Stephens business Review Alumni Magazine for the Michael E. Stephens College of Business
Contents 4 -5
Center for Professional Practice
Center for Professional Practice
The center that helps UM business students jumpstart their careers.
An Alumnus Gives Back
Stephen Craft: A New Direction
Social Media and HR According to Kathleen Bailey
Professionals offer students advice about the business world.
Karen Willingham on getting her MBA
Emphasis on Internships
Wheeler: A UM Champion for Chilton
On-the-job experience benefits Stephens students.
Stephens Business Review is a magazine published for alumni and friends of the Michael E. Stephens College of Business at the University of Montevallo.
Design by John Nicholson | Photography by Matt Orton | Other contributors include Tiffany Bunt, Hunter George and Meg Pepper Please send address corrections, news and suggestions to: Stephens Business Review Attention: Meg Pepper University of Montevallo Station 6540 Montevallo, AL 35115
Phone: 205.665.6544 E-mail: email@example.com
Dean’s Message A new day for business isn’t coming. It’s here. The old model was to: 1) find talented employees; 2) empower smart visionary leaders; 3) equip them with knowledge or capability that competitors could not replicate; and 4) achieve long-term competitive advantage and profitability. Why is this model is no longer viable? The old model is no longer viable because it is virtually impossible to find knowledge or capability that cannot be replicated. In the traditional model, I know how to smelt metal and you don’t – so I win. I know how to vulcanize rubber better than you – so I win. I can equip my car with a superior carburetor compared to yours – so I win. Unique and superior market knowledge was the key to competitive advantage. The advantage went to the first to know – the longer you could keep the secret, the better your business performed. What has changed? Knowledge is universally available. I can learn everything there is to know about smelting metal (including how to do it in my home microwave) with just a few keystrokes. The sum total knowledge of all mankind is one Google search away. In a world of ubiquitous information in fully mobile digital format, it is impossible to sustain unique knowledge and capability long enough for it to provide a meaningful advantage. If unique knowledge cannot provide a competitive advantage, how do we compete in the new reality? We
by Stephen Craft
compete by being better editors and interpreters of the information available. If you look at the entrepreneurial icons of the new economy, Steve Jobs of Apple, Richard Branson of Virgin Brands, or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, none were innovators in producing new knowledge. Apple didn’t produce the first smartphone, MP3 player or graphical interface for computers. Virgin was far from the first airline, or cell service provider or music vendor. Facebook was not the first social networking site – nor is it the last. Apple, Virgin and Facebook didn’t enjoy unique market knowledge; rather these new economy success stories benefitted from superior editorial judgment in filtering the mass of information available. These innovators were able to distill the sum of human knowledge down to useable and manageable information from which derived products and services that delivered a superior customer experience. How does an institution like the Stephens College of Business prepare students to compete in a new economy? We prepare business students by equipping BBA and MBA graduates with the skills to be sophisticated editors and interpreters of knowledge. We prepare our majors by assuring that they see the connections between the greater world they experience and the learning in the curriculum. We prepare our graduates by providing a solid grounding in the history, knowledge and skills of business and getting them off of the bench and into the game quickly through internships. We prepare Stephens College graduates by making sure that we are always informed by our identity as a liberal arts institution so that our graduates’ most important skills are to listen intentionally, speak clearly, write persuasively and present professionally. If you are an alum or friend of the Stephens College, we welcome and need your engagement. Your financial support, sponsorship of student internships or mentorship of a student can be an integral part of fulfilling the full promise of our mission to prepare today’s graduates for the new economy of the 21st Century. I hope you will lend your support and join us.
“We prepare our graduates by providing a solid grounding in the history, knowledge and skills of business and getting them off of the bench and into the game quickly through internships.” 3
Stephens College of Business Faculty
Nancy Bell, Ph.D. Professor
Michele Bunn, Ph.D. Associate Professor
J.A. Connell, D.B.A. Associate Professor
William Hamer Executive in Residence
Harold C. Hamilton, D.B.A. Associate Professor
Roderick MacPherson, D.B.A. Associate Professor
Jimmy W. Martin, Ph.D. Professor
Nathan E. McMinn Assistant Professor
Alexander I. Mechitov, Ph.D Professor
Helen Moshkovich, Ph.D. Professor
Bahman Brian Motii, Ph.D. Associate Professor
Tom Sanders, Ph.D. Associate Professor
Tara Sudderth, Ph.D. Visiting Professor
Clint Dillard, CPA Assistant Professor
The Stephens College welcomed a new faculty member in the area of accounting to start the fall 2012 semester. Clint Dillard, a CPA from Birmingham, brings more than 20 years of experience to our students in both public accounting and private industry for varied multi-state companies. He has held titles from senior accountant and audit and tax manager to Controller/Treasurer and CFO. Dillard earned his bachelorâ€™s degree in accounting at Birmingham-Southern College and a master of accountancy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is currently pursuing a doctor of business administration at Kennesaw State University while teaching for UM at the graduate and undergraduate levels.
