Category Archives: Undergraduate Student

Salty Snacks – It’s All Academic

Hmmm. What to pick … pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, energy bars or popcorn?

For marketing seniors and juniors in the Marketing Category Management class at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, walking through the snack aisle in the grocery store is more than a shopping trip, it’s an academic study.

Bob Bachtel, an instructor for the Department of Marketing and a principal for IRI Worldwide in Bentonville, leads this class and challenges students to research the salty snack category, devise a plan to drive sales and then present their solutions to the class and industry experts. The competitive exercise was the culmination of the class, which focused on data analysis using shopper and sales trends, product placement, shelving/modular and product placement design software and presentation skills.

The class is designed to provide students a strong skill set to get a job in the growing field of category management.  Students can get certified in category management and Kantar Virtual Reality and learn to use shopper and sales data in category and business analysis. 

Throughout the spring 2019 semester, category management students benefitted from corporate mentors and speakers from Walmart, Sam’s Club, IRI Worldwide, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, 8th& Walton, General Mills, PepsiCo, Harvest Group, Keurig/Dr. Pepper and Smuckers.

In addition, companies such as IRI Worldwide, the Category Management Association and Kantar Retail provided data sets and computer-aided design software to assist in researching shopper trends and placing products on shelves digitally.

Teamwork
For the final class project, the students formed six teams and began to research the overall category, find areas of growth in product development and target markets. From there, teams devised new or improved product lines, such as:

  • Dos Cara 2019
    Team One: Dos Caras 2019

    Team One – Dos Caras, Spice It Up, a new plain corn chip with flavor packets to add according to the spiciness level of the consumer’s choice. Target market: millennials and young adults.

  • Team Two – Simply, a new product line of organic corn chips with guacamole and Sriracha hot sauce flavors. Target market: millennials through flavor and older adults through pricing.
  • Team Three – New packaging and flavors for KIND bars, an existing product line. Target market: older millennials and baby boomers.
  • Team Four: Pop Fuego
    Team Four: Pop Fuego

    Team Four – Pop Fuego, a new line of popcorn with new flavors. Target market: middle class millennials

  • Team Five – Marley’s Seaweed Chips, a new veggie chip. Target market: health conscious adults.
  • Team Six – New flavors for Tostitos, expanding an existing product with new flavors. Target market: Asian and Hispanic markets in west coast, Texas and southern states.

Industry professionals judged the six presentations on:

  • Thesis statement or the strength of the idea presented.
  • Supporting documentation or evidence.
  • Creativity in solution.
  • Presentation skills.
  • Wow factor.

Several teams noted the increasing Hispanic population and one team noted the increasing Asian population for their target market. Students also researched trends of Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers and more. From there, they researched product flavors and spokespersons that might appeal to those ages and markets.

Some targeted consumers interested in healthy snacks, while other teams targeted cost conscious consumers.  The target audience would shape how each team promoted its product. Those focused on cost cutting would use coupons as a marketing tool, while products focused on the Hispanic market might launch the new product line before Cinco de Mayo (May 5) or during Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15). 

With the research done, consumer audience identified, products designed, and presentations created, teams were ready to present their work to judges Cole Dodson from IRI, and Steve Meehan, a retired industry executive, and Bob Bachtel.  

The winning team of Dos Caras consisted of students Bobbi Thompson, Chase Punko, De’stani Clark, Mohamad Abutaleb and Ashley Grizzle.
The winning team of Dos Caras consisted of students Bobbi Thompson, Chase Punko, De’stani Clark, Mohamad Abutaleb and Ashley Grizzle.

And the Winner Is …
The Dos Caras, Spice It Up! team won the class competition due to its proposed unique spice packet that comes with each bag of unflavored tortilla chips. The consumer adds the amount of spice they like to plain chips and then shakes the clear, re-sealable bag to distribute the flavors. If the consumer wants more spice, they add more.

The Dos Caras (Two Faces) product targeted Gen X and Baby Boomer population and the growing Hispanic market in the mid-Atlantic states and key markets in the western United States. It would launch with three flavors:  hot sauce/jalapeno, chili/lime and mango/chili.

Dos Caras presentation included sales profit of $1.7 million for 450 Walmart stores at a sales price of $2.48 per bag.

The team tackled a 2% loss in the unflavored chip market with this interactive product. Its main competitors are the Juanita’s, Tostitos and Old Dutch brands. 

The salty snack industry is a $19 billion industry with 4% annual growth.

 

 

Office of Diversity & Inclusion Celebrates 25 Years at Walton College

On Friday, April 5, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted an award ceremony and reception at the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville to mark its 25thanniversary at the University of Arkansas.

Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas, recognized Barbara Lofton, Ed.D., for her 23 years of service as the director for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion – the oldest diversity office at a Southeastern Conference business school.

“Barbara is a beacon on the hill for us,” Coleman said.  “The fact the Office of Diversity & Inclusion has been here 25 years is a testament to Walton College’s commitment.”

“I’m proud of the work Barbara and her team have done to recruit and retain such excellent students over the years,” said Matt Waller, Walton College dean. “Barbara’s leadership and her attention to students has been life changing for many young people.”

(l-r) Matt Waller, Barbara Lofton and Ebony Wyatt ask attendees to toast the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in honor of its 25th anniversary.
(l-r) Matt Waller, Barbara Lofton and Ebony Wyatt ask attendees to toast the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in honor of its 25th anniversary.

Ebony Wyatt, director of sales at General Mills, emceed the event. Wyatt, a Walton College alumna, shared her own memories of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. She first learned about Walton College through the Accounting Career Awareness Program summer camp hosted by the diversity office when Wyatt was a junior in high school. She also credits Lofton with helping her secure her first professional job with General Mills. Wyatt now teams up with Lofton and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion to host career workshops focused on helping students successfully secure a full-time job.

“She’s like a mother hen,” Wyatt said of Lofton. “She is always there to help support you, push you and encourage you to be your best!”

The Office of Diversity & Inclusion named two individuals Diversity Champions for their work to support minorities, students and entrepreneurs:  Lonnie R. Williams, Ed.D., special assistant to the chancellor at Arkansas State University and former assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Arkansas, and Oliver L. Sims III,

America’s technical sales leader for CA Technologies, a division of Broadcom, the managing partner of Oliver Sims Advisors and Investors and co-founder of Henry Health, a mental health and self care support digital platform.

Walton College students were also honored for their leadership in the National Association of Black Accountants and the Students of Retailing Excellence student organizations. Recognized were Eric Mays – accounting senior, Joe Bradley Jr. – accounting senior, Victoria Fields – management senior, De’Stani Clark – marketing senior, Malik Dedner – Master of Accountancy candidate, Fredrica Harris – MBA candidate and Jada Gaspard – marketing senior.

Keynote speaker student De’Stani Clark shared how the Office of Diversity & Inclusion had personally encouraged her as a student at the university. Before starting college, Clark’s mother was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, which left Clark with serious choices. Clark was not sure she should leave her family to attend college due to her mother’s illness but chose to attend with her mother’s encouragement.  At the end of her spring semester freshman year, Clark’s mother passed away. Clark struggled emotionally the following academic year and leaned on the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

“I felt the light of love and support of Dr. Lofton, Dr. Hughes, Mrs. Anne and Ryan,” Clark said. “I challenge you to find two students in need and let them know they have the power to choose.”

Keynote speaker De’Stani Clark, a marketing senior, hugs Barbara Lofton as she completes her speech.
Keynote speaker De’Stani Clark, a marketing senior, hugs Barbara Lofton as she completes her speech.

The Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation, Con-Real, LP, and Ernst & Young sponsored the 25thanniversary event.

About the Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Created in 1994, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion supports, advocates and assists the Walton College in developing plans for diversity throughout the school to increase representation, integration and the fundamentals of equality among all faculty, staff and students.

The department manages four summer outreach programs to educate high school students about business careers and opportunities at Walton College. The office also oversees several scholarship programs and business competitions for Walton College students.

Taking the RB Challenge

RB, a multinational consumer goods company, challenged students at the Sam M. Walton College of Business to think about the corporation’s product in totally new ways. While the challenge competition lasted only two days, the winning team continues to reap the benefits.

Last fall, Lindsey Wagaman, a junior at the University of Arkansas double-majoring in marketing and supply chain management, teamed up with fellow students — Sydney Brooks, a senior majoring in marketing, and Dylan Seelye, a senior majoring in finance — to accept the two-day RB business challenge: present a solution on how to increase market share of MegaRed Krill Oil, an omega-3 supplement.

On the first day, student teams reviewed sales and research on MegaRed, a Schiff Vitamin brand that is a subsidiary of RB, a multinational consumer goods company. RB executives coached teams and delivered feedback on presentation strategy and approach.

Wagaman, Brooks and Seelye gathered information, collaborated on ideas and developed a presentation.

“My team agreed that the majority of people who took krill oil pills were affluent middle-aged to elderly adults. We decided to position MegaRed products as a preventative measure for the whole family in order to expand the target market,” Wagaman said. “To do this, we proposed krill oil gummy vitamins for kids, biscuits and oil for dogs and subscription boxes. We highlighted different marketing aspects such as a heart mascot on the gummies and connections to popular nonprofit organizations like the American Heart Association.”

