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The Magazine of the MISSISSIPPI STATE UnivERSITY CollEGE of BusINESS
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Alumni and Friends, As the academic year ends here at the College of Business, the Bulldog spirit moves through the halls of McCool. In the atrium, students review for exams. In team rooms, they polish their final presentations. In classrooms, they receive parting advice from caring faculty. McCool Hall is a wonderful place to work and study, and many of you share credit for that! College of Business students continue to excel academically, as demonstrated by their invitations to membership in numerous honor programs. Recently, COB students were among those inducted into and recognized through the longstanding Society of Scholars; the 43rd annual awards ceremony for the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College; the senior recognition banquet of the MSU Distinguished Scholars (the highest scholarship recognition at MSU); and the induction ceremony of Phi Kappa Phi. We are proud of all of our students and
College of Business Interim Dean and Professor of Accounting
commend those who have achieved these special recognitions. As we wish our departing graduates the best and anticipate new students’ arrival for summer orientation, I want to thank you for the many ways you help us meet their needs. Together, we are preparing ethical, knowledgeable, responsible future business leaders. I am pleased to let you know that Dr. Sharon Oswald has accepted the invitation to become the next dean of the College of Business. She will be arriving full time in July from Auburn University. Sharon’s academic and research field is management. We are delighted to welcome her as she changes colors from orange to maroon!
Louis Dawkins Interim Dean Paul Grimes Associate Dean for Instruction and Operations Barbara Spencer Associate Dean for Research and Outreach
I am honored to provide leadership as interim dean during this transitional time. Thank you for the support you have shown me. Please let me hear from you if you have questions. I also invite you to visit our web page often for new information – www.business.msstate.edu – and look for us on Facebook and Twitter.
Kevin Rogers Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs Jack McCarty Director of Development [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Jimmy Kight Assistant Director of Development [email@example.com]
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Executive Advisory Board David Abney Richard Adkerson Drew Allen Rick Anderson Richard Armstrong Marsha Blackburn Charlie Boyd Stan Bulger Tony Clark Jim Coggin Cynthia Cooper Alan Crockett Larry Favreau Linda Garrett Von Graham Jan Gwin John Hairston Mac Jones Chuck Jordan Paul Karre Lewis Mallory Clyde Manning Don Mason Lee Miller Bob Montgomery Jay Moon Rod Moore Debrah Oberkirch Shirley Olson Ron Ponder Richard Puckett R.L. Qualls Billy Roberts Pat Robertson Jim Rouse Carolyn Shanks Robert Sheely Lex Taylor Cyndi Tucker Jim Walden Mark Williamson Blake Wilson Dividends is published by Quest Group, L.L.C. www.getquest.com
Dividends is a publication of the College of Business at Mississippi State University
Spring 11 2 Student Soldiers
Todayâ€™s students carry on the proud MSU tradition of service to country.
6 The Pipeline of Success
The College of Business has had a notable impact on the leadership of Mueller Industries.
9 Business Practice
Senior marketing students put their knowlege to work for real clients.
10 Bulldog Brotherhood
Dividends catches up with alumni Dezmond and Derek Sherrod.
12 Legal Eaglets
Business law students take ownership of their beliefs as they ponder legal and ethical issues.
14 More than Mickey
Alumna Jenny Whitlock has found many avenues to pursue a marketing career at the Walt Disney Company.
16 New Directions
Mid-year brought several changes in the administration of the College of Business.
Paying Dividends: A Byword from the Dean
Assets & Actions
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oldiers Mississippi State has a proud tradition of supporting American military efforts. From the scores of students who laid aside their books to take up arms in World War I to the number of present day veterans attending State now, the university and the College of Business have sought to provide these young men and women with encouragement and a quality education. Matt Williams is a business information systems major who will be graduating in May. He, like many other MSU students, began college in the carefree environment of a nation thriving. It was during his sophomore year that the world seemed to come to a stop as terrorists invaded our country, attacking the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and hijacking United Airlines Flight 93. “There was a surge of us who left school to defend our country,” recalls Williams, who spent the next six years serving in the U.S. Army. “I was based in Arizona but spent more than half of my time overseas.” Williams saw tours in Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He was a specialist in fiber optics installation. “When the military would first go into a country they would throw up the communications systems just to get them functioning,” says Williams. “Our job was to follow the initial wave in and make the systems more permanent. It was highly technical work.” Williams was a member of an experimental platoon called Tactical Installation and Networking designed for rapid response. They could deploy with as little as one week’s notice and often would not know their destination. In addition to his regular duties, Williams, like most Army personnel, was tasked with providing armed escorts for civilians in war zones. Williams worked alongside a number of Iraqis on the base where he was assigned. Many were Kuwaiti-born and had been expelled at the start of