graduate teaching award
associate professor of business I am deeply appreciative and humbled to have received the UM Graduate Teaching Award. I teach in the Stephens College of Business MBA program, UM’s newest graduate program. I love teaching in this program because of its unique characteristics and the outstanding support we receive. First, we have a unique group of students in the program that make for really interesting and challenging classes. In accord with UM’s mission as Alabama’s public liberal arts university, our program is particularly focused on being accessible to students with undergraduate degrees other than business. We attract a number of students with these non-traditional academic backgrounds, which makes for really rich classes where diverse perspectives emerge to challenge all of us to see the world differently and critically. Also, our students are a mix of working professionals, returning to school part-time
with many years of experience, and recent college graduates, with limited experience but well-honed academic skills. This mix of real world experience and fresh inquiring minds that take nothing for granted really generates a collaborative learning dynamic where students help and learn from each other. Another blessing I must mention is the outstanding support we have received from around the University— academically and administratively—in launching and growing the MBA program. It is really inspiring, as a teacher, to be part of an organization that is truly mission-driven to deliver high quality, affordable educational programs to our state’s citizens. Our motto for the program is “Empower Your Passion”— and we think this is exactly what earning an MBA helps people do. It is a privilege for me to teach in the UM MBA program. I can truly say that it has been a means for me to empower my passion!
Thoughts on teaching from SCOB award winners.
Outstanding commitment to teaching award
associate Professor of business The emphasis on teaching is what makes the University of Montevallo special. It is what differentiates us from other universities more than any other characteristic. That is why being chosen for the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award is so special to me. Being a professor at a University with so many outstanding teachers, it was an extraordinary honor to be recognized for my teaching efforts. All universities state that they expect teaching, service and research from their faculty, but the reality is that most truly care only about research and the funds that the research may bring to the school. Montevallo is among a handful of public universities that has teaching as its true main endeavor. Because of its emphasis on teaching, Montevallo attracts a different type of professor than other colleges. The professors who accept positions at Montevallo are a self-selected group of master teachers who love to teach more than any
other professional activity. Even many of the research activities conducted by the faculty include their students and serve as an educational experience for them. Montevallo has thoughtfully and carefully created the type of environment that makes teaching a pleasure. It has small classes filled with bright students with a positive attitude about work and learning. The school’s small size fosters the development of a real—and surprisingly diverse—academic community, marked by an exchange of ideas and values. This environment of teaching and community is what feeds the “unconventional wisdom” that we take such pride in bringing to our students. I am grateful to be part of a university that so greatly values and promotes excellent teaching, and I am humbled and honored to be recognized by the University community for my teaching efforts.
center for professional practice
By VERONICA KENNEDY
The Center for Professional Practice provides vital training The Stephens College Center for Professional Practice, now in its second year of operation, has quickly emerged as the focal point of bridging the transition of Stephens College students into their professional careers. The center focuses on: • Career preparation (resume´ development, mock interviewing, dress for success, networking, professional deportment, dining etiquette, etc.). • Internship placement (both the accounting internship program in spring as well as business internships all year). • Job placement (the center is not satisfied until it has actual offers for graduates). The Center for Professional Practice continues to be fully supported by raised funds and consumes no direct institutional dollars. The center is made possible due to the continuing financial support of the Stephens College Board of Advisors and, in particular, the sustaining annual support of Board of Advisors member Mike Grainger. In addition, a number of Advisory Board members’ firms are among our internship sponsors.
