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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 6

A Cool Approach to a Hot Issue STORY ON PAGE 2


college of business welcome

As we move into the second century of the College of Business at Mississippi State

University, we are experiencing strong enrollment increases on the Starkville campus as well as national recognition of several of our programs.

For the second consecutive year, the Distance MBA program has been ranked in the top 25 distance MBA programs nationwide by U.S. News & World Report. It came in at 22nd among Best Online Graduate MBA programs and 19th among Best Online Business Programs for Veterans this year. Additionally, Military Times ranks the Distance MBA program 26th nationally for military-friendly business programs. The Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy continues to reach new heights, as it is now ranked third in the nation for both undergraduate and graduate accounting programs (with 15 or fewer full-time faculty) in the latest Commerce Clearing House Public Accounting Report. MSU’s accounting programs are also among the nation’s best regardless of faculty size. The master’s accounting program is ranked 28th, while the undergraduate program is ranked 31st overall. Under the direction of Seth Pounds, MSU’s Risk Management & Insurance program has nearly tripled in size in the past year, and the student chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma took home top honors at the national convention. Supply Chain Management has also experienced significant growth. Assistant Professor Frank Adams keeps students and alumni engaged through various roundtable meetings and social media, discussing significant developments in the supply chain world. The student DECA organization in the Division of Business at Meridian has become an award-winning chapter under the leadership of Dr. Natasha Randle and Dr. Yingge Qu. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for the marketing, finance, hospitality and management fields. The highlight of the year was the grand opening of our new state-of-the-art Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach. A unique feature of the Center is the rotating Executive in Residence program where proven managers and business executives periodically give an afternoon of their time to mentor our budding entrepreneurs. This Center is home to more than 130 student-run businesses, some of which you will read about in this edition of Dividends. We are already looking toward phase two of the entrepreneurship focus, which will be the construction of a cutting-edge business behavioral research lab. In addition to providing a space for students and faculty to conduct applied research, the lab will offer an area for intensive market testing and branding of products to bring these ideas to life. Last but not least, MSU honored COB graduate Turner Wingo with the distinction of National Alumnus of the Year in 2016. You can read about Turner and his dedication to MSU students in this edition of Dividends. And as always, we love to hear from you. We will be rolling out an exciting redesign of our COB website in early 2017, complete with a quick and easy way for you to keep us up to date with what is going on in your world! Your news could even be featured in the next Dividends! Thank you for your continued support of the College of Business, and Hail State!

Sharon L. Oswald, Dean


Executive Advisory Board David P. Abney Boyce Adams, Sr.

contents Dividends is a publication of the College of Business at Mississippi State University | 2016

Richard C. Adkerson E. Andrew Allen

2 Playing With Fire

Marsha Blackburn

Mary Childs William Anthony Clark James A. Coggin Cynthia Cooper Alan Crockett Thomas F. Darnell Larry Favreau Haley Fisackerly Linda M. Garrett Jan L. Gwin John M. Hairston

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Joe Iupe, Jr. Lewis F. Mallory, Jr. Don Mason Frank H. McWhorter, Jr. Lee Miller Mickey Milligan

6 Keeping Up with Turner Wingo The National Alumnus of the Year is passionate about opening doors for students.

10 Branding Terror Dr. Mike Breazeale shares insights into the marketing strategies of violent extremist organizations.

14 An On-the-Ball Bulldog Intellect, talent and heart make Chinwe Okorie a standout in the classroom and on the basketball court.

18 Always Serving MSU’s Mike Pornovets counsels fellow entrepreneurial military veterans.

Paul J. Karre Clyde V. Manning

Anna Barker has developed a way to protect homes in the path of wildfires.

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22 A Leader in Her Field Student Emma Jumper is working to solve the world’s hunger problems. 26 Can TV Dramas Help Prevent Real Crime? Dr. Emily Marett finds TV viewing habits may affect behavior. 30 If the Shoe Fits…Customize It Two students have created a profitable business to breathe new life into

C.R. Montgomery Roderick A. Moore

old shoes.

Debrah Oberkirch

34 Family Ties The College of Business has educated four generations of Mallorys.

Shirley Olson Gee Gee Patridge Richard Puckett, Sr.

38 One Step at a Time Hugo Garcia finds inspiration at home and opportunity at MSU.

R.L. Qualls Joe G. Rice, Jr.

42 Diamond Dogs Mean Business Four SEC Champion baseball players found a home base in the COB.

Pat S. Robertson Ken B. Robinson James Rouse

46 On Mission in Milan U.S. State Department intern Laura Herring delves into global relations.

Robert A. Sheely William A. Taylor, III

50 From Paper Airplanes to Piloting Entrepreneurship Eric Hill’s advice to budding entrepreneurs comes from experience.

Cyndi A. Tucker Jimmy L. Walden Loretta Walker

54 A New Century Begins... Director of Development Rob Jenkins reveals meaningful ways to give.

M. L. Waters

56 The Dress Your Best Closet Crowdfunding helps business students make a great first impression.

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

COVER: Anna Barker demonstrates a solution that may protect houses from wildfires. Article, p.2

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nly YOU can prevent wildfires.”

She says she came up with the idea three years ago, after the evening news showed terrifying footage of a West Coast community that found itself completely engulfed in flames as a deadly wildfire crossed its path. “It was the fall of my sophomore year, and I was watching television with my dad and grandparents when they showed a clip from a helicopter’s view of a man standing on his rooftop while this wildfire was roaring toward him. His only defense mechanism was the garden hose that he was holding,” says Barker. “He was spraying the roof down with water, and as the fire inched closer, he started getting hit with embers. So, he had to stop what he was doing and spray himself down. He was eventually rescued, but the picture of desperation in his final vain attempt to try to save his house and all of his belongings from burning was completely devastating to watch.” She wanted to do something to help these people, but what? She kept hearing the same response when she raised the subject with friends and family: no, there was nothing anyone could do, or someone would have already done it. Barker decided not to take no for an answer, researching as much as she could about fires, chemicals and various fire suppressants to see what factors would be needed to develop some sort of fire prevention system for homeowners. “For example, the fire prevention system would have to be autonomous – something that would be completely self-monitoring and self-activating to the point where no one would even have to be there for it to work,” says Barker. “It also would need to be something that was environmentally friendly. You couldn’t put something on a house that would kill the grass around it or be harmful to humans or animals. It would have to be affordable, readily available and – to top it all off – aesthetically pleasing, for people to actually want to put it on their homes.”

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Barker, a fifth year international business and Spanish double-major from Monticello, MS, has created an environmentally-friendly fire suppression system to protect residential homes from burning in the event of a wildfire.

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At an early age, you may have learned this fire prevention slogan, famously coined by Smokey Bear. While it is true that most wildfires are caused by human carelessness, some do occur naturally. There are almost always wildfires burning somewhere in the United States, and many times they put homes and communities in danger. But how can YOU prevent a wildfire from ravaging your home, or worse yet – a lifetime of memories? College of Business student Anna Barker is creating a fire prevention system to help you do just that.

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By Emily Daniels

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Barker combined all of those factors and came up with a plan. In July 2014, she asked her stepfather, an engineer, to help her sketch out the system’s design. She says she did not know what she was planning to do with it at the time because she was still in school and had no idea how to go about creating a company. “I had just returned to campus for my first day of class on the second floor of McCool Hall,” she says. “I accidentally took a wrong turn off the stairs and bumped into an office that said ‘Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Outreach’ [now called the Center for Entrepreneurship & Outreach]. I thought to myself, ‘What is this?’ So, I Googled it, skipped my 9 a.m. class and walked in. I met Eric Hill, Director of the E-Center, and told him I had this idea, but it was long-term and large-scale and seemed a little impossible.” She told Hill about the idea for her system, called FIRST (Fire Inhibiting Rapid Safety Technology). FIRST would store a special fire retardant gel in pressurized tanks that could automatically release through a sprinkler, completely coating a home’s exterior to protect it from destruction in the event of a wildfire. Hill told her that it sounded like a great idea and that the center’s staff would help her with her project any way they could.

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Through the direction of the E-Center, Barker teamed up with senior chemical engineering student Kagen Crawford, senior mechanical engineering student Jake Haley and senior graphic design student McKinley Ranager. They formed a startup company for her system called BioProvision, LLC. The BioProvision team created a small-scale model of the FIRST system, using a wooden doghouse, a sprinkler made of PVC pipe and a fire suppressant polymer to see if it would even work before pursuing the idea further. After spraying the doghouse with a diluted version of the polymer, they used a blowtorch to try to ignite it. The first test proved successful – the doghouse would not burn. The fire suppressant they used – Barricade Fire Blocking Gel – was invented by John Bartlett, former firefighter and President of Barricade International. He developed the gel after noticing a wet disposable baby diaper that did not burn during a routine trash fire. Through research, he discovered that absorbent elements found in the diaper retained water, which prevented it from catching on fire. Barker says she found out about Barricade after comparing the differences between chemical and polymer fire suppressants. She decided that the polymer fire suppressant Barricade would coat a house better, as it had a much higher viscosity level. Another deciding factor for Barker was that it was also safe for the environment. “Barricade is nontoxic, noncorrosive and biodegradable. It is OSHA and EPA approved and the only fire suppressing polymer substance to ever be approved by the U.S. Forest Service,” states Barker.

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While Barker does not own the polymer, she has negotiated an exclusive licensing deal with Bartlett and his Barricade Fire Blocking Gel to use for her system.

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Barker expects that the FIRST system would include a monitoring box, much like any home security system, that could be activated on the way out if a resident were forced to evacuate. There would be an app available for homeowners that would include an interactive map to locate the wildfire and its distance from their houses. The app would also allow them to activate the FIRST system remotely. But what if, in the chaos of evacuating, homeowners lose or misplace their phones? Barker has already thought of that.

Barker says she is currently working with Mississippi Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney as well as the State Fire Academy to conduct large-scale testing of the FIRST system, scheduled for mid-December. State Fire Academy officials have agreed to let her test a prototype of the system on one of their “burn buildings” to more accurately simulate wildfire conditions. If the prototype can hold up during the testing, she hopes to launch an actual product by the end of 2017. For Barker, a compelling factor in the enterprise is the saving of more than just property. “We can take an office, home or any building on this campus and put a value on it as far as property,” she observes. “Someone can tell you how much your home is worth from a monetary standpoint, but how do you put a price on what’s inside it – someone’s wedding photos or family heirlooms?” So, just how much should people expect to pay to protect their homes and everything inside them? Will it even be affordable? “Once we launch the system for residential use, I have no interest in charging an outrageous sum of money for the system so that only those in affluent neighborhoods could protect their homes,” states Barker. “It is important to me for this system to be affordable and readily available to everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status. But right now, we’re looking to cater to the commercial market first – industrial plants, ships, warehouses, oil rigs – to gain more experience and exposure, before moving on to the residential market.” Barker says between balancing her classes and the time she spends working on her startup company, she rarely finds much time for her social life – or sleep, for that matter. What is it that keeps her going? “It’s a purpose-driven project. There’s a real need that no one has found a solution to yet, and that makes a big difference, especially in entrepreneurship,” explains Barker. “I would have loved doing this anyway because I love business, but knowing that people are really suffering without finding solutions [is] a huge driving force for me. I feel like this entrepreneurial venture has been the ultimate application of my business major, and there is no way that any of this could have happened without MSU cheering me on.”

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“Barricade is also self-cleaning!” exclaims Barker. “If the outside of your home hadn’t been painted in a while, the polymer would actually clean the painted surface. Once you returned, you could rinse the rest of the polymer off using a water hose with a pressure nozzle.”

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If the wildfire were too large or if it blew back in the direction of the house, the system could “rehydrate itself ” by spraying a second round of the polymer. Barricade would protect the home for anywhere between 24 and 36 hours, depending on how thickly it is applied. But a little of it goes a long way – each one gallon container of Barricade concentrate will coat 500 to 700 square feet of area – and it can be stored safely for three years.

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“The FIRST system would include four solar-powered temperature gauges at predetermined distances around the house, and if the temperature spiked up to say, 140 degrees in a matter of seconds, it would automatically send a signal to the generator and the pressurized tank system to spray the Barricade polymer and completely cover the house and windows,” explains Barker. “Since it uses solar power and a generator, it could still work if the power went out!”

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By Carolanne Roberts

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urner Wingo can’t tell you exactly how many scholarships he has provided to Mississippi State University students. It’s not his way to keep score or pat himself on the back. He would much rather tell you about the students themselves, about their achievements and his evolving – and continuing – friendships with many. When pressed, Wingo, the 2016 MSU National Alumnus of the Year, says he probably started his philanthropy about a decade ago.

Turner Wingo’s is a familiar face on campus, and he likes it that way. You can often find the man known as “T” chatting with students – listening, learning and at times sharing his experience as a successful business owner. He may talk of Sherry’s Hallmark in Collierville, which he owned and operated with his late wife, and also of his years in commercial real estate, the family business. He can relate tales from his own early days at State, where he transferred as a sophomore and embraced MSU with passion. Wingo was a very involved member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and a general business major. Still, he would rather hear what’s on the students’ minds. “What can I really tell them?” questions Wingo in reference to his scholarship students, who maintain 3.0 and better grade point averages and, according to their benefactor, exhibit more resolve than he recalls of his own academic life. “My years here were so fast. And I was immature. If I had to do it over again, I’d have studied more. I wish I’d realized what they were teaching me was something I was really going to need. I’ve gone back and restudied some of the stuff. But I don’t try to tell the students all that.” Instead he revels in their successes. There’s Jasmine Baker, who graduated last December from the College of Business in international business accounting with a Spanish minor.

Current scholarship students gather with the Wingos. Pictured (from left) are Michael Poole, Ritchie Haycook, Natalie Stetson, DaKota Wilson, Turner Wingo, Blake Burks, Gloria Wingo, Jon Franklin Jones and Cassie Buchanan.

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On this day, Wingo was packing, something he frequently does, to crisscross the globe. This trip would take him along a Brazilian river, camera and binoculars in hand, to watch for jaguars pursuing caimans along the shore. After those eight days, he would head to his second home in New Mexico, perhaps to fish for trout or crappie. Amid his far-flung ventures, Wingo would swoop into Starkville late in the summer to help his granddaughter settle in as she launches her master’s program studies in the College of Business. He would be back for football season, of course.

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“I’m bound to have done scholarships for 40 or 50 students over that period,” states the native of Collierville, TN. In addition to the College of Business, his 1967 alma mater, he also supports MSU students in the James Worth Bagley College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, Art and Design’s Interior Design program. The latter honors the memory of his late wife Sherry, who had a flair for interiors. He does not mention – until asked – the Turner A. Wingo Endowed Professorship in the College of Business, the Turner Wingo Auditorium in MSU’s newest classroom building or his gifts to athletics and other campus needs. Proud, yes; boastful, never.

