Category Archives: Undergraduate Student

EPIC Spotlight: Kristen Zachary

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“My honors classes have really challenged me and helped me grow.”

Some college students spend years figuring out their career path, but Kristen Zachary says she knew it the moment she stepped foot on the University of Arkansas campus.

“When I came to college, I always wanted to be in business,” she says.

That part was easy. Narrowing it down to a major took a little self-discovery. She thought about going into accounting. After all, she had always been good with numbers. But after taking a classes in the Sam M. Walton College of Business, the lure of marketing and communications was too strong to resist.

The consumer behavior courses fascinated her. She also loved the idea of building relationships with other people and entities.

A junior majoring in marketing with a minor in communications, Kristen says she has found the right fit.

“I love people,” she says. “I’m a big people person.”

Kristen says when she graduates in May 2013, she hopes to work for a company or an organization where she can best use her skills. She has already had plenty of practice as an undergraduate.

The Tulsa, Okla., native is vice president of development for her sorority, Pi Beta Phi. Her duties include facilitating workshops, monitoring academics and overseeing committees, she says.

“It’s been wonderful,” Kristen says. “It’s been a great opportunity to serve the women and serve this campus.”

It also enables her to get plenty of practice in public speaking – something that is becoming easier for her.

She also is a co-leader of the Walton Honors Student Executive Board, which is in its first year. Kristen says the group is comprised of 16 honor students who work toward building alumni relations and organize social and marketing activities for the college. Her duties took her to Boston College, where she and another executive board representative visited with hopes of modeling a program similar to one there.

Her summers have been spent working at Camp War Eagle near Rogers, about 30 miles northeast of Fayetteville. This also enabled her to build relationships and develop communication skills.

Kristen also is a member of the American Marketing Association’s university chapter and Gamma Beta Phi, an honor society open to students in the top 20 percent of their class.

Going to the University of Arkansas deviated from the Zachary family norm. She says family members, including her parents, attended Oklahoma State University.

“I just kind of wanted to do something different,” she says. She discovered that Fayetteville is just the place for that “something different” – she’s far enough away for new experiences while being close enough to home to visit on a whim.

All while finding her place in the world.

“My honors classes have really challenged me and helped me grow,” she says.

Kristen values the guidance provided by her professors. She says they care about her as a person and not just a student. “That side of it has been so rewarding – with the advice they have given me,” she says. “I know that they’re there to answer questions. … They’re available.”

EPIC Spotlight: Kristen Howell

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“What I love most about Fayetteville is the abundance of small businesses here. It makes being a business major that much more enjoyable.”

Last summer, Kristen Howell taught Chinese business professionals a thing or two about American culture. For example, with the help of an English-speaking translator, she showed them the proper way to shake hands and how to speak to a superior. She also discovered that many of those she met learned English through movies and televisions shows. “Friends” is a big hit there, she says.

Kristen says she never thought of herself as a world traveler until her China visit, but she was aware of its global impact. “I knew that China was a force to be reckoned with in the business world,” she says.

She traveled to China with the help of the University of Arkansas and CRCC Asia. It’s offered through the George W. Edwards Jr. Career Center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Leadership Walton, a program that helps prepare students for the professional world.

Kristen says she found the transportation system extremely efficient in downtown Beijing, where she worked. Just getting around the city was educational on many levels, and she advocates that college students jump at the opportunity to go there. “I think [visiting] China is good for any kind of major,” says the University of Arkansas junior from Keller, Texas, which is located near Dallas and Fort Worth.

She says she worked for a small firm that wants to be more marketable globally. “I attribute what I know, and the knowledge that I had in the conversations with company department heads, from the core classes,” she says. She was referring to Walton College’s pre-business core classes required before a student can take junior- and senior-level courses.

Like many students who become accounting majors, Kristen says she always liked working with numbers. Though she had toyed with becoming a marketing major, she says it was her core class in accounting that made her realize she had a knack for it. Following her senior year, she says she hopes to continue her accounting education through the Integrated Master of Accountancy (IMAcc) program, which, upon completion, makes students eligible to become certified public accountants. After that, she says she hopes to be hired with one of The Big Four accounting firms: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young and KPMG.

Kristen currently has an internship in the state income tax department at Tyson Foods Inc., where she helps the company prepare its returns. She says the job was the result of her China internship, where her duties also included dealing with taxes.

As a student, Kristen serves as a Walton College Student Ambassador, where, among other things, she gives campus tours to prospective students. She is also a project leader for the university’s chapter of S.I.F.E. (Students in Free Enterprise), which has since changed its name to Enactus, and a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.

Downtime, she says, involves hanging out with friends and exploring the community that surrounds the campus. She says she loves dining out at the different restaurants and shopping at stores in the area.