In addition to financial support, Mike Grainger personally conducted mock interviews with the accounting seniors this year. The mock interview may be the single most valuable experience for the accounting students as they enter the highly competitive process of landing the spring internship. Mike has given of both his time and treasure to touch the lives of our students and to make the following successes possible. For the spring 2013 accounting internship program: • 10 senior accounting majors are eligible. • These 10 students received 28 interviews with accounting firms and corporate accounting units. • These interviews resulted in 17 offers of paid internships for spring. • All 10 students have been placed in paid internships, including placements with two of the “big four” global accounting firms. • The internships pay from $10 to $25 per hour. • This is the second year of the program and the second year to have 100% placement.
• All of the students from last year’s internship program received offers for full-time positions at the conclusion of the internship period. This is a strong testament to the work and leadership of Dr. Bill Hamer, Executive in Residence and Director of the Stephens College Center for Professional Practice. In addition, Hamer has received significant support from the Stephens College faculty and particular assistance from Dr. Tara Sudderth. Hamer says that, through the center, students have participated in servicelearning projects. Among those projects was the Volunteers in Tax Assistance program, sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service. “Four student volunteers worked with more than 30 clients,” Hamer said. “Our students now have IRS certification for their resume’, valuable tax skills, and they have served others.”
Grainger gift helps students get professional experience, advice
By ANNE RUISI
A phone call from a University of Montevallo classmate a few years ago drew alumnus Michael Grainger back into the fold of purple and gold. The friend told the retired Ingram Industries’ executive he was recruiting alumni to help support the university’s Stephens College of Business. “To be honest, I was not real fired up about it,” Grainger, a member of the Class of 1973, said. “Then John Stewart became president, and he really invigorated that place.” The impression Stewart made and the changes he effected led Grainger to make a substantial donation to the university. The gift benefited the Center for Professional Practice at the university’s Stephens College of Business. The center, founded in August 2011, assists any Montevallo students transitioning from college to the business community by helping them develop professional skills not usually covered in class, such as business etiquette and professional demeanor. They can learn how to conduct a successful job search and how to network. “Mike’s thoughtful generosity isn’t just helping our students in the College of Business prepare for future job placement; it offers all our students the opportunity to learn how to write resume’s and practice their interview skills,” Stewart said. Through business connections, students can work with mentors, participate in mock interviews, secure internships, and as they near graduation, get help with job placement. The center also serves as a contact point for the business community and the university’s business students. Industry representatives are invited to campus, where they can meet students who may be a company’s future interns or employees. They also learn business etiquette and the social manners seasoned professionals seem to instinctively know, such as how to act at a business dinner. Such interaction is a vital component of career preparation, Grainger said. The university is a great college that offers a sound academic program, but it is set in a small town without the types of events that draw alumni back in large numbers. So Montevallo graduates students who compete for jobs and advancement against individuals who have had an opportunity for much broader and diverse experiences. “I can’t do anything to make a professor a better professor or the curriculum a better curriculum. What I can do is help them prepare for a world where you’re not 8
just going against people from Alabama or Auburn, but from Harvard,” Grainger said. “The professional center helps bridge the gaps.” Grainger grew up in Birmingham’s Pratt City and Forestdale communities. He said he didn’t shine in high school (not their fault, he said), but once he arrived on the Montevallo campus, he realized the university “was just what I needed. It was like a breath of fresh air.” At Montevallo, he earned a degree in accounting. He immediately began to work with Price Waterhouse in Birmingham, where he was the first Montevallo graduate to work for one of the “Big Eight” accounting firms. “Students recruited from Auburn and Alabama were there,” he joked. ���I was an undrafted free agent. I had to make sure I got noticed. I put my head down and passed the CPA exam on my first try.” After a few years in Birmingham, he moved to Price Waterhouse’s Nashville office. From there, he went to Nashville-based Ingram Industries. Ultimately, he became president of Ingram Micro of Santa Ana, Calif., a $30 billion international wholesale distributor of personal computer hardware and software. Grainger retired from Ingram Micro in 2004 but serves on Ingram Industries board of directors, as well as the boards of Belkin International (Los Angeles) and ScanaSource Inc. (Greenville, S.C.). He also serves as vice chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Civil War Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve Civil War battlefields. “In so many ways, he’s emblematic of a Montevallo grad,” Stewart said. “He studied business and accounting, he distinguished himself in a career in finance. In keeping with the liberal arts tradition, he serves at highest levels of a foundation dedicated to Civil War history.” He and his wife, Donna, live in Franklin, Tenn., and are the parents of two grown daughters. Since that phone call that drew him back to his alma mater, the number of Grainger’s visits to campus have grown. Now a member of the board of the University of Montevallo Foundation and the Stephens College of Business Advisory Board, he travels to Montevallo several times a year. He said he wants students to know that the Stephens College of Business counts many successful business people among its alumni. “If you see someone who’s been successful and came from the same background as you did, that tells you it can be done,” Grainger said.