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Keeping Up with Turner Wingo

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“She’s working a lot in Mexico for her job at International Paper, thanks to her language skills and business background,” says Wingo. “I recently had dinner with Jasmine in Memphis, and she’s doing so well.” There’s also Michael Barton, the first engineering student Wingo helped financially. “Michael is in aerospace engineering after going to Purdue for graduate school,” he says. “He’s working in Washington, DC, lobbying for space programs on behalf of several companies. During his co-op, he was in Florida for several launches and was qualified to work on the space shuttle itself. He’s a brilliant student and a good person, too.” The most recent success is Tyler Warren, who entered Mississippi State on a federal Pell Grant, worked two jobs as a student and received an infusion of assistance from Wingo. The sixth grade math teacher was promoted only months ago to work in a minority school where all students attend on scholarship. As scholarship coordinator, Tyler pulls the entire program together. “He’s in Memphis, and I definitely keep up with him,” says Wingo.

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Keeping up is a Wingo priority. At least once a year, he invites “his students” to Mugshots in Starkville for hamburgers and conversation. Sometimes he issues invitations to his football tailgate. Wingo’s granddaughter is rooming with one of his scholarship students. His granddaughter represents another direction in which Wingo’s generosity extends. Frida Roeyset comes to State from Ulsteinvik, Norway. Her mother, Annie, is one of many exchange students the Wingos hosted and “adopted” as their own, both during the exchange and long afterward. “I call her my granddaughter because she’s like my granddaughter,” he explains. Back in Norway, his “family” feels the same connection. Wingo actually walked Annie’s sister Mette down the aisle when she married there years ago. “Annie came to us through a Rotary Club exchange [program] when she was a high school student of 16,” says her “American dad.” “Now Frida is here and, of course, we go to Norway often to visit everyone.” This snippet from the Wingo album is important. International involvement and extending hospitality to people from all corners of the world is a given. “My dad was an exchange officer for Rotary, and he needed host families,” Wingo explains. “He didn’t give us a choice. I’d gotten back from Fort Jackson and my [six years of ] National Guard service not too long before our first student arrived. She was from Australia and wasn’t all that much younger than we were. At least we started without any language barriers!” This first experience clicked smoothly, and Rotary continued to supply candidates to fill Turner and Sherry’s guest room. In all, he estimates the couple hosted about 15 exchange students over a stretch of years. “We were always closest to the sisters from Norway, but I’ve kept up with ones from the Philippines, Mexico, Sweden, Australia – she’s from New Zealand but now lives in Australia – and many more. I just texted one of my former international students a few minutes ago because it’s her birthday. She’s another one from Norway.” Wingo lives in Starkville, maintains a home in Collierville and drives 22 hours to his New Mexico getaway, entertained by audio books, as often as possible. But his passport shows constant travel to visit those students who originally came to him. “I’ve been all over the world for fun and to see the people we know,” he says. “We’ve been to Norway countless times, of course, and we’ve been to Italy and to Canada. We went to see Lars in Sweden one trip and Katrina in Sweden on another trip. I hear from that original student from Australia two or three times a year – yes, I’ve been to her house in Australia.” Now married to longtime friend Gloria, he shows no sign of slowing. “I love nature more than anything when I travel,” says Wingo. “I’d rather go to the Amazon than Paris. I’d like to go back to Australia and New Zealand because Gloria has never been. And maybe Africa again, though I’ve been three or four times on safaris.”

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The bucket list that Wingo is working from includes a few surprises. “I haven’t been to a World Series or a Super Bowl, so they’re on the list. Going to Brazil to see the jaguars has been on there for about three years, and now I’m doing that,” he remarks. “But I really want to see Mississippi State play in the Sugar Bowl. Of course, every State fan has that on his bucket list!” Wingo’s heart is deeply rooted to his alma mater. In Memphis, he has been a member and Vice President of the Memphis Maroon Club, which brings together Bulldog alumni and supporters. He not only attends all home (and some away) football games, but he is also front and center for basketball, baseball and tennis events. “I go to almost everything we compete in – you could say I’m pretty gung-ho,” he says. You could say that, and then some. Wingo cannot stroll across campus without knowing a gaggle of people and falling into warm conversation with many. He serves as a member of the MSU Foundation’s Board of Directors and chairs its Real Estate Committee. “I’m also very interested in enrollment and involved in that, asking questions and giving suggestions,” Wingo adds. In 2011, he was named College of Business Alumnus of the Year and was recognized among the College’s Top 100 all-time graduates during last year’s centennial anniversary, an honor received by nomination from his fellow College of Business alumni. With his successes – Sherry’s Hallmark in tiny Collierville was the franchise’s biggest store south of St. Louis – Wingo could have gone in any direction with his money and passion. He chose Mississippi State University. “I’ve got no children, no heirs,” he says. “The students we’ve helped aren’t blood relatives, of course, but it’s a good thing I can do for them. Look at Jasmine Baker with her big-time job at International Paper now, for instance – it makes me feel good. So good.”

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The Wingos got to visit on campus recently with some members of their Norwegian family. Pictured are (from left) Tiril Stokkevaag, Frida Roeyset, Turner Wingo, Gloria Wingo, Vaar Stokkevaag (in front), Mette Holstad, Sigve Stokkevaag and Erle Stokkevaag.

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Branding Terror: What Marketers Can Learn from Violent Extremist Organizations

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Compare the cost-to-impact ratio of Al-Qaeda’s event to a friendlier promotion by WestJet Airlines in 2013. The Canadian carrier recorded the Christmas wishes of 250 passengers via a virtual Santa as they boarded a four-hour cross-country flight. Then, with the help of 150 staff members, they surprised those passengers upon their arrival with their requested gifts on the baggage carousel. This was a creative but expensive (both monetarily and in human capital) promotion that racked up nearly 36 million viewers on WestJet’s YouTube channel, but it did very little to impact the long-term visibility or revenues of the airline. Each organization used its knowledge of its target market to stage a promotion that would resonate with them, filmed the event, released the video and then allowed its own customers to spread the message virally. As is often the case with effective viral marketing, the promotion engaged a large audience due to the surprising nature of the content. Yet Al-Qaeda was able to maximize the value of its inexpensive promotion to maintain long-term prominence, and WestJet saw only a temporary spike in recognition in exchange for the vast resources it expended.

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One of the most difficult factors of research such as this is the need to remove oneself from the grizzly nature of VEO strategies and objectively assess the efficiency and effectiveness of those techniques. For instance, the 2002 videotaped beheading of Wall Street Journal investigator Daniel Pearl was the first introduction to videotaped terrorism for much of the world. It was also the introduction for most of the world to the perpetrators, Al-Qaeda. This event, which branded Al-Qaeda as the world leader in terrorist activities, was a fairly inexpensive “promotion” for the VEO. For the cost of a saber and a video camera, Al-Qaeda was able to create an image of such horror that it has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, sealing its reputation as the first organization to come to mind whenever an act of terrorism is carried out anywhere in the world. This kind of top-of-mind awareness is a much-desired and often heavily resource-intensive initiative for most of the world’s top brands.

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errorists, or violent extremist organizations (VEOs), are not typically the subject of business research, but the similarities between the core branding strategies that these groups use and those of more traditional successful organizations such as Apple® or Coca-Cola® cannot be denied. Of course, as a branding scholar, I tend to see branding implications in most things. This particular research, however, evolved from discussions with some fellow researchers during my time at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. One was working with the U.S. Department of Defense to understand the various management styles employed by effective VEO leaders from an organizational psychology perspective. Another was interested in understanding the impact on an organization of a high-profile leader. We realized that my knowledge of brand strategy would combine well with theirs to allow a more comprehensive view of VEO structures and strategies. Through our collaboration and access to a database compiled by one of the researchers who utilized her enhanced access to U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense data, we were able to create a model of branding strategies that lead to a highly effective (in terms of reputation and destruction) VEO. Our model was able to effectively predict the rise to prominence of VEOs such as ISIS, based on information that could be obtained prior to many of the destructive acts that would eventually lead to their infamy. As this research progresses, we are working to determine effective strategies for “un-branding” some of these organizations and diminishing their brand images with followers and donors, in order to reduce their access to the resources needed to remain viable threats to society.

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By Michael Breazeale

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My fellow researchers and I wondered how VEOs were so deftly using traditional branding strategies to create such an impact. We noted that these groups (1) skillfully tell brand stories that are highly consistent with their missions, (2) provide authentic brands around which their followers can gather, (3) persuasively recruit and empower brand advocates to tell their stories, (4) deliver regularly updated online presences that use as many channels as their audience have media preferences, (5) create easy-to-use online portals for conducting business, (6) efficiently utilize mass media to publicize their cause and (7) regularly monitor social media to gather intelligence on both customers and competitors. In doing so, they typify best marketing practices for building strong consumer-brand relationships and for effectively leveraging those relationships. As a branding mechanism, social media provides a perfect platform. Branding is – at its core – effective storytelling, and social media offers very effective channels for real-time storytelling. Through Facebook and Twitter, VEOs tell their existing followers about their campaigns in real time as they are happening and are able to reframe negative media stories to further their own message. Even before traditional media informs the public about terrorist actions, interested followers of these organizations around the globe have first-hand details. Through the customization of message made possible with social media, VEOs allow their followers the impression of direct interaction with the people at the heart of the organization. This is a very important tool for enhancing brand relationships. Vocal brand advocates are one intended product of traditional branding efforts. When consumers believe strongly in the merits of a beloved brand, they reach out to other consumers and encourage them to show the kind of loyalty they themselves feel. This is especially true for VEO brands. Because followers of these organizations are at times asked to make great sacrifices on behalf of the group, there is a need for intense loyalty and dedication, particularly when operatives are not located geographically near to the organization’s central leadership. When VEO supporters share their stories on social media, potential followers are emboldened and impassioned to demonstrate their devotion as well. In this way the organizations are empowering their followers. An example of the lengths to which VEOs will go to further their cause occurred during the 2014 World Cup, one of the most conspicuous sporting events in recent history. In an act of sheer promotional genius, ISIS employed the trending hashtag #WorldCup2014 to reach potentially millions of soccer fans worldwide and flood the Internet with information about its cause. The same group has used the hashtag #AMessageFromISIStoUS to directly threaten U.S. citizens with airstrikes in an attempt to spread fear and foster distrust in the U.S. government. Besides human capital, financial support is equally vital to VEOs. These organizations – just like traditional businesses – need money to be able to maintain their operations. Luckily for VEOs, social media is also an excellent tool for fundraising. While Al-Qaeda cannot realistically initiate a Kickstarter campaign, some of its efforts are equally successful and surprisingly transparent. In many cases, social media is used to

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VEOs are clearly benefitting from their adept application of branding strategies, but my fellow researchers and I believe that the same tools they are using to grow and thrive can be used against them. Many strong brands, leaders in their industries, have fallen into oblivion. Think Pan Am, Tower Records, Polaroid and Blockbuster Video. In each case, the defunct brand was often outmaneuvered by more agile competitors and done in by a bad reputation. Through our work, we are striving to deliver the same fate to the current crop of VEOs.

MICHAEL BREAZEALE Dr. Mike Breazeale is Assistant Professor of Marketing in the College of Business. He received his PhD from Mississippi State University in 2010 and has previously taught at Indiana University Southeast and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Breazeale’s primary areas of research encompass consumer-brand connections, branding for nontraditional organizations, the consumption of experiences and retail atmospherics. He has published articles in prestigious publications such as Journal of Retailing and Journal of Business Research and has won multiple awards for both teaching and research. Breazeale has performed consulting duties with clients as diverse as the American Red Cross, the U.S. military and the City of Starkville. He is a founding member of the Institute for Brands and Brand Relationships and co-editor of Consumer-Brand Relationships: Theory and Practice (2012) and Strong Brands, Strong Relationships (2015), both from Routledge Publishing.

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As in any worthwhile branding campaign, VEOs also utilize social media to gather intelligence on their consumers. Through observing and engaging in conversations with their supporters, VEOs gain a better understanding of the causes that are important to their followers and gauge response to their current and proposed campaigns. Using blogs, online forums and hashtags, VEOs participate in direct exchanges with interested consumers, giving the impression of being customer-oriented and highly interactive in an age in which individualized service is highly valued. This allows the organizations to develop even stronger bonds with their followers while gathering the information necessary to coordinate their promotional efforts with the services they provide.

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Another less obvious consumer of VEO products is traditional mass media. The news media rarely supports the ideals of these groups, yet does thrive on coverage of their exploits. The public anxiously consumes reports of these events, and the purpose of the terrorist organizations – spreading fear – is accomplished. The more afraid the public, the more they feel the need to watch media reports, and the more the media feels it needs to offer such coverage. By courting the media and providing provocative news to report, the VEOs ensure that their messages are spread to an ever-wider audience.

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solicit funds for specific causes while including instructions for wiring those funds to specific banks and even providing account numbers. VEOs actively advertise their needs while soliciting donations and communicating not only with donors but also with the radical recipients of their fundraising efforts.

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By Sharon Oswald

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f College of Business student and Lady Bulldogs star basketball player Chinwe Okorie had had a crystal ball a few years ago, she might not have believed the story that was about to unfold.

In 2011, Okorie was a carefree 16-year-old living with her parents and five siblings in Lagos, Nigeria. She hung out with her friends on the beach, enjoying music and “open mic” nights.

When Okorie’s twin sister Chinedu encouraged her to try the sport, she laughed it off because she didn’t even know how to dribble a ball. But they continued to talk about it. She joked with her always-encouraging father, Dr. Ephraim Okorie, about being a basketball player. He too felt Okorie should try the game. To her, though, it was nothing more than a pipe dream – she would never act on it. Then one day just a few weeks later, Okorie’s world came crashing down. Her father, a PhD in economics, worked in administration with the port authority and traveled a lot for work. On that day he returned home from one of his many business trips. The sound of their gate opening brought Okorie and three of her siblings outside to greet him with open arms. As they began to embrace him in a group bear hug, their father suddenly collapsed to the ground.

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At the time, Okorie was not involved in sports. But one late spring day she was watching a basketball game of the Lady D’Tigers, the Nigeria women’s national basketball team. She was fixated on the new assistant head coach, Mfon Udoka, a Nigerian American who had played forward at DePaul University and later had a successful professional career.

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“We would be on the beach listening to the live music in the background, and there would be so much good food…and good fish!” she says, grinning widely while reminiscing about those days.