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the war. Others were former Iraqi military. “We tried to help them get promoted when they did a good job,” says Williams. “It was the most stable source of income available for most of them. They liked to talk about the differences between Matt Williams Christianity and Islam. Rambo and Arnold Schwarzenegger were their American heroes. They were always asking if we knew them!” Nick Duncan’s military experience was with the Army National Guard. The December finance graduate spent a year in Tikrit, Iraq, at the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was a combat engineer tasked primarily with doing land surveys. “We were living on the ground with no roofs, no running water, no electricity, and no communications with home for nine months,” he shares in regard to the difficult conditions. “However, it was pretty cool that we were there in the city when Saddam Hussein was captured.” Distance MBA student Jeff Schutz deployed to Iraq in 2004 while on active duty with the Army, for what turned out to be only two months because of an injury he received. It took the Purple Heart recipient eight months to recover, but it did not keep him from going a second time. In 2006, he returned for a 16 month tour. “I enjoyed the work we did when I went back,” he states. “This time I was taking part in rebuilding Iraqi communities. We developed housing, schools, and water purification systems. The people seemed to really appreciate what we were doing for them.” Another former member of the Army National Guard, Jesse Germany is studying business administration on campus. He is a third generation Bulldog. Due to the nature of the assignment he is cryptic about the specifics of his deployment, but he does share that he was responsible for base and aircraft security in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He, like many of the young MSU military veterans, has a family history of service. “My great-grandfather was in World War I,” he says. “My grandfather served in World War II, and my stepfather and cousins went to Vietnam. It’s a family tradition. I’m proud to have served my country.” Clayton Bayne is another distance MBA student using
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his G.I. benefits to further his education. A member of the National Guard for seven years, Bayne’s deployments were spent in vital security stateside. “In 2003, we were the first National Guard battalion to be put on air defense for the national capital region,” he states. “We were responsible for protecting all vital assets within a 30 mile ring around D.C. My second tour was in 2008 where I was assigned to the Joint Air Defense Operations Center. I was responsible for all Army enlisted soldiers on my shift. We ran all fire control [ie: weapons personnel such as gunners] throughout Washington.” Perhaps this Waynesboro native’s most devastating experience was assisting in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. “My unit was sent to Bay St. Louis the day after the hurricane,” he remembers. “We were the only help there. We told everyone that we would be handing out food and water, and the next day there were five to six thousand people lined all the way up and down Highway 98. It was really traumatic. One day we’re spending time with our friends and family, and the next day it looks like a nuclear bomb has gone off in our community. There were people who had no shoes or clothes.” All of these young men are seeking to better themselves through their Clayton Bayne education and have chosen to enroll in the College of Business. Bayne shares, “I decided to enter the MBA program because I need to develop skills that will get me to upper level management or help me pursue entrepreneurship. In my job at Hol-Mac Corporation in Bay Springs I see the relevance of classroom content every day. The MBA classes have enabled me to do a variety of tasks better – to make my light shine brighter within the company.” Williams chose a business information systems major knowing he wanted to complement his technical skills and also become well-rounded in business essentials like management, economics, and marketing. He credits Rodney and Allison Pearson with being some of his most influential teachers, Rodney being department head for Management & Information Systems and Allison a professor of management. Schutz was looking for a reputable university with a distance learning program so he could work toward his MBA while continuing his career. “MSU had a good name, was flexible, and was
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affordable,” shares Schutz. “I’ve enjoyed my experience.” All of these veterans speak very highly of MSU’s G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Center for America’s Veterans as well as the encouragement they have received from faculty and staff. “MSU is very veteran friendly,” remarks Williams. “It has one of the best veteran support centers I’ve seen. From day one, they made everything so simple for us. Also, the Student Association has recently added a seat for veterans.” Bayne adds, “I feel like my military experience was appreciated by my professors. When I had to skip class as an undergraduate on Fridays for Guard duty, they never asked to see my orders, they just said ‘go.’” “We are very proud of the young men and women in the COB who have served our country,” says interim dean Louis Dawkins. “Their leadership is certainly an asset to our college. We hope to continue developing efforts to reach out to them in the future.” Some of these soldiers have begun new careers and others will be beginning soon. Duncan works for Woodmen of the World selling insurance, investment plans, securities, and IRAs. Upon graduation, Williams wants to begin a career as a government civilian, citing a pride in continuing to work for his country. Schutz works for Tyson
Foods in Pine Bluff, AR, and hopes his MBA will further his career. As mentioned, Bayne wants to pursue upper level management or entrepreneurship. Germany has not decided what he will do yet but is leaning toward rejoining the military and going to Officer Candidate School. To a man, each feels that by serving his country in the military he made a good decision, that he developed some of his closest friendships, and that he is proud of what he did. These individuals, most in their late twenties and early thirties, have a depth of experience and wisdom that belies their age. “I’m proud to have served my country,” says Williams. “I miss the military a lot. My platoon has its own Facebook page, so we can keep up with each other. “Going into the military helped me in school. It created a drive within me. I’ve been on the dean’s list or the president’s list every semester I’ve been back. I’m a very different person than I was when I arrived here my freshman year.”