“If you see someone who’s been successful and came from the same background as you did, that tells you it can be done.”
Stephens College of Business Advisory Board Chair
Mr. James Newman Charlotte, NC Larry Adams Cincinnati, Ohio
Mike Grainger Franklin, Tenn.
Mike Caputo Birmingham, Ala.
Tim Lupinacci Birmingham, Ala.
Kelly Cornelius Miramar Beach, Fla.
Stephen McDaniel Odessa, Fla.
Ray Driver Jacksonville, Fla.
Karl Moor Mountain Brook, Ala.
Gary Ellis Gulf Shores, Ala.
David Pickett Nashville, Tenn.
Jason Epstein Birmingham, Ala.
Otis Stewart Birmingham, Ala.
The Stephens College is proud to be among the top 5% of business schools worldwide with AACSB accreditation. Established in 1916, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the most internationally recognized, specialized designation for business programs. AACSBaccredited schools must meet rigorous, relevant and carefully reviewed standards of quality with top faculty and impactful research. AACSB accreditation proves to produce higher caliber, better educated business graduates who are more desirable to prospective employers. The AASCB stamp is recognized globally by top employers and other universities.
A New Direction
Stephens College of Business telling its story, growing its enrollment
When Dean Stephen Craft took the helm of Stephens College of Business in January 2010, he found a talented, engaged and student-focused faculty. The school’s accreditation from AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) meant that the professors were holding themselves to the world’s highest standards of credentials and scholarship. The dean also found a declining enrollment, one that had fallen over a decade from over 400 down to 254. “What you didn’t have,” he said, “was anyone shouting from the rooftop about what was going on there. You didn’t have anyone who was engaged in a significant way in recruiting students. You had undergraduates completing a degree without any specific plans for what their next step would be after graduation. You had a brand new MBA program that had been approved by the state that had attracted about a dozen students, but not much else had been done to promote it.” One of Craft’s first priorities was to stem the decline in students. A wide-ranging strategic planning effort was undertaken collecting input from a wide variety of stakeholders. “We had functioned in a vacuum too long” Craft says. “We are part of a dynamic University with colleagues from many disciplines and experiences. We needed to bring those voices into our planning process.” An outcome of this strategic planning has been a renewed focus on the student experience. The physical surrounding where faculty work and students learn is important – both technology and physical plant. The college has invested heavily in enhanced technology by overlaying a wired network on the wireless network to support a growing group of users and upgrading computers in classrooms, labs and offices. The college has replaced floors and carpeting, upgraded signage, built out new spaces and begun replacing furniture. “All of these things may seem cosmetic and unimportant, but they are a big driver in the kind of experience that a student has and how faculty feel about being on campus,” Craft says. “And it’s a big driver when we bring prospective students to campus.” In addition, the school started building an enrollment engine, acquiring lists of prospective students, working with high
school guidance counselors, updating materials and using Facebook, advertising and other media to reach a wider audience. These efforts are paying off. Total enrollment is now 329, compared to 254 when Craft arrived. The freshman class has grown by 38 percent since 2010. The MBA program has 48 students, compared to 12 three years ago, and is the fastest growing MBA program in the state. “The biggest issue from the undergraduate students’ standpoint was that there was not an end game, in terms of what’s going to happen to me if I come here, study for four years and graduate,”
we have great faculty. The difference is our students are going to be taught by our faculty and not graduate assistants. The experience studying business at the Stephens College is markedly superior to that of many other institutions.” When students graduate, he says, they’re going to have a resume´ that’s been vetted multiple times. They’re going to have been through mock interview experiences. The school will audit his or her social network postings to examine how an employer would see them. They’re going to have learned to comport themselves at a business meeting or lunch. And they might have had an internship. Despite all the progress, Craft still is not happy with the level of enrollment. “We’ve not yet gotten to where I would like to see us in the number of transfer students from two-year colleges and other universities,” he says. “There is an opportunity for cooperative and degree completion programs with two-year schools. There is the possibility of an MBA cohort at a different location. And we are partnering with our fellow UM colleges to design interdisciplinary programs in areas such as arts administration.” This summer, the school will offer its entire MBA prerequisite through distance learning. “After being a sleepy, not externally focused college for a long time, we have stepped into the community as an economic engine in Shelby County. We’re focused on growth, focused on enrollment, updating curriculum, updating courses. It’s a very exciting place to be right now. There’s a lot of energy. With an outstanding faculty and students, a supportive board of advisors, a new focus on growth and a lot of energy, it is no longer business as usual for Stephens. “Employers love our graduates and come back to the Stephens College for the next hire. We placed accounting students with multiple ‘big four’ firms for two years running, we have filled MBA classes for a full academic year, we received financial support from the professional investment community to support a new finance lab, and our focus on quality academic programs has never been stronger. The Stephens College has demonstrated that being small is no excuse. Both with the undergraduate program and the MBA, we keep competing above our weight class, and we keep winning” Craft says.