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An On-the-Ball Bulldog

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“We thought he was joking and told him to stop playing around,” she recalls. But he wasn’t joking. In an instant, her father was gone. Sometimes in our deepest, darkest times come life-changing events. And so it went for Okorie. In her enormous grief she decided to try basketball – it was what her father would have wanted. She started playing with a club team. “I didn’t know very much. I was really raw, but I was the only tall girl,” she recalls. One day a Dallas-based recruiter watched her play, and soon she had a scholarship offer for StoneleighBurnham School in Massachusetts, an all-girls preparatory school with a strong academic focus. The recruiter told her, “You can teach the game; you can’t teach height.” Okorie recalls, “My mama was worried. I didn’t know anyone here [in the United States]. She worried that none of what [the recruiter] was telling me would come true. She was afraid it could be a kidnapping ring!” Asked why she trusted the recruiter, Okorie replies, “I don’t know. I just prayed.” It was a leap of faith and something that she knew would have made her late father proud.

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So six months after stepping onto a basketball court for the very first time in her life, Okorie said a tearful goodbye to her family and friends in Lagos and boarded a plane to a city more than 5,000 miles away. “It was a hard time to leave Mama,” she says. “She was still in mourning, and I hated to leave her. She was concerned that I was so young to leave home. But she didn’t stop me, and I knew I had to go.”

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Though she missed home, Okorie loved her time at Stoneleigh-Burnham. She became very close to her basketball coach Jeff Conlon, someone with whom she remains in constant contact today. After a year and a half at Stoneleigh-Burnham and with two other new sports – lacrosse and volleyball – under her belt, she started getting offer letters Photo courtesy of Kelly Price, MSU Media Relations from colleges all over the country to play basketball. They came pouring in from places like Hofstra, Fairfield, Arkansas, Boston College, Quinnipiac and Mississippi State. “I didn’t even open them,” she says. “I just gave them to my coach to read. There were so many that I needed his help. “The coaches [from other schools] just did a lot of talking at me,” she continues. “But Coach Harris [MSU Associate Head Coach Johnnie Harris] was different. She explained everything to me over the phone, and she made me feel comfortable.” A campus visit cinched the deal. During her tour of McCool Hall, she was introduced to someone who was very warm and friendly to her. After he left the building, she learned it was former Athletic Director Scott Stricklin. “He was so humble. I didn’t know he was even part of the recruiting process,” says Okorie. She also clicked with Coach Vic Schaefer. Okorie’s education is her priority – something instilled in her by her father – and she likes the fact that Schaefer expects As and Bs from his players. Every week the team has an academic meeting, and team members are assigned to an “academic” coach. “We sit with them one-on-one, and we don’t talk about basketball,” she says. “These are our coaches, and we are talking on an academic level. They want to know how we are doing in classes and if we need tutors.” After meeting with their academic coaches, the team meets with Schaefer, and “he’s still talking about academics with us.” Another special bond for Okorie developed off the court due to a happenstance meeting. It was with COB International Business advisor Tina Sneed. “One day, we came across one another four different times,” Okorie says. “She jokingly told me after the second time that she wasn’t ‘stalking’ me, but then we kept meeting again. It was like we were just meant to meet.”

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Now she goes to “Mama Tina” for counseling and motivation and sometimes a motherly hug, and she has won the hearts of the entire Sneed family. Once Okorie landed at MSU, she never looked back. She calls McCool Hall her home and loves getting to know the faculty and talking with them outside the classroom. “I really admire [Associate Professor of Management] Dr. Laura Marler,” she notes. “She has a sense of authority in the classroom, and she is so professional and so helpful.”

Many of the faculty have embraced her. And what is disposition have captured a long list of diehard fans? She not only shines on the basketball court, Okorie has excelled academically, making the SEC academic honor roll every year and having the distinction of being the first athlete to receive a bachelor’s degree from the COB within three years’ time.

Okorie’s ambition does not stop there. The determined young woman has a passion for fashion design and has been designing shoes since before she left home. “It is hard to find nice shoes in big sizes. They pretty much stop at size 10 ½,” she says. “I found a program online that I use to design my shoes. I like pretty things, and I want pretty shoes just like everyone else.” She unveiled her designs for the first time in her branding class this past summer. Okorie plans to continue honing her design skills and envisions a future involving owning her own private shoe, clothing and cosmetics line. Initially, she says, the shoe business will remain a “side attraction.” Ideally she would love to work in an environment where she can better learn the design business. Okorie describes herself as brave for leaving home at 16 and making a life in the United States. But after a short time with her, one realizes there are many more adjectives that describe her, like persistent, humble and above all, kind-hearted. She loves to work with children and older people. “Children will tell you everything. They have no filter,” she says. “You need patience, but I loved all four years of coaching camps.” This past year, Okorie was nominated for the Allstate Good Works Team presented annually by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, the National Association of Basketball Coaches and Allstate Insurance. She has volunteered with Mississippi Special Olympics, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Bully’s Book Blitz, to name a few. She also plans to spend time at The Claiborne at Adelaide, an assisted living facility in Starkville. With a list of honors and academic achievements under her belt, what keeps this star athlete grounded and motivated? Her strong Christian faith and her desire to make her family proud. There is no doubt that there are six Okories in Lagos, Nigeria, beaming with pride for all that their daughter and sister has accomplished.

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Despite the tug she feels toward home, Okorie’s future plans include staying in the United States. Having completed a general business degree, she is currently working on a second undergraduate degree – in marketing, with a minor in French. She next wants to achieve a master’s degree and get a job in the corporate world. She speaks eight languages including six Nigerian dialects, French and English, and she hopes her education and talents will serve her well.

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Okorie is quick to say that her inspiration is her mother, Ngozi Okorie, whom she hasn’t seen in nearly five years. She supports their family by managing a commercial business plaza that she and her late husband established. Okorie and her mother talk two to three times a week and try to Skype a few times a month, but she longs to see her mother and five siblings, who range in age from 23 to 14 – older sister Chika, twin Chinedu, younger sisters Chibueze and Tochi and baby brother Ugochukwu.

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not to love about this 6 foot 5 inch beauty, whose smile and

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By Kathy Kenne

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here are many words to describe Mike Pornovets – veteran, entrepreneur, visionary, award winner. At the College of Business, we call him “Counselor.” That’s his job title as well as an apt description of what he does at Mississippi State University’s Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC).

Pornovets’ business prowess was recognized in a big way this year. He has been named Mississippi’s Small Business Person of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The award was presented in acknowledgement of the growth of Everything Kayak. It acclaims the company’s “staying power, growth in “This was an amazing number of employees and increase in sales.” It also takes into account its finances, innovation, responsiveness to adversity opportunity for me, but and contribution to the community. Pornovets was presented I was just doing my job. his award in Washington, DC, by SBA Administrator Maria So I received the award Contreras-Sweet and business mogul Mark Cuban.

on behalf of all small business entrepreneurs. It’s a team effort. People have helped me create jobs. It’s my duty to try to help someone else now.”

Pornovets is the very definition of the American success story. Hard work and determination have paid off. Having left home at age 15, he struggled early in life. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 2004 where he served nine years on active duty. His service included three tours in Afghanistan and one in Iraq. In 2013, he decided to enter the civilian world of business, although he has remained in the Reserves attached to the 4th Marine Surgical Battalion in Gulfport.

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“I didn’t really have any money when I got out of the service,” shares Pornovets. “I wanted to start my business and needed $250,000 to do that. I was denied 19 times trying to get a loan. Finally, I found a Florida bank that was doing microloans. They gave me $50,000. It wasn’t nearly enough, but that’s what I started on. I’m now actively seeking to expand Everything Kayak to other locations.” What initially enticed Pornovets to make Gulfport his home was his love for the water and the fact that there was no kayaking company in the area. “I knew kayaking, but what I wasn’t expecting was to fall in love with business,” says Pornovets. “Never in a million years would I have thought I would thrive on the stress of growing a business and adapting to industry changes. At this point, it doesn’t matter to me what I sell, I just love the business aspect of it.”

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“I love being a part of the University and am so appreciative of the opportunity they have given me,” says the energetic entrepreneur. “I may not have attended Mississippi State, but I’m a Bulldog through and through!”

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An astute businessman, Pornovets joined the MSU family in 2015 on a part-time basis. It gives him time to continue growing his successful Gulfport start-up, Everything Kayak.

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Always Serving

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passion opportunity

Being a self-taught businessman is part of what drives Pornovets to help others and makes him a perfect fit for counseling veterans and their spouses at the VBOC.

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“I did lots of Googling and watched a lot of YouTube videos to try to figure out what I was doing,” shares the man who knows the profit margins on every item in his store to one-tenth of a percent. “My philosophy is that I need to be an expert in whatever the business requires. I went to a threeweek course on credit card processing. I paid a bookkeeper to tutor me so I would completely understand how to manage my books. I don’t do all those things myself now, but I know how. I think that’s where many businesses fail. They hire someone to do those things for them and don’t know anything about it themselves.” Pornovets has a passion for seeing others succeed. In less than a year, through his work at the VBOC, he has spoken to more than 10,000 veterans, spouses and military members preparing to separate or retire from the service. He also mentors more than 25 clients whom he says will never be able to get rid of him. “They’re stuck with me,” he laughs. “I’ll keep checking on them whether they like it or not!” The VBOC is a partnership venture between the College of Business and the SBA. It is also strongly allied with MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach. Established in May of 2015, the VBOC operates through the College of Business with a grant from the SBA. In effect, it is the SBA’s counseling arm to veterans. The MSU office serves the personnel at ten military bases in Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee The U.S. Small Business Administration honored and Alabama in addition to the National Guard Mike Pornovets as Mississippi’s 2016 Small and Reserves. The staff assists service personnel Business Person of the Year. and spouses with market research, business plans, financial analyses and funding research. They also help these prospective entrepreneurs investigate legal and accounting assistance and any industry regulations. It is initiatives like this that have landed MSU at the top of many lists of most military/veteran friendly universities. Jennifer Adams has been the beneficiary of VBOC assistance. Her husband is an active duty member of the Navy. With Pornovets’ guidance she has been able to open a successful Gulfport franchise of Peaches and Clean, a floor and upholstery cleaning service.

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“Mike has been extremely helpful,” she shares. “He is very intelligent about business. He made sure I was aware of every aspect of being a business owner that needed to be addressed. He helped me with information about women-owned businesses, with budgeting and with a business plan. For anything I’ve needed, he’s been right there to help.”

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In addition to managing Everything Kayak and his work with the VBOC, Pornovets serves as Vice President of the Gulf Coast’s Innovation Center business incubator. He has also started the Veterans’ Business Meet-Up to assist veterans in getting VA certified for business.

In March, when Pornovets was honored as Mississippi’s Small Business Person of the Year, he also represented MSU along with Hill in accepting additional SBA recognition. The University’s Veterans Business Outreach Center was named one of five national winners of the SBA’s 2016 “Lean for Main Street Training Challenge.” The competition gives representatives from SBA’s resource partner network – including VBOCs – the opportunity to help small businesses and entrepreneurs utilize lean business methodologies. Pornovets uniquely enjoys working with veterans.

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“Mike’s tremendous success is something he’s passing along to others daily, and we are proud to have him on our team,” says Eric Hill, MSU’s Director of Entrepreneurship. “His firsthand expertise and perspective significantly enhance the University’s capacity to support next generation entrepreneurs. Mike has a practical perspective that’s good to have in an academic environment. It’s great to work with him.”

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MIKE PORNOVETS

He also finds veterans, like himself, to be quick risk evaluators and decision makers. They are well trained in stress management and personnel management. There are several areas where mentorship is needed that he finds common to most veterans. One is an understanding of how civilians are differently motivated than military personnel. A second emphasis is on financial management. Many men and women coming out of the military have experience handling large budgets but need more familiarity with managing balance sheets. Pornovets has lived their experience and understands it. Not only does he teach other business professionals these principles, but he implements them at home as well. When his six-year-old son wanted a game system recently, Pornovets used that as an opportunity to begin teaching him about profit margins. How many kayaks would Daddy need to sell to make a game system possible? “I’m not sure how much of that really sunk in,” he says with a smile. “But you’ve got to start somewhere.” Many would consider the art of business to be Pornovets’ passion, which is true in part. What cannot be overlooked, however, is that he is driven to help others succeed. He asks all those whom he mentors to define what success is for them. It may be managing businesses on a global scale, or it may be as simple as providing comfortably for their families. He understands success is not the same for everyone. “I’ve taken risks that could have bankrupted me,” he shares. “I want people to be prepared financially to start businesses, so they’re not putting their families at risk. A lot of people have invested their time in me. I have the ability to help others, and now I have that opportunity.” It is an opportunity not wasted.

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“Veterans don’t have a nine to five mentality. When starting businesses, they go into ‘deployment mode’ and do whatever it takes to get the job done – whether that’s going to a board meeting or emptying the trash.”

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By Carolanne Roberts

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mma Jumper is excited. It’s the end of a busy weekend, and she’s remembering yesterday’s Fitbit results.

“I got more steps than I ever have before,” marvels the College of Business senior. “I was in the barn at 6 a.m. and worked the cows all day, giving oral doses of a de-wormer and vitamins and also putting tags in their ears to keep the flies away. We took a break, then went back and worked until 10 p.m.”

“In two years I traveled more than 25,000 miles across America for appearances,” says the finance major, who holds the titles of National Beef Ambassador, American Angus Ambassador and Mississippi Farm Bureau Ambassador. She is sponsored in those roles by the National Cattlewomen’s Association, the American Angus Association and the Mississippi Farm Bureau, respectively. That mileage – and time – is in addition to visiting classrooms in Mississippi or clubs such as Rotary International around the state. Jumper is especially moved by the school visits, where she addresses recurring questions from children like, “Does chocolate milk come from brown cows?” This dynamic champion of agriculture sets them straight – and goes further.

“I strive to convince students that if they put a bit of effort into STEM classes (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), no matter where their interests lie, they can be involved in agriculture and feeding the world.” EMMA JUMPER It was Jumper’s passion for agriculture and her far-reaching goals that drove her choice of Mississippi State’s College of Business for her education. “I knew I wanted to be involved in agriculture,” she says. “My brother Isaac and I would like Rock Creek Angus Ranch to grow into something spectacular, but it’s going to take the knowledge of animal genetics from Isaac’s side and my being business-smart enough to continue what my mama and daddy have worked for so many years to create.” With a watchful eye on the ranch, of which she is already part owner, Jumper looks far beyond to children in the Mississippi Delta or youngsters along the equator – anywhere there is hunger.

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But Emma Jumper is not an ordinary college student. For instance, she is a member of Chi Omega sorority but says her sisters understand that she cannot appear at most functions because she is frequently away speaking to groups around the country about her favorite subject: agriculture.

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That day Jumper, her MSU-vet-school-student brother Isaac and two older generations of her family ran 150 cows through the chute at Rock Creek Angus Ranch, their operation in Paragould, AR. She doesn’t sound tired. Rather, she seems fulfilled – energized, even. She’s a bit unlike most students in the Finance and Economics curriculum, who seldom take calls from influential alumni while sitting on noisy hay balers.

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A Leader in Her Field

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Jumper is the 2016 recipient of the National Retail Federation’s Next Generation Scholarship.

