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dividends T H E M A G A Z I N E O F T H E M I S S I S S I P P I S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y C O L L E G E O F B U S I N E S S • 2 0 1 4


college of business welcome

What an exciting time in the life of the College of Business at Mississippi State University! As I look back on the past year, I am reminded of all the outstanding accomplishments and milestones we have celebrated, and we’re just getting started! Last fall, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Business Information Systems program. Founded in 1963 by Dr. Charles Moore, MSU’s BIS program is considered to be the first information systems program in an accredited college of business. This fall, we celebrate another golden anniversary, as our DBA/PhD program turns 50 as well. We plan to commemorate this milestone with a dinner and reception at the Hunter Henry Center on March 21, 2015.

Our graduate programs had a successful year, as both our on-campus and online MBA programs were ranked among the Top 100 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, marking the first time in the history of MSU that the on-campus MBA received a national ranking. Furthermore, U.S. News & World Report ranked our online MBA program #16 among the Best Online Graduate Business Programs for Veterans. Our graduate programs in accountancy had reason to boast as well. All May 2014 graduates, earning their Master of Professional Accountancy and Master of Taxation degrees, accepted job offers prior to graduation. You can’t do much better than 100 percent placement! Placement rates are also something we can brag about for our undergraduate programs. Both the International Business program and the PGA Golf Management program always boast near perfect placement upon graduation. In August, the College of Business celebrated yet another milestone – the MSU Entrepreneurship Center was officially moved to the College of Business. This move reinforces one of the strategic focuses of the College – Entrepreneurship and Family Business. With its official place in the College of Business, the Entrepreneurship Center will continue its mission to support student/faculty start-ups, grow its physical presence in the center of campus and open new doors to opportunities for further joint collaboration across campus. Because of this, we will soon begin renovation of a large, under-utilized space on the first floor of McCool Hall, which will become the new home of the MSU Entrepreneurship Center, scheduled to open no later than fall 2015. Last but certainly not least, we are gearing up to commemorate the biggest milestone of all – the 100th Anniversary of the College of Business at MSU. Founded on October 15, 1915, it is the oldest college of business in the state and one of the oldest in the South. Our yearlong celebration will begin in January 2015, and centennial events and feature stories will revolve around our new tagline – “We Mean Business.” We want to celebrate our past as we embrace the future. Students, alumni, faculty and friends of the College are a large part of our rich history of success, innovation and educational leadership – and we need your assistance in telling our 100 year old story. Please send us your stories and/or photographs at business@msstate.edu. We plan to feature your stories – as well as photos – in the Centennial Edition of Dividends next year. We want each of you to be a part of this historic event. For more information about our centennial celebration, see our feature story on page 50. The focus of this year’s edition of Dividends is leadership. In this issue, we highlight some of our exceptional alumni, students and faculty who have made a positive impact in the classroom, in the community and in the business world. The College of Business has been committed to educating tomorrow’s leaders while promoting economic development throughout the state and nation through research and outreach for 100 years. As we celebrate our rich history, we also look forward to the next 100 years of the College of Business. Thank you for all you do to help make the College of Business at Mississippi State University great. I hope by reading Dividends that it’s as clear to you as it is to me – “We Mean Business.”

Sharon L. Oswald, Dean


Executive Advisory Board David P. Abney Boyce Adams, Sr. Richard C. Adkerson

contents Dividends is a publication of the College of Business at Mississippi State University | 2014

Drew Allen Marsha Blackburn Charles P. Boyd Stanley L. Bulger Mary Childs

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William Anthony Clark James A. Coggin

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A 24/7 Job

Three recent business majors have relished the challenging role of student body president at MSU.

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Entrepreneurship: It Starts Here

A large, modern “E-Center” will be the next advancement in the entrepreneurship ecosystem that has been building on campus for more than a decade.

10 An Open Book

Cynthia Cooper

Alan Crockett

Author John Grisham talks candidly about his career and his MSU experience.

14 Helping Find New Paths

Thomas Darnell

Larry Favreau

Krystle Dixon takes joy in helping accounting students achieve their goals.

Haley Fisackerly

18 Priceless Knowledge

Linda M. Garrett

H. Devon Graham, Jr. Jan L. Gwin John M. Hairston Paul J. Karre

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C.R. Montgomery Roderick A. Moore Carl L. Nicholson, Jr.

The respected former Director of the School of Accountancy blazed many trails.

24 Family Pride

Don Mason Mickey Milligan

George Bryan reflects on his career and his passion for giving back.

28 Making the Most of Opportunity

Clyde Manning Lee Miller

20 Dora Herring: A Career of Firsts

Lewis F. Mallory, Jr.

Banking and economics students travel to the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

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The College of Business gets a visit from the Barefoot Wine entrepreneurs.

30 Slow and Steady Wins the Race

UPS CEO David Abney shares how commitment and perseverance can pay off.

34 Partners for Life

Emily and Michael Ferril discovered a shared interest in business – and each other – at MSU.

38 Respect, Service, Performance

Debrah Oberkirch

Shirley Olson Richard Puckett, Sr.

Jim Coggin reveals the values and approach that made Saks Incorporated a multi-billion dollar international enterprise.

42 A Life on the Line

R.L. Qualls

Joe G. Rice, Jr. Pat S. Robertson

Student and volunteer firefighter James Ray helped save a Starkville woman’s life.

44 Building for the Next 100 Years

Ken B. Robinson James J. Rouse

Director of Development Rob Jenkins reveals how your help will impact the College’s future as it nears a major milestone.

46 We Mean Business.

Robert A. Sheely

William A. Taylor, III

Celebrate the College of Business Centennial with us in 2015.

48 Expanded Knowledge, Expanded Horizons

Cyndi A. Tucker

Jimmy L. Walden Loretta Walker

Alumnus Tommy Henry puts his Ph.D. in applied economics to work for the FDA.

50 Does Personal Mischief Predict Bad Corporate Leaders?

Dividends is published by Tellōs, LLC. www.telloscreative.com

COVER: MSU’s most recent Student Association Presidents, all from the College of Business. Article, p.2

Finance faculty member Brandon Cline examines the impact of managerial indiscretions.

53 News Briefs


MICHAEL HOG AN

S HELB Y B A LIU S

BRETT HARRIS


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dvocate. Spokesperson. Promoter. Liaison. Manager. Full-time student. The leader of Mississippi State’s student body fills all these roles and more, often simultaneously.

The President of the MSU Student Association manages a Cabinet of about 40 fellow students, a Senate of about 35 and an Executive Council of about 10. This group coordinates events and services ranging from Homecoming and Bulldog Bash to peer tutoring and community enhancement. It also pursues initiatives with the administration to improve day to day student life and academics. At the same time, the President is the voice of fellow students. He or she communicates their views, needs and values at many levels – with campus administration, alumni, state officials, other universities, even in Washington, D.C.

“Afterward I asked, ‘Can I go there even if I don’t get the scholarship?’” she says. “It was love at first sight for me.” Balius was encouraged by SA Cabinet member Brooke Harris, older sister of Brett, to connect through the Student Association. She joined a committee in her freshman year, served on the Cabinet as a sophomore and as a junior was appointed Chief Administrative Officer on the Executive Council.

“My biggest motivator was to give back to MSU the best way I knew, which was to serve other students,” says Balius, who double majored in finance and management. “Running for President was a natural extension.” Memphis native Michael Hogan came to a football game in Starkville during his senior year of high school. That was enough to bring him back for a spring orientation. He attended similar events at other universities, but “MSU was absolutely the best.” “I was heavily involved on campus, as an orientation leader, a Roadrunner, fraternity member, member of the Interfraternity Council Executive Board and Career Center Ambassador,” Hogan says. “I loved the 360-degree view of campus I got from that.” This made it an easy decision to get involved in Student Association when Balius, who worked with Hogan in the MSU Career Center, asked him to join her presidential campaign. Once elected, she appointed him to her Cabinet as Chief Programming Officer. Current President Brett Harris grew up in Florence, MS, as a Southern Miss fan, the son of two alumni. It was when sister Brooke received a Presidential Scholarship to MSU that things changed. “I used to visit her a lot, and through that I knew Mississippi State was where I needed to be,” he says. “Our parents now have season tickets and are honorary Bulldogs!” Harris, a marketing and management double major, first joined the SA as a member of the Freshman Council. He later served as Chief Programming Officer and as Co-director of Late Night Events, including a Glow Run that raised some $12,000 for the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson. Harris knew being President would enable him to pursue some specific goals to enhance the student experience. “Starting this semester, students can donate one meal from their meal plan to help other students who need financial assistance,” says Harris.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Balius grew up in Cumming, GA. Her father is a 1983 MSU College of Business alumnus who encouraged her to apply to Mississippi State. She did and was invited to campus for a scholarship interview.

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For three consecutive years, these campus-wide leaders have come from the College of Business. Those Student Association (SA) Presidents are Shelby Balius, 2012-13; Michael Hogan, 2013-14, and Brett Harris, current President.

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Over $12,000 was raised for the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in 2013 by the “On Your Mark, Get Set, Glow 5K Run,” under the leadership of President Shelby Balius (second from right) and Late Night Events Co-director Brett Harris (left).

He also notes that this season, for the first time, students are able to buy football tickets online rather than having to line up at the ticket office. Other initiatives in the works include a free shuttle to take students home from any Starkville location, particularly at night, and the shifting of all teacher evaluations to an online format. These leaders’ influence can have lasting effect. During Balius’ campaign, many students told her they needed more study resources, and she remembered that when appointed to a planning committee for the classroom building now under construction at Perry Street and Barr Avenue. “I pushed for more study space, more ‘huddle rooms’ for group projects and more space to hang out between classes,” she says. The new building will have those features, along with classroom and auditorium space. For Hogan, a management major, the connection between the SA and the student body was a top priority. “I wanted people to see the Student Association as inclusive and approachable – that the guy joking with them in class could be the same guy sitting on stage next to the MSU President at an event,” he remarks. “I wanted to open doors and encourage students who might not have considered participating to be involved with student government. It gave us a well-rounded atmosphere.” Communicating with alumni is another key part of the job. SA Presidents take part in Alumni Association and MSU Foundation events like awards ceremonies, board meetings, alumni chapter celebrations and student sendoff parties. “Building relationships with alumni was my second favorite thing, after representing students,” says Hogan. “I enjoyed talking with them about how Mississippi State is helping students and how students perceive the alumni.” “I was able to share how their support makes Mississippi State the same great experience that they remember for students now,” adds Balius. “And it was great to learn how their experiences at MSU put them on the road to where they are currently.” The three estimate that the role requires at least 40 hours a week – on top of carrying a full courseload. “But it’s really a 24-7 job,” comments Hogan. “Your mind is never at rest – you’re always thinking about Mississippi State.” “There were many nights of little sleep,” Balius adds, “but it was too worth the fun and excitement not to do it.” She points to Bulldog Bash, the SA’s annual free concert event, which in 2012 had borne unexpected challenges as it was planned. When the night finally came, she was gratified to see the organizers laughing and having fun as the Eli Young Band played. “When you see the people who did the hard work enjoying themselves, then look out and see a crowd of thousands having a good time, it’s worth it,” she says. “I enjoy knowing that I’m representing my fellow students,” shares Harris. “They may not be aware of everything I’m doing, but at the end of the day, they’re going to have a better experience because of what’s been accomplished.” The three agree that the College of Business played a role in their leadership development. “The influence of my professors encouraged me and made me believe I could do this,” says Balius. “I was struck by [Management Professor] Allison Pearson’s ability to lead the class and guide the discussion in a way that got us excited about the subject. She was also a great person to bounce ideas off of.

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“[Finance & Economics Department Head] Mike Highfield encouraged me to take every advantage of opportunities like running for SA President while still taking care of business in the classroom. He helped connect me with people in the finance industry.” Hogan, who was newer to the Student Association than some of those he led, says his management classes helped to even the scales by providing tools and insights for overseeing the group. “When Brett was elected, I advised him to sincerely listen in the management seminar on socially responsible leadership,” Hogan relates. “I told him it applies not just in our future careers but right now, as we manage our peers.” Harris found it to be sound advice and notes, “The College of Business plays a huge role in my day to day life as President. Most of my classes have helped me, whether it’s in getting in front of people and speaking or in managing and working with people.