When students graduate, ...they’re going to have a resume’ that’s been vetted multiple times. They’re going to have mock interview experiences. The school examines their social network postings to advise them on how an employer would see them. They’re going to have learned to comport themselves. And they might have had an internship. Craft says. Now there is an end game. To address the “what’s next” question, Craft sought and received external support for the Stephens College Center for Professional Practice. The Center, directed by Dr. Bill Hamer, provides experiences that prepare students for the practical world of business. Hamer serves as Executive in Residence with the Stephens College. Another effort to improve the student experience is benchmarking. “We benchmark all students against measurements nationally. Not only do we know we’re providing world-class teaching, but we know we’re putting out good students because we measure their outcomes against national norms,” the dean says. Craft stresses the need to highlight our strategic advantages for students in the classroom. Stephens College’s principal competitors for students are other state institutions. “Someone taking a course in accounting at one of our sister state institutions may be in a class of 175 to 600 students.,” Craft says. “Our average class size is 21 students. They have great faculty,
Lecture Series provides real-world view of business life The Stephens College of Business has begun a lecture series designed to give students insight into smart business practices and inspiration for career possibilities. The first two speakers addressed students in the Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 terms. They were: Robert L. Beeman II HR Compliance Officer Protective Life Corporation Graduating summa cum laude from East Carolina University, Robert Beeman was not only the valedictorian but also the captain of the football team and a three-time letter recipient. In 1991, Beeman was the Texasgulf Male Scholar Athlete of the Year and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternityâ€™s Collegiate Man of the Year. Immediately after graduation, Beeman
pursued a law degree from Harvard University, where he was the editor of the BlackLetter Law Review and graduated in 1994. After law school, Beeman served as a clerk for Judge Ira DeMent and later as an associate attorney at Lehr Middlebrooks. Currently, Beeman is a senior attorney for Protective Life Corporation, a youth minister at Woodland Park Church of Christ, a law professor at the Birmingham School of Law, and a volunteer football coach at Gresham Middle School. His talk with Stephens College of Business students focused on persistence, patience and planning. Ellen B. Williams Human Resources Director The Birmingham News Ellen Williams joined The Birmingham News in 2004 as human resources director
after working at Protective Life Insurance Company for 15 years in management and executive capacities. Before Protective, she worked in the HMO business, serving as executive director of Maxicare, and earlier served with Health America. Williams began her career as an ICU nurse, working at a variety of hospitals in the Southeast. She has a BSN degree from Vanderbilt University and her MBA from the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, where she received the William Michael Shermet award for academic excellence and classroom leadership. She also has her SPHR (Senior Professional Human Resources) certification. In her remarks to students, Williams talked about the challenges facing the media business, about being willing to change directions in a career and about the need for constant learning and growth.
Robert L. Beeman II, of Protective Life Corporation
Ellen B. Williams of The Birmingham News
Dr. Bill Hamer addresses the students and introduces our speakers.