Some photos courtesy of U.S. Army
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A Pipeline of Success – Fr o m t h e C lassr o o m t o t h e C O N F E R E N C E R OO M
e are driven to be the best of the best. We operate at a level that is simply not for everybody…but for people who crave challenge, responsibility, and leadership, working at Mueller Industries is ideal,” observes Roscoe Bufkin, director of marketing for Memphisbased Mueller Industries Inc. “We have an energetic, results-based culture here at Mueller Industries,” continues the 1988 COB economics graduate. “Our corporation is large but lean, and the fast pace gets in your blood.” Mueller Industries is a company that has attracted some of the sharpest of MSU alumni. They enjoy the global focus of a public, international company coupled with a trim operating structure that requires the best of its employees. Mueller Industries is a world leader in the manufacture of flowcontrol products, industrial materials, and engineered components. The company serves the plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, automotive, aerospace, and appliance markets as well as many others. Established in 1917, the company has manufacturing and distribution facilities across the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, and China. It sells direct to various wholesalers, retailers, and original equipment manufacturers. Annual sales for 2010 exceeded two billion dollars. Bufkin is one of a number of COB graduates who have risen to key positions within the company’s world headquarters. Others on that list include vice president of administration Melanie Franks, vice president
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learning about various aspects of the company like marketing, and CIO Roy Harris, HR generalist Glenn Ray, tax director Joe supply chain, and manufacturing…then I went to Atlanta as Hardy and HVAC/R channel manager Devin Malone. There district sales manager for three years,” shares Malone. “Now, are additional MSU graduates in engineering, management, and I’m back at the corporate office working in a marketing role. other roles at the company’s manufacturing and distribution Mueller Industries isn’t afraid to give you a lot of responsibility facilities. early in your career. I’ve experienced much more than most Hardy, who graduated in 1991 with a degree in people my age working for other companies. You also have great accounting, came to Mueller Industries over 3 years ago from exposure to upper level a background in public management, and they accounting. are willing to listen to “I felt well-prepared what you have to say.” for the workforce In contrast to when I left school,” he Malone’s young career, states. “One of the real Roy Harris began at positives at State was Mueller Industries in that the professors were 1969 at the Fulton, there to teach, not just MS, copper tube mill. publish articles. They The 1964 accounting were always available to graduate has seen a lot us. After my first few of growth at Mueller. years in the workforce “When I started at I began dealing more the Fulton plant it was with transactions than still under construction tax returns. That’s and was the first MSU alumni in key positions at Mueller are Roscoe Bufkin, Glenn Ray, when the value of my Devin Malone, Melanie Franks, Joe Hardy, and Roy Harris. expansion the company education really began had undertaken,” says to make an impact.” Harris. “The company headquarters was in Port Huron, MI. Hardy now manages Mueller Industries’ global tax liability Since that time, Mueller Industries has built several plants and functions. In a worldwide, publicly traded corporation he acquired others in various parts of the country and overseas as says reporting to shareholders and to the Securities Exchange well as moved the corporate offices to Memphis.” Commission are some of the most critical aspects of his job. Melanie Franks, a 1984 finance major, has also had a long He also brings the added value of tax planning to the company career at Mueller Industries that began at the Fulton plant. – a vital need in an internationally expanding company. After 27 years in various positions with the company, she Devin Malone began his career with Mueller Industries earned the recent promotion to vice president. straight out of college in 2004. The marketing major entered “At Mueller Industries, if you’re willing to work you have the company’s Career Development Program. This program, many opportunities,” she says. “The company has sent me designed in part by Bufkin, is structured to provide fresh to conferences, seminars, and school. My job involves new college graduates with role specific training and broad company challenges every year – really almost every day. I’m never bored!” understanding as well as to build relationships with key Glenn Ray, who graduated in 1986 with a BBA in employees and senior management. information systems, came to the company eight years ago. “I spent my first year working out of the corporate office MSU Co llege of Business Dividends_Spr11.indd 7
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opportunities in general are constantly changing, and you have Prior to that, he had been in the Department of Human to know how to adapt.” Resources Management at Mississippi State University. He continues, “I tell them that every job they have now “The whole Mississippi State experience prepared me will benefit them in the future. Even today, I still draw from well for my career,” he states. “My classroom education all of my working experiences growing up…from catfish and really helped me deal with the analytical aspects of my career cotton farms to construction and retail. All jobs are important. while my fraternity and campus involvement helped me Be proud of your honest, hard work…what you have done.” gain practical experiences and lifelong lessons. At Mueller Also on campus regularly is Hardy, who serves on the Industries, you have opportunities to get involved in many Adkerson School of Accountancy Advisory Council. In fact, it different things. You are exposed to a variety of involvement was through a connection with a fellow council member that he that you just don’t get with any company. It quickly builds found out about the accounting position at Mueller Industries. one’s business experience…no two days are alike.” “Mueller Industries has been Ray’s job has him in the a good fit for me,” notes Hardy. role of liaison officer on human “My job allows me to deal with resources issues between corporate very complex global tax issues headquarters and the company’s “I’ve done many different that face