“I want to feed the world,” she says firmly. “There are hungry children in the Delta who have never been out of the county in which they were born. And what makes my heart beat fast is knowing that we have products that are sitting on shelves that could be saving lives and creating happiness for millions of people. One product is golden rice. The beta carotene in a cup of this rice daily could save the eyesight of millions of children.” She continues, “Because of existing policy, we cannot supply that rice to help a staggering number of children. So I’m looking into a graduate program at State where I would study international agriculture and how to distribute calories around the world from a policy standpoint. Law school may be in my future, too. A law degree, when working with policy, would go a long way, and it would give me credentials among the people receiving my message.” The message of need, hope and possibility is Jumper’s mantra, one she manages to fit into every cranny of her life. As a two-time contestant for the Miss Arkansas crown and also a candidate for Miss Mississippi, the COB spitfire focused her platform on the world’s hunger issues with great success. Finishing in the top 15 of Arkansas participants, Jumper won the $1,000 Miss America Community Service Award. She also took home the Quality of Life Award, presented in honor of her efforts to put her personal program into action. A passionate speaker, she swept the interview categories for such questions as, “What do you see as the biggest threat to the world today?” Her answer: bioterrorism in our food supply. In January, Jumper received national recognition as an outstanding student. With two days’ notice, she had fulfilled multiple requirements to enter the National Retail Federation Foundation’s Next Generation Scholarship competition. Five finalists were named, and Jumper won the top prize of $25,000. “My professors thought my story of agricultural retail was different and encouraged me to enter,” she says, recalling with pride the awards ceremony at Chelsea Piers in New York, NY. Judges included top brass from The Container Store, Brooks Brothers, Williams-Sonoma and Saks Fifth Avenue. Jumper also holds several Mississippi State scholarships: the Sanders Family Endowed Scholarship, the Noel Polk Scholarship, the Jane and Ann Mortensen Scholarship and the Mississippi Farm Bureau Scholarship. “This semester I have a Real Estate Investments class, and right now the talk in agriculture is how we can encourage a younger generation of farmers when they can’t afford to buy land to farm, so this knowledge will apply,” she explains. “And in this class, I’m also looking at my own land and assets as investments I can grow in the future to create an even bigger operation.” Her unique approach comes from starting to achieve her goals at an early age.

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“Ever since I learned to walk I’ve been intimately involved in my family’s operation, and now I own cattle in my name. What I do every day really does matter to me, so I do look at my business classes through a different lens. Every one of them helps me prepare for where I want to go with my life.”

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EMMA JUMPER

Equating time management skills and farm life, Jumper says, “you learn that there are more important things in life than watching your favorite television show every Tuesday at 7 o’clock. I surround myself with like-minded friends, and we hold one another accountable on grades and campus behavior. They’re every bit as driven as I am, but they’re also the ones who can tell me we’re going to chill out on the weekend.” Emma Jumper does chill out – a bit. She is involved in the Collegiate Cattlemen’s Association on campus and trains for triathlons. She sings in the Adaton Baptist Church choir and plays classical piano. And the high-achiever recently earned her license as a private pilot.

“When I get tired, it helps to have those people in my life who say, ‘Emma, remember why you’re doing this – you love it.’ That’s all it takes to keep me going,” she declares. Jumper says it all circles back to business. Working the farm alongside Isaac, with his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and interest in animal diseases, keeps her rooted in the practical. “I like those vet-type activities, but I much more enjoy the business side of agriculture,” she notes. “At the end of the day, you can have all the healthy cows in the world, but if you can’t put pencil to paper and make the books balance, then your operation isn’t going to flourish.” Her eye on the prize will assuredly bring rewards, and Jumper, who will graduate in December, knows that. “I just believe wholeheartedly ‘to whom much is given, much is required.’ It doesn’t say ‘much is suggested’ or ‘much is expected.’ It definitely says ‘required,’ and so as long as I have strong hands and a strong heart, I’m going to keep going, doing everything I can to advance the skills I need to be successful in my field someday.” Asked if anything seems difficult, or comes hard for her, Jumper takes time to ponder. “I try to never over-obligate myself, but at the same time it’s really a challenge for me to see a need and not get in there and help,” she says. “I always want to help.”

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She does return to the ground though, both literally and figuratively. Her daily pace is fast and demanding, but Jumper stays focused, thanks to her mom’s training her to use a planner and to make each second count.

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“When you’re flying, you’re not bound by anything,” she says. “You leave any problems you have on the ground. There’s nothing like being 1,200 feet in the air and taking in all your surroundings while flying the aircraft.”

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And that life is jam-packed.

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Can TV Crime Dramas Help Prevent Real Crime?

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hat reaction does the image at left provoke? Fear? The urge to help? How about, “She shouldn’t put herself in that kind of situation…”

What you watch on television might be influencing your response. A recent study demonstrates that the ways in which crime – specifically sexual assault – is portrayed on shows like CSI, Law & Order and NCIS can influence society’s attitudes and behavior. That research was co-authored by College of Business Instructor of Management Dr. Emily Marett, and it has drawn national attention in both academic and mainstream arenas.

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By Kirsten Shaw

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“Depicting sexual assault on TV used to be taboo, but since the 1980s it has been increasingly portrayed,” observes Marett. During this era, the negative effects of television violence have been studied and debated, but the question of whether crime dramas could have a positive impact on sexual assault awareness and prevention was an angle that had not been investigated. The research team focused on college students in part because they are at highest risk. According to research conducted by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, a branch of the Centers for Disease Control, 13 percent of women and 6 percent of men report experiencing sexual assault, and 37.4 percent of female rape victims were between the ages of 18 and 24 when the assault occurred. Sexual assaults often occur in settings familiar to victims, such as college parties, where bystanders are present in the events leading up to an assault. A student might witness a drug being slipped into someone’s drink or be involved in a conversation in which a friend expresses plans to coerce someone into having sex. That student’s willingness to speak up or take action can help protect a potential victim.

The researchers learned that those who watched crime dramas on a frequent basis were more willing to intervene in a situation than those who primarily viewed other television genres such as sports or reality. “One reason we were excited by these results is because people are very uncomfortable with this topic, and that makes them unlikely to come to a seminar about sexual assault,” Marett points out. “But they will watch TV, so that’s a safe, comfortable way to deliver the message.” This led the researchers to a second study among college students in which they looked at the three toprated network crime dramas and their spinoffs – the CSI, Law & Order and NCIS franchises. They focused on

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Marett became involved as a PhD student at Washington State University. She worked with Dr. Stacey Hust, an Associate Professor there, on a survey to assess whether students’ general television viewing habits affected their likelihood of intervening in a sexual assault situation.

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consent and on whether the shows were increasing the likelihood for a bystander to step in in a sexual assault situation. While the roles of personality traits and demographic characteristics have been studied as factors in a person’s intent to intervene, this was the first time the influence of media – particularly TV crime dramas – had been considered. There are many stereotypes about sexual assault, such as the idea that it cannot be considered rape if the victim is in a relationship with the aggressor. Known as “rape myths,” these stereotypes often impart some blame to the victim. Others include finding fault with a victim’s provocative dress, intoxication or decision to walk alone at night. An individual’s right to say no is absolute, but these myths frequently serve to justify assault. Additionally, a bystander’s level of acceptance of such myths can impact his or her probability of intervening. While the design of the study did not allow direct cause-and-effect relationship to be proven, the team found that each TV franchise was linked to different effects on those surveyed.

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The Law & Order franchise – which at the time of the study was composed of Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent – showed the most positive impact. Compared with viewers of other shows, Law & Order viewers were less likely to accept rape myths, felt more empowered to refuse unwanted sexual activity and reported a higher intent to respect their partners’ wishes. The CSI shows – which included CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami and CSI: New York – fell toward the other end of the spectrum. CSI viewers were less likely to seek consent before engaging in sexual activity and were less likely to respect their partners’ expressions of consent. The NCIS franchise – at the time, NCIS and NCIS Los Angeles – had the least effect either way, perhaps because it portrays sexual assault less frequently. However it, too, showed less than positive effects, with the survey indicating its viewers were less likely to refuse unwanted sexual activity.

“What the study showed is that it’s not good enough just to portray the issue. The way you portray it matters.” E M I LY M A R E T T She adds, “If you’re not portraying sexual assault in a way that dispels myths and shows the complexity of the issue, it can have the effect of reinforcing bad, false stereotypes.” In viewing the shows, researchers were able to see why each had the results that they did. They portray sexual assault in very different ways. “In published interviews by Law & Order producers, they state that they proactively write scripts that explore the complexities of this issue and that they seek out opportunities to debunk rape myths,” comments Marett. For example, Law & Order: SVU has featured storylines in which the victims are prostitutes, conveying that it is the issue of consent that defines sexual assault, not the character of the victim. Other myths it often challenges are that sexual assault occurs when women are alone in unsafe public places and that most rapists are minority males. “Law & Order is the only franchise that shows the punishment side,” adds Marett. “And trials also give the opportunity to go into lengthier, nuanced discussions.” She notes that by focusing on the investigation and trial, Law & Order viewers better understand the damaging effects of sexual assault, in this case evoking empathy for the victim and a desire to avoid the perpetrator’s consequences. Outside content analysis of the programs revealed that unlike the other franchises, CSI frequently features graphic depictions of the violence that killed the victims, and with crime lab science being the shows’

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focus, victims are primarily represented as objects to be examined rather than as human beings. Besides these desensitizing aspects, the analysis showed reinforcement of the rape myths that sexual assault occurs because women dress or act provocatively, are alone in unsafe places or don’t follow safety precautions. In one episode, for example, a woman is sexually assaulted and murdered after leaving her windows unlocked while living alone, carrying the implication that she bears some responsibility for what happened to her. “So many victims internalize the blame,” says Marett, noting that this often deters them from reporting the crime or seeking services to help. “This study gave us insights into the right ways and the wrong ways to combat the issue. Anything that can be put out there to dispel rape myths and keep victims from blaming themselves is good.” Not surprisingly, the research has garnered a great deal of attention. Each study was published in the respected academic publication Journal of Health Communication. From there, mainstream media picked up the results. The studies have been covered in The Guardian, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Scientific American, People, New York magazine and The Huffington Post, among others. Actress Mariska Hargitay of Law & Order: SVU even re-Tweeted one of the articles. Marett says that perspectives and prevention of sexual assault is an “evolving thing.” “It’s slowly but surely getting more attention. There’s more focus today on sexual assault in places like college campuses and the military,” she notes. “I hope in the future our research will help inform programs and make them more successful [in contributing toward awareness and prevention]. We still have a long way to go.”

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Dr. Emily Marett

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If the Shoe Fits…Customize It By Emily Daniels

That’s where MSU students Cliff Danzy and Ki’erre Dawkins come in. The two have created a profitable business to breathe new life into your old shoes.

After high school, Danzy wanted to follow in his sister’s footsteps and attend Mississippi State. His mom wanted him to get his feet wet at a community college before going to a big campus, but after some convincing from his big sister, she agreed. And off he went. Once he arrived on campus, he moved into Hathorn Hall, a freshman dorm. It was there that he met Ki’erre Dawkins. The two greeted each other in the hallway a few times, but they ran in different social circles. Little did they know that shared similar interests would eventually bring them together. “One day, I was scrolling through Instagram on my phone, and I saw a really cool video that someone had posted,” says Danzy. “It showed a guy who was painting designs on a pair of Timberland boots, and they looked awesome!” Danzy knew that the designs he saw were far too advanced for him to recreate himself, but he thought of someone who could. He remembered former dorm hallmate Ki’erre Dawkins, a fine arts major concentrating in painting. “I went to Jones County Junior College for a year then transferred to Mississippi State because it’s an accredited architecture school,” says Dawkins. “I quickly decided that architecture wasn’t for me – I realized that I was actually intrigued with the artistic side of it. I really loved to draw, and I was good at it. So I took Professor Brent Funderburk’s art class. He told me I had some real talent as a painter, and he encouraged me to continue down that path.”

Ki’erre Dawkins (left) and Cliff Danzy

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Cliff Danzy, a senior business administration major from Clinton, began restoring shoes while he was still in high school. He noticed that many shoe repair shops fixed dress shoes but not sneakers, or tried to repair athletic shoes using the methods and tools applied in dress shoe restoration. He began teaching himself to specialize in those types of shoes.

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Danzy and Dawkins founded Sneaker Beaterz about three years ago. The start-up company takes old, worn-out tennis shoes or boots and restores them to almost new condition. Sneaker Beaterz can even do one-of-a-kind customizations to give you a completely new look.

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lmost everyone at one time or another has owned that one pair of shoes – shoes that looked great, and felt even better. You know the ones. You wore them so often they began to fall apart, but throwing them out was unthinkable. After all, it took a while to break them in, and they had perfectly molded to the shape of your feet. You wanted to get them fixed, but feared they were ruined beyond repair.

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32 After changing his major to fine arts, Dawkins began posting his artwork on Instagram. Danzy saw some of his work and contacted him to see if he could customize a pair of Timberland boots for him. “When I got in touch with him about it, he told me that he had actually been thinking about starting a shoe customization business,” says Danzy. “I told him that I had already been working on restoring old shoes for three or four years and that we should start a business together.” Sneaker Beaterz started off as a small side project to make a few extra dollars here or there, but after posting before and after photos of several pairs of shoes on Instagram, the two soon discovered a sizeable market demand for shoe customizations and restoration on campus. Their small project had become much larger than anticipated. “I was a member of the Entrepreneurship Club in my freshman year,” states Danzy. “We were in the very beginning stages of our company at the time, and we wanted to make sure we were really going to pursue it before diving head first into it. We kind of did our own thing for a while, but we realized what a profitable opportunity this was for us. We came back to the E-Center in July of this year and talked to [Director of Entrepreneurship] Eric Hill for about two hours to see what steps we needed to take next.” Dawkins says they knew how to start a business, but the E-Center has helped them continue to grow their business on a much larger scale. “I think we were just so busy going through the motions that we didn’t have a chance to see our company from the outside looking in, and the E-Center really helped us do that,” he notes. “We started meeting with Eric every week to develop our business plan. Eric helped us get more organized, and he was great about pointing out things from a customer’s perspective – things that we didn’t really notice before.” Danzy and Dawkins have been working together for almost three years now. Balancing school and work, they managed to complete more than 400 orders last year, and they have earned over $30,000 in sales. “It fluctuates, but we may get six or seven restoration or customization orders via Instagram or through recommendations in one day. It usually takes about a week to complete an order, so we really have to plan our time to get them done,” states Dawkins. “We also buy lightly worn shoes to customize and refurbish in our spare time. Sometimes we double or triple our profits when we resell them!” “When we go to sneaker or shoe conventions, we bring all the shoes we have refurbished or customized to sell,” adds Danzy. “We usually make around $6,000 to $7,000 on them in a span of four or five hours. We try to go to these conventions at least once every two months, but it can be tough while we’re still in school.