Their leadership roles have provided opportunities and life lessons. Memorable for Brett Harris was Condoleezza Rice’s 2013 campus visit. It preceded his presidency, but his SA work put him among a few campus leaders who met with her in a small group setting. “She’s an amazing lady,” he says. “She picked one area of interest she really wanted to study, and she became Secretary of State because of the course she set for herself.” In Omaha for the 2013 College World Series, while talking with university President Dr. Mark Keenum, baseball fan Hogan recalls feeling somewhat awed when MSU standout first baseman Wes Rea walked by. “Dr. Keenum started laughing and said, ‘You represent him, too – go talk to him!’”

“There are so many experiences as Student Association President, like communicating with members of the IHL [State Institutions of Higher Learning] board or speaking to thousands of people, that will help me in my career,” observes Harris. After graduation, he hopes to go into marketing at a company such as Disney or Coca-Cola and to build a career up through the ranks there. Through COB group assignments and SA projects, Balius learned to work in a team environment, identifying individuals’ strengths and weaknesses and operating within those parameters to achieve the best results. She is now a Management Consultant for Accenture in its financial services practice in the Washington, D.C., area. “I can see myself staying in consulting, focusing on the human capital within an organization and helping companies truly make an investment in the people they’re hiring, to get the best results,” she says, adding that she plans to pursue an MBA. Hogan’s first job after graduation was recruiting new students for Mississippi State as the MSU Admissions Counselor for the Houston, TX, area. He recently moved to Inceed, a staffing company for technology, finance and accounting. As a Corporate Recruiter, Hogan finds potential job candidates for numerous industries in and around Houston. “Being SA President prepared me to communicate with all styles and types of personalities,” he remarks. “With my new position, I am recruiting candidates from unfamiliar backgrounds, and my past experience assists in relating to those people.” Hogan still promotes his alma mater on a volunteer basis. “I stay connected to campus through the Houston Alumni Chapter – the ‘Houdawgs’!” he says. “I plan on continuing recruitment efforts in Houston and look forward to staying involved with these awesome alumni.” Whatever the future holds, each of these young people will represent Mississippi State well. Their personal gifts, backed by their MSU education and leadership experience, will see to that.

SA President Michael Hogan spoke at the opening of MSU’s Chadwick Lake Walking Trail in October 2013.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

These experiences, combined with an MSU business education, are a tremendous present and future influence on their careers.

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Through that interaction and many others, Hogan realized, “Every single person has basic needs and wants, and every single person wants to connect with other people. The people we look at as ‘figures’ have those same needs. I got comfortable conversing with people who are ‘big deals.’”

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“I use what I’ve learned in marketing classes when promoting events for SA. Dr. Melissa Moore especially has a been a real influence and help.”

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Rendering by Lyndsey Miller, Assistant Professor, MSU Interior Design Program


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By Emily Daniels

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First to lead and nurture the fledgling entrepreneurship program was MSU alumnus Gerald Nelson. Nelson’s diverse background included executive management roles in technology-based start-ups and established companies, with responsibility for global sales and marketing of $1.2 billion in revenue for one company just two years after its founding. Added to that was a genuine love and enthusiasm for student entrepreneurship. With the right resources and leadership in place, all the ingredients were there to build an “ecosystem” that would support an on-campus entrepreneurship program.

“We established the program from ground zero with the goal to encourage business start-up and entrepreneurialism on campus,” says Nelson. “In our first year we had 30 students involved, and we have now grown to more than 100.” The rapid growth of the Jack Hatcher Entrepreneurship Program led university administrators to seek additional funding for small business start-ups. In 2005, the Thad Cochran Endowment for Entrepreneurship (TCEE) was established to provide support for these newly created companies, and it was led by Nelson as well. The mission of the endowment intertwined perfectly with the academic aspects of the Hatcher Entrepreneurship Program, through which students could earn a certificate in entrepreneurship. In 2009, the first permanent home for the MSU Entrepreneurship Center was created in McCool Hall – forging a permanent relationship with the College of Business. As the program grew and evolved, the College of Business became an ever-bigger player in the process. Nelson saw a need to provide business services to students who required help with everything from talking with a CPA to developing marketing strategies and learning how to pitch their ideas to potential investors. Courses on accounting, marketing and economics were offered to students across campus who were pursuing entrepreneurial interests. MBA student research teams began to provide critical market research and customer validation support to these ventures. At the same time, the MSU Small Business Development Center was being revamped and reinvigorated by Director Debbie Scott, and it began playing an active role in promoting entrepreneurship. COB Dean Sharon Oswald gave Scott a satellite office in McCool to meet and advise students on developing strong business plans. Scott has also maintained

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

In 2002, A.P. “Jack” Hatcher, a 1949 civil engineering graduate, and his wife, Nell, gave $1.5 million to establish the Jack Hatcher Chair for Engineering Entrepreneurship. Their generosity was the spark for a cultural shift toward entrepreneurship on campus.

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he distance between a great business idea and actually starting a great business can seem as far as the distance from the Hump’s student parking lot to the Drill Field. Yet each year dozens of student entrepreneurs at Mississippi State University attempt to bring their business ideas to life.

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Entrepreneurship: It Starts Here

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a presence in MSU’s business incubator in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park, where she dispenses tough love and encouragement to incubator tenants and other businesses. “Each year, more students take advantage of the free business counseling services we provide, ranging from assistance with business plans to understanding their tax responsibilities and providing access to market and industry research materials,” says Scott. “We provide these free services not only to the growing number of MSU entrepreneurs, but also to the general business community.” Another resource that has emerged over the years is the Entrepreneurship Club (eClub), a student-led organization where current and aspiring entrepreneurs could connect to share ideas and collaborate on new ventures. An advisory board composed of College of Business faculty and regional area entrepreneurs meets regularly with the club to provide feedback and support. When Oswald came on board as Dean in 2012, she collocated the College’s Office of Outreach and Corporate Engagement with the Entrepreneurship Center, with the idea that integrating student entrepreneurs with the vast network of successful MSU business alumni would enhance their chances for success.

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The move has paid off in a big way. When former Sara Lee Corporation Senior Vice President and COB graduate George Bryan spoke to business students last spring, he made a point of meeting with a dozen aspiring entrepreneurs. Not only did these students get to ask questions about his success, but Bryan also turned the tables by interviewing and taking notes on every one of them. He continues to follow up with several, introducing them to influential contacts and friends made during his career. Students had a similar opportunity when Barefoot Wine founders Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey spent a few days visiting the College of Business. Developing what is regarded as one of the best branding campaigns in history, Houlihan and Harvey, who had no experience in the wine business, built the number one wine brand in the world “out of their laundry room.” While their whirlwind visit included dinner at the President’s home, a book signing, lectures and a “meet and greet” with alumni and community leaders, they also took time to meet with student entrepreneurs and evaluate the marketing concepts for their start-ups. “The Barefoot Wine founders gave us great advice on selling and branding ourselves, as well as a lot of insight into HR decisions,” says Keith Kakadia, founder of SociallyIn. “Being able to meet and talk with experienced entrepreneurs has allowed us to learn from their challenges and avoid making unnecessary mistakes.” The proof of the success of the entrepreneurship program can be found not only in the number of successful ventures launched, but also in recurring top placements by MSU students at an annual statewide entrepreneurship competition.

What’s next? Gerald Nelson retired in the spring of 2014, and those involved with the successful program began to consider the question, “What’s next?”

Oswald proposed that the entrepreneurship aspect of the former MSU Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer (OETT) be housed in the College of Business. The move would both align with the College’s strategic initiatives and help consolidate university entrepreneurship efforts. In August 2014, newly named Entrepreneurship Center Managing Director Eric Hill joined the College of Business family. Hill was already a successful serial entrepreneur. His first business, which he established in high school, had been acquired during his sophomore year at MSU. An engineering graduate, he had been working with Nelson in their previous headquarters at the OETT. One of Hill’s major goals was to visit other successful entrepreneurship programs to benchmark and compare them with Mississippi State’s. His visits included stops at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – a longtime mentor and model for MSU, Nelson and the team – as well as Rice University, Texas A&M and the University of Houston. What he found was that, while other programs appeared more developed, MSU’s results were more than competitive. “After speaking with the directors at other universities, it was clear that the quality of our student and faculty start-ups is already on par or well ahead of some of the most highly regarded colleges,” states Hill. “In addition, these conversations have helped forge relationships leading to collaboration between MSU and other university entrepreneurship programs and have helped us identify areas of growth opportunity.”

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While Hill was connecting with other universities, COB Director of Outreach Jeffrey Rupp was sharing the entrepreneurship story with his business contacts throughout the state. Many had graduated from MSU and had a strong interest in this program. More important, they expressed a sincere desire to get heavily involved.

The inviting space will encourage students in business, engineering and other disciplines to drop in and share ideas over a cup of coffee, while surrounded by actual start-ups and successful leaders. Architects have already completed the blueprints, and construction will begin in early 2015. We anticipate a fall 2015 opening for the new E-Center.  As the current trajectory continues, it will position MSU to be one of the top hubs for student entrepreneurship in the South.

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Armed with an understanding of the program’s attributes and potential resources, Hill, Rupp and Oswald brainstormed about its future. Oswald decided it was time to take the entrepreneurship program to the next level. She proposed an ambitious plan to create a new, modern E-Center in McCool Hall where students could not only share ideas and receive assistance, but also where start-ups could actually claim desk space and take up residence. The center, which will almost triple the footprint of the existing on-campus entrepreneurship presence, will boast cutting edge technology in a glass, open floor plan facility featuring shared start-up workspaces, collaboration rooms lined with whiteboard paint and a multimedia conference and broadcast room. In addition to offices for Hill, Rupp and the eClub, it will include an office for an Entrepreneur in Residence, where successful COB alumni will keep office hours. This will give students immediate access to Bulldogs who have “been there and done that.”

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KEY STATS (LAST YEAR): •

80 new student entrepreneurs – up 33%

Involved in 17 new registered businesses – up 89%

$81,000 directly invested in MSU start-ups

NOTABLE MSU START-UPS: •

Camgian Microsystems is a leader in developing advanced information technologies and solutions. From ultra-low power processors to advanced sensing platforms, Camgian engineers are pioneering leading-edge innovations that are enabling a new generation of high performance wireless information technologies and products for the defense, security, industrial and commercial markets. Funded by the TCEE in 2006, it is now a global leader in Internet of Things (IoT) space with revenues in the millions.

SociallyIn, founded by marketing student Keith Kakadia, is a digital marketing agency managing social media for businesses across the state. With eight students on the payroll, the company has graduated from incubator space to a new office in Starkville. Says alumnus Boyce Adams, CEO of BankTEL Systems LLC, “I actually talked with marketing firms from New York and Chicago and felt SociallyIn could do just as good a job, and they were local, which means a lot as far as interaction.”

RodSox™ was created by pros who love fishing and want to spend as much time on the water as possible. RodSox™ has a proprietary unique feature – a snag proof, hook resistant flared end, making loading and unloading of fishing rods quick and easy. Company founder Charles Parker, an MBA student, won a $10,000 first place award in an MSU E-Week competition. He has turned that into 20,000 orders in his first year, including a Toyota order for RodSox™ as a promotional product.

Juva Juice, founded by sports administration student Justin Mitchener with the support of TCEE funds, offers smoothies that are 100 percent real fruit, delivering over two servings of fruit per beverage. The all natural, fat free, lactose free smoothies are enriched with vitamins and minerals and have no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Juva Juice’s first storefront is on Highway 12 in Starkville. It recently opened a second location in MSU’s Sanderson Center in partnership with Aramark and a third location in Tupelo.

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MSU Entrepreneurship Successes

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An Open Book:

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A Candid Conversation with John Grisham

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here have been many outstanding alumni to grace the halls of MSU’s College of Business, but certainly one of the most well known is 1977 accounting graduate and best-selling author John Grisham.

We recently interviewed John Grisham to learn more about the man behind the international fame and success, with topics ranging from his time at Mississippi State to his once hobby turned writing career, sprinkled with just-forfun questions along the way. Following is an excerpt of that dialogue. For the full interview, please visit the College of Business website: www.business.msstate.edu. What made you decide to attend Mississippi State University for your undergraduate degree?

I sort of stumbled into the place. It was my third college in two years. I was drifting, pretty indifferent, not too worried about grades but very excited about the next party. All that changed at State. I grew up overnight and got serious about not only my education but life itself. Before majoring in accounting, were there any other majors that you were also interested in?

No, I was always in business. An upperclassman, a guy I really admired, explained that accounting was the toughest major. I was planning to become a tax lawyer, as was he, and I needed that foundation. Was there anything in particular that you enjoyed most about it? A favorite class, subject, professor, etc.?