the largest companies in twenty different facilities across the country, but without the red the United States. He supports in jobs in my career. I am tape. We can move quickly to various employment related issues resolve issues.” including the coordination of HR thankful that Mississippi MSU is also fortunate to policies and the administration benefit from Hardy’s expertise as of the company’s HR and payroll State gave me a good base he returns to campus occasionally database system. In a company to teach a class on tax. In fact, it that was recently experiencing 100 to upon which to build.” is the emphasis on the practical percent growth almost every five that many Mueller Industries years, Ray has been very important employees point to as a benefit of to the integration of HR systems and MELANIE FRANKS their COB education. processes with acquired companies. “I got an education that I All of these alumni enjoy could apply,” states Harris. “It the Bulldog camaraderie in their helped me adjust and learn how to office, e-mailing each other about work in various environments.” ballgames and other campus events. They get back to campus for This group of hard working COB graduates personifies games when possible and are involved in other activities as well. the new corporate image – lean, fast moving, interactive. They Bufkin was recently on campus for the COB’s Career appreciate the corporate community created by their company, Chats sharing his experience with a couple of classes. and they are loyal to their Bulldog roots. “I talk to students more about preparation and developing “I’ve done many different jobs in my career,” Franks sums themselves than I do about marketing,” says Bufkin. “It’s up. “I am thankful that Mississippi State gave me a good base my experience that college is not there to turn you into an to upon which to build.” engineer or an accountant, but really to teach you to think Malone concludes, “I loved my time at Mississippi State, like an engineer or accountant. You have to make your way and I plan on being an active alumnus for the rest of my life.” and build yourself into those titles. The marketplace and
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COB students Justin Miles, far left, and Matthew Sims, far right, ask questions of Quest Group’s creative director, Art Shirley, and principal, Cindy Hodo.
ou would think marketing firms would be the bestpublicized companies in the world. But the “client comes first” principle is what drives a successful firm, which means self-promotion often takes a back seat. That’s why it was an intriguing idea when this agency got the opportunity to have the tables turned and become the client. Our company, Quest Group, is an advertising, marketing, and public relations firm and publisher of Dividends. A few months ago, Lynne Richardson proposed that two consulting teams from her marketing management course take us on as a client for their capstone project. Other teams’ clients include Sullivan’s Office Supply, the Starkville School District, the MSU Bagley College of Engineering, and the College of Business itself. “The value in this type of project is that it gives students the opportunity to interact with real organizations,” comments Justin Miles, student leader for one of Quest’s teams. “This experience helps prepare students to be successful and gives us a head start as we enter the business world.” The course is a requirement for marketing majors in their final semesters. It provides a service to the clients, offering comprehensive plans for marketing their organizations or projects, while giving students the chance to apply what they have learned. “A course of this type is crucial toward the completion of our degree,” remarks Matthew Sims, leader of the other Quest team. “This class allows us to combine all the marketing knowledge we have acquired and use it in a real life example, to allow us to better understand all the concepts and information from our studies.” Each team works with its client throughout the semester, getting to know its strengths, its needs, and its market and researching where opportunities lie. The project kicked off January 18. Representatives from each client organization came to campus for introductory meetings with their teams. The students around the Quest table came into the room already knowing a great deal about our company. They asked shrewd, relevant questions ranging from the big picture to specifics: “What’s your goal?” “Who’s your target market?”
“What have you tried that works or doesn’t work?” “Are you open to changing your website?” “What budget should we use?” Other clients have enjoyed working with their teams as well. “Dean [Sarah] Rajala and I have talked with them about our peer colleges of engineering, our current marketing efforts, and the audience we try to reach,” notes Susan Lassetter, communications specialist for the Bagley College of Engineering. “They’ve toured the college and our research centers to better understand what we have to offer.” Steve Langston, owner and general manager of Sullivan’s, shares, “The experience has been great, me having been in the business for over 40 years and them with all the fresh ideas and today’s new avenues for doing business in unconventional paths. I am excited to see the final analysis.” Richardson’s isn’t the only marketing management class this semester. Jason Lueg has his students working on the EcoCAR: The NeXt Challenge competition. A threeyear intercollegiate contest sponsored primarily by the U.S. Department of Energy and General Motors, EcoCAR calls for engineering students to reduce a vehicle’s environmental impact while maintaining its performance and consumer appeal. A major thrust of the competition is outreach, and it is this aspect that Lueg’s students are supporting. Some handle social media marketing and the team website. Others are focused on influencers – the politicians and other key players in policy relating to alternative fuels and sustainability. An education outreach group has gone to high schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Scout troops, even working with a local Girl Scout council to develop a merit badge resource guide on ecology and sustainability. A fourth group does marketing research in areas like trends in consumer preference and comparisons of MSU’s geographic region with the rest of the country. EcoCAR judging will take place soon after the semester ends. Richardson’s class will make final presentations to their clients near the end of the semester, and we’re looking forward to it. Stand by for a report in the fall on what they recommended, and what their clients gleaned.