That post might affect your job prospects Business major’s research report examines employers’ use of social media in making hiring decisions
By HUNTER GEORGE Before you put that Facebook update online, Kathleen Bailey wants you to remember: “They’re out there looking at you.” Employers are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media websites to screen potential employees and, in some cases, to keep an eye on current employees. Bailey, a senior majoring in business management, conducted a survey of students, faculty and staff at the University of Montevallo as part of the McNair Scholars Program. Her findings were presented last June in a research report. With 65 percent of American adults using social media, employers and recruiters are using these sites as a tool for background screenings related to hiring and employment decisions, a practice known among human resources professionals as “social recruiting,” Bailey reported. Employers are looking to see whether applicants present themselves professionally, are well-rounded and potentially a good fit for the organization. They are screening for inappropriate dress, drinking, illegal drugs, poor communication skills and bad-mouthing previous employers, among other things. To research her subject, Bailey devised an online survey of 54 questions and sent it to students, faculty and staff. She received 169 completed surveys. The study showed that 65.8% of overall respondents use Facebook daily, with students being the majority at 77.6%. Most respondents, Bailey reported, believe that their online postings could have a negative as well as a positive effect on their professional reputation. “Individuals know what is appropriate and what isn’t, for the most part… Several respondents voiced concern with the employer’s ability to see protected information that is not allowed or recommended on applications and in interviews, such as age, marital status, kids and race.”
Bailey is more familiar with the workplace than most students, having worked as a secretary, inventory control clerk, janitor, forklift driver, shipping and receiving clerk, assembly production worker, cashier, retail salesperson, administrative assistant, operations manager and office assistant. She was attracted to this research project because of her interest in human resources. Her mentor, Dr. Tom Sanders, was impressed with Bailey’s work. “This is a very timely topic, as state level legislation has been passed to control this practice to a degree in two states, and at least two pieces of federal legislation are pending in Congress to regulate these practices. Kathleen’s study will make a contribution to the literature, as it shows that people are becoming more knowledgeable about these practices when they apply for jobs and that they understand that what is on their social media sites can be beneficial or detrimental in being hired for a job and in retaining a job. Kathleen has much more data than was presented in her McNair presentation (because of time and length constraints) and will be working on getting this into a longer version of her paper to present at a scholarly research conference and hopefully publish in a journal. She did an excellent job on this research.” Bailey says students, job applicants and employees should not delude themselves into thinking their online posts are private. “The Internet is here to stay, and employers are going to make checking out potential and current employees as easy and money-saving as possible. Be aware of what is happening with new and existing technology, and protect yourself.”
Kathleen Bailey has these suggestions for protecting yourself on facebook: • Think before you type • Regularly check your exposure • Protect basic information (race, gender, age, etc.) • Know what you can protect and how to protect it • Unpublic your Facebook wall • Turn off “Tag Suggest” • Block applications and sites that snoop • Keep wall posts from friends • When all else fails, deactivate
Findings from Kathleen Baileyâ€™s research among UM students, faculty and staff What are Hiring Managers Looking for, and What Have They Found?
Why do you use social media sites to screen job candidates? To see if they present themselves professionally To see if they are a good fit for the company culture To learn more about their qualifications To see if they are well-rounded
65% 51% 45% 35%
Is social media hurting candidates? Provocative/inappropriate photos Drinking/illegal drugs Poor communication skills Bad-mouthed former employer Discriminatory comments to race, gender, religion Lied about qualifications
49% 45% 35% 33% 28% 22%
Things employers viewed that led them to hire a candidate Good feel for candidateâ€™s personality 58% Conveyed a professional image 55% Background information supported qualifications 54% Well-rounded, showed wide range of interests 51% Great communication skills 49% Creativity 44% People posted great references about candidate 34%
How often do you use/visit Facebook?
Never Once a month Few times a month Once a week Few times a week Daily
5.6% 0.9% 2.8% 1.9% 11.2% 77.6%
9.5% 7.1% 9.5% 4.8% 16.7% 52.4%
Do you believe that your online postings could have a negative effect on your professional reputation?
Yes No Not Sure
75.5% 17.9% 6.6%
69% 21.4% 9.5%
Do you believe that your online posting could have a positive effect on your professional reputation?