Smokin’ Joe Curry taught tax, and he was a ball of fire. He made the course practical and a lot of fun. Truthfully, though, it was hard to enjoy Intermediate Cost and Auditing. Do you ever wish you had chosen a different major? Perhaps English or political science?

Not really. I wish I’d taken the time to read more, especially the classics, and I suppose an English Lit curriculum would have required that. But, no regrets.

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Grisham, the author of best-selling novels such as The Firm and A Time to Kill, has sold more than 275 million books in his 30-year career. But before his name became synonymous with legal thrillers, Grisham was an accounting student in the College of Business. Though he originally intended to practice tax law, he ultimately turned his attention to criminal law. Grisham went on to practice criminal defense and personal litigation law for nearly 10 years. The courtroom was where Grisham’s imagination came to life, inspiring most of his critically acclaimed novels.

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He was born in 1955 in Jonesboro, AR, before his family finally settled in the town of Southaven, MS, just south of Memphis. Young Grisham, like many children, dreamt of one day becoming a professional baseball player, achieving fame and fortune while doing something he loved. Little did he know that he would achieve fame and fortune, but by way of another favorite pastime – writing.

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By Emily Daniels

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In 2009, the author made an unannounced visit to the John Grisham Room of Mitchell Memorial Library where he spoke with students and faculty who read his novel A Painted House as part of the Maroon Edition common reading program.

Is there someone who made a positive impact on your life? If so, why and how did this person make an impact?

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You have become a leader in the literary field – is there any one thing that you would attribute to your success?

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Do you have any favorite memories that you can share from your time here at MSU?

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There was one professor I’ll never forget. During my first semester at State, I, typically, arrived on campus late and without the benefit of proper registration. They stuck me in a German class on the top floor of Lee Hall. I was already thinking about transferring. The professor was a refugee from Eastern Europe and a man with a colorful past. He spoke ten languages. Being from small town Mississippi, I had never met anyone like him. When he wasn’t showing off his languages, he would regale us with stories of his childhood in Hungary, his early years in Paris and Berlin and his escape to London to avoid the Nazis. I’m sure there was a lot of fiction involved, but we didn’t care. He was a wonderful teacher who treasured every day, and we soaked up the German. I made an A and vowed to see the world.

Oh yes, but I’d rather not go into all the details. In the spring, after the break [when] the girls had tans, we would sit for hours on the steps of McCool Hall and watch them walk by. Later, a party would materialize.

God gave me the ability to write clearly and tell compelling stories. I didn’t learn this. I didn’t study it. It sounds so simple, yet it is quite difficult. Have you always enjoyed writing?

No, I never wrote fiction until I was 30 years old. Never dreamed of it. I wasn’t sure I was any good at writing until The Firm sold a zillion copies. Did you ever get frustrated when you were first starting out as a writer? How did you cope with rejection?

Since it was only a hobby, I prepared myself for both the frustration and the rejection. I didn’t take it serious and was prepared to drop the hobby after two books. I was busy as a lawyer and a legislator and had a good life without the writing. Since writing is now a career for you, are there any other hobbies you’ve pursued, or would like to pursue?

Six years ago I made the mistake of taking up golf, a sport I had zealously avoided until then. I was 53 at the time, far too old to indulge in such a foolish game. But, I’m hooked. I’ve heard you mention in previous interviews that you didn’t particularly enjoy practicing law or being in the courtroom. What inspires you to write so many legal thrillers?

The fear of returning to the law office and the courtroom. It’s very motivational.

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Which of your works are you most proud of?

A Time to Kill will always be my favorite. It was the first; it’s the most autobiographical; and it’s now the most popular of all. Are there any writers that you would consider to be your mentors or role models?

Not really. When you create, in whatever medium, it’s difficult to follow others. We all strive for originality, and we fight the temptation to be like someone we admire.

I don’t believe in giving advice. It’s easy to give and even easier to ignore. We have a large number of students in the College of Business who are engaged in starting their own businesses – at least 30 different start-ups at any given time. Like you, they have an entrepreneurial spirit. Do you think there is something about growing up in rural areas like Mississippi that cultivates this kind of entrepreneurial spirit?

Mark Twain, the younger version. He was a bitter, nasty old man. What do you like to read when you’re not writing?

A mix of fiction and nonfiction. The nonfiction usually deals with various issues I’m thinking about exploring with fiction. Describe a perfect day in the life of John Grisham.

An early walk on the beach with a cigar, lunch with friends, nine holes of golf, a book on the porch, wine with [wife] Renee, dinner, in bed by 10. No work whatsoever. How has fame and success changed your everyday life? Was it everything you hoped it would be?

It would be difficult to count the ways. I don’t have a real job, with a boss, deadlines, meetings, pressures, etc. I enjoy a lot of freedom but don’t take it for granted. Renee and I are thankful every day for what’s been given to us. If you had your career to do all over again, would you choose the same path?

Yes. Though I struggled as a lawyer and was frustrated as a legislator, I’m happy to have [had] those experiences. It’s part of life, of living. And I would never have written the first word had I not been a small town lawyer scrambling to make a buck. I will always think of myself as a lawyer, and with some pride. As for the writing, I would be foolish to say I would change anything. Just for fun… How many cowbells do you currently own?

Three, that I can think of.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Speaking of dreams, if there were one person you could meet, real or imaginary, living or deceased, who would it be and why?

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No more so than anywhere else in this country. The American dream is still very much alive. Most of us still believe that with a good idea, a lot of sweat and a bit of luck, we can start and build a company. Maybe take it public. Maybe strike gold. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot in the past two decades. This dream doesn’t exist anywhere else.

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What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing a business degree? Any advice for a beginning author?

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By Emily Daniels

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Since many students change their minds about their majors during their time in college, Dixon felt lucky to have made up her mind so quickly. There was one small problem – she had no interest in actually teaching the subject. Dixon decided that it might be a good time to visit her academic adviser, Dr. Connie Forde, to find out what other options were out there. “Dr. Forde really understood me,” says Dixon. “She made me feel important, taking the time to listen to me and helping me come up with a course of action to fit my needs.” Dixon knew she wanted a major where she could help others, so Forde encouraged her to consider a career in information technology services. She did just that, not only earning a bachelor’s degree in the program at MSU, but later a master’s degree from Troy University as well. Dixon has been a proud Mississippi State Bulldog for as long as she can remember. Her parents met as students at MSU, and her father played on the football team. She followed in her parents’ footsteps, making Mississippi State her alma mater as well. But she never dreamed that her career path would one day lead her back to the university that she loved so much. She began her career at Stark Aerospace in Columbus, MS, and while she enjoyed helping others in her role there, she still felt there was something missing. Dixon thought back to her time at Mississippi State, remembering her academic adviser, Dr. Forde.

“Dr. Forde made such a positive impact on my professional development, both academically and personally,” says Dixon. “It made me realize how important it is for students to have advisers who actually care about their well-being. It’s one of the reasons I decided to become an adviser myself – because it was a way for me to return the favor.” She found her opportunity to return to MSU – by way of the Bagley College of Engineering. In this position, she spent time recruiting as well as helping undergraduate and graduate students with scholarships and campus employment, thus preparing her for her current position in the College of Business.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

“I started out majoring in technology education,” recalls Dixon, a 2006 Mississippi State alumna. “I’ve always liked and understood technology, so it seemed only natural to major in something I found to be interesting.”

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hen Krystle Dixon joined the College of Business in fall of 2013 as academic coordinator for the Adkerson School of Accountancy, she knew it was exactly where she wanted to be. But it took a little guidance from her academic advisor at Mississippi State to help Dixon discover her true love – advising.

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Helping Find New Paths

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Dixon has hit the ground running since taking on her new role last fall. She is responsible for advising more than 400 undergraduate accounting students – helping them with curricula, registration problems and other matters to ensure they are on track to earn their degrees. She works with graduate students, keeping their records and offering guidance alongside their faculty advisers. She also promotes the School of Accountancy to high school and junior college students at recruiting events both on and off campus.

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“I really enjoy the oneon-one interaction with students. Getting to know them personally is my greatest joy. I like making sure they have the right information and helping provide what they need to graduate.” KRYSTLE DIXON

“I really enjoy the one-on-one interaction with students. Getting to know them personally is my greatest joy,” Dixon says. “I like making sure they have the right information and helping provide what they need to graduate.” She has been instrumental in forming a student organization, the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance, making Mississippi State the second university in the nation to begin a collegiate chapter. Founded in 1938 as the American Society of Women Accountants, AFWA promotes the professional growth of women in all facets of accounting and finance. It has long provided students with resources like networking, mentoring and access to scholarships. “I noticed that there seemed to be a lack of organizations for accounting majors to be involved in,” says Dixon. “So I did a little research and landed on the AFWA. I think it might have been destiny because when I contacted the organization, I learned that the person in charge of piloting AFWA’s first student organization was an MSU alumna!”

Glenda Fulgham, president of the Jacksonville MSU alumni chapter and a member of the national MSU Alumni Association board, happened to be on campus for a conference. The two connected, and plans for the new chapter took shape. The organization has now been officially chartered and began meeting this fall, with more than 100 MSU accounting students in attendance. Dixon is already looking ahead to next summer, planning to implement a three-day camp on campus for rising high school seniors who have taken the ACT and have an interest in pursuing a degree in accounting. The camp, called ASAP – Accelerating Students into the Accounting Profession – will allow 20 prospective MSU students to experience campus life. “We need to get students thinking about Mississippi State and MSU accounting,” says Dixon. “ASAP will be a learning experience that will also be a lot of fun.” The camp is still in the planning stages but will use creative approaches to present students with the many professions an accounting degree can offer them. One activity may have them working on projects in a format modeled after “The Apprentice” TV show. They also may visit local firms and industries to be exposed to the field’s varied career options. Also being considered are workshops in leadership and interview techniques, as well as an etiquette luncheon.

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ASAP participants will also get to spend time with current accounting students, who will be selected as counselors through an interview process. They will benefit as well from meeting faculty members, who plan to take an active role. In less than one year, Dixon has done more to advance the school than many could accomplish in several, and she does not show any signs of slowing down. What is it that keeps her motivated?

“Working with students here is my personal way of giving back to the university,” Dixon replies. “I want to make a positive impact on the lives of my students, just as I received during my college years.”

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Dixon speaks with MSU AFWA President Michelle Lewis outside of McCool Hall.

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College of Business students from Dr. Millea and Mr. Mallory’s classes stand in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.


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Priceless Knowledge By Emily Daniels

ach semester, economics professor Dr. Meghan Millea invites Lewis Mallory Jr., former Chairman and CEO of Cadence Bank, to speak to students in her Honors Principles of Macroeconomics and Learning Community classes about the Federal Reserve System and the important role it plays in our nation’s economy. Mallory, a 1965 College of Business banking and finance graduate and lecturer of finance, knows a thing or two about the Federal Reserve. During his time as Cadence CEO, he served for six years as a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, prior to his appointment to the Federal Advisory Council (FAC). On the FAC, he met with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to research, discuss and offer opinions on economic and financial issues facing our country. While speaking to one of the classes, Mallory mentioned that if any of them ever had a chance to visit one of the 12 regional Reserve Banks in the country, they should jump at the opportunity. At the end of the class, Millea was met with a flood of questions from her students.

On a cool fall morning, a group of 27 bright-eyed students from Millea’s classes and Mallory’s bank management class boarded a university bus for St. Louis. They arrived in time for a short tour of the city before heading to dinner. The next morning, the students – dressed in professional attire – arrived at the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown St. Louis. They were eager to see in person what they had studied about in class. They had assumed this would be your average, run-of-the-mill tour, but the day’s agenda proved otherwise. “There is a section of the 8th District building that is designated for bank executive or government-related groups,” says Mallory. “They allowed these students to meet with the Fed’s top executives in the board room. Not many people can say that they have been in there.” They met with each speaker for 30 minutes, listening as the executives described their different positions as well as the specific functions of the 8th District. Then James Bullard, President and CEO of the St. Louis Fed, briefly spoke to the group before opening up the floor for a conversational Q & A session. After meeting security clearance, the students ended the day with a tour of the cash operations before returning to the buses for the long ride home. “The bank management field trip gave structure and scope to the material we were taught,” says student Blake Mascolo. “It helped me gain a better understanding of what the Federal Reserve does and how it applies to the banking industry and economy.” Though it was a whirlwind trip, it certainly proved to be a positive learning experience that will not soon be forgotten.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, DC, make up the United States’ central bank. Established in 1914, it is the headquarters of the 8th Federal Reserve District, in charge of the state of Arkansas, the eastern half of Missouri and portions of Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee. The St. Louis Fed serves as the nation’s central processing site for Treasury checks and postal money orders. It also checks to makes sure currency is fit for circulation, destroys currency that is not fit and reports counterfeits to the U.S. Secret Service. Above all, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis manages the Fed System’s overall relationship with the U.S. Treasury, ensuring the smooth financial operations of the U.S. government.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Mallory made some calls to a few of his executive friends, while Millea sought approval from her department head. The Department of Finance and Economics paid for a large portion of the trip, so the students only had to pay for their meals. Not too expensive for a once in a lifetime trip.

