, and a perfectionist—a kind of type A personality, which is stereotypically what a lot of business students are,” she said.
The summer before McMillan’s freshman year, she had a municipal finance internship in Kansas City. “The biggest project was the city’s annual comprehensive financial report. I worked with the head financial officer. I also worked with some auditors and was responsible for clerical stuff.” She said the benefits of this experience were clear from the beginning. “It showed me what I could do with my degree and how some of the different majors can relate to one another. It also showed me a lot about how things work after college—basically, how adults operate.”
When she isn’t in class, McMillan is taking part in extracurricular activities. One of her favorite programs is the Spring International Conversation Partners Program. “I get to basically teach English to our international students and welcome them when they get here,” she said. “I’ve worked with people from Japan, Brazil, Korea and all kinds of different places. If they have a test or presentation, I’ll help them study or I’ll listen to them and help them with their presentation skills. My job also is to get them acclimated to the campus and America in general.”
She also mentors new business students through the Freshmen Business Connections program. “Every FBC teacher has a student assistant and my job is to facilitate discussion for them. We talk about issues that freshmen face and also how to be successful in the business school. I helped with advising and was also responsible for planning FBC’s social functions for the year,” she said.
As a Connections mentor, McMillan helps underrepresented or minority students understand and deal with the issues they face that may not have been addressed at new student orientation.
McMillan is a Silas Hunt mentor and member of the National Association of Black Accountants. She also participates in the Center for Retailing Excellence mentoring program and is mentored by Saatchi and Saatchi X. She was chosen to take part in the Razorback Sports Marketing Internship Program in summer 2010 and the 2010-2011 school year. She will also begin working with SAKE in the fall and said she is really looking forward to the experience.
McMillan’s activities are not contained to the University of Arkansas campus. In fact, some of them take place thousands of miles from Fayetteville. In 2009, McMillan attended the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama with a select group of students; and, in summer 2010, she will be travelling to Africa on the African American Studies department’s inaugural trip to Ghana. “I chose this program because [professors] approached me about it and told me they wanted me to come and be in it. Also, it’s my motherland. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go where you originated from. I had several trips I was choosing from, like Italy and Mexico, but I figured I would have an easier time getting back to those places than getting to Africa.” McMillan said she is very excited for this travel opportunity.
She’s enjoying the present, but she’s still making plans for the future. If McMillan could have her dream job, she would work in international marketing. “I know it’ll take me a while to get to it, but I’d like to do product development and market research in another country. I’d like to utilize my Spanish [minor] somewhere like Costa Rica or Guatemala and do research or have a product there.”
McMillan said more education is likely in her future. “I think I want to go to graduate school-maybe stay at the Walton College for a fifth year and get my MBA, and then go out and look for a job.”
News from the College of Business at the University of Arkansas