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Bulldog Brotherhood The College of Business has had many outstanding siblings pass through its halls, but none may be better known than Dezmond and Derek Sherrod. These two have excelled in the classroom, on the football field, and most notably in personal character. Dezmond graduated in 2006 with a degree in insurance, risk management, and financial planning. He completed his MBA in 2008. Following his years as a Bulldog, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The following year he played for the Houston Texans and now plays tight end for the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives. In three short years he has a Super Bowl ring and a UFL championship to his credit. Derek followed in his brother’s footsteps when it came to choosing a major. He completed his bachelor’s degree in August of 2010 and began his master’s program the next semester. He is currently training in anticipation of the NFL draft, where he is projected to be a first round pick in the highly regarded left tackle position. Both brothers are winsome, quick with a smile, intelligent, and gracious. As student athletes, they made the dean’s and president’s lists numerous times and graduated with honors. Dividends was recently able to catch up with them during a campus visit. As they joked and wrestled with each other during the photo session, it was evident that these two are very close and are each other’s biggest fans. 10
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n What made you choose insurance, risk management, and financial planning as a major?
Dezmond: When you think about it, every type of job is business related. Financial planning is something that really interests me beyond my football career. We had the coolest professors. They genuinely cared about us. Derek: I knew about the major from Dezmond, but stayed undecided for about a year. Ultimately, I felt like it was the best fit for me. It opens up a number of avenues and opportunities. The professors like Dr. Ed Duett really supported each student. n What about life after football…any chance of a Sherrod brothers financial planning firm?
Dezmond: Ha, maybe! My lifelong dream is to be a business owner. I’ve always liked to do things a little out of the norm like go to school and play football. I like to push myself, so I’ll work some to gain experience then start my own business. Derek: I definitely plan to finish my master’s degree. I would like to own my own business or work in a front office for a pro team doing financial planning. n What was life like growing up in the Sherrod household?
Dezmond: Our parents felt their ultimate responsibility was to make sure we excelled in school. We were rewarded for good grades. They liked for us to stay active in sports to keep us busy. In whatever we were doing, they urged us to do our best.
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Derek: They also always wanted us to do the right thing. They taught us the difference between right and wrong. Dezmond: Our parents provided a nice neighborhood for us. We loved basketball. The whole neighborhood would come to our house right after school, and we’d play ’til sundown. Part of that was because our parents wanted to make sure they knew where we were at all times. n Derek seems to have followed quite a bit in his older brother’s footsteps.
Dezmond: Yes, everything I did Derek did, and he seemed to excel in it. He didn’t just play football in high school but was an All-American and Gatorade player for the state of Mississippi. He didn’t just graduate college with good grades but was named an NFF [National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame] scholar athlete. n You’re not proud of him, are you?
Dezmond: Yeahhh. n What about your older brother and sister?
Dezmond: We’re really proud of them, too. They are both in the Army, and just got back from Iraq. Derek: We support and appreciate all our troops. n Tell me about any life lessons you’ve learned – on or off the field.
Derek: Be professional in whatever you do. Take pride in your work because it reflects who you are as a person. Take pride in your character. Your character is who you are when no one is watching. Dezmond: Things are going to happen to you that are out of your control. It’s not what happens to you, but how you respond to it that makes a difference. n What drives you?
Derek: I have a goal of being successful at whatever I do. Everyday I want to become better than I am at this moment in time. Dezmond: It’s the same for me. I like to achieve, and I
want to continue that throughout my football career and into my future profession. n You both are known for your community service work.
Dezm Derek: We ond were both inDerek volved in the M-Club, the student athlete organization that provides community service. I did food drives, clothing drives, read to elementary kids…I helped repaint the Dawg Walk prints outside the stadium. Dezmond: A lot of the Steelers players have personal charities. I was always the first to volunteer to help out. I love giving back to the community. A couple of weeks ago I got to speak to the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus. I told them that they hold the keys to their futures.
n Anything else you would like to add?
Derek: I love Mississippi State. This is home. It was the best environment for me. I knew I would excel with the right people around me. The College of Business let me learn from them. I knew if I paid attention they could help me grow, and I appreciate that. Dezmond: I loved being a Mississippi State Bulldog. I will always support all the programs here. They have shown me how to be a better person. As we finished our interview and were saying our good-byes, Derek leaned back in the stadium bleachers and looked over the empty green field with the shadows beginning to fall. “It’s really starting to sink in,” he said. “Yeah,” his older brother replied with a sigh of experience. “You’re really gonna miss it.”