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It really gets your name out there though, and it also allows you to see what others are doing and how you can improve. We’ve seen teams who restore shoes and teams who customize shoes, but we almost never see anyone else who specializes in both. I think that in itself gives us an advantage.” Danzy says that majoring in business administration has definitely helped him as far as managing their start-up. “Since we are already managing a business now, what I am learning in class is helping me as I go!” he shares. “My entrepreneurship class with Dr. Danny Holt really taught me a lot about running a start-up company. He even let me work on Sneaker Beaterz as a project for the class.” “Because I do a lot of graphic design work, I wanted to take classes about consumer behavior and personal selling to learn about how to cater to the consumer,” he says. “My marketing minor has really helped me understand what people look for and how to meet their needs. I think it definitely helps me understand the ins and outs of running a business.” Danzy is set to graduate this December, while Dawkins plans to finish his degree in the spring. When asked what’s next for their start-up, the two say they have several goals in mind.

“It would definitely maximize our exposure. Not only would sports teams follow, but the fans would too,” adds Dawkins. There is also mention of adding cowboy boots as well as men’s and women’s dress shoes to the lineup in the future. The entrepreneurs say they will soon begin researching and testing out different techniques to see what works best. “We’re optimistic. We are focused on shoes now, but we know our designs could move into other directions, like clothing or accessories,” states Danzy. “I would also hope we would have a couple of stores within the next five years where we would sell a variety of custom and refurbished shoes,” he adds. “We would still allow orders through the website, but you could also drop your shoes off in person.” Danzy and Dawkins have put in many long hours working on their start-up in what little spare time they have, but they are excited about all the possibilities of their hobby-turned-career. The two agree that their friends and families have encouraged them since the very beginning. “My mom has supported me in everything,” concludes Dawkins. “When I told her I was switching my major from architecture to art and that I was starting a shoe customization and repair company, she was all for it. She told me that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. I always hated hearing that because it’s so cliché, but now I can see that she was right. Cliff and I both worked hard to get our company off the ground, and now we get to do what we love every day!”

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“We recently met with Mr. McCullough [Glenn McCullough, Executive Director of the Mississippi Development Authority and the E-Center’s first Executive in Residence], and he told us to think about where we can sell customized shoes in mass quantities, like sports teams,” says Danzy. “So I think our first goal would be to customize shoes or cleats for sports teams. Once we sign one team, I think more would follow.”

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“We started our website about six or seven months ago – it’s just a temporary site for now. A big goal is to revamp the site to make it easier to find, more automated and more customer-friendly,” states Dawkins.

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Dawkins has found marketing classes to be beneficial for their company as well.

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By Carolanne Roberts

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hen the Mallory family gathers, as they often do, you can expect talk to turn one of two ways: Bulldog sports or business.

“I’m Bulldog all the way!” declares patriarch Lewis Mallory, Jr., who grew up with the campus literally his childhood playground.

“If we wanted to play football, we’d go to the practice fields and play,” he says. “If we wanted to play basketball, we’d go to the basketball arena. It was just a simpler time. We could even camp out on campus.” Years later, with a guilty laugh, he calls himself out for shooting a goldfish or two in the University President’s prized goldfish pond with his new BB gun. It made sense that Mallory would follow his father’s footsteps at this beloved institution, and that his own sons and grandsons would feel the magnetic pull of Mississippi State as well – right down to the College of Business and its promise of prepping them for success. “I just assumed I’d end up doing something similar to my dad,” says the 1965 graduate, who earned a finance degree with an economics minor. Yet there was a different path in store. “I had an offer from a Memphis bank I was getting ready to accept when one of the local banks called,” says Mallory. The young man, already married a year, started at what was then Peoples Bank (now Cadence Bank) in Starkville, the only town where he’s ever lived. “I took the job, and the rest was history,” he adds. That “history” saw Mallory work his way upward from running a bank teller window to managing investment portfolios and the strategic side of long term planning. He retired in 2011 as Chairman and CEO of Cadence Bank and Cadence Financial Corporation, having been appointed President in 1974 and Chairman in 1993. “I always say that I’m like a dinosaur,” he jokes. “I worked 46 years in the only job I ever had. You’ve got to like what you do. I liked it a lot.” That is what he has wished for his generation and those following: finding a niche and liking it a lot. His younger brothers Lee, a clinical psychologist, and Richard, a landscape architect, found their paths at Mississippi State outside the College of Business. As for the rest of the family, it has been business all the way.

The Mallorys, clockwise from front center – Lewis Jr., Lewis III, Marcus, Patrick and Marcus Jr.

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Lewis Jr. shares tales of a much smaller campus, ringed with faculty and student residences…and easy access.

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“If I had a choice of whatever childhood I could have had anywhere, I wouldn’t change a thing – that’s how good it was,” says the son of the late Lewis Mallory, Sr., who was a 1934 accounting graduate of Mississippi State. The senior Mallory served for 33 years as the University’s Comptroller and later became the first Vice President of Business Affairs.

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Family Ties

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“I remember going to my dad’s office and asking him to tell me about banking,” says Lewis’ son Marcus Mallory. “‘What do you like about it?’ I wanted to know. And he told me something that’s neat. He said that in banking you can be a generalist, dealing with everyone from a professor or a surgeon to a business owner or auto mechanic. You learn about each of their businesses and dayto-day activities, which appealed to me. I’ve found it to be true.” Marcus, a 1989 graduate in finance, now serves as Executive Vice President/ Commercial Banking for BankFirst Financial Services based in nearby Columbus. His background includes employment at Trustmark Bank in Jackson followed by a move to his father’s bank, then to BankFirst in 2012.

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His brother Lewis Mallory, III, cycled his 1994 general business degree in another direction.

The late Lewis Mallory, Sr., was a 1934 accounting alumnus and MSU’s first Vice President of Business Affairs.

“Studying business was fine,” he says, “But when I became a bank manager in training I disliked it enough to earn a different degree in health and nutrition [at the University of Mississippi] because that was something I’d always enjoyed.”

However, when a job query in a bank’s bond department came his way, Lewis III took a chance, sharing, “I’d always enjoyed that part of the industry.” As an institutional fixed income broker for Raymond James in Memphis, Lewis III says, “My gut was right. This worked out.” A friend who was in the business for 50 years served as a mentor, encouraging him and educating him on the markets. “He told me that you learn something new every day and form relationships. I talk to people from Mississippi to California and all over the world, all from different cultures and backgrounds, which keeps it interesting and challenging.” MSU student Marcus Mallory, Jr., decided to follow in his great-grandfather Lewis Sr.’s footsteps, choosing the accountancy route. The College of Business almost lost him to chemical engineering, a freshman choice that soon changed to business. “I felt the scope of what I could do in accounting would be good for me personally,” he says. “And it has worked out. I love it!” The senior plans to remain in Starkville after graduation to earn a master’s degree in accountancy before sitting for the CPA exam. His younger brother Patrick Mallory thought, for two semesters at least, of following a biochemistry path. Yet he, too, was eventually lured over by Mississippi State’s College of Business. “Obviously it runs in the family,” says their newest business major. “I’m more adapted to that type lifestyle, and everybody in my family has done it. So I decided to give it a shot. I’ve already completed the electives, so I’m where I need to be.”

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But not in banking, bonds or accountancy. “I’m thinking insurance,” says the youngest of the Mallory clan. “I’ve talked to my father and grandfather about it. I don’t like sitting at a desk. I want to be out and about doing business and talking to people. It sounds like the right direction.” All Mallorys celebrate their experience in the College of Business. Patriarch Lewis Jr. recalls his banking management course on campus. “To this day I remember the three-hour final exam – I wrote for three hours and never looked up. I learned so much.”

His sons also give a tip of hat to the program of their father and grandfather. “It’s meant even more to me since I’ve gotten older,” says Marcus. “I have networks throughout the state with people I might never have known otherwise. It’s very satisfying to have met and gone to school with people I do business with now. I brag because of Dad and Granddad – it’s been helpful coming up in my career that people have known one of them.”

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He also appreciates the economics courses that “made a lot of sense when I spent some years on the Federal Reserve Board.” He served for two six-year terms, one with the Memphis branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the other with the St. Louis Bank and additionally two years as a member of the Federal Advisory Council for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

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There is one class Marcus has not visited – yet. It is FIN 4723, otherwise known as Bank Management. The lecturer for the course is Lewis Mallory, Jr., using his post-retirement hours to share years of career knowledge with students. “This is not the most stimulating topic in the world, so I share real stories in addition to the course material,” he allows. “I teach the way I was taught years ago. I use a blackboard – I’m not a tech person – and I do a lot of talking and tell them they should listen and take good notes. Some of them even tell me they like it. I encourage questions and class participation, too.” For his part, son Lewis III is impressed with his dad, the teacher. “He really wants to help today’s students,” he says. “And I think he’s pretty tough. People do like him, and it’s so worthwhile.” In addition to being supportive of one another, there are several things on which the Mallorys agree. The first: It wasn’t “expected” that they enroll in State or the College of Business. And the second: nobody in the family expects – or gets – special treatment for being a second, third or even fourth generation Mallory on campus. “It’s what I wanted to do, and nobody ever told me I had to go to school there,” Lewis III states. “Some people notice my last name and ask if I’m related. But with the professors it never made a difference.” Marcus does sense the significance of one generation following another. “I’ve really enjoyed having my sons at State,” he says. “They’re in the same fraternity as I was, so I’ve really gotten involved again. They’ve grown up going to ballgames with me, and now they’re here. “We’ll always have that bond the rest of our lives beyond being father and sons.”

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Being a Mallory also means you give back. Lewis Jr. has served on the MSU Foundation Board, having been its President for three years. He also participates on the College of Business Executive Advisory Board and was named the COB’s Alumnus of the Year in 1997. He and the love of his life, wife Pie, provide generous scholarships and charitable gifts to the program. Son Marcus has chaired the Finance and Economics Advisory Board and continues to serve as a member. He has been a frequent visitor to campus to speak to business and banking classes.

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By Carolanne Roberts

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f Hugo Garcia’s life were a book, it would read like a compelling novel. The chapters would tug at heartstrings, then leave you happy – proud, even. The international business student’s story blends strength, a mother’s determination and a generous helping of the American dream.

“The best decision I ever made was to come here,” says Garcia, a graduate of Senatobia High School. “I like to convey that to other students. I tell them that State puts the students in front. The professors are wonderful, and they care. I could go on and on about the people who’ve contributed to my life here.”

It is a life of which Garcia dreamt, pursued and finally achieved. Representing the first generation in his family to attend college is a weighty mantle, but he it wears with pride and ambition.

“Since the beginning, my mom has pushed us to do what we are capable of. In the Latin culture, unfortunately, education is not emphasized as much as hard physical work. But my mother had goals to see us succeed. We are her seeds, and she did everything she did to give us a better life.” Yolanda Garcia is the story behind Hugo’s story. One of ten children, she grew up in an adobe home in Apaseo, Zacatecas, a small town in central Mexico about 12 hours from the U.S. border. “My grandpa would come to the States and pick whatever was in season to send money back to the family,” says Garcia. “Money was very, very tight.” So tight, in fact, that Yolanda’s memories of the early years live deep inside her son. “She told me that they would wear parts of cardboard boxes with string wrapped around for sandals,” he says. “My grandma would serve everyone else and then would eat what was left on the chicken bones after they had finished.” Yolanda also recalls watching other girls at school snack on cookies and lollipops she could not afford.

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The sophomore, who seems never to have met a stranger, always greets prospective Bulldogs with a positive message.

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At 19, Garcia has volumes ahead to fill, and he is so busy living the Mississippi State life that he practically needs to schedule sleep. It started the moment he hit campus, when he made connections at orientation leading to his appointment to the Freshman Council. He also worked up a résumé, took it to the Career Center and landed a job in the Office of Admissions and Scholarships, where his work included assisting with student recruitment.

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One Step at a Time

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“One of my mother’s goals for her children was to have unlimited cereal, unlimited food – and cookies – so her children would never be hungry,” shares her son. Yolanda’s challenges continued after she arrived in Texas on a work permit at the age of 21. She worked in chicken factories there, then moved to North Georgia after a short time for chicken and carpet factory jobs. She and Hugo’s father divorced when Yolanda was three months pregnant with Hugo’s youngest brother. “I learned at that time that we all have great traits within us, but it takes certain triggers for them to emerge,” says Garcia, who was nearly eight years old at the time. “What triggered in my head was, ‘Hey, you’ve got to grow up a little quicker.’ I worked to become a cornerstone, a kind of rock, for my mom. I told her, ‘Everything’s going to be okay.’” Together, as a family, they charted the course to stability. Through it all Garcia strove for excellence. “For me, school was my way out,” he recalls. “My mother gave me the drive, and my work ethic was certainly there. I was very thankful for my teachers who emphasized education and what it could do for me. I knew it was going to help me pave a better future for my brothers and especially my mom.”

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Around this time, living in Flowery Branch, GA, and working hard, Garcia eyed a career as a lawyer. Then he spent a summer working for his Uncle Andres in his Senatobia, MS, restaurant, and his passion turned to business. “He gave me the chance to learn,” says Garcia. “I started by cleaning tables, then delivering chips. As I grew, I cooked and waited tables. Last summer, he taught me how to do the books and let me manage things. I saw what going into business could do for me.” With a move to Mississippi – and a yearlong detour to Arkansas to help another relative with a restaurant – the goal grew. In middle school and high school Garcia played soccer, ran cross-country and track and served as financial manager for the yearbook. “In my senior year, I quit all sports and dedicated myself to work so I would have money for college,” he notes. He arrived at Mississippi State alone. His mother, though proud and happy, was unable to accompany him. Apprehensive but equipped with a game plan, Garcia plunged in, immediately attracting a friend base while making the most of every possibility. “When I got here it was warm and comforting,” he recalls. “The student population is more than 20,000, so it’s a big school with a small school feel. And it’s not too far from where my mom lives, which is a huge factor. She drove over yesterday to visit and bring some groceries. “People say college is a place of opportunity and that you can do anything you set your mind to,” he observes, and his choice of major bears the notion out. “I’m doing the international business degree in marketing and French – a double major and a five-year program. With my background in Spanish [which he spoke exclusively until pre-school], I thought if I knew another language it would be good in the workforce later on. I like the additional culture and perspective.” With each new friendship, each new contact in his expanding network, comes more opportunity. High on the list is Garcia’s new role as a College of Business Ambassador. “This is going to play a big part in my college life from now on,” he says, honored and excited to be a liaison for the COB. “We update the alums on what’s going on and make them feel at home when they return to campus. When students come to visit the business school, we show them what we have to offer.” He is especially enthusiastic when Hispanic students come calling.