On the second day, student teams presented solutions to RB. While Wagaman, Brooks and Seelye’s team won the challenge, they received more than just bragging rights.

“Hands-on experience is one of the most valuable skills students can have. Having the opportunity to work on a real problem faced by a company helps students change their perspective and think about issues differently,” Wagaman said. “Many of the questions recruiters ask in interviews are about past experience in particular situations. Being able to draw on these experiences as answers to interview questions is a simple way to highlight hands-on experience and give students an upper hand when job hunting.”

Jordan Fry was the RB representative I gave my executive pitch to. As I was going through my involvement and experience he continually asked me why I do the things I do, and what I’m passionate about. I had never taken a step back to think about what I was really passionate about from a professional standpoint before. This question was asked throughout the two-day competition. Because of the push to connect the personal aspect to our professional careers, my group and I incorporated personal stories and experiences into our presentation.”

My group and I have remained in contact with RB representatives since the challenge,” Wagaman said. “We have been able to meet with them to further develop our solutions from the challenge and receive executive mentorship. I’m looking forward to maintaining my relationship with RB and continuing to work with them on our ideas.”

RB Challenge Benefits
“The most impactful part about RB’s Challenge to me was the amount of direct feedback each student received. On the first day of the challenge we each gave our executive pitches to an RB representative. Students received one-on-one feedback including tips for interviews and professional advice. Direct feedback is not something most employers or representatives give to students seeking internships or careers,” Wagaman said. “I would recommend all students apply for the spring RB Challenge because it’s a valuable opportunity that not many students get.”

Students have the opportunity to take the RB Challenge on Thursday, Feb. 7, by registering on Handshake no later than Thursday, Jan. 31. 

Find out more about the RB Challenge through the Career Development Services at theSam M. Walton College of Business by emailing Catherine Beasley, corporate programs manager, at cbeasley@walton.uark.edu.

About RB 
RB — the world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company — never tires of challenging the norm, and keeps giving people innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes. Visit RB.com for more information on RB’s career opportunities and graduate programs.​

IT Executive Forum for College Students To Be Held Nov. 1

The Information Technology Research Institute is hosting an IT Executive Forum for College Students on Thursday, Nov. 1, from 4-5 p.m. in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development auditorium at the Sam M. Walton College of Business on the University of Arkansas campus.

Attendees will hear from information technology executives and may ask them questions about careers and the technology industry. The technology leaders represent Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., Tyson Foods, Acxiom, FedEx and Movista. The panel will field questions from students. Intermittently, door prizes will be drawn for attendees.

For additional information, contact Eric Bradford, managing director of the Information Technology Research Institute, at ebradford@walton.uark.edu.

Walton Career Services Hosts Student Events Throughout the Fall

Walton Career Services at the Sam M. Walton College of Business will host a variety of events this fall to help prepare students for career readiness through engagement with industry professionals, professional development skill enhancement and internship/job search strategy.
 
In addition to traditional career fairs, professional development sessions, informational sessions and interviews, this semester’s events will include weekly Are You Ready? pop-up shops, as well as its Company of the Day program. A summary of events is included below.
 
August Events:
 
  • Corporate Comes to Campus: Aug. 23, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • General Mills – Company of the Day: Aug. 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

September Events:

  • Walmart Career Fest: Sept. 5, 12 to 4 p.m.
  • Aldi Corporate Spotlight: Sept. 11-13
  • Walmart Networking Event: Sept. 12, 1 to 4 p.m.
  • Resume Rescue: Sept. 18 & 19, 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m.
  • The Kraft Heinz Company – Company of the Day: Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Leadership Walton Pre-Career Fair Networking Event: Sept. 24, 5 p.m.
  • Business Career Fair: Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1-3 p.m.
  • Are You Ready? Pop-Up Shop: Sept. 4, 11, 20 and 27, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

October Events:

  • WACO Title – Company of the Day: Oct. 3, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Walmart Trivia Night: Oct. 3, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Diversity is EPIC Week: Oct. 8-11
  • Pitched Perfect: Oct. 9, 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Academy Sports + Outdoors – Company of the Day: Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Reckitt Benckiser Professional Outperformance Challenge: Oct. 24
  • Are You Ready? Pop-Up Shop: Every Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

November Events:

  • CBIZ – Company of the Day: Nov. 7, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Inceed – Company of the Day: Nov. 14, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Are You Ready? Pop-Up Shop: Every Tuesday, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

For more details, visit walton.uark.edu/career/, email CareerServices@Walton.uark.edu or sign into Handshake at uark.joinhandshake.com to see the complete list and newly added events. You can also register to attend at uark.joinhandshake.com