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Leg a l s tat e u n i v
when we don’t see things from a strictly ‘legal’ point of view.” absolutely do not believe in capital punishment under any Liddell, who teaches a number of business law classes at circumstances.” undergraduate and graduate levels, takes a holistic approach “Can you honestly say that if someone broke into your to teaching. Her belief is that the process of learning is more home and brutally murdered your entire family you wouldn’t important than the information since much of that will change feel differently?” within the next five years. She tells students that the brain, like a Provocative comments. Yet the issues are real ones that muscle, must be developed through use. face our nation every day. Liddell takes a personal interest in her In Dr. Gloria Liddell’s graduate level students, sharing information about herself Law, Ethics, and Dispute Resolution “The law frames and asking the same of them. This extends to class, students engage each other in often her distance education students. Not wanting passionate dialogue. everything. You ignore it them to feel sidelined, she corresponds with “I don’t do boring,” laughs Liddell. “It is critical to students’ professional and to your own detriment. each personally asking about their hobbies, travels, and personal experiences. personal development that they are aware of If you understand it, An individual who shares her commitment the world around them. Every law Congress to students is her husband Dr. Pearson Liddell, passes or every Supreme Court decision has it will reduce your who is also on the business law faculty. The political and business implications.” Liddells, along with fellow business law faculty Her class is case law driven and has transaction costs and member Cecelia Cook, have had among them a reputation for demanding a lot from a variety of legal experiences to add to their students. They must read and prepare briefs transaction risks.” on a number of cases prior to class meetings. teaching experience, including private practice, public defense, corporate counsel, arbitration, There are also two research papers required Dr. Pearson Liddell and the federal government. It is a part of as well as preparation for everyone’s favorite what directs their classroom instruction toward round table discussions. practical application. “The round table discussions are the The Liddells, who spend their Friday evenings at home most fun I’ve had in class the whole time I’ve been in school,” leading a marriage enrichment group for young couples, confess says MBA student Corey Hillhouse. “Stem cell research, there is sometimes competition between the two of them to see unions, illegal immigration, blue laws – everyone gives their who can be the most interesting and engaging teacher. opinions, and we all have different systems of values.” “My goal is for members of my classes to understand the Lee Pratt adds, “I was nervous about taking the class importance of the law in every business transaction,” states because I heard it was very challenging. I’ve found it rewarding Pearson. “The law frames everything. You ignore it to your and motivating. In class I am Attorney Pratt. Dr. Liddell own detriment. If you understand it, it will reduce your encourages us to learn and doesn’t dampen our enthusiasm even
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E aglets iversity business
transaction costs and transaction risks.” Pearson likes to keep classroom learning interesting with a game of “Jeopardy” or everyone’s favorite “Business Law Survivor” in which students are required to create businesses. They systematically vote out the weakest. Pearson serves as the final judge when there are only a few remaining. “I also give a lot of open note quizzes,” says Pearson. “If students read the material and make notes before coming to class they are more prepared and will ask questions. I’ve found that when a student asks a question, the others remember the discussion much better.” While the principles of business law are consistent, the nature of discussion in the Liddells’ classes is driven by current topics. “In our research paper my partner and I discussed how the economy is forcing businesses to consider partnerships,” shares MBA student Brittiney Hersey. “We looked at the positive and negative issues involved in that and how the economy is then responsible for the dissolution of many of those same partnerships.” Business law is not limited to the letter of the law in the COB. Ethics is a topic that is discussed at length. With so many high profile cases in the news, students are eager to know where the “lines” are. “What I want them to understand is the relationship between good ethics and profitable business,” says Pearson. “The stereotype of the lying, cheating corporate leader is dying. The reality is that if you’re not ethical it increases your transaction costs because others are having to constantly vet everything you do.”
“In one case study we discussed ethics in sports with the position that athletes are the CEOs of their careers,” states Hersey. “We looked at several athletes who had used steroids and noted how their actions violated natural law and caused them to lie under oath. We also gave examples of what they could have done differently.” Business law is required for every graduate and undergraduate business student. Classes include real estate law, commercial transactions, ethics, legal environment, environmental law, international law, and other topics. Although the students interviewed all have different career goals – automotive executive, nonprofit public relations professional, CPA – they agreed that their business law classes have been an essential part of their education. “Classroom involvement is excellent,” says Hillhouse. “We feel encouraged to speak about our views because the environment is one in which we know we will not be rejected.” That no doubt pleases the Liddells and the COB leadership. An active discussion of law and ethics means students are taking ownership of their belief systems and thinking through their values before they will be challenged in the workforce. At round table discussions in Dr. Gloria Liddell’s Law, Ethics, and Dispute Resolution class are Chelsey Harper, Paul Dowdle, Randi Patterson, Randall Journeay, Corey Hillhouse, Tracy Hardrict, Kendra Evans, and Gill Lucas, with Liddell below.
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More than Mickey
Alumna Jenny Whitlock has found many avenues to pursue her marketing career at the Walt Disney Company.