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“They asked me if I would take them on a field trip to the St. Louis Federal Reserve,” says Millea. “I thought it was a long shot but decided to run the idea by Mr. Mallory anyway. If anyone could make it happen, he could.”

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By Sharon Oswald & Emily Daniels

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f the many words you could use to describe Dora Herring, trailblazer might be the best. She was the first female accounting student at Mississippi State University, the first female hired to teach in the College of Business, the first person – male or female – in the State of Mississippi to receive both a CPA and a doctorate in accounting and the first female to serve as President of the Mississippi Society of CPAs.

By the time she graduated, all of the servicemen had come home from World War II, and Dora married husband Ward, with whom she would spend the next 58 years. In the early 1960s, they moved back to Mississippi, and Ward attended Mississippi State on the G.I. Bill, later landing a job with the state tax commissioner. They were living in Starkville, and it presented the perfect opportunity for Herring to further her education at MSU. Herring’s decision to pursue another degree in accounting caused quite a stir in Bowen Hall, the former home of the College of Business, as it would break down the gender barrier. At the time, there were no women in business at MSU, and Herring became the very first female business student for a second time. Since she had already earned her associate’s degree at Bowling Green, Herring started as a junior at Mississippi State. She received an assistantship with the college in 1963 and quickly noticed that she was also the only female working in the accounting office. While Herring was working in the office, the leadership became desperate for someone to teach a Principles of Accounting I class.

“You have to understand, they didn’t hire women to teach business back then. But they allowed me to be a temporary instructor because I had already passed my CPA exam, and they desperately needed someone to teach the class,” she says. “They never saw me as a female; I was just an extension of them,” adds Herring. By “them,” she refers to Scotty Wofford, Joe Curry, Bill Simmons and W.W. Littlejohn – all legends of MSU accounting. While Littlejohn, who Herring touts as her mentor, firmly believed women should not teach, he was always supportive of her. “If there was anything I wanted to do, he would make it happen for me,” she says. “But as a female I had to do more than anyone else to prove myself. Back then, all the men wore dark suits, so to fit in, I had to wear a dark suit too or they wouldn’t listen to me.” Herring had originally planned to go to the University of Alabama to get her doctoral degree in accounting, since it was not offered at MSU. At that time, all of the faculty in accounting were master’s degree CPAs. But in 1964, Rudolph White, the director of graduate business studies, and William Flewellen, the dean of the college, got the approval to establish a DBA program.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

“At the time, Bowling Green had one of the best associate degrees in accounting, but I was the only female in the program,” she says. “Professor J.C. Holland – we called him ‘Hoot’ Holland – was much tougher on me, trying to discourage me from continuing the program, but I stuck it out. And when I earned my associate’s degree in 1947, he went out of his way to help me find a job.”

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Herring’s celebrated career of some 30 years began quite modestly, when she left her Winona, MS, home to attend Bowling Green Business University in Kentucky.

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Dora Herring: A Career of Firsts

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Dora Herring trailblazer

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(Left) Dora and son Clyde – both alumni, former MSU accounting professors and former MSCPA presidents – celebrated his son Christopher’s MSU accounting degree in 2011. (Right) Herring’s fellow accounting faculty members – including (seated) W.W. Littlejohn and (standing, from left) Bill Cross, Joe Curry and Scotty Wofford – regarded her not as a ‘female’ but as a colleague.

“They needed a warm body in the program, so they let me in. I was the only student in the program that year,” says Herring. “There was another student enrolled, but he never actually attended any classes; they just needed another name in the beginning.” So, with three children at home during a time when women were not even teaching in the College of Business, Dora Herring was pioneering her way toward a DBA.

Herring’s career decisions were always well calculated. Computers were becoming important in accounting, and knowing that the other faculty would not want to retool to keep up, she became the first at MSU to specialize in what is now called accounting information systems, thereby solidifying her place on the faculty upon completion of her degree. “Dr. Charles Moore taught me everything I knew about computers. When I finished my DBA in 1968, I taught systems. We had no textbook because the field was so new, so I had to keep up with the field on my own.” While reminiscing about her extraordinary career, one can be captivated by Herring’s stories. Does she have one favorite memory? Indeed she does. While at MSU, Herring annually accompanied the Beta Alpha Psi accounting honor society officers to the American Accounting Association meeting. Each year they would rent a van and drive to the location, until one year when the meeting was to be held in Toronto. Not wanting the students to miss this opportunity she called one of her favorite former students, Richard Adkerson, currently CEO of Freeport-McMoRan. She asked him if the company had a vacant plane that could fly the students to Toronto. What resulted was the trip of a lifetime for these college students.

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“Freeport had recently purchased a plane from Frank Sinatra, and Richard thought it would be fun for the students to fly on that plane. It looked like a nightclub lounge inside, and on board were attendants with white towels, serving us bowls of fresh shrimp and other hors d’oeuvres,” she recalls. “When we got to Toronto, the customs officials came on the plane to clear us, and in a matter of minutes we were in a limousine headed for the hotel! I told the students that they would probably never fly like that again.”

The accounting world has definitely changed since Herring first landed on the MSU campus. Females now outnumber males as accounting majors, which Herring attributes to the fact that “women just have a biological knack for details.” But one thing is certain – Herring paved the way for these female accountants-to-be. Today when anyone mentions the “legends of MSU accounting,” you can bet that Dora Herring is in a league of her own.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Twenty years after retirement, Herring is as busy as ever and still practicing her trade as treasurer of her church and account manager for her son’s dental practice. Her favorite thing about retirement: she no longer has to adhere to a schedule.

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Herring instilled in her children that same drive to succeed. Her son Clyde followed in her footsteps. He got a Ph.D. in accounting, joined the faculty at MSU and later became president of the Mississippi Society of CPAs – a little over a decade after his mother held that position as the first female. As for her other children, Calvin is a radiologist and Barry a dentist.

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Herring has been involved in many important events during her time at Mississippi State, from the planning of McCool Hall to the transition from a department into a school of accountancy to the centennial anniversary of the university. She “broke in” several supervisors before becoming director of the School of Accountancy herself in 1988, a position she held until her retirement.

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Herring was the first female to teach in the College of Business, and she is highly regarded by former students and colleagues.


Bryan, with grandsons (from left) George Bryan III & Wells Williams


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By Carolanne Roberts

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hen you are a Bryan from Mississippi – especially an MSU grad like George Bryan – you see your name everywhere. MSU’s Bryan Athletic Administration Building honors his father, the late John H. Bryan Sr. Grocery stores throughout the Southeast carry the Bryan Foods brand, a legacy of Bryan Meats, founded by his father and uncle in 1936. And the Bryan Public Library in his native West Point serves the entire community.

“It wasn’t really expected of me,” he says. “My father was also in the home-building business and wanted me to take that over, but I didn’t like it. In 1964, I called my brother [who headed Bryan Foods by that time] and asked if I could work in the plant. That’s how I got into it.” Those tentative first steps – which eased into giant steps – came during Bryan’s early years at MSU, a time of Sigma Chi parties, making friends, having fun and being, as he puts it, “not a very good student.” Then two things happened. “I married and settled down,” he explains of his now 50-year union with wife and top supporter Marcia. “I knew I was going to work in the [Bryan Foods] business, but I didn’t know what my real strength was. Then I got into the business program at State, and I found that marketing was one of the God-given talents I had. There’s no question that those classes made the difference for me.” At a time when Bryan Foods had no marketing department and no branding strategy, George Bryan was learning the ropes at MSU.

“I was learning how to add value to the product, how to brand the product,” he says. “I learned things in marketing courses at State that I have never forgotten. When I took that first marketing class, it really rang my bell, so to speak.” Bryan brought a studied passion back to the company, where he was working afternoons after morning classes in Starkville. He progressed quickly in both locations. At the plant, he dealt with cost accounting and production records to ground him in the basics. Bryan headed the manufacturing operation in 1968, followed by sales in 1971. “The next year, I started the first marketing department at Bryan and brought in some good marketing people,” he says. “That was my contribution, and I learned a lot of it from Mississippi State. I formulated my ideas from some classes I’d had, primarily marketing, business finance and selling.” After a decade at Bryan, he assumed the role of President/CEO – at the age of 29. By 1968, the family had sold the company to Sara Lee Corporation (known then as the Chicago-based Consolidated Foods). Thanks to the new parent organization’s tendency to de-centralize, the Bryan brothers marched forward with business as usual in West Point. Then, in 1974, John Bryan Jr., singled out for his expertise and leadership, received the call from Chicago to take on the role of President/CEO at Sara Lee.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Bryan did not grow up assuming he would follow in the family footsteps.

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It could make a man walk with a swagger and feel entitled, empowered enough to say his name with booming authority. Yet “our” George Bryan, MSU College of Business Class of ’67, does no such thing. In fact, he exhibits perhaps the most admirable trait of a good leader – humility. Instead of resting on his laurels, he talks of hard work. Instead of boasting about his family name, he gives it dignity.

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Family Pride

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Back home, George Bryan ran Bryan Foods for another 10 years before moving on to Memphis and his 18-year position as Senior Vice President of Sara Lee. Once in Memphis, just 2.5 hours from home, Bryan’s career suddenly expanded. He oversaw 30 meat plants across the United States, 27 in Europe and three in Mexico. “We traveled the world making acquisitions, growing the business and the bottom line,” he explains, adding that now he and Marcia prefer to keep their frequent travel close to home. His leadership brought sales into a range of $3.5 billion to $4 billion. In his final years with Sara Lee, he took over the baked goods division as well. In 2007, Sara Lee closed the West Point plant that had provided up to 1,800 local jobs. “It was a blow,” he says – a low point in a series of highs. Throughout his career, Bryan operated with a leadership philosophy gained from Mississippi State and sought-after advice from his big brother/mentor.

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“I liked to get in, work with department heads and put a plan together,” he remarks. “How do we grow annually? How do we grow sales and profits? It was a pretty simple philosophy – just work hard and understand the business. Study the competition. Adopt a segmentation strategy – at Sara Lee we had lots of brands including Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farms, Sara Lee Deli Meats, Mr. Turkey, Ballpark Franks, State Fair Corn Dogs, Bryan Foods and Gallo Salame, so we needed a strategy for each brand.” He also cites the importance of employees, stressing, “People are the success of any business.” After nearly 40 years of growing, innovating and leading, Bryan opted to move back to West Point, changing gears but never his level of energy. Today he avidly reads nonfiction and biographies of successful people, heads up Old Waverly Investments, serves on the board of Regions Bank and showers time on his 15 grandchildren who live in West Point, Oxford and Memphis. As a civic leader, he notes, “I’m interested in social values and what happens to people. There’s so much to do in the community, and you never can do enough.” In recent years, life has come full circle. Bryan now serves on the MSU Foundation Board and also returns to campus to speak and mentor in the marketing classes that shaped his direction years ago. “The students want you to listen to them,” he says. “You need to encourage and help them understand that it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, time and effort. Success doesn’t happen overnight. “I’m working to get more graduates to come talk to classes about what they’ve done in their lives. It’s time for us to give something back to the students,” adds Bryan, who often hosts student groups at his Old Waverly Golf Club. The humility emerges once more when Bryan considers his proudest moments. “I don’t really look back. I don’t think in the past. I think about what I can do in the future. Anybody who’s been as involved as I have for a long time doesn’t stop thinking and working. “I’ll always have my hand in something. I’m that kind of person. I got this from my father and my brother.” And a few choice classes at MSU, too.

University President Mark Keenum, College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald and others welcomed Bryan in March as a College of Business’ 2014 Leo W. Seal Jr. Distinguished Executive Speaker.

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The two words “Old Waverly” mean Mississippi, top-notch fairways and the Bryan family.