“What I love most about Fayetteville is the abundance of small businesses here,” she says. “It makes being a business major that much more enjoyable.”

EPIC Spotlight: Keri Stubbs

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“The projects that they have in classes are applicable to the real world.”

Working with older people or operating a payment-friendly restaurant affordable to all. These are two ideas Keri Stubbs is kicking around as she majors in both management and finance at Sam M. Walton College of Business.
The thought of working with those much older came to Keri while she was in high school in Cassville, Mo., when she was in Future Business Leaders of America. One project involved making Valentine’s Day cards to give to members of the local senior center.

“They were so nice and so grateful,” she says. “I thought it would be really cool to work with the elderly.”
Fast forward to an entrepreneurship class Keri took at the University of Arkansas. There, she wrote a paper on “pay-what-you-can” restaurants where patrons decide how much their meals are worth. The idea is that those who are financially secure will more than pay the suggested price, compensating for those who can’t, Keri says. Many restaurants have tried this, including Panera Bread. This experimental model, with its obvious challenges, fascinate her. “It’s a risky business,” she says.

As a junior, Keri still has time to figure out her career path. With a minor in marketing, her concentration in three fields can open doors to many opportunities, she says.

Keri could have attended college in her home state. But the University of Arkansas roots run deep in her household. Her parents, who are both from Arkansas, met at a Razorback ballgame. In fact, several of her family members have names engraved on the campus’ Senior Walk, which lists every graduate from the institution.

“I grew up always having been a Razorback fan,” she says.

Keri admits that she briefly flirted with the idea of going to school elsewhere. In hindsight, she says, it was rebellion. When that passed, she applied to the University of Arkansas. It was her only college application. “I haven’t regretted it since,” she says.

Growing up in Cassville, located about 60 miles northeast of Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas is a completely different world from her hometown of about 3,000, she says.

“It feels like it’s a lot farther away from here,” she says. “I like it.”

Once at the university, she says it took her some time to find her place. Freshman Business Connections, a first-year program for business majors, helped, she says. Her participation in the program inspired her to become a Freshman Business Connections mentor, advising new students who were once in her shoes. While she says serving as a mentor to first-year students is rewarding, being a Walton College Student Ambassador, where she gives campus tours to potential students, adds a new dimension to her college volunteerism.

“Getting them before they’re freshmen is always exciting,” she says.

Her involvement with Students in Free Enterprise (S.I.F.E.), now Enactus, where she served on the leadership team, enlightened her to other possibilities a business degree can do. One of the S.I.F.E. projects entailed helping Mama Dean’s Soul Food Kitchen restaurant with its bookkeeping along with assisting a charitable meal program.

She also participates in Leadership Walton, a program offered to business students that provides training applicable to the real world, such as business etiquette, networking and community service.

But it goes back to her professors, who provide the core knowledge she needs to be successful.

“The projects that they have in classes are applicable to the real world,” she says.

EPIC Spotlight: Jessica Lind

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“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.

The class enables her to get hands-on experience with managing a portfolio of equity and fixed-income securities with the added bonus of a special trip to the New York Stock Exchange. The students work on the fund from the Walton College’s Global Markets Financial Center located in Willard J. Walker Hall. “We pretty much live in the trading center,” Jessica says.

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.

EPIC Spotlight: Jackie Sandoval

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“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.

EPIC Spotlight: Hannah Hobson

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“Because of my experience in the Walton College, I now look at the world through a marketing lens.”

Beginning a new school and an entirely new era in your life is both thrilling and intimidating as you enter your freshman year in college. Fortunately, the Sam M. Walton College of Business helped me in this adjustment by providing me the opportunity to attend the Walton Block Party the first week of school. It became a tradition to attend the block party every year to receive free stuff, free food, and most importantly, meet new faces. During my time at the Walton College, I have learned the importance of relationships and how fostering them can help you achieve your goals.

I have had the pleasure of learning from professors who have a passion for what they do. Professors such as Carole Shook, Dub Ashton, Steven Kopp and Molly Rapert have been instrumental in developing my passion for marketing. The pursuit of a marketing education opened the door for me to serve as an assistant marketing director for Chick-fil-A in Rogers, which then led to my current internship with Colgate-Palmolive. During the class Markets and Consumers, I was encouraged to pursue a major in marketing by Carole Shook. Although many professors might not understand the impact they have at moments like this, when the student is asking for advice such as which major to choose, these little moments are remembered and become stepping stones along a much larger path.