Yes No Not Sure
72.9% 7.5% 19.6%
58.5% 24.4% 17.1%
Staff 11.5% 0% 1.9% 16.7% 17.3% 67.3%
Staff 82.7% 13.5% 3.8%
Staff 72.5% 11.8% 15.7%
Why I went back to school for an MBA
By KAREN WILLINGHAM
My decision to earn a master’s in business was in response to my rather recent entry into the work force. After years of being a stay-at-home mom with a parttime job, my husband’s once-secure job forecast clouded over with the layoffs of many of his co-workers. This led to our mutual decision that our family would be better served with two wage earners rather than just one. Although I worked part-time as a computer software instructor and occasional consultant, I didn’t have the experience I needed to land the type of jobs that interested me. My years at home, while not regretted, meant that I entered the most difficult job market in recent history with the twin disadvantages of advanced age and lack of proof that my skills were strong. So what made me think that an MBA program was the right approach for me to take to meet these challenges? I saw earning UM’s MBA as a means of both improving my skill set and proving that my skills were current and strong. I found that in today’s environment of high unemployment, it was important to set myself apart. Add to this the facts that the University of
Montevallo’s program was accredited and easily accessible to my home, and you have my perfect solution for finding a way to stand out as someone who hopes to move up within my current company. Being one of the oldest to do something is usually not a great position to be in, however, beginning my first semester of the UM MBA program that is the position in which I found myself. Starting in the fall of 2010, I began with the first group of UM students to go through the program. Most of my classmates were recent graduates. Having not been a student for more years than I care to say, I looked around at my classmates and realized that they were the same age as my children. As I progressed through more classes and the enrollment grew, there was more variation in the age of the students. It didn’t take long to see that the diversity in age only added to the educational experience for both me and my fellow classmates. Age diversity added nuance to discussions of business policy. Professors taught in such a way that students were able to value the various perspectives different life and business experiences had given. I approached my first semester of classes with doubts about my ability to reenter the classroom. By the end of the program, I learned that even though I was old and slow, I could still learn because of the professors’
ability to connect business experience with theory. Instructional formats were a mixture of project-based learning, classroom discussions and research. Topics were always directly related to the current business climate. I can’t say enough about the quality of the instruction I received at the University of Montevallo. It has broadened my view of the world. Making the decision to enter the University of Montevallo’s MBA program was daunting. As a middle-aged (yes, it hurt to say that) woman who had been out of the classroom for 25 years, my fears ranged from being older than everyone in my class to embarrassing myself by not remembering economic theory. Instead, I found myself confidently growing through my classroom experiences, broadening my views of the business world and refreshing my approach to a career. Many my age have worked for years and are really tired. Everything seems to be just another monotonous day at the office. For me, everything is exciting and a challenge. I truly enjoy my current position. Every day (or almost every day) I thank God that I have the opportunity to work in an environment that I enjoy with people who really care about what they can contribute. The addition of an MBA has helped me equip myself for the next step in my career journey, and I am confident that I am well prepared.
New accounting internships give students valuable experience Five seniors in the Stephens College of Business inaugurated a new internship program designed to give students on-the-job experience and knowledge of today’s workplace requirements. The Senior Accounting Internship Program was administered by the Center for Professional Practice. The students, with GPAs exceeding 3.0, were interviewed for accounting jobs by firms participating in the program. They worked a minimum of 120 hours between Jan. 2 and March 15. The jobs paid between $17 and $25 an hour and the students received course credit. “It’s experience,” said Dr. Bill Hamer, executive in residence who leads the Center for Professional Practice. “Any experience we can add to these young people’s portfolios before they graduate will help them get fulltime jobs.” Each student sent weekly reports of duties performed, kept a daily journal, read and summarized academic accounting articles and submitted a final paper, according to Dr. Tara N. Sudderth, academic sponsor for the program. Upon completion of the internships, the students returned to classes March 15-May 7 and “performed in their usual excellent manner,” Sudderth said. All five seniors received fulltime job offers after graduation, Hamer said, with salaries averaging $46,500. Other students received internships as well, but the Senior Accounting Internship Program is the “cornerstone” for the practical experience the school wants to provide, Hamer said. “We’re setting the table.”
The students and their internship firms were: • Aaron C. Ebert, Warren Averett Kimbrough & Marino • Noah C. Evans, PricewaterhouseCoopers • Olga O. Pikrun, Dixon Hughes Goodman • Dustin M. Schaefer, Carr Riggs & Ingram • Joshua Skelton, Carr Riggs & Ingram In the fall, eight students were eligible to interview for accounting internships that begin in January. Hamer says the college will have at least 10 internships overall for students in accounting, finance, marketing and management.