Jenny Gilbert Whitlock is one of those people who knew what she wanted to do at a young age. “I knew as early as junior high I wanted to be in marketing – and even in elementary school, I was most excited by projects like creating our own ‘ads,’” she recalls. Now the Jackson, MS, native is director of marketing strategy and communication for Walt Disney Studios. When Whitlock began at Mississippi State, where her uncle Jerry Gilbert is now provost and executive vice president, she was unsure which aspects of marketing most interested her. Initially starting in graphic design, she soon realized she preferred the business side. She set about gaining experience to go along with her studies, working in ad sales for The Reflector and doing several internships. “Marketing is a big umbrella, and there are many things you can do within it,” she observes. “What emerged for me was that I really liked the strategy aspects – finding opportunities and solving problems when they arose.” Whitlock started with Disney after her freshman year, having interviewed on campus in a session facilitated by the MSU Cooperative Education Program. Her first internship was with Disney Parks and Resorts, working as a merchandise hostess in Orlando, FL. Having gotten some Disney experience, she later progressed to marketing-related internships with the theme parks. After graduating in 2000 with her marketing degree, Whitlock returned to Orlando to work for a boutique agency there. “They were in marketing, public relations, and advertising, so I got experience in each of those areas,” she says. Then an opportunity to rejoin Disney opened, and in 2002 she went to work for the theme parks’ in-house ad agency in a strategy role. While there, she also earned an MBA from the University of Florida. In 2007, a former coworker recruited Whitlock for a newly created position at ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company. Again in marketing strategy, she helped devise ways to promote shows like “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Dancing with the Stars,” “Modern Family,” the Academy Awards, and one of her favorites, “Lost.” “Because of the iconic nature of ‘Lost,’ we could do things nobody had done in TV before,” she notes, referring to the out-of-the box genre of marketing support created for the series. For instance, the show’s fictional airline had a real website, and the characters’ fictional drink of choice began appearing on other programs. Whitlock worked on the final three seasons. “We used a lot of nontraditional marketing, like having underground artists design posters based on storylines from the series, which created a kind of art 14
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movement around the show.” Clearly Whitlock is good at what she does, for several months ago another former coworker contacted her for her current position at Walt Disney Studios. “I never imagined staying with one company this long, but there are so many different divisions,” she says. “I’ve gotten to work with the theme parks, in television, and in movies.” Among the first Disney Studios projects Whitlock worked on was the release of “Tron: Legacy.” “One way we promoted it was with ‘Tron Nights’ – about 10 weeks before the opening date, we released a series of moments from the film in IMAX theaters so die-hard fans of the first film could get an early look,” she recalls. “It was a cool way to plant the seed.” Whitlock works on Disney’s live action films like this summer’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” as well as Marvel Studios titles like “The Avengers.” Her team is already planning for films that release in 2013. It is not uncommon for strategic planning to begin before a movie is filmed. Often, Whitlock and her colleagues have to use a script or even simply a story pitch as the starting point for their research. This early planning involves defining the target market for a film and gaining consumer insights to develop the most effective communication. This information may feed into that initial trailer or other piece of marketing that first grabs the attention of viewers, and it is used in the other promotions that follow. “Basically,” Whitlock says, “my job is to get people to go to the movies.” Whitlock usually works in cross-discipline teams, which include individuals responsible for areas such as publicity, digital marketing, and media. Her task is to ensure that all their efforts contribute to the common goals set for marketing a film. “I really like the collaborative nature of this company. There are a lot of good thought partners who are willing to help with ideas and information.” Because team communication is vital, a typical day for Whitlock may be filled with meetings from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., before she makes it to her desk to deal with email and prepare for the following day. Even at night and on weekends, she is connected via Blackberry. She enjoys the fast pace. “It’s busy, but it’s exciting, not grueling,” she remarks, adding, “To make marketing what you want, you have to put the hours in.” Whitlock has gotten to have some fun, too, attending events like the 50th anniversary of Disneyland and a campaign launch for the theme parks at a New York gallery that was attended by photographer Annie Leibovitz and industry A-listers. Soon after starting at ABC, she attended her first Emmy party along with cast members of “The Office” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” As one who loves movies and pop culture, she has especially enjoyed meeting some of the industry’s leading directors and anticipates upcoming projects involving Tim Burton and Joss Whedon.
“It’s interesting to be on the leading edge in terms of pop culture,” she comments. “At ABC, for instance, there was a song we used for ‘Dirty Sexy Money’ – it was by Lady Gaga, and it was just before she hit it big.” Whitlock says her career has benefited from her MSU education, from experience in working on team projects to the knowledge and support of the faculty. “My professor for advertising, Charlie Wood, was particularly good in his approach to the course material,” she states. “He and several other marketing professors had worked in the ‘real world’ and brought that perspective to the classroom.” She continues, “The teachers were good partners in terms of supporting students and wanting them to be prepared for their careers.” Whitlock is unambiguous in her advice for students: “Do internships. See what’s out there. Internships are not only the best way to get your foot in the door, but also to find out if what you’re studying is really what you want to do.” Networking is also important, she points out. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Everybody was once where you are now, and we all have stories about that person who opened a door for us. Someone did it for me, and I’m always looking for a way to pay that back.”
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New Directions Mid-year brought with it a number of changes in the administration of the College of Business. The dean’s office has welcomed several new faces, and the Richard C. Adkerson School of Accountancy has a new director.