Dub Ashton had the ability to make a 7:30 a.m. summer session class one of the most intriguing and engaging classes I have taken in my college career. (Talk about talent!) His method of teaching in Introduction to Marketing Strategies has benefited me greatly because I can still recall much of what he taught, and it since has been retaught in my upper-level marketing classes. When I would visit with him, he was always kind, and always made sure I learned something new. Once when we were in the midst of a conversation, he reached into one of his bookshelves to pull out a book. He then gave it to me as a gift. To this day, I am still surprised he gave me a book that had his personal highlights in it.

Although I was disinterested in Marketing Research initially, as I dedicated more effort to the class it became my favorite of the semester and Steven Kopp became another professor who would influence my life in a positive way. He continuously helped students and would often become excited about a topic during class lectures. He was passionate about what he taught and was always encouraging and friendly. I saw him recently on campus and he said, “Come visit me anytime!”
During this semester, Molly Rapert has demonstrated an area of marketing that I have never experienced before. The creative, innovative and ever-changing side of marketing is exciting and stimulating. Her Marketing Management class is structured in such a way that it enables the freedom for students to actively engage in creativity through assignments, projects and exams. It is because of her class that I feel comfortable discussing current marketing trends with potential employers.

As a sophomore, I was able to meet Renee Clay and was urged by her to join Leadership Walton. Leadership Walton gave me a jump-start on career preparation through events such as career fairs and resume revision sessions. It was through a career fair, and through the level of professionalism I attained from Leadership Walton, that I was able to acquire an internship with Colgate-Palmolive. While working with Colgate-Palmolive, I have learned many skills and gained valuable knowledge I expect to utilize in future occupations.

Every semester, the Walton College has presented me with projects within my classes. This semester, I am working on several projects that I am excited about, including working with the nonprofit Youth Strategies to create a cause-marketing plan through my Nonprofit Marketing class and working with Ozark Natural Foods through my Marketing Management class to create marketing strategies to implement within the store.

Because of my experience in the Walton College, I now look at the world through a marketing lens.

Reflecting on my first week at the University of Arkansas, when I was intimidated by the uncertainty ahead, I realize that I am writing the last few sentences in perhaps one of the most meaningful chapters of my life. I am truly grateful for all those in the Walton College who have invested in me. It is because of them that I am more prepared to meet the uncertainty that is certain to occur. As I finish writing this chapter, and begin the next, I know that much of what I have learned while attending the Walton College, with particular emphasis on relationships, will guide my pen.

EPIC Spotlight: Ethan Spiva

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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.

EPIC Spotlight: Elijah Garcia

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Each year, Elijah Garcia and his family would load up the car and travel from his hometown of Santa Fe, N.M., to visit relatives in Northwest Arkansas. It was one of the few times he would ever get to travel, but he always enjoyed his visits. “There’s a lot of stuff to do in the area and a lot of opportunities here,” he says.

Now it’s time to pursue those opportunities. Like many University of Arkansas students nearing graduation, he’s interviewing for jobs – some of his contacts were made at a career fair held on campus. While he says he’s keeping his options open, should he end up staying in Northwest Arkansas, it would be fine with him.

A senior retail and marketing major at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, Elijah has spent the past year working as a management trainee intern at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in Fayetteville. He says his duties include serving as a middleman between insurance adjusters and the managers of rental vehicles in northern Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas. When Enterprise sponsored a competition among the region’s interns, Elijah came in second with his presentation and won first place overall, earning a scholarship.

Elijah says his decision to attend the University of Arkansas was an easy one. With family in the area, he knew the transition to the next stage in his life would go smoothly. When he learned more about Walton College, it was practically a no-brainer. “That Walton College is highly respected and highly ranked made my choice a little bit easier,” he says.

He paid a visit to the campus before enrolling, and the first thing that impressed him was the buildings with the latest technology, especially Willard J. Walker Hall, which, on the third floor, features a stock market ticker that can be viewed from the second and fourth floors. Then, he met the professors, whom he calls “topnotch.” It all felt right.

One aspect he’s taken advantage of as a college student is traveling. Elijah, who has a Spanish and economics minor, studied abroad for five weeks in Puebla, Mexico, visited New York and, most recently, New Orleans on an AMA trip. He is also a Silas Hunt Scholar and served as a mentor his sophomore year.

Elijah is active with the American Marketing Association’s student chapter where he serves as vice president of fundraising. He says the experience has been invaluable in getting a taste of the corporate world. The group has been researching with Walton College’s supply chain department a “scan and go” app where Walmart and Sam’s Club customers can scan their purchase items with their smartphones before paying at a self-checkout station, he says.

There are also group activities in his Walton College classes, which he says has enhanced his communication skills. “A lot of the group work has really led to my maturity as a professional as well as a person,” he says.

When he’s not in the classroom, Elijah can be found on the campus’s athletic fields, participating in intramural sports. His flag football team recently won the men’s championship. Now, with his college career about to come to an end, there will be new opportunities to champion.