“My father didn’t start playing golf until his 40s, and my brother and I played as a result of his interest,” explains George Bryan, owner of Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point. “Later, we identified 30 founders in the Golden Triangle who wanted to put this course together, and we built it.” Designed 26 years ago by Jerry Pate and Bob Cupp, Old Waverly hosted the 1999 U.S. Women’s Open Championship, the only national golf championship ever played in the state. The Governor’s Cup in 2005 raised more than $300,000 for victims of Hurricane Katrina. “Now we do a lot of work with junior golf,” says Bryan, adding that MSU’s golf programs will soon move to Old Waverly. Son Wilkes, also an MSU graduate, is the club’s COO, and several grandchildren are learning the links. You would think George Bryan would play his world-class course again and again, but his eye is on another ball. “I could go play every day, I guess, but I don’t do that,” he shares. “Instead of worrying about my game, I think about the business.” As always.

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On Course

Bryan, with son Wilkes Bryan and members of the Old Waverly Junior Golf Program (from left) Moak Griffin and Hunter Atkins

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Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan signed copies of their book for COB students and staff.


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ast fall, MSU Entrepreneurship Club President David Hennigan introduced himself to Barefoot Wine founders Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan at a collegiate entrepreneurship conference in Chicago. They mentioned they were considering a tour of the southern states, so Hennigan thought, “Why not invite them to Starkville?” The result: In March, Harvey and Houlihan were featured guests of the College of Business’ Leo W. Seal Jr. Distinguished Speaker Series.

“They said we had one of the most impressive cultures for entrepreneurship they’ve come across, with our vision for the program and its growth,” remarks Hennigan. In their main talk, which was open to the community, Harvey and Houlihan shared some of the ideas and lessons that led to Barefoot’s success. Knowing they could not compete as the large companies did, they competed differently.

They told their audience they tapped a new market by appealing to people who simply wanted to enjoy a good glass of wine without having to understand everything about wine culture. They made a point of talking with employees at every level, gleaning innovative ideas from forklift operators and shelf stockers. Having little advertising budget, they pioneered “worthy cause marketing” – devoting a percentage of sales to causes that would connect with people not just as consumers but also as human beings. They found a key to success in business was not in following a passion, they said, but in following an opportunity passionately. David Hennigan credits university business leaders for making Harvey and Houlihan’s visit happen – particularly the COB’s Dean Sharon Oswald and Jeffrey Rupp, Director of Outreach and Corporate Engagement, as well as the MSU Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer’s Eric Hill, Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator. Hennigan remarks, “A great thing about Mississippi State is that a student can have an idea, and if it’s a good one, the faculty and administration will support it, not just with words but with actions that make it happen.”

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Much of Harvey and Houlihan’s time in Starkville was set aside for students. In a question and answer session with the Entrepreneurship Club (eClub), club members were able to share their ideas and get feedback. Over lunch with eClub officers, the accomplished entrepreneurs heard about the club’s endeavors and offered advice.

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Harvey and Houlihan founded Barefoot Wine in 1986 with little money and no wine industry experience. Through new marketing concepts and creative solutions, they built the brand into an industry leader and sold it to E&J Gallo in 2005. Co-authors of The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, they are now in demand as speakers and consultants. They have developed a particular interest in entrepreneurship education.

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Making the Most of Opportunity

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race A

ccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average employee stays at each of his or her positions for only 4.6 years. But UPS’s new Chief Executive Officer David Abney is not your average employee. Abney began his 40-year ascension from the bottom of the world’s largest package delivery company in 1974, as a part-time package loader.

You began your career with UPS 40 years ago as a part-time loader, before working your way to the very top of the company. What is it about UPS that kept you around for all these years?

There’s something about this company that gets in your blood, and it got in my blood early. I went to college thinking I wanted to be a history professor, but not long after I started working at UPS, I realized this was a company that you could stay at a long time and have a good career. One thing that impressed me in my early days with UPS was that my managers took an interest in me. I’ve moved eight times in my career, and each time I was presented with new challenges and opportunities. So you have to keep learning and adjusting. That may be disruptive for some people, but I’ve always found it stimulating. Do you feel that holding many positions within the corporation has given you an advantage when it comes to understanding and meeting the needs of the business and its employees?

I really think it has. I told a group I was speaking to recently that I thought the moves I made during my career and the different positions I’ve held were really a 40-year apprenticeship for the job I’m about to take. I know a lot of people these days move around from company to company, but that’s unusual at UPS. A number of people do as I did: They come to UPS and stay their entire career. I think one reason that is so prevalent is that UPS is such a multi-faceted company. We have dedicated teams of professionals focused in a wide range of dynamic industries, including retail, healthcare, aeronautics and small business. So to keep up with our customers – and even stay ahead of them when it comes to supporting their shipping needs – we’re always learning, always adjusting. SonicAir, which is a same-day delivery service we acquired in 1995, is a good example of what I’m talking about. After the acquisition, UPS sent me to Scottsdale, AZ, where I worked with the founder of SonicAir for a year and later ran the company. That’s where I first learned the commercial side of the business. That was also my first exposure to logistics and international operations. I look back on that experience now and realize that’s when I made the move from an operations manager to an overall businessperson.

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Prior to taking the reins at UPS, Abney shared what he has learned during his long career with the company and offered advice for those determined to become leaders in the business world. The following is an excerpt of that interview.

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A Greenwood, MS, native, Abney received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Delta State University. While loyal to his alma mater, he is also a strong supporter of Mississippi State University and the College of Business. Abney serves on the Executive Advisory Board for the College, and he has been a recent participant in the Leo W. Seal, Jr. Distinguished Speaker Series.

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David Abney business lea Is there someone in particular who has made a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?

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There are so many, but there are two people who really stand out. The first was Ken Nester, another proud MSU supporter. I was the first supervisor Ken promoted when he came to Mississippi as the UPS District Manager. I also worked with him in Tennessee. Ken taught me that each of us has the potential to achieve more than we thought we could. He really showed me that you have to deal with the circumstances that come your way and find a way to be successful. He’s been retired 15 years now, and I still keep in touch with him and really view him as a father figure. A second person is my wife, Sherry. She is the leader of our family, which is now stretching through three generations. While she was never a leader in the business world, she leads by example on a daily basis, always focusing on others for the good of the family. It’s that “servant leadership” that causes people to want to follow leaders in whatever group, organization or enterprise that they are a part of. It has certainly been effective for me in my career and will be even more important in my new role. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess?

Leaders need to be great communicators. Of course, they need to be strategic thinkers and have a vision for where they want to lead the company. But strategy and vision are nothing more than words on paper until they are put into action. And since it takes a team of people to do that, leaders must be able to articulate the vision and explain the strategy. They can’t do that by simply sending an e-mail or giving a speech. They have to communicate in a variety of ways that ensure their employees not only understand the plan, but also understand why it makes sense and their role in making it happen. Of course, communications goes both ways. Leaders also must be adept listeners. The first thing I wanted to do after my new position was announced was to go out and listen to our employees and customers. I’m now in the midst of a multi-market listening tour. I’ve listened to our leaders in those markets, as well as the folks who sort and deliver packages, the work that is the backbone of our company. At every stop, I’m learning so much and being reminded of so many valuable lessons. While not an alumnus, you have been very involved with Mississippi State’s College of Business over the years, as both an Executive Advisory Board member and a Seal Speaker. What drove your decision to become involved? Are there any family ties to the university?

My father, Thomas William Abney, was certainly my tie to MSU. While he never attended college, he was a lifelong fan of MSU. Some of my fondest memories as a child are the two of us going to football games in the fall. It gives me great pride and satisfaction that the Athletic Tutor Laboratory is named in his honor. I have passed his passion for MSU on to our kids and grandkids, so there have been four generations of Abneys pulling for the Bulldogs! Gradually, my commitment to the university has extended beyond athletics. I have been impressed, observing the impact the College of Business has had on the lives of many of the students that I have met over the years, and I am proud to be a part of the Executive Advisory Board. Dean Oswald and her team are making a difference and doing some very exciting things right here in Starkville.

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ader I’ve been asked that question a few times recently, and I have to chuckle each time I hear it. Growing up in a working-class family in Greenwood in the ’60s, my aspirations weren’t nearly that high. In fact, I’m pretty sure my thoughts were probably focused on football and girls, not running a global business. But there’s no reason young girls and boys growing up in Mississippi today should not be thinking in those terms. Every year, my wife and I host an international business symposium, and one of my messages to young people is to stretch their horizons. I tell them that international trade is a major driver of the U.S. economy, that international trade supports millions of jobs in the United States in nearly every sector of the economy and that exports in particular are generating significant new employment opportunities.

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As a boy growing up in the small town of Greenwood, MS, did you ever imagine you would one day be the CEO of a major corporation?

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My final message is to always believe in yourself. Do not pay attention to that inner voice, or to other voices that may tell you why you can’t do something. Find a way to do it! Commit yourself to be the best that you can be in whatever endeavor you take on.

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Partners for Life I

t’s funny how something as simple as asking for a pencil in class can completely change your life. For College of Business graduates Emily and Michael Ferril, it is what ultimately brought them together.

“Well… I might have talked to my classmates just a little too often, but that particular day I just asked someone if I could borrow a pencil, and the teacher heard me talking,” explains Michael. “She actually told me to get my things and walked me to front of the classroom. She pointed toward a seat on the front row next to Emily, who I had only noticed from afar until this point, and told me to sit down.”

Emily and Michael were both active in the Entrepreneurship Center at MSU, which afforded them the opportunity to hone their entrepreneurial skills and put those talents to work in their particular areas of interest.

The two got to know each other pretty well over the course of the semester, and Michael was smitten. He finally gained the courage to ask for Emily’s phone number, which she provided, followed teasingly with, “…if that is my real number!” Apparently it was, and they soon became inseparable. Emily and Michael were both pursuing business degrees, which worked out perfectly for them, as they were able to take many of their core business classes together. “It was good for us to be in the same classes,” says Emily. “We complemented each other – I taught Michael how to take notes and study, and since he easily understood concepts in business courses, especially accounting, he was able to tutor me!”

Along with personal chemistry, Emily and Michael shared some similar traits. They were ambitious and extremely competitive, and each possessed a flair for innovation. They were both active in the Entrepreneurship Center at MSU, which afforded them the opportunity to hone their entrepreneurial skills and put those talents to work in their particular areas of interest over the course of their college careers. As a junior in high school, Emily already knew that she would work toward a marketing degree at MSU. She had it all planned – she would earn her degree then pursue an exciting career in pharmaceutical sales. But between her junior and senior years in college, her focus changed as she discovered the philanthropic side of marketing. This would pave the way for a career in community service later on. Emily’s commitment to serving others was evident throughout her time at MSU. She was always looking for opportunities to lend a helping hand to friends and classmates. Emily recalls a particular time during her junior year, before she and her fellow group members from the Entrepreneurship Center were to give a presentation in class, that an opportunity to serve presented itself.

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According to Michael, it was all just a misunderstanding.

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“We met because he got in trouble,” says Emily. “It was our freshman year, and we had the same physical geometry class. I always sat on the front row, diligently taking notes, but Michael was always talking in class. One day the teacher had finally had enough.”

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By Emily Daniels

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36 The Dress Your Best event helped spark Emily Ferril’s idea to start the Dress Your Best Closet, providing COB students with professional attire. “We had decided to wear business professional clothing,” says Emily. “But when we got there, it was clear that the term ‘business professional’ meant different things to different people.” Many of her College of Business classes had stressed the importance of dressing professionally. There was also an event on campus called Dress Your Best (DYB), complete with a career-themed fashion show during the event to inform students about what to wear for interviews and other occasions requiring business attire. Emily wondered if maybe some of her fellow students just did not own – or could not afford – professional business attire. A new suit can be pricy, especially for an unemployed college student on a budget. What if there were a way to give students access to professional clothing? Emily had an idea. In March 2011, with help from the DYB event’s faculty advisor, Dr. Kathleen Thomas, Emily’s idea became a reality. The Dress Your Best Closet began as a professional wardrobe scholarship, providing business clothing to five deserving female students in the College of Business through financial gifts from individuals and companies. The scholarship program grew the following year, providing clothing scholarships to male business students as well. Now in its fourth year, the Dress Your Best Closet houses more than $9,000 worth of professional men’s and women’s clothing in various sizes, and it is available at no charge for all College of Business students. Meanwhile, Michael was also busy expanding his leadership abilities, capitalizing on the opportunities and resources available to him in the Entrepreneurship Center and the College. Having known that a business degree would be a good path for him, Michael decided early on at MSU to major in finance with a concentration in risk management and insurance. But Dr. Allison Pearson’s Principles of Management and Production course redirected his interest toward a career in operations management. “At Mississippi State, there were several professors that I felt really believed in me,” says Michael. “Dr. Allison Pearson was definitely one of them. She was always willing to talk to me, spend time discussing ideas and offer support when needed.” One day in Pearson’s class, they watched a video of college age entrepreneurs explaining how they got started and where their paths took them. There was a particular case that caught Michael’s eye – cleverly named College Hunks Hauling Junk. “They were a couple of college kids that got together and decided to earn extra money cleaning out people’s attics, basements and sheds. It’s now a very successful company,” Michael notes. “I thought to myself, ‘I could do that! What a great way to earn some extra money!’” Michael began brainstorming about ideas for a successful start-up company. He thought back to a landscaping job he had had during the summers in high school. “My favorite part of that job was cleaning up the mess; I felt like it was almost instant gratification. So, I decided that I would start a pressure washing company. With all the apartment complexes, student houses, gas stations and restaurants in Starkville, I didn’t think I could go wrong.”