Leading the college as interim dean is Louis Dawkins. Louis is no stranger to the COB, having been on the faculty and in leadership positions in accounting for a number of years. Most recently he completed two and a half years as director of the Adkerson School of Accountancy. His career has also included leadership roles at Henderson State University’s School of Business and consulting with and assisting schools pursuing accreditation from AACSB International. Louis earned a BBA in accounting, an MBA, and a PhD in accounting from the University of Arkansas. His research interests are managerial and financial accounting. “We are serious about the preparation of future executives and business leaders here at Mississippi State,” he remarks. “Faculty, staff, and administrators are working as a team to do what is in the best interest of the College of Business and its students. Our alumni and friends are vital partners in that effort.” Louis has met with most of the faculty and staff, hearing their views on what the college does well and where change may be in order. He has taken to the road as well, calling on
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alumni and other supporters for their input. Some of his other priorities are review of the budget, promoting outstanding classroom instruction, and supporting faculty in their research publication efforts. Personal time is spent traveling; making time for family activities including water sports, baseball, and soccer; and gardening-landscaping hobbies. Dr. Jim Scheiner arrived January 1 as director of the Adkerson School of Accountancy and a professor of accounting. He came from Florida’s Stetson University, where he had been dean of the School of Business Administration. He has also held positions at Northern Michigan University, Florida International University, the University of Tennessee, and Duke University. Jim holds a PhD and an MA in accounting from Ohio State University, as well as an MBA and a BSBA from Washington University. His academic interests lie primarily in auditing and accounting systems. Along with his credentials he brings an empathy and a respect for students, offering an open door to discuss the
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challenges they face inside and outside the classroom. Jim and his wife Linda are pleased to make Mississippi State and Starkville their new home. He shares some of the reasons he felt drawn here. “When visiting last fall, I was impressed with the quality of the faculty, their concern for students, and their commitment to the profession,” he recalls. “I also had the chance to meet a number of successful alumni who are eager to go the extra mile for the school and its students.” Alumni and other friends will enjoy getting to know new assistant director of development Jimmy Kight, a 2007 communication alumnus who previously was the MSU admissions counselor for central Mississippi. Working in that position for three years, he came to realize that making a difference at Mississippi State was the career he wanted. Jimmy has found his new job rewarding, in that it directly benefits the college and its students. He is able to connect donors with programs about which they feel strongly, such as scholarships, faculty support, and facility upgrades. “Being a part of Mississippi State means being part of a family,” he observes. “You have a connection with people from all over and share similar experiences.” For Jimmy, the family connection is a literal one as well. He is a third-generation Bulldog, and he met his wife Mary
Kathryn when paired with her for a communication class exercise that required them to look into one another’s eyes while conversing. In his off time, Jimmy enjoys time with his wife and their young daughter, as well as golf, hunting, and yardwork. When you visit the Dean’s Office, the first person likely to greet you is Tina Hubbard Sneed. As office associate, she assists her colleagues in the dean’s office, as well as Brian Watkins, director of the International Business Program. Tina has worked on campus at the National Strategic Planning & Analysis Research Center. She came to Mississippi State from the superintendent’s office of the Starkville School District, where she was employed for seven years. The former MSU student says, “I enjoy being in the College of Business, promoting the school, and being with our great students at MSU. Go Dawgs!” After work, she is most happy spending time with family and friends.
“Being a part of Mississippi State means being part of a family. You have a connection with people from all over and share similar experiences.” JIMMY KIGHT
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In Brief Business Alumni Honored member of its board of directors. A desire College of Business graduates are to encourage students has led him to visionary, successful, and committed to invest in scholarships in the COB as well their alma mater. It is these characteristics as other colleges on campus. Recently, for which several alumni have been he established an endowed professorship honored by Mississippi State this year. in the College of Business that will help At the MSU Alumni Association’s provide those students with the strongest Annual Awards Banquet in February, possible teaching. Richard Adkerson was named MSU’s The MSU-Meridian Alumna of 2011 National Alumnus of the Year. the Year is 1996 business information Adkerson, who earned an accounting systems graduate Jacqueline Van degree in 1969 and an MBA the Zyverden Hogan. Hogan is the CEO following year, is president and CEO of of Van Zyverden Inc., one of the largest Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold wholesale flower and bulb distributors in Inc., the world’s largest publicly traded the United States. The Meridian, MScopper producer. He is also co-chairman based international company is a multiof McMoRan Exploration Company, MSU President Mark Keenum with Richard Adkerson generational family business started in an international oil and gas exploration the Netherlands in 1919. Hogan and her company are especially and production company. Adkerson serves as chairman of the supportive of MSU-Meridian students, from contributing to International Council on Mining and Metals and has been ranked scholarships to hosting tours of the plant. by Institutional Investor magazine as the top CEO in the metals Buck Johnson was presented with a Distinguished Service and mining industry for the past four years. A few months ago he Award at the banquet, honoring his service to Mississippi State was inducted into the American Mining Hall of Fame. Engaged through the Alumni Association. Johnson, a 1