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“I have the ability to relate to and recruit them, and I’m happy to say that this year the Latin population is larger than last year,” he observes. “I hope it only keeps going up.” When there is time, he also visits activities organized by the new Latino Student Association. “The challenge is to make Latino students feel accepted,” he says. This nonstop sophomore now works in marketing for MSU’s Office of Student Affairs, loving its mingling of social media, videography and outreach elements. Over the summer, he served as a New Maroon Camp counselor helping prepare incoming students for the MSU experience.

HUGO GARCIA While enjoying the busyness of the MSU lifestyle he’s created, Garcia is ever mindful of what has been provided to him.

“When I finish school, perhaps I can go help a big record company with their marketing,” he says. “Somehow my dream is to do something with music.” But, being in the early stages of his business education, Garcia allows that his future direction is not set in stone. “Something I struggle with is being patient,” he says. “A great professor here, Dr. Heriberto Gonzalez Lozano in macroeconomics, emphasized to me that life is a staircase. All we can truly do for the moment is focus on the next step. So I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing, but hopefully I’ll discover it here at State.” There is one person who will always be on his side, cheering as he climbs those steps. “My mom is my number one supporter. She’s the reason I do what I do,” he says. “A lot of who I am is attributable to my mom. She’s the base for all my decisions. Because of that I’ve begun to write my own story at Mississippi State.”

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These days there is less time for dreaming and a big demand for doing. Besides his studies and his campus job, Garcia works for a Starkville production company helping stage events and, thanks to a used mixing board, he even deejays. The work provides both income and a sense of satisfaction to this fan of music.

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“Financially, my household hasn’t been as blessed as some, so I’m super thankful for the full Pell and HELP scholarships,” he says. “If your family doesn’t come from a strong financial background, but you really put in the work and the time and dedicate yourself to education, your opportunity to study at the University is great. It really is the American dream.”

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“I tell them that when you hear there is a place for everyone at Mississippi State, you don’t really understand it until you feel it…and you will feel it.”

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Diamond Dogs Mean Business

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ississippi State’s College of Business is known for developing students for success as businessmen and women, whether they go on to work in banking or marketing or even to launch their own businesses.

Less known is the fact that McCool Hall has also been home base for many baseball players. They have found the College of Business a nurturing environment in which they could hone their analytical skills to use on and off the field and to prepare for their futures, whether in the arenas of professional baseball or business. Four COB students contributed to the Diamond Dogs’ stellar 2016 season, in which the team won the SEC Championship for the first time since 1989 and earned its first-ever national seed.

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By Jessi Cole

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Kruger is now a professional with the Los Angeles Angels organization. Asked whether his time at the COB had a resonating impact on his life, he replies, “Absolutely. There is no price you can put on the influence someone else has in your life. I was lucky to have multiple people, from teachers to coaches to friends, speak truth into my life. I’m thankful for each and every one of them.” The former MSU catcher had to keep up his grades, just like any other student, in order to excel on the field. His advice to current student athletes: “You have to be able to flip the switch. You can’t just be an athlete, and you can’t just be a student. You have to be both. It takes a lot of time, energy and help to be able to succeed in both.”

“The business degree that I’ll have from MSU will play a huge role in helping me run a successful small business.”

When former MSU first baseman Nathaniel Lowe was exploring colleges, he initially loved MSU for its baseball program but was ultimately sold by the College of Business. “Athletics drew me to State, but I was more pleased when I recognized the prowess and the strength of a business degree,” says Lowe. “The networking through State athletics, the College of Business, the SEC and the entire state of Mississippi is incredible to me.” Lowe was signed by the Tampa Bay Rays organization in the 2016 MLB draft. He has aspirations of opening his own specialty shop – a fly fishing store or an outdoor outfitter – after his pro baseball career.

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Current students and outfielders Jake Mangum and Brent Rooker carefully manage their time between McCool Hall and Dudy Noble Field. Mangum – whose .408 batting average as a true freshman landed him the titles of SEC Batting Champion and SEC Freshman of the Year – works hard to balance his love of baseball with the academic rigor of school. The sophomore finance major understands the importance of a degree, particularly one in business.

The Bulldogs celebrate their 2016 SEC Championship win during a Jake Mangum post-game interview.

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Current students and MSU baseball players Brent Rooker and Jake Mangum and 2016 graduates Jack Kruger and Nathaniel Lowe all believe that the College of Business has had lasting and positive impacts on their lives.

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“Studying the night before a big game is difficult – looking through your notes while in the back of your head all you can think about is getting the win the next night,” he says. “It takes a crazy amount of discipline to make sure you don’t get behind, but the College of Business has pushed me academically, and it has really paid off.” Rooker, a hard-hitting outfielder, agrees that though the two disciplines are extremely important to him, they can be difficult to balance at times. As a student athlete, he takes the same tests and completes the same assignments as any other student, yet he has the added stress of helping maintain a successful baseball program. “Learning to budget your time is a process that takes a while to perfect,” states Rooker, whose 11 home runs last season helped score an invitation for him to the 2016 TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby. “Whether it should or not, in season your focus tends to be more on competing than it does on schoolwork. When you have a big game coming up, you have to set aside time where you force yourself to stop thinking about the game and focus on preparing for that test.”

Courses ranging from accounting to business policy are no easy feat, so athletes must use all their resources to succeed. The best help student athletes can get comes directly from their professors, when the students are willing to ask for it. “The professors have helped me tremendously,” Mangum says. “They are all understanding and will help any time you have a question or get behind.” Lowe adds, “The professors in the College of Business were always willing to work with our travel schedule and help us get our work turned in on time when we communicated ahead of time.” Among their favorite professors and courses, Lowe and Kruger both point to Dr. Melissa Moore’s Principles of Marketing class – a popular one for many COB students.

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Brent Rooker, currently enrolled in an entrepreneurship class taught by Dr. Danny Holt, says, “It is my favorite class that I have taken so far at MSU! His passion for the subject and teaching methods make the class incredibly interesting.” Off the field, it is not just the COB professors and courses that have helped bolster these young men. The community and people of Starkville have played a role in their college experiences as well. When it comes to the culture and family atmosphere at Mississippi State, all four agree that Starkville is a place they will always call home.

Kruger, noting that he would be visiting Starkville over Thanksgiving and could not be more excited to return, adds, “I do miss Mississippi State. I made friends for life and will take with me so many great experiences. I’m looking forward to coming back and seeing everyone.” Sophomore Jake Mangum has already fallen in love with the University and his place as a student athlete in Starkville.

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Mississippi State University is home to many proud students and alumni. The University and the College of Business are, in turn, proud of the representation from these excellent student athletes, both on and off the field.

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“Mississippi State is a special place,” he remarks. “Anyone who has spent time in Starkville will agree that this community is one big family, and anyone who hasn’t experienced it firsthand will never understand until they truly are a part of it. Everyone is pulling together to better our community, University and athletics in any way possible. I love this place, and every minute of every day I’m thankful to wear our colors and represent this University. It’s home.”

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“The people, professors, Starkville, athletics and the overall experience made me into the person I am today,” states Lowe. “I would not be the same person without my time spent in Starkville, and I will always be grateful for the best year of my life.”

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business baseball From left: Kruger, Lowe, Rooker and Mangum | Photos courtesy of Kelly Price, MSU Media Relations


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By Kirsten Shaw

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aura Herring grew up in a military family, which meant a childhood lived in different countries and U.S. cities. It was a way of life that gave rise to a fascination with world affairs and international relations.

When her graduation from Florida’s Panama City High School neared, Herring learned that her family would be transferring back to Italy, where they had been stationed in her youth. She would need a college that would not only help her achieve her goals but that could also feel like a home.

Last spring, she took a significant step toward her aim of a career in foreign service. Through the U.S. Department of State Internship Program, she secured a position at the U.S. Consulate General in Milan, Italy. One of five American interns at the consulate, Herring served in two areas: in the mornings she worked in the Consular Affairs Office, and in the afternoons she moved to the Regional Security Office. In the Regional Security Office, she gained a general understanding about how security works and how the foreign service ties into it. “I used my studies in economics,” she says, noting that there are security implications and indicators in areas ranging from international trade agreements to a given country’s export patterns.

Herring’s work included planning awareness events, like communicating to consulate personnel the plan in case of bomb threat or chemical warfare and helping prepare for a seminar on violence against women for the general public. She was involved in a liaison role between the American consulate’s security office and the local Italian security office. “It was interesting to see the differences in the ways our countries do security. One example is that our briefings are in English and Italian; theirs were only offered in Italian,” she remarks. “We tried to correct some of the differences so the offices had a more standard process we were both working from.” While Herring found the many aspects of security intriguing, it was the functions of the Consular Affairs Office that she especially relished. “Consular Affairs handles U.S. citizen services, like helping get birth certificates or solve passport problems,” she says. “I worked in the visa division for Italians applying to come to the U.S. A lot of non-Italians come through Milan, too.”

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“I felt like I could grow here and that people would be in my corner,” recalls Herring, now a junior international business student with majors in economics and Spanish.

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Learning of Mississippi State’s International Business program and Shackouls Honors College spurred her to visit campus.

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On Mission in Milan

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Herring’s responsibilities were to provide information about the applications and take applicants’ biometrics, or fingerprints. She entered their data into the system before directing them to a foreign service officer to do an entry interview. “I got to see and hear the interviews. It was so interesting – the officer could tell when people were lying,” she says. “I must’ve seen passports from every country, especially during Fashion Week. A lot of models came through.” The visa division saw high traffic due to a recent U.S. policy change requiring those who had visited specified countries like Iraq and Iran to apply in person for a visa. Language was rarely a problem for Herring, whose previous experiences in Italy enabled her to communicate. Many South Americans have settled in Milan, so she also put her Spanish education to use. Most visa applicants could speak in one of her languages, but there were exceptions. “One lady from the Middle East didn’t have any language that our staff could help in,” Herring recalls. “My boss said, basically, ‘Figure it out.’ I had to look up and learn some phrases in Arabic in just a few minutes’ time, and I was able to convey to the lady what I needed.”

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Milan has one of Italy’s highest concentrations of embassies and consulates. A favorite experience of Herring’s came when the consular chief tasked her with creating a working group on the European immigration crisis. Consular chiefs from Germany, Hungary, Japan, Sweden, Austria and the United States met to discuss the crisis and what each of their countries was doing to help.

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“It was a ‘geek-out’ moment for me, seeing different countries representing their different values and still working together to solve an international crisis,” she enthuses. “The second time the group met, we went together to an immigration center in Milan. Seeing the work they do in these assimilation centers actually led me to my next internship, at a community immigration center for women in Turin.” Herring had front-row opportunities to see international relations in many settings, such as working at diplomatic parties and events hosted at the consulate. Another memorable learning moment came when her boss had the American interns lead a press conference for local newspapers on the U.S. presidential election from a youth perspective. Herring and her peers were each assigned a candidate, and they explained his or her platform then shared their own opinions. Herring took part in a press conference for Milan newspapers on the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“There were a lot of misinterpretations by people who don’t understand the U.S. culture and election process – like someone thought President Obama had built a wall between the U.S. and Mexico,” she says. “It was nerveracking, but it was a good experience!” Living by herself in a foreign country provided Herring with important life skills. Interns were expected to find their own housing, and hers was an apartment in the neighborhood of Porta Romana, a 35-minute metro commute from the consulate. “Finding an apartment and living on my own in a big city was good for me,” she states. “I got lost several times, but I gained a lot of independence.” The American and Italian interns working at the U.S. consulate often socialized together. “The Italians took us under their wings,” Herring says. “We’d go to dinner, exchange ideas about our different cultures and talk about politics, religion and our societies.” In her free time, she traveled, sometimes with other interns and other times alone. She enjoyed Parmesan cheese and prosciutto in Parma, took in Dracula’s castle and the aftereffects of Communism in Romania and rode

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a train to the “top of the world” in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

When Herring’s State Department internship concluded, she moved on to Turin, where she interned at a women’s immigration center.

Never having taught in a formal situation, Herring had no textbook and had to find her material online. One of her students was a young man from Romania whose mother had sent him to the class because he had failed English at the local Italian high school. When Herring’s course ended, she told him it had been her first time to teach and she hoped he had been able to learn something. In English, he replied, “This is the first time I’ve learned anything.” She later learned he had returned and passed the high school class. After eight months in Italy, Herring returned to campus for the fall semester. She now participates in the U.S. Department of State Virtual Student Foreign Service, which assigns projects to students in the United States. She requested and received “No Lost Generation,” an initiative to raise awareness of the needs of Syrian refugee children, with a particular focus on their education. As part of this effort, she has started a group at MSU to prod fellow students to think about the crisis and those affected and to help with activities like raising funds to send through the Red Cross. Herring, who also serves as a College of Business Ambassador, plans to pursue a master’s degree in public administration following her May 2018 graduation. Her ultimate aim is to become a foreign service officer. “My dreams are becoming reality,” she says. “Being at the College of Business and Mississippi State has helped me develop what I want to do and get me closer to my goals.”

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Herring was moved by her interactions with the individuals who came through the center. She often went with them to the Italian immigration office to help with paperwork. She participated in food and clothing distribution. She taught English as a second language to people from Morocco, Russia, Peru, Ivory Coast and Romania. In St. Moritz, Switzerland, Herring was about 6,000 feet above sea level.

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“A lot of times when you hear about the immigration crisis, you see statistics or hear that people are dangerous or are stealing jobs – but you don’t see their faces,” she observes.

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“I was apprehensive at first but had a lot of fun traveling by myself,” she remarks. “It opened opportunities to meet people. A family from Peru adopted me for a day. In Switzerland, I got to know a woman from South Africa and was with her the first time she ever saw snow.”

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By Kirsten Shaw His first entrepreneurial enterprise?

“My father would tell you my first business was in second grade,” laughs Eric Hill. “I had a healthy paper airplane business for candy money until the school shut it down.”

Long recalls, “We had stacks of them in our rooms and would just play around with them. Anything you could think of to do to a computer, we tried.” Knowing of their pastime, their school principal recommended Hill and Long to his country club when it needed help developing an e-mail list. They were glad to oblige. This led to other tasks for the club, and soon word got out to members. They were hired to do projects for several business owners from nearby Monroe, LA. Hill Technologies LLC – HillTech – had arrived. “We did a little of everything in the early days,” says Hill. “In 2006, we decided to make it into something real. We landed two customers that put us on the trajectory to success.” One of the clients was the Miss Louisiana Pageant. Hill and Long rebuilt the pageant’s web presence and developed a live voting software that was used during the television broadcast – a capability that was not widespread at the time. “It was a big technical accomplishment for us,” states Hill. “That was a highly visible customer and project, and it brought a lot of follow-on business.” The second landmark client was one that launched a major revenue stream for HillTech. A local credit union needed regular changes to its website but could not support a large IT staff. The institution outsourced many responsibilities to Hill and Long. Recognizing an opportunity, the young techies became the IT department for several local and regional clients, offering them web presence management. “Eric’s personality and charm draw people in, and he’s got the skill set to go with it,” says Long, now a lecturer and PhD student in mechanical engineering at Mississippi State. “We worked together really well and got things done for our clients.” During this time, Hill was recognized by the McKelvey Foundation, established by Monster.com founder Andy McKelvey. Over a two-year period, the foundation awarded 150 $30,000 scholarships to high school students who had developed revenue-generating businesses. The recipients were flown to New York City for a two-day conference and networking event.