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He was right. In its first year alone, Michael’s company, CleanCrete, made more than $45,000 in sales. The company grew rapidly, and he started hiring friends to help out. CleanCrete specialized in exterior cleaning – from pressure washing to brush removal and everything in between. “I feel like the company was so successful because we were not scared to take a risk,” Michael says. “There were very few tasks that we turned down, even if we had never done them before. Google can be quite helpful!” During his last semester of college, Michael accepted a job offer as production manager at DPM fragrance in Starkville and began working. He also continued to run CleanCrete post-graduation, until deciding to sell the company later that year.

Emily began her career as a pharmaceutical representative – a position she had accepted during her senior year of college – before ultimately deciding to explore career opportunities in philanthropic marketing. She looked around the Starkville area for job opportunities before sending her résumé to Palmer Home for Children in nearby Columbus, MS – a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to providing superior residential care for children in need.

The past year has been very busy for Michael and Emily. In March, they were married in the Chapel of Memories at MSU, fitting for the two since they met on campus. They bought a home in Starkville and have become increasingly involved as leaders in the community. Emily joined the Starkville chapter of Junior Auxiliary, a service organization providing volunteer service in support of the welfare of children in Oktibbeha County. She and Michael are new members of the Young Alumni Advisory Board for the College of Business, and they regularly participate in various College of Business events throughout the year. Emily and Michael are thankful for the opportunities and professional guidance they were offered throughout their time in College of Business. “I think a lot of marketing involves good communication skills, especially in what I do career wise,” says Emily. “My marketing classes in the College of Business helped me to further cultivate those skills to leverage me into the career I love.” “I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by so many influential people during my college experience at Mississippi State. There were many people in the College of Business that offered me great advice and who I felt really believed in me,” says Michael. One of those influential people was COB Dean Sharon Oswald. “Dean Oswald has helped Emily and me so much in our careers, providing us with networking opportunities and professional advice,” Michael remarks. “She is a great friend, and I can’t say enough good things about her.” The College of Business has been an important part of Emily and Michael’s lives. It was what made them fall in love with Starkville, their careers and, most importantly, each other.

The Ferrils count Dean Sharon Oswald a friend and are grateful for her support of their careers.

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Emily did so well in her position that she received a promotion to Director of Development less than one year later. While her main focus for fundraising is in the Golden Triangle area, she also meets with prospects and donors in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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“When Palmer Home told me that they were interested in me as a development officer, I told them I had no previous experience in soliciting gifts,” says Emily. “But they saw my potential and worked with me until I became confident in that role. It was a route that I had never envisioned for myself before, but it was honestly the most natural transition for me. This position is all about building relationships and creating awareness for Palmer Home to advance support of its mission.”

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

“I had found a job posting for a production manager for DPM Fragrance, a Starkville-owned company specializing in brands such as Aspen Bay Candles,” says Michael. “I applied for it and received an offer, so I found a buyer for CleanCrete in December 2012.”

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By Carolanne Roberts

I

sn’t life full of lovely ironies?

Jim Coggin was progressing nicely up the ladder at McRae’s Department Stores – Vice President of Human Resources, in fact, at the ripe young age of 31 – when a larger retailer came knocking at his door. Saks Fifth Avenue approached him with a position in booming New York City, far away from comfortable Jackson.

He ended up in the College of Business at Mississippi State University, earning a General Business degree in 1964.

“This choice wasn’t an accident,” says Coggin. “I felt business was the logical background, the appropriate path for me at the time. I had courses in everything – accounting, insurance, marketing. I learned the basics; then with each job, I learned the technicalities of that business.” He admits he did not know much about human resources, so he learned. As for financials, again he learned, always seeking out experts and gaining the needed knowledge. “Understanding what you don’t know leads you to fill the gap,” he says. He also holds an MBA from Mississippi College and graduated from Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. What you sense immediately, even these seven years after retirement, is Coggin’s focus, his dogged devotion to success and his energy. It is in every sentence, in every step along the way. “I prayed daily that it would be God, family and job, but I’m sure there were days when job got number one,” he admits. A short stint with Mississippi Chemical Corporation, followed by a satisfying stop at IBM, led to McRae’s and the upward path there. Coggin’s responsibilities soon expanded as he was appointed Executive Vice President of finance, operations, human resources and management information systems (translated: the back office running of the business, apart from buying and sales). Forward to 1994, when there were 29 stores with $450 million in sales. In March of that year, McRae’s was purchased by Proffitt’s, a Knoxville-based retail operation. The change went well for McRae’s, thanks to the insight of Proffitt’s CEO Brad Martin. The exceptional McRae’s organizational structure and systems soon led to consolidating all back office functions to Mississippi. “That was a savings of $1,500,000,” says Coggin. “We didn’t know that we were going to buy anything else. If we had known what we actually were about to do, we would’ve had a nervous breakdown.” There was no time for a breakdown. From 1994 to 1996, the Proffitt’s/McRae’s company acquired five department store groups: Younkers (Des Moines, IA), Parisian (Birmingham, AL), Herberger’s (St. Cloud, MN), Carson Pirie Scott & Co. (Milwaukee, WI) and Saks Fifth Avenue (New York, NY). At this point in his career, Coggin had gone from a company with four stores to a company with

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But that chapter lies down the road in the telling of Coggin’s journey, which began in Tupelo. There, his parents worked in areas of retail themselves, his father as a shoe representative for Genesco in Mississippi and Louisiana and his mother as a salesperson in a local boutique. The son had designs on something far different – perhaps a career as an aeronautical engineer or maybe a lawyer or a doctor.

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“I didn’t want to go to New York,” he says of his easy “no.” At the time Coggin had no way of knowing that, in a matter of years, Saks and all its administrative and operational support employees would actually report to him – at his base in Jackson.

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Respect, Service, Performance

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450, with 52,000 employees from California to New York and Miami to Montana. In the course of those two years, value had jumped from $600 million to $6 billion. MSU’s own Jim Coggin assumed the role of president and chief administrative officer of the newly created Saks Incorporated. He remembers, “It was going so fast that we barely had time to assimilate one company before we had another, so we didn’t have time to stop and say, ‘Look at this, we’ve scored 10 touchdowns already!’ All we could do was keep up with what we were doing.” What they were doing was what they had always done – following a philosophy honed over years as a small, caring family business. Coggin’s own values and approach served Saks Incorporated as well. He peppers the conversation with a management mantra learned in his IBM days.

As a man of faith, he operates by the Golden Rule, instilling trust in employees and validating their worth. “I also practiced what has been called ‘servant leadership,’” he says. “It’s getting outstanding people to work for you and doing everything to support them in reaching their goals.” For Coggin, the road from Tupelo to the top is one of tackling challenges.

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“Respect for the individual. Best customer service in the world. Every task executed in a superior manner,” Coggin says, the words blending into a single, hard-hitting thought. “Beyond that, people are the secret to success. If you have great people, you have great results, whether it’s a football team or a retail store.”

“I enjoy challenges,” he says. “While I am not a natural handyman, I get a kick out of new repair projects around the house, just as I do when working and developing a strategic plan for the church or running a capital campaign. I’m competitive. My friends probably feel I’m more competitive than I need to be, but it’s just another way God made me.” That is probably why the “R word” stands less for Coggin’s retirement and more for rejuvenation and reinvention. Beyond standing golf games – at least twice a week and often more – his time goes to such causes as Hospice Ministries, Stewpot Community Services, Habitat for Humanity, his church and many more. He serves on the board of Millsaps College, a small upstart manufacturing company and MSU’s College of Business Executive Advisory Board. Coggin returns to his alma mater faithfully.

“I go back for all the football games and for some basketball and baseball games,” says the sports fan. “I remember being on my way to Vietnam [where he served a one-year tour and was awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious achievement in ground operations against hostile forces]. On that boat with about 5,000 on board, somehow we got news about how an MSU game was going. I’ve always been a big fan.” Coggin and his wife Pat, who have just purchased a small house near campus, have yet another reason to visit Starkville. Their grandson, James Anthony Coggin III, is a senior in the College of Business with an eye toward marketing.

As he looks back and gazes forward, Coggin carries a sense of pride for career, family and whatever tasks lie ahead to be completed in his thorough ways. Coggin sums himself up, saying, “I’m a big believer in being prepared and staying ahead of whatever you’re doing. God gave me a lot of energy, and I’m a doer. I’m more a Type A than a Type B, so I need to be moving and doing things. I’m busy almost every moment.” That can only mean good things on the horizon for the rest of us.

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Jim Coggin is a man who ponders and studies any situation. When decision time comes, he knows the pros, the cons and the right move to make. Yet he admits that in the early years, he questioned himself. “I probably didn’t have as much self-confidence in my abilities as I could’ve had,” says Coggin. “I realized that my bosses and friends had more confidence in my abilities than I did.” So, with determination, the man changed course. “I think I took that weakness and in a way turned it into a strength. In order to make sure I was getting a task done right, I would spend extra time preparing, whether as a student or when addressing a board of directors.” It is a leadership lesson for the rest of us. In this hurry-up world, heed your speed. Prep instead of plunging, and success can lie ahead.

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Lesson in Leadership

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A Life on the Line By Emily Daniels

ollege of Business student James Ray and three other volunteer firemen of the East Oktibbeha County Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) were recognized at a Mississippi State basketball game last spring for saving an elderly woman who was trapped in her burning home. Ray and his fellow crewmembers were alerted about the fire around 5 p.m. on a cold January night. They had received fire alerts before – after all, they were volunteer firefighters. But this was no ordinary alert. “The tone went off for a house fire with a possible entrapment,” recalls Ray, a junior majoring in business administration. Coincidentally, Ray and the rest of the crew had just completed a firefighter certification class less than one month earlier, preparing them for this very incident.

“We are very proud of him. He is a very hardworking student and is always willing to go that extra mile to help get things done.” M I CH ELLE BR I CKA

They were informed that there was an 80-year-old woman trapped in the back bedroom of the house, so the team’s first objective was to locate the trapped woman before dousing the flames. When they found her, she was hanging out the back window, crying for help. “When we got the window open, they kind of boosted me inside, and we brought her out as quickly as we could,” says Ray. “The four of us pulled her out to safety and went to extinguish the fire along with the rest of the crew that had arrived.” It appeared that the house fire was already largely contained. But as soon as they opened the front door, oxygen breathed life into the fire once more. It took several minutes before they were able to get the blaze under control. There was extensive heat and fire damage throughout the home but the woman who once lived there was safe, thanks to the four volunteer firefighters.

When not in class or on call at the fire department, Ray also finds time to help out in the Adkerson School of Accountancy, where he has served as a student worker for the past three years. “We are very proud of him,” says Michelle Bricka, Business Coordinator for the Adkerson School of Accountancy. “He is a very hardworking student and is always willing to go that extra mile to help get things done.” After he receives his bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State, Ray hopes to attend the Mississippi Fire Academy and pursue a career in firefighting. “I’ve wanted to go into the fire service since I was in high school,” says Ray. “I grew up two blocks from a fire station, and seeing that day after day I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” The four firefighters were humble, viewing the experience as an act of community service, rather than a heroic feat. “It was a team effort. It’s not one individual. It was just another day for us,” Ray says. “We appreciate everybody’s kind words, but that’s what we are there for,w and this just prepared us for future emergencies.” Whether you see them as heroes or community volunteers, one thing is certain – without their dedication and teamwork, a woman might not have lived to see another day.

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The four East Oktibbeha County VFD firefighters – Brad Occhipinti, Grant Tollison, Adam Bilbo and Ray – were the first responders to arrive on the scene of the single-story structure fire.

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“It was the first time in 25 years that the East Oktibbeha VFD has had a live rescue,” he says. “Our fire chief was amazed that this happened so soon after receiving our certification.”