Wheeler: a UM champion for Chilton When University of Montevallo alumnus David W. Wheeler decided to endow a scholarship at his alma mater, he set two requirements for recipients. The first was that the winner must be from his native Chilton County, Ala. The other stipulated that the scholarship be awarded to a business student. Why did he set these conditions? “I grew up there. I decided I’d fund a scholarship for someone from there majoring in a business discipline,” Wheeler said. Wheeler’s $25,000 gift created the David W. and Diane R. Wheeler Scholarship, which is now in its third year. The 1972 Montevallo graduate, who also is a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, said he doesn’t think there are many scholarships that are specific to a major and where an applicant is from. “It seemed like a unique thing to do,” Wheeler said. Wheeler and his wife Diane live in Vestavia Hills, but his Chilton County roots remain close to his heart. He grew up in Mineral Springs, a small community in the northeast portion of Chilton County. Like other teenagers at the time, he picked peaches in the county’s famous orchards, for 50 cents an hour. At Jemison High School he excelled in science and math, and after graduation, entered
the University of Montevallo as a pre-engineering major. Wheeler smiled when he told of changing his major to accounting after taking a calculus class. Years later, he ran into his calculus professor. “I said, ‘You probably don’t remember me, but you turned me from engineering to accounting,’” Wheeler recalled. “‘Was I that bad?’ the professor asked. I said, ‘No, I was.’” The switch to accounting proved the right choice. After earning his business degree, he worked with Alabama Power Co. for 29 years. He spent the first half of his career as an accountant, then moved to the company’s governmental affairs department. That job included a stint in Washington, where Wheeler was Alabama Power’s director of federal legislative and regulatory affairs — a liaison to the state’s congressional delegation. Back in Birmingham, he was the company’s director of accounting, finance and regulatory affairs and liaison to the state Public Service Commission. Wheeler was appointed to the university’s Board of Trustees by former Gov. Bob Riley. He’s four years into a 12-year term and serves as chairman of the board’s Personnel Committee, vice-chairman of the Academic Affairs Committee and a member of the Trustee Committee.
He’s proud of the university and calls it “one of the best kept secrets in America,” noting a low student-to-professor ratio, affordable tuition, room and board and a faculty where 95 percent of the professors have a doctorate or other terminal degree. “You are getting a private school education for a public school price,” Wheeler said. He lauds the efforts of university President John Stewart III and the college’s new partnership with Shelby County and the City of Montevallo. The county will launch a set of capital improvements in the City of Montevallo, such as a promenade along North Boundary Street that will link the university with downtown Montevallo. County officials have said the projects will benefit the school and the larger community. Wheeler, now retired, remains active in the Republican Party, where he sits on the party’s state and Jefferson County executive committees. He enjoys hunting, fishing and tournament poker and was an avid golfer until he had knee surgery. He said he hopes the students who win his namesake scholarship will, in the future, appreciate the importance of giving back to the university and their community. “Not only with money, but with their talents and resources,” Wheeler said.
Brian short, senior accounting major and 2-time recipient of the Wheeler scholarship, will graduate in May with highest honors and a job already landed with the firm at which he interned.
Congratulations to our alumna DeAnna McCarley Smith has served as Vice President for Business Affairs and Treasurer at the University of Montevallo since July 2009. Previously, she served as UM’s Director of Budget and Assistant Treasurer. DeAnna earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from UM in 1999. She graduated summa cum laude and with superior academic achievement, having the highest cumulative grade point average of College of Business graduates in May 1999. She also received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and the Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants Accounting Achievement Award. After graduation, DeAnna began her career with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the auditing & assurance area. Only months into her professional career and while working full-time, she was able to achieve the credential of Certified Public Accountant as a result of passing all parts of the uniform examination in one attempt.
DeAnna M. Smith Vice President for Business Affairs
In 2003, DeAnna joined Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama (BCBSAL) as an advanced internal auditor and within one year was promoted to senior internal auditor. DeAnna then returned to a former client, Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. in 2005 as the corporate accounting manager. Within two years, she was given the title assistant controller. In 2008, DeAnna returned to her alma mater as the University’s director of budget and assistant treasurer. After one year, she was appointed to the role of vice president. DeAnna is affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Alabama Society of Public Accountants, Birmingham Young CPAs, the Institute of Internal Auditors, The National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers (SACUBO).
on being named one of the birmingham business journal’s
Top 40 Under 40.
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