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His first genuine business began when he was a high school sophomore in Sterlington, LA. For several years, he and longtime friend Will Long had been intrigued with computers, buying used ones at garage sales and experimenting with every aspect, from hardware and parts to programming and software.

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Hill, now the Director of Entrepreneurship for Mississippi State’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach (and still an aviation enthusiast), brings a wealth of experience to his role in helping students, faculty and staff develop business models for their ideas and inventions.

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Eric Hill: From Paper Airplanes to Piloting MSU Entrepreneurship

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“We’re still great friends and have stayed connected,” Hill says of his fellow honorees. HillTech’s next milestone was acquiring a national customer. Their work with the Miss Louisiana pageant helped them land a pageant system for high school girls, developing and maintaining its national website structure. It was not long after this that HillTech was acquired by FXH, Inc. (now Unió Digital), an Arizona-based regional company. Owned by a fellow McKelvey scholarship recipient, FXH had provided for most of HillTech’s advanced server needs for two years before the 2011 acquisition. By then, Hill was a junior industrial and systems engineering student at Mississippi State. HillTech had grown to include five part-time employees, and it served about 100 clients in 15 states. Other ventures during his college years produced varying levels of financial success – but each brought considerably beneficial experience. In 2008, during his sophomore year, Hill took off a semester to work with Long and a longtime HillTech client, forming BHL Global, LLC. The company enabled customers to instantly push fresh digital advertising content to displays in shopping malls around the country. “We were about to sink $350,000 into the business,” says Hill. “When our primary customer, who owned about 500 malls nationwide, declared bankruptcy.” The market crash of 2008 made it hard to find investors or clients, and the company’s competitors had more resources. Given the inauspicious conditions, they brought the company to a close. A foray into publishing, also during his college years, was successful but short-lived. He and friend Daniel Payne – an MSU accounting student – learned they could produce a four-page newspaper inexpensively. Refusing to be hindered by their lack of knowledge of the newspaper business, they recruited nearly 40 students over six months to produce content while they set about selling ads. Each week, 3,000 copies of High Cotton News were distributed free in the Starkville area. It generated $50,000 over its first six months, but then the Commercial Dispatch of Columbus, MS, introduced its own free Starkville paper. The competition from the well-established media company cut into their profitability, and High Cotton News closed. For a time, Payne-Hill Publishing also produced the biannual Starkville Menu Guide.

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Throughout Hill’s college career, he had been aware of the MSU entrepreneurship program but did not engage with it until his senior year, when he and Payne wanted to begin a new technology start-up. They developed an app called SportSnax that would enable fans in sports venues to use their mobile phones to order concessions for delivery to their seats.

SportSnax received a grant through the entrepreneurship center that helped with legal costs and provided some early operating capital. Hill became acquainted with Gerald Nelson, the University’s first Entrepreneurship Director, and he credits him with providing tremendous support and advice. College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald was influential as well. “Sharon and Gerald were instrumental in getting MSU to take a shot and try SportSnax at the baseball field,” he notes. Now fans attending games at the Hump or Dudy Noble Field can satisfy their cravings without having to miss a play. Instead of standing in line, they can simply log on to www.dawgsnax.com. The University of Alabama quickly joined as a client as well. Hill graduated in December 2012 and took a position with Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, MS, intending to continue building SportSnax with Payne at the same time. Less than a year later, however, an opportunity arose that he could not pass up: a coordinator position with MSU’s growing entrepreneurship program. Gerald Nelson recruited Hill for the job.

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Hill enjoys working with student entrepreneurs, knowing they are the business leaders of tomorrow.

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In the summer of 2014, Nelson retired and the program officially moved to the College of Business. It has continued to grow and thrive under the leadership of Hester, its new director. In 2015, MSU, along with Texas A&M, received a $200,000 Blackstone grant to launch a rural university accelerator program for entrepreneurs. It significantly boosted the program’s recognition and standing in the academic and business arenas, demonstrating to all that Mississippi State is generating successful companies. Last April, a new 2,000 square-foot Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach was dedicated in McCool Hall to serve students, faculty and staff university-wide. The $750,000 complex was made possible by alumni and other supporters who have embraced the vision of entrepreneurship at Mississippi State. “I’m beyond grateful we were able to construct this amazing facility in the heart of campus,” says Hill. “The Center provides a workspace for students, a place for collisions of people of various backgrounds and talents. Many of our alumni see themselves in these students, which we believe drove such incredible buy-in to the vision.” This fall the team developed a new program with several MSU alumni executives, dubbed VentureCatalyst. It is a year-round program for student entrepreneurs combining evening training workshops, seed money and intense mentorship by three faculty members and executive review panels. The goal is to provide a detailed road map for students who wish to launch a business, under guidance of highly experienced MSU alumni, before they are pushed out into the marketplace. In its first semester, the quality of students’ presentations has dramatically improved. “The VentureCatalyst program provides a great educational tool for Eric and his team at the E-Center to guide our entrepreneurs through the entire business startup process,” observes BankTEL Systems CEO and Chairman Boyce Adams, Sr., an alumnus and member of the Center’s advisory board. “Not only is this a tremendous educational opportunity for everyone involved, but also the end result in many cases is a viable business opportunity for the student entrepreneurs. It provides a great service to Mississippi State University and the state of Mississippi as well. It’s all about innovation and jobs.” Hill is thrilled to be able to share his passion for building new enterprises, and he is energized about the program’s future. “It’s fun not just to solve a puzzle but to help others solve it, too,” he says. “I get to work with some of the smartest people, who will one day be business leaders. My team and I get to have some small impact on them, and that’s really what wakes me up in the mornings.”

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“I was excited by the possibilities I saw for the program,” states Hill, who knew he would still be able to tend to SportSnax as well.

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A New Century Begins... A Message from the Director of Development

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Infinite Impact: The Mississippi State University Campaign is still going strong thanks to the generosity of an ever-growing number of supporters. The University reached its initial $600 million milestone for the campaign early, allowing us to move forward with a new institution-wide goal. The Infinite Impact capital campaign has raised nearly $650 million to date as it now pursues a goal of $1 billion. The campaign will end in 2020, but the support of COB contributors will benefit the students, faculty and programs of Mississippi State University for years to come.

• Scholarships and fellowships for talented students • Endowed chairs and professorships for exceptional faculty • Educational program enhancements • Continuous annual support every day Finding unique avenues to help donors use their resources to benefit Mississippi State University in meaningful ways gives me immeasurable satisfaction. I have worked as Director of Development for the COB, serving the College and its Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy, for the past six years. During this time, I have seen many positive changes at the University as the result of private support. While I have learned that no two donors are alike, I know that each alumnus and friend shares a common bond of wanting to see our University succeed. I have also had the opportunity to meet many generous alumni and friends of our College who make important investments that allow us to grow our successes and educate the business leaders of tomorrow. In the days ahead, I look forward to meeting many more individuals who are linked to the College of Business. Partnering with you will allow our College to continue its emergence as a leader in business across the nation and beyond. We appreciate the willingness of prospective donors who consider the College of Business in their philanthropic plans. My colleague, Zack Harrington, and I look forward to a continued relationship with many of you, because together we can accomplish great things for Mississippi State University and the College of Business. I know that as an alumnus or friend, you will want to be a part of this exciting time as Infinite Impact continues to positively change lives, and I invite you to join us as we work toward extending the impact of Mississippi State University. We are always prepared to help you tailor a giving plan that benefits MSU, you and your future needs.

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 remain many areas of Mississippi State University in need of private gifts. Some of the specific opportunities where contributors can assist our College over the course of Infinite Impact include:

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The outpouring of generosity from contributors is sending a powerful message to prospective students and their parents and to other institutions. The message is that Mississippi State University is committed to being the very best institution of higher learning possible, and that alumni, friends and corporations share this commitment.

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he College of Business at Mississippi State University enters its second century with promise. Our quest remains to become one of the premier business schools in the nation, and with the support of alumni and friends of the College, all our goals are possible.

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By Emily Daniels

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his is it. You have just landed an interview for the job of your dreams. You have spent endless hours researching the company and practicing how you would answer each possible question that may come your way. Then, it hits you – you have nothing to wear!

The Dress Your Best Closet began as a concept by Emily (Moak) Ferril during her time as an undergraduate at MSU. The College of Business graduate saw a need for students to understand the guidelines of dressing professionally when she and her fellow classmates were giving a presentation during her junior year. She noticed that many of the students seemed to have differing interpretations of the meaning of “business attire.” “Some of the students wore suits, while other students were only dressed in khakis and a nice shirt,” Ferril recalls. Her College of Business professors often stressed the importance of dressing professionally, especially in a business setting. There was even an annual event on campus called “Dress Your Best,” which focused on preparing college students for future employment. Sponsored by Beta Gamma Sigma, the MSU Career Center and the MSU Fashion Board, the event included a career-themed fashion show. The show featured campus leaders who informed students about what to wear in a variety of business settings, such as interviews and job fairs requiring business attire. The Dress Your Best event provided students with the knowledge, confidence and competitive edge needed to make good impressions in the professional world. But what if those same students did not own – or could not afford – professional business attire? A nice suit can be pricey, especially for an unemployed college student on a budget. Ferril had an idea to address the problem. In March 2011, with help from Dress Your Best faculty advisor Dr. Kathleen Thomas, the Dress Your Best (DYB) Closet was born. The closet started as a professional wardrobe scholarship, providing business clothing for five deserving female students in the COB through financial gifts from individuals and companies. The scholarship program grew the following year, allowing male business students to receive clothing scholarships as well. There emerged so much interest in the DYB Closet that a decision was made to allow all College of Business majors to borrow nice, professional clothing from the closet. Because of generous gifts from donors and friends of the University, the students could borrow any item from the closet free of charge. The College was able to cover the cost of dry cleaning for suits that were rented. The DYB Closet is now in its fifth year, and the College receives many calls and emails from business students who have upcoming interviews for jobs, co-ops or internships and are in need of something to wear.

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Fortunately, MSU’s College of Business is able to provide an opportunity for its students who find themselves in need of professional attire at the last minute through the help of the Dress Your Best Closet, housed in McCool Hall.

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When it comes to job interviews, your appearance can make a lasting impact on your potential employer. A professional appearance can communicate much about the confidence, attitude, culture and organizational skills you possess. It can also send a signal to employers as to whether you are interested in the position or not. And although you may seem professional on paper, not dressing the part may leave a negative impression even if you are the perfect candidate for the job.

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The Dress Your Best Closet: Helping Business Students Make a Great First Impression

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COLLEGE OF BUSINESS Dress Your Best Closet

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“Earlier this year, I interviewed with the FBI for an internship,” says junior marketing student Jay Curtis. “Unfortunately, I really didn’t own anything that could work for the interview. Thankfully, the DYB Closet helped me get everything I needed. I was able to get a blazer, tie and dress pants. I eventually got the internship, and I have the College of Business to thank for that.” Curtis’ experience in using the DYB Closet is just one of the countless success stories. Senior accounting student Leyna Hendley also took advantage of the service available to her and found the rental process to be incredibly quick and easy, giving her more time to study for her interview.

“The Dress Your Best Closet was one of the biggest stress relievers for me last semester,” states Hendley. “I was so busy preparing for my upcoming interview that I forgot I didn’t have a suit! I started to panic. Thankfully, I found out about the DYB Closet, and Mrs. Williams was so helpful in finding me the perfect outfit to wear! The DYB Closet gave me the confidence and composure I needed for a successful interview!” Over the past year, it became clear that there were significant gaps in the sizes of the closet’s inventory that needed to be filled, as many of the like-new items had been donated. However, the small space that housed the DYB Closet was becoming more and more cramped. Due to the ever-changing nature of the fashion industry and the growth of our University, it was crucial that our College of Business students have the widest range of sizes in up-to-date styles available to them. It was around this time that the MSU Foundation was launching its new fundraising initiative called Accelerate MSU. Accelerate MSU is a new crowdfunding platform used by the University that opens the door for alumni, parents, faculty and friends within the MSU community to help students fund campus projects and programs about which they are passionate. Crowdfunding is a relatively new – and highly effective – source of fundraising. Each campaign usually lasts around 30 to 45 days. To generate buzz about projects and reach fundraising goals, crowdfunding uses a grassroots approach, communicating through ways such as e-mail, social media and word of mouth. In February, the College of Business decided to work with Accelerate MSU to raise money for the DYB Closet. The initial goal of $5,000 would allow the College to purchase newer inventory in a wider range of sizes and clothing options for the closet, so there would be something available for every student regardless of size. The goal also would allow for renovation of a larger space in McCool Hall to store all of the inventory. Thanks to the overwhelming support of our students, faculty, alumni and friends who gave so generously to the Dress Your Best Closet fundraiser, the College was able to reach and surpass its goal by 23 percent. A grand total of $6,190 was raised for the new inventory and renovations of the DYB Closet! In addition to the monetary gifts, several of our alumni even purchased and donated trendy new suits in many different sizes to add to the cause. The DYB Closet was moved to a much larger renovated area in the summer, allowing for more organization of the inventory and room for students to try on the items. The College of Business is also considering the possibility of adding more men’s and women’s dress shoes as well as belts and padfolios to the closet’s rental lineup. Because of the donations to the DYB Closet, many more students can make great first impressions and land their dream jobs. For more information about Mississippi State University’s Dress Your Best Closet, please call Catherine Williams at 662-325-2580.

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MBA Case Team Stands Out

Carol Young, retired Office Associate for the Department of Finance & Economics, was a winner of the 2016 Zacharias Distinguished Staff Award at MSU’s Staff Appreciation Day. Nominees must exemplify professionalism and dedication to MSU by performance beyond the call of duty to improve their departments, demonstrate a high degree of competence and expertise and serve as positive role models. Young retired this past summer after 25 years of service. She is shown here at the award presentation with MSU President Mark Keenum. Thank you, Carol, for your hard work and dedication during your time in the College of Business. We wish you a long and happy retirement!

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Young Receives Staff Award

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Mississippi State’s MBA Case Team placed fourth in the 2016 SEC MBA Case Competition held at the University of Arkansas. Students Brandon Balli, Charlie Dean, Garrett Dismukes and Carew Ferguson represented MSU. Teams of four MBA students from every SEC university were presented a business case by Henkel, a multinational company that produces consumer and industrial products. The teams were separated into four divisions, and the top four proposals moved on to the final round to determine the winner of the competition. In addition to the fourth place prize, team member Ferguson (second from left) earned first place in the Best Q&A category in MSU’s division, which included LSU, Ole Miss and South Carolina.