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Building for the Next 100 Years

A Message from the Director of Development

oday’s businesses are ever-changing, and to keep up with the growing and international market, the College of Business depends on the support of our alumni and friends. Private gifts are truly the driving force that allows the College to fully equip our students with the knowledge and power needed to excel in their chosen fields and to be solid, ethical business leaders in an uncompromising industry. As one of the top business schools in the South, MSU’s College of Business is dedicated to being a nationally recognized and respected institution, equipped to focus on dynamic and collaborative learning, innovative research and valued outreach activities. Thanks to the loyalty of a strong network of alumni and friends, the College of Business has been able to attract and retain outstanding faculty and students and help bring the cost of a college education within reach for countless incoming students.

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In August, the MSU Entrepreneurship Program officially became a part of the College of Business, and renovations are underway to create a new E-Center, which will open by next fall. In January 2015, we will begin a year long celebration, as the College of Business will turn 100 years old. We must rely on the contributions of supporters like you to help us promote and uphold our high standards of excellence in academics, research and service not only during this monumental time, but for many years to come. We are currently in the midst of Infinite Impact: The Mississippi State University Campaign – a multi-year endeavor to build our university’s reputation both nationally and globally as we make strides toward the future. All contributions to the College of Business and MSU through 2018 will count toward the capital campaign and its overall goal of $600 million. A growing university means the College of Business must increase our development efforts with alumni and friends like you. We recently welcomed MSU alumnus Zack Harrington (BBA ’09, MS ’10) as our new Assistant Director of Development. A Hattiesburg native, Zack earned his bachelor’s in business administration with an emphasis in real estate mortgage finance, as well as a master’s in sports administration, from the university. His previous experience and deep appreciation for MSU and the College of Business will prove invaluable as we continue to build relationships to further advance the College. Zack and I look forward to helping you invest in our College. At the heart of each gift is your desire to make a difference, and we are deeply appreciative for all that you do.

Rob Jenkins (’92) Zack Harrington (’09, ’10) Director of Development Assistant Director of Development College of Business College of Business rjenkins@foundation.msstate.edu zharrington@foundation.msstate.edu 662-325-9055 662-325-3431

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There are many exciting things happening in the College of Business, and with that comes many more opportunities to give.

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. MSU Business has had two homes: McCool Hall (left) and Bowen Hall.


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We Mean Business.

The COB Centennial Anniversary Celebration By Emily Daniels he College of Business will commemorate its 100th anniversary in 2015, with a yearlong celebration beginning in January. This momentous occasion will be one to remember.

For the COB Centennial Anniversary Celebration, we launch an exciting new branding campaign: We Mean Business. Our tagline is strong and bold, and it exemplifies the mentality of our students, faculty and more than 32,000 alumni. Throughout 2015, we will incorporate six key words that demonstrate specifically what “We Mean” in the College of Business. Videos, stories, events and banners around McCool Hall will be unveiled with each word. The College of Business means... • Leadership. We mean… students, alumni, friends and faculty who are confident, strategic thinkers who are willing to lead and open to new challenges. • Discovery. We mean… leading-edge research for professors, graduate and undergraduate students.

• Integrity. We mean… stressing the importance of responsible decision-making in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching. • Community. We mean… embracing the values of service, compassion and giving back to foster a better world. In January, we will launch a website providing access to all things centennial! At www.WeMeanBusiness.msstate.edu, you will find historical photos, centennial videos, event information and registration, sponsorship opportunities and a place to vote for the Top 100 College of Business alumni. Centennial branded merchandise, such as shirts, hats, decals and glassware, will be sold through the website thanks to our partnership with Barnes & Noble. New items may be added throughout the year. The website will also provide an opportunity for you to share your or a loved one’s favorite memories, experiences or photographs. Here are a few ideas: • What do you remember most about your time in the College of Business? • Who was your favorite professor and why? • What was that one class that sparked your interests? • What were some of the trends or major events going on in the world during your time at MSU? Did that have an impact on you as a student? • Do you remember studying for that first dreaded mid-term? What class was it, and who was your professor? • Do you have any funny stories from your time in the College? • What were the campus activities and organizations in which you were involved? • What were some of your favorites places – to study, eat, meet friends, etc.? Please send us your stories! We will publish some of the memories and photos that you share in our Centennial Edition of Dividends. The COB Centennial Anniversary Celebration is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and increase the professional reputation and visibility of the College and MSU. However, we cannot do this without your support. To contribute to the Centennial Celebration Fund, please make your check payable to MSU Foundation, Inc., memo line: COB Centennial Celebration Fund. Over the last century, the College of Business at Mississippi State University has produced more than 32,000 graduates – from all 50 states and 142 countries – each an important part of our rich history. Join us throughout 2015 as we celebrate this historic milestone and as we continue to lead in excellence for the next 100 years.

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• Opportunity. We mean… affording our students the ability to achieve success in the business world through scholarships, outstanding faculty, state of the art learning resources, study abroad internships and career networking opportunities.

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• Innovation. We mean… fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship for our students, offering real-world experience for ambitious students with a creative drive.

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Expanded Knowledge, Expanded Horizons By M. Kathleen Thomas

horizons

ommy Henry, a native of Philadelphia, MS, knew for a long time he wanted to be a Bulldog. But he did not know his educational path at Mississippi State University would eventually lead him to the highest degree one can earn – a doctorate. He now applies that doctorate in our nation’s capital. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in economics and finance, Henry pursued a master’s degree in political science. Dr. Benjamin Blair, a professor of economics, stopped Henry on the Drill Field one day and asked if he would consider applying for admission to the Ph.D. Program in Applied Economics offered by the Department of Finance and Economics.

Now, he is employed as a regulatory economist in the Office of the Commissioner at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outside of Washington, D.C. Henry credits the training he received at MSU for preparing him for this stage of his career. “Although MSU’s economics department was smaller [than those at some other universities],” says Henry, “I was just as prepared to do the technical parts of my job as my coworkers. What separates MSU is the people. The staff’s confidence in me as a teacher and their desire for me to improve in the classroom was what really prepared me for the day-to-day stresses of my job.” Upon completion of his doctoral degree, Henry spent a year on the Mississippi State faculty as an economics instructor. “We are sometimes called to explain our analyses to others, from the general public to FDA employees and members of Congress. By the time I left MSU, I had taught more than 25 sections of economics courses and had the experience and confidence to clearly communicate the economic principles on which we base our analyses.” The Department of Finance and Economics at Mississippi State University is currently accepting applications for the Ph.D. Program in Applied Economics and the Ph.D. Program in Finance. For more information, please contact Dr. Randall C. Campbell, Graduate Coordinator of Economics, at rcampbell@business.msstate.edu or Dr. Jacqueline Garner, Graduate Coordinator of Finance, at jgarner@business.msstate.edu.

Ph.D. Program in Applied Economics, Mississippi State University Admission: Fall 2015 Qualified applicants will have the opportunity to study with award-winning faculty in the areas of public economics, development economics, industrial organization and labor economics. University Admission Deadline: March 1, 2015 To be eligible for a graduate assistantship with a stipend of approximately $18,000, please submit all admission application and supporting materials to the Office of the Graduate School by February 15, 2015.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Henry entered the program in 2006 and successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in 2011.

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“I met with Dr. Blair at his office a few days later to talk about it,” says Henry. “I had never considered a Ph.D. before then. It was just something about the random, unsolicited conversation with him that drew me to the program. He believed in me, and that gave me the confidence to pursue a Ph.D. in economics.”

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A critical part of the investment appraisal and company evaluation process is gauging management effectiveness, quality, character and values. I am put off by executives with a litany of ex-wives, messy public divorces, marriages to bimbos, visits to strip clubs [and] heavy drinking. ST EPHEN MCCLELLAN 32-year Wall Street veteran and 19-year Institutional Investor All-American Analyst1


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Does Personal Mischief Predict Bad Corporate Leaders? By Brandon Cline

arly Monday morning you wake up, grab your coffee and turn on CNBC to find coverage of your company’s earnings announcement. To your surprise, your boss, the CEO of a Fortune 500 firm, is disclosing earnings that are $3.25 per share. As the lead internal auditor you know this statement is false and, in fact, the earnings are much lower. You immediately open your computer and begin updating your resumé. Your job is not going to be around for long. As you reflect on this morning’s occurrence, you recall an incident at the company’s charitable golf event last spring. You were paired with your CEO, and as the event ended, you caught him deleting his water shot on the seventh hole. You quietly laughed to yourself and thought, “What a loser.” In retrospect, you question if you should have updated your resumé then.

While arguably the implications of misled earnings in the opening scenario might be more severe, its golf illustration seems to matter as well. In fact, the personal lie might have predicted fraud and malfeasance within the firm. For example, as Robert Bryce states in his book Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron,2 “Top executives felt the rules didn’t apply…. The culture at Enron was simply toxic.” As you are probably aware, both Enron and Bear Stearns are no longer with us. Truth be told, many executives face ethical charges in their personal lives unrelated to their firms’ financial or operating decisions. Boeing’s Harry Stonecipher, RadioShack’s David Edmonson, Staples’ Martin Hanika and Raytheon’s William Swanson were all placed under the spotlight for engaging in alleged extramarital affairs, substance abuse, domestic violence or public displays of dishonesty. The head of Time Warner’s HBO unit, Chris Albrecht, was accused of assaulting his girlfriend outside the MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas following the Oscar De La Hoya v. Floyd Mayweather boxing match.3 Yahoo’s CEO, Scott Thompson, claimed an unearned computer science degree from Stonehill College.4 Many of today’s chief executives recognize that their personal activities might put the corporation at risk. Shelly Lazarus, CEO of multibillion dollar marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, says that in a 24/7 news world, “everything a CEO says and does is no longer personal. It is attributed to the company.”5 Other cases suggest that management’s personal behavior does not impact firm performance. Oracle’s CEO, Larry Ellison, is known for leading a hard-charging lifestyle and purported to have had strings of senior-subordinate romances, but the Silicon Valley software-maker remains a market favorite. Virgin Group’s Richard Branson cultivated a successful empire despite a wellknown reputation as a perennial rebel. Arguably, neither Elliot Spitzer’s effectiveness as a district attorney nor Tiger Woods’ competitiveness on the golf course was affected by imprudence in their personal lives, at least until their respective indiscretions were announced. Inspired by these types of events, in a recently released paper entitled “The Agency Costs of Managerial Indiscretions: Sex, Lies and Firm Value,”6 my co-authors and I examine a sample of executives accused of indiscretions in their personal lives for actions explicitly unrelated to the operations of their firm. These include accusations of violence, substance abuse, dishonesty and sexual misadventure. The objective of this work was to gain a better understanding of the total firm costs associated with alleged indiscretions in an executive’s personal life. The link between personal integrity and behavior at the firm is intuitive. In fact, corporations frequently place codes of conduct and ethics at the forefront of company policy. Without the appropriate “tone at the top,” even the best-designed corporate controls can be ineffective. Recently, many have argued that the integrity of management is a factor of production. The notion is that mutual trust between two economic agents reduces transactions’ costs as it mitigates the need for excessive contracting.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Turns out, you should have been just as concerned with the lie on the golf score. On July 13, 2007, when CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino reported that Jimmy Cayne, Chairman and CEO of Bear Stearns, altered his golf score at a charitable golf event, the market responded with a price drop of more than one percentage point – an event which evaporated $178 million in shareholder wealth.

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The CEO misreporting the value of the firm’s earnings clearly impacts shareholders. However, does a personal indiscretion such as a little white lie on a golf score really matter to the firm?

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The implication is that when this trust is breached, the offending agent’s reputation is damaged. The penalties resulting from the damaged reputation are often a multiple of the actual cost associated with the event. The existence of alleged improprieties in an executive’s personal life raises important questions for corporate governance. First, what is the impact of these allegations on firm value, and do they signal important managerial qualities? Second, do they relate to subsequent questionable or even illegal activities at the firm, such as earnings management, actions provoking shareholder lawsuits or fraud? In essence, do personal indiscretions signal successive actions in the corporate setting? While these actions are personal in nature, we find that they signal significant costs for the firm. The data indicates that managerial indiscretions pose a significant risk to the company and inflict substantial costs upon shareholders, particularly when the CEO is involved. On average, there is an immediate 3.8 percent ($320 million) loss in shareholder value at the disclosure of a CEO indiscretion, and operating performance suffers an abnormal decline of 1.8 percent during the same fiscal year. In addition, the firms of these executives experience a long-run abnormal decline in value of 12 percent to 14 percent during the year of an indiscretion. These firms are also more likely to be involved in shareholder-initiated lawsuits and DOJ/SEC investigations and are significantly more likely to manage their earnings.

Managerial integrity is universally revered as a desirable leadership quality. Even though many executives are accused of indiscretions in their personal lives, the issue has received scant attention. Our research has shown that allegations of personal misconduct provide useful insight into the business decisions of top executives. Although these are often unrelated to the business operations of the firm, we illustrated that an indiscretion can credibly signal the value an executive places on his or her reputation. Overall, trust in leadership is vital for a successful business. The paper, coauthored with Ralph Walkling of Drexel University and Adam Yore of Northern Illinois, contains many other findings. To learn more, downloaded it from papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1573327.

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Notably, only 36 percent of executives face disciplinary turnover for these offenses, despite the fact that a significant fraction are repeat offenders. In fact, the turnover rate for repeat offenders is almost identical to that of first time offenders. At best, this implies that the typical firm’s board does not feel that management’s behavior poses a problem. At worst, it implies that boards are ineffective at preventing these events or are simply apathetic to their consequences. Unfortunately, by the time ethical problems are apparent in the boardroom, they have already been reflected in the (often dramatic) loss of shareholder value.

BRANDON N. CLINE Dr. Brandon N. Cline holds the BancorpSouth Professorship in Finance in the College of Business. His research focuses on insider trading, executive compensation, equity offerings and corporate governance. His work has been published in numerous finance journals such as Financial Management and the Journal of Corporate Finance. He has received invitations to present his work at prestigious conferences such as that of the American Finance Association. Among his research awards are the 2014 Wharton School-WRDS Outstanding Paper in Empirical Research, the 2012 Journal of Financial Research Outstanding Article Award and the 2010 Eastern Finance Association Outstanding Paper Award. Prior to joining Mississippi State, Cline taught at Clemson University and at the University of Alabama.

REFERENCES: 1

McClellan, S., 2008, Full of bull: Do what Wall Street does, not what it says, to make money in the market, FT Press.

2

Bryce, Robert, 2002, Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron, Public Affairs.

3

Steinberg, Brian, 2007, HBO Chief Takes Paid Leave – Albrecht’s Future Seems Uncertain Following Charges, Wall Street Journal, May 9, 2007.

4

Efrati, Amir, and Drew Fitzgerald, 2012, Yahoo Cites ‘Inadvertent Error’ in CEO Academic Record, Wall Street Journal, May 4, 2012.

5

Gordon, Joanne, 2007, Career minded: Identity issues, Condé Nast Portfolio.com, June 6, 2007.

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Cline, Brandon N., Ralph A. Walkling, and Adam S. Yore, 2014, The Agency Costs of Managerial Indiscretions: Sex, Lies, and Firm Value. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1573327.

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Six College of Business faculty members retired following the spring and summer semesters this year. Our heartfelt gratitude and respect goes to them for the positive impact they have made on students and co-workers alike during their years of service. We wish each of them a long and happy retirement! Joe H. Sullivan, Ph.D. Professor of Quantitative Analysis

Gloria J. Liddell, J.D. Associate Professor of Business Law

Ronald “Ron” Taylor, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing

James H. “Jim” Scheiner, Ph.D. Director and Professor, Adkerson School of Accountancy

Cynthia Webster, Ph.D. Professor of Marketing

Graduate Programs Hit the Mark Both of Mississippi State’s Master of Business Administration programs – on-campus and online – are in the top 100 U.S. MBA programs. This year marked the first time for the on-campus program to make U.S. News & World Report’s Top 100, while the distance MBA program was included last year. Among the criteria were GMAT scores, undergraduate GPAs and acceptance rates. The ranking is out of a field of 453 public and private institutions nationwide. Having a ranked MBA program within five years was one of Dean Sharon Oswald’s goals when she came to MSU in 2011, and it was achieved in three. The distance MBA program was further ranked by the magazine as the sixteenth best online graduate program for veterans. Word has also gotten out about our Master of Public Accountancy and Master of Taxation programs. In May 2014, 100 percent of our graduating MPA and MTX students had accepted job offers prior to graduation.

Favreau Honored as College of Business Alumnus of the Year Laurence “Larry” Favreau was named the College of Business 2014 Alumnus of the Year. A 1974 accounting graduate, he is the executive vice president and CEO of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. Previously, he served as senior vice president, chief financial officer, where he oversaw accounting, actuarial, investment and information systems areas. Favreau is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, holds the Chartered Life Underwriter designation and is a Fellow of the Life Management Institute. The Gulfport, MS, native serves on the COB Executive Advisory Board. His wife Tonya is also an MSU business graduate, with a degree in Business Information Systems.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

Pearson Liddell, Jr., J.D. Professor of Business Law

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service gratitude

Retiring Faculty

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News briefs

Adams Named College of Business Alumni Fellow

welcome

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Boyce Adams, Sr., was selected as the 2014 College of Business Alumni Fellow. The 1980 marketing graduate is co-founder, President and CEO of BankTEL Systems. The Columbus, MS, based company provides financial accounting and cash management software for some 1,400 clients across the country and the world. Alumni Fellows are accomplished graduates who return to campus to share their knowledge and experience with students. This is not new for Adams, who has supported MSU business students through a BankTEL Scholarship and an internship program at his company. He also contributes his energies and resources to the COB Executive Advisory Board and the MSU Entrepreneurship Center. His youngest son Mark is a Mississippi State business student.

New Faculty and Staff Welcome 2014 new College of Business faculty and staff!

Michael Breazeale, Ph.D.

Haley Brown, J.D.

Krystle Dixon

Assistant Professor, Marketing

Instructor, Business Law

Academic Coordinator, Adkerson School of Accountancy

Carol Esmark, Ph.D.

Adam Farmer, Ph.D.

Zack Harrington

Assistant Professor, Marketing

Assistant Professor, Marketing

Assistant Director, Development

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Cadence Bank has committed $50,000 to establish the Cadence Bank Excellence Fund in Finance. This gift will support a range of needs in the Department of Finance and Economics, which will enhance our students’ learning experience and provide more opportunities for research and service. It is part of a larger commitment that will also provide assistance to MSU students from low income families. In recognition of the institution’s support, the Cadence Bank Department Head Office will be established in Finance & Economics.

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excellence business

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Cadence Bank Establishes Excellence Fund

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Kristen “Kincy” Madison, Ph.D.

Stephanie Mallette, J.D.

Director, MBA Programs

Assistant Professor, Management

Instructor, Business Law

Shawn Mauldin, Ph.D.

Laura Rowell

Director, Adkerson School of Accountancy (April 2015)

Budget Manager, Dean’s Office


News briefs Best in Banking and Finance Mississippi’s top banking and finance student for six of the past seven years has come from the MSU College of Business. This year, senior Spencer Pipitone was named the 2014 Swayze Scholar. The Mississippi Young Bankers (MYB) annually select five outstanding students to receive scholastic awards. Kyle Upchurch also represented Mississippi State among the top five. These finalists complete interviews with the MYB Scholarship Committee and attend the association’s convention, and the top honor of Swayze Scholar is announced at the conference.

HORNE, LLP Funds Scholarships, Strategic Initiative HORNE, LLP has dedicated $75,000 this year to the College of Business. HORNE’s commitment will support the establishment of six undergraduate scholarships and two graduate scholarships. The gift will also establish the HORNE, LLP Strategic Initiative Fund for the College of Business to further increase student and faculty development, as well as technology initiatives and improvements to the College. Additionally, the gift will support the enhancement of the HORNE, LLP Excellence Fund within the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy.

remembering memoriam

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In Memoriam

Dr. Kirk Patrick Arnett, Professor Emeritus of Information Systems, passed away in December 2013. Dr. Arnett received multiple degrees from MSU before joining the faculty in 1984. His teaching, research and service earned him several awards including the NACADA National Merit Advising Award and recognitions as outstanding undergraduate teacher, graduate teacher and researcher. He served as MSU Faculty Athletic Representative to the NCAA and SEC from 1996 to 2005. Before retiring in 2008, Dr. Arnett served as a member of the Association of Information Technology Professionals, Decision Sciences Institute and Association of Information Systems. Dr. Henry Warren Nash, retired Professor and former Department Head of Marketing, passed away in November 2013. Dr. Nash received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Florida after serving in the U.S. Navy during the latter part of World War II. He later earned his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. From 1957 to 1966, he served as the Associate Professor of Marketing at Mississippi State. He was Department Head from 1969 until his retirement in 1996.

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n Dr. Jim Chrisman, Professor of Management and Director of the MSU Center of Family Enterprise Research, has been named Department Head for Management and Information Systems. n Dr. Brandon Cline, Assistant Professor and BancorpSouth Professor of Finance, and Dr. Sinan Gokkaya, former MSU Ph.D. student now at Ohio University, along with coauthor Dr. Xi Liu of Ohio University, won the University of Pennsylvania’s 2014 Wharton-WRDS Best Paper in Empirical Research Award for the Eastern Finance Association for their research on opportunistic insider trading.

n Dr. Craig Orgeron, 1989 COB Management & Information Systems graduate and Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services, serves as President of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. n Dr. Sharon Oswald, Dean, was elected to the board of the Southern Business Administration Association, the regional association of collegiate business programs.

n Dr. Jacqueline Garner, Associate Professor of Finance, won the 2014 MSU Office of Research & Economic Development Graduate Faculty Research Award for the College of Business.

n Pat Robertson, 1975 Accounting alumna and Executive Director of the Public Employees’ Retirement System of Mississippi, was honored by Mississippi Business Journal as one of the state’s 2014 Fifty Leading Business Women.

n Dr. Charlene Henderson, Assistant Professor of Accountancy, recently completed a term as Vice President of the American Taxation Association (ATA). She was recognized in August for outstanding service to ATA, having also served on the Board of Trustees and as Vice President-Elect.

n Natalie Moses Smith, 1992 Marketing alumna, received Hearst Television’s 2013 Eagle Award, presented to one representative annually at each of its stations for sales excellence.

n Dr. Michael Highfield, Department Head of Finance & Economics, was elected Vice Program Chair for the American Real Estate Society, beginning a progression of offices that will lead to his serving as President. n Jeff McCoy, 1979 Banking & Finance alumnus, was named President and Chief Executive Officer of Great Southern National Bank. n Dr. Frances McNair, Professor and Interim Director of the Adkerson School of Accountancy, received the 2014 Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants’ Outstanding Educator Award.

n Dr. Kathleen Thomas, Associate Professor of Economics, was awarded a $15,000 research grant by the National Endowment for the Arts for its Little Kids Rock program, which provides instruments and instruction for low-income students.

MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY

n Hanqing “Chevy” Fang received the 2014 MSU Office of Research & Economic Development Graduate Student Research Award for the College of Business.

n Rod Perry, 1996 Marketing and Professional Golf Management alumnus and PGA Head Professional at Crane Lakes Golf and Country Club in Port Orange, FL, was named the 2013 PGA Professional Player of the Year for the second straight year. He also won the 2013 National Championship in Sunriver, OR, and added a seventh North Florida PGA Section Championship and seventh Section Player of the Year title.

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n Dr. Robert Crossler, Assistant Professor of Information Systems, and collaborator France Bélanger of Virginia Tech University won the 2013 Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences Information Systems Society’s Design Science Award.

n Dr. Robert Moore, Professor of Marketing, received the 2014 MSU Alumni Association Graduate Teaching Excellence Award. COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

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n Brent Tyler, 2003 Risk Management and I nsurance alumnus, was named Director of Operations for HUB International Gulf South’s Mississippi Region. n Dr. Claudia Williamson, Assistant Professor of Economics, was appointed to the Mississippi Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. n Dr. Travis Wiseman, Instructor of Economics, was named Director of the COB International Business program.

n Dr. Meghan Millea, Professor of Economics, was named a John Grisham Master Teacher, MSU’s highest honor for teaching.

Send your news of promotions, new business ventures, honors, awards or appointments along with your graduation year and degree information to business@msstate.edu, subject line: “Alumni News.” Your news could be published in the next issue of Dividends.


Mississippi State University College of Business Box 9588, Mississippi State, MS 39762

NON-PROFIT U.S. POSTAGE PAID BIRMINGHAM, AL PERMIT NO. 159

Discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or veteran’s status is a violation of federal and state law and MSU policy and will not be tolerated. Discrimination based upon sexual orientation or group affiliation is a violation of MSU policy and will not be tolerated.

Dividends Magazine, 2014  

Dividends Magazine, 2014 Dividends Magazine is the annual publication for the Mississippi State University College of Business. Fall 2014 E...

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