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News briefs

59 Horne, LLP, Generously Supports MSU Accounting The College of Business’ Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy received a $75,000 charitable contribution from Horne, LLP, in the form of a three-year pledge to support three areas of focus: undergraduate scholarships, graduate scholarships and the newly-created Horne Strategic Initiative Fund. By making this gift through Infinite Impact, MSU’s $1 billion capital campaign, Horne seeks to make college accessible for those who need tuition assistance, while also upholding excellence in higher education at the state’s premier research university. Above, Horne Partner and alumnus John Scott (at right) presents a check to Adkerson School of Accountancy Director Shawn Mauldin.


News briefs

New Faculty and Staff Welcome 2016 new College of Business faculty and staff!

Erin Henderson

Clyde Herring, PhD

Teresa Howell

Lorraine Hughes

Bradley Lang, PhD

Administrative Assistant I, Dean’s Office

Associate Clinical Professor, Adkerson School of Accountancy

Administrative Assistant I, Finance & Economics

Academic Coordinator, Adkerson School of Accountancy

Assistant Professor, Adkerson School of Accountancy

Benjamin McLarty, PhD

Kelly McNamara, PhD

Stacey Reynolds McNeil

Kathleen Olivieri, PhD

Suzanne Parker

Assistant Professor, Management & Information Systems

Associate Clinical Professor, Management & Information Systems

Instructor of Management, Meridian Division of Business

Instructor, Management & Information Systems

Administrative Assistant I, Meridian Division of Business

Kulraj Singh, PhD

Sohrab Soleimanof, PhD

Parker Stewart

Alvaro Taboada, PhD

Charles “Chip” Templeton

Assistant Professor, Management & Information Systems

Assistant Professor, Management & Information Systems

Director, MSU Veterans Business Outreach Center

Assistant Professor, Finance & Economics

Director, MSU Small Business Development Center

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Dr. Melissa Moore, Professor of Marketing and Kathy M. St. John Fellow, has been promoted to Head of the Department of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis & Business Law. In her new role, she oversees the continued growth and management of the Department, previously led by Dr. Jason Lueg. Moore earned her undergraduate degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina, an MBA from the University of South Florida and a doctorate in marketing from the University of Connecticut. She began her professional academic career at MSU in 1999. She has served on the MSU Center for Entrepreneurship & Outreach advisory board since its inception. Moore was recognized as a John Grisham Master Teacher by MSU in 2005 and was named Outstanding Faculty Woman in 2010 by the MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women, among other accolades. Additionally, she has served on the last two presidential search committees at MSU.

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Moore Named Department Head

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Jan Lewis was selected as the 2016 Alumni Fellow for the College of Business. The 1985 summa cum laude accounting graduate is a Tax Partner with Haddox Reid Eubank Betts PLLC in Jackson. She is active in the Mississippi Society of CPAs (MSCPA), having served on its Board of Governors and as President. Lewis is a member of the MSCPA’s Long Range Planning Committee and Young CPAs Liaison Committee and is an at-large member of the Board of Governors. She has served as the Society’s representative to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Council and currently chairs the AICPA’s Tax Practice and Procedures Committee. Active in her community, she is a board member of the Community Foundation of Greater Jackson. Lewis is a member and past chairperson of the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy Advisory Board.

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

Lewis Recognized as Alumni Fellow

61 COB Students Elected to Homecoming Court College of Business students John Wesley Williamson and Feifei Zeng were elected to the 2016 MSU Homecoming Court. Senior Maid Zeng is an international business student with a double major in Spanish and marketing, with an emphasis in supply chain management. Williamson, a senior finance major, is 2016’s Mr. MSU. Both were presented formally during halftime of the MSU v. Samford football game on October 29.


News briefs

Wingo Named National Alumnus of the Year

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College of Business alumnus Turner A. Wingo of Collierville, TN, pictured here with MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum, is Mississippi State’s 2016 National Alumnus of the Year. A member of the MSU Foundation’s board of directors, he has long provided support for student scholarships, an endowed professorship, various campus facilities and the athletic program. He is profiled in this issue of Dividends on page 6.

Karre Family Establishes Endowed Professorship The College of Business is thankful for a generous gift received recently from Mr. and Mrs. Paul J. Karre to establish the Paul and Mary Jo Karre Professorship. This endowed professorship allows us to recruit and retain dedicated faculty who will lead valuable research and greatly impact student experiences. Earnings made available through the endowment may be used at the dean’s discretion to provide a salary supplement for the holder, as well as support the holder’s teaching and outreach activities. “Mary Jo and I are very pleased to be able to ‘pay-forward’ with this professorship,” says Paul. “It is our hope that this support will help the College of Business attract and retain the caliber of professorial talent that we need for mentoring, challenging and preparing our graduates for success after MSU.”

Gamma Iota Sigma Chapter Earns Recognition The Pi Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) was recognized during the Gamma Iota Sigma International Conference in Columbus, OH. The MSU chapter brought home awards for community service, membership development and public relations for the 2015-2016 academic year. GIS is an international risk management, insurance and actuarial science collegiate fraternity that enhances students’ academic experience by focusing on career preparation. COB students attending the conference were Dekerria Clemons, Allen Coe, Michael Enger, John Gathings, David Hardy, Tucker Jenkins, Peter Mills, Katherine Norman, Nelson Parker, Jamie Pittman and Wesley Swedenburg. Joining them were advisors Seth Pounds and Tammi Metz.

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The CEO supports about 130 active start-ups, with staff who help entrepreneurs identify and research their markets, develop prototypes and much more. Start-up teams include students from 40 majors on campus.

In Memoriam The College of Business remembers with appreciation Executive Advisory Board member and alumnus H. Devon “Von” Graham. The former President of R.E. Smith Interests in Houston, TX, passed away on July 22, 2016. A 1956 graduate of the COB, Graham was a former member of the board of directors for Freeport-McMoRan, Inc., a member of the board of directors for Wm. B. Reily Company, Inc., a trustee at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Foundation and an advisory board member on the Houston A+ Challenge. Graham was MSU’s National Alumnus of the Year in 1985 and was named one of the top 100 COB graduates during the College’s Centennial in 2015.

Fisackerly Honored as COB Alumnus of the Year Haley R. Fisackerly was named the 2016 Alumnus of the Year for the College of Business. A 1987 business administration graduate, Fisackerly is President and CEO of Entergy Mississippi, Inc., a role he has held since 2008. His Entergy career has included roles as Director of System Regulatory Strategy and Vice President of Customer Operations, among others. He also had a stint at Entergy Nuclear as Vice President of Governmental and Regulatory Affairs. Prior to joining Entergy in 1995, Fisackerly managed the Washington, DC, office of U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. He also earned a master’s degree in public policy administration from George Washington University in 1993.

M I S S I S S I P P I STAT E U N I V E R S I T Y

The CEO features offices, meeting areas and workstations that will be home to 16 student, staff or faculty startup ventures. Funded through $750,000 in private donations, it boasts innovative technology, collaboration cameras to connect students with other development teams across the country and a special dry-erase film on the glass surfaces that encircle the center and divide the workstations. The facility also provides office space for the new Executive in Residence program, which hosts regional senior business leaders and entrepreneurs who can offer office hours both in-person and remotely.

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MSU’s College of Business welcomed a large crowd to the McCool Hall Atrium in April for a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Center for Entrepreneurship & Outreach (CEO). Speakers told the gathered business leaders, alumni, donors and entrepreneurs how the idea for an entrepreneurship center grew from a small space in the Thad Cochran Research, Technology and Economic Development Park to the 2,000 square-foot hub it is today. The ceremony also honored Gerald Nelson, the first Director for MSU’s entrepreneurship program, who retired in 2013. Pictured at the event are (from left) Eric Hill, Director of Entrepreneurship; Jeffrey Rupp, Director of Outreach; Dean Sharon Oswald and MSU President Mark Keenum.

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

CEO Grand Opening

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Assets

n MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Outreach launched its Executive in Residence (EIR) program during the fall, allowing any student to consult with visiting executives. Some of those participating as EIRs include Mississippi Development Authority Executive Director Glenn McCullough, Jr.; John McKie, Managing Partner & Executive Vice President of Godwin Group; George Bryan, former Senior Vice President of Sara Lee, and Geoffrey Carter, President and CEO of Hyperion Technologies.

n According to UT Dallas’ Top 100 Business School Research Rankings, the MSU COB is 10th in the nation and 13th worldwide for research contributions to MIS (Management & Information Sciences) Quarterly over the period from 2010 to the present. n Military Times ranked the COB’s graduate programs 26th for educating and providing opportunities for America’s veterans. U.S. News & World Report ranked the Distance MBA program 22nd overall and 19th for veterans, and GetEducated.com placed the Distance MBA program 10th on its list of “Best Buys.”

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n The Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy is ranked third in the nation for both undergraduate and graduate accounting programs with 15 or fewer full-time faculty by the 2016 Commerce Clearing House Public Accounting Report. Among all programs regardless of faculty size, the master’s accounting program is 28th, while the undergraduate program is 31st. n Dr. Mariquita Boone, Business Manager for the Division of Business Research, recently became a Certified Financial Research Administrator. n Dr. Michael J. Breazeale, Assistant Professor of Marketing, was tapped by city officials to assist in the economic redevelopment of Starkville’s oldest commercial district. He worked with a team of students on a comprehensive branding proposal to spur business development. n Dr. Brandon Cline, John Nutie and Edie Dowdle Associate Professor of Finance, guided MSU’s TVA Investment Challenge student panel as they managed a live stock portfolio worth more than $500,000 through the year. The team also took part in the international Quinnipiac Global Asset Management Education VI Forum in New York, NY. n Dr. James Chrisman – Julia Bennett Rouse Professor of Management, Department Head of Management & Information Systems and Director of the Center of Family Enterprise Research – and Dr. Merrill Warkentin – Professor of Information Systems and Drew Allen Endowed Fellow – are listed by Google Scholar as the two most cited MSU researchers. n Recipients of 2016 MSU Research Awards for the COB were faculty member: former Assistant Professor of Information Systems Robert Crossler; research support: Dr. Mariquita Boone; graduate student: Stacie Waites and undergraduate student: Justin Bailey. n College of Business student athletes received the top honors at the David M. Halbrook Awards for Academic Achievement, administered by the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, the Mississippi Community College Board and the Mississippi Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Cornelia Griesche, overall winner for female student athletes, was a track and field team member who graduated summa cum laude in economics this past spring. Brandon McBride, overall winner for male student athletes, is a member of the track and field team and a public policy and administration master’s student, having graduated cum laude with a degree in business administration. n Alex Krallman, business administration and marketing doctoral student, was named the 2016 Donald Zacharias Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year by the MSU Graduate Student Association. n Brandon McBride competed in the 2016 Olympics, where he finished in first place in the Men’s 800m preliminary round for his native country of Canada.

n Dr. Thomas W. Miller, Jr., Professor of Finance and holder of the Jack R. Lee Chair of Financial Services and Consumer Finance, testified before the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee in February 2016. He was called on for his expertise in consumer finance and the small-dollar loan landscape, to share ways to restructure regulation to improve borrower welfare. n Teams from MSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship & Outreach excelled at the Innovate Mississippi New Venture Challenge in November. Kaylie Mitchell and Hagan Walker of Glo Drinks won first place, and Terence Williams of Nobility Tech took third. n Dr. Craig Orgeron, the state of Mississippi’s Chief Information Officer and a 1989 business information systems graduate, was recognized as one of Government Technology’s Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers for 2016. n Angela L. Pannell, Instructor of Accountancy, was elected Vice-Chair of the Mississippi State Board of Public Accountancy for 2016. She was also reappointed to the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy’s Education Committee for a fourth term. n Dr. Rodney Pearson, Professor of Information Systems and MSU Director of Student Success, has been nominated by MSU as this year’s outstanding faculty member for his work as an award-winning professor, information systems expert and leader in increasing the graduation rates of undergraduates. He will be honored by the state legislature in February. n Ken Robinson, Chief Audit Executive for the Proctor & Gamble Co. and 1977 COB graduate, was appointed one of five new members of the Financial Accounting Foundation’s Board of Trustees. n Bryan Rogers, a management doctoral student, was inducted into the 2016 MSU Graduate School Hall of Fame. n Jim Rouse, retired ExxonMobil Vice President and 1962 industrial management graduate, received an honorary doctor of science degree during MSU’s Spring 2016 commencement. The 2012 National Alumnus of the Year serves as a member of the COB Executive Advisory Board. n Chip Templeton, Director of the MSU Small Business Development Center and previous Telehealth Education Manager at the MSU Extension Service, won the Curtis L. Lowery Telehealth Champion Award at the South Central Telehealth Forum. n Alumnus Jerry Toney, Senior Wealth Advisor and Mississippi President for Cadence Bank, was named among the nation’s top 50 bank and credit union advisors for 2015 by Bank Investment Consultant. He serves on MSU’s Department of Finance and Economics Advisory Board and is an adjunct lecturer for the Department. n Students Blake Trehern and Vanessa Velasquez won 2016 Spirit of State Awards, MSU’s premier recognition for contributions to student life. Trehern is a senior management major, and Velasquez is a senior business administration/international business and foreign language double-major. n Dr. Brad Trinkle, Assistant Professor of Accountancy, and former COB faculty member Dr. Robert Crossler were ranked 18th among Accounting Information Systems (all methods) Researchers worldwide for 2015 by BYU Accounting Rankings. MSU is the 10th ranked university for AIS research in the world and is 2nd among SEC schools. n Dr. James Vardaman, Associate Professor of Management, received the Organizational Development & Change Division Research Award at the 76th Annual Academy of Management Meeting. n Dr. Merrill Warkentin won the 2016 Emerald Citation of Excellence for his paper published by MIS Quarterly titled, “Beyond Deterrence: An expanded view of employee computer abuse.”

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D O Y O U K N OW ANY F UTUR E

MSU Business Bulldogs?

n Email business@msstate.edu to add them to our “Big Dawgs” list.

| M I S S I S S I P P I STAT E U N I V E R S I T Y

n Add them to the Admissions mailing list by filling out the “Request Information” form at admissions.msstate.edu.

COLLEGE OF BUSINESS

n Encourage them to visit campus! Visits can be scheduled at campusvisit.msstate.edu.

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

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.

www.business.msstate.edu Coming Soon! The new MSU College of Business website will launch in early 2017. Our exciting redesign will not only keep you up to date on the COB, it will also offer an easy way for you to share your news with us! Watch for it in the months ahead.

Keep in Touch msubusiness MSU Business MSU College of Business @MSUBusiness Mississippi State University College of Business Mississippi State University College of Business

Dividends Magazine, 2016 Edition  

Dividends Magazine is the annual publication for the Mississippi State University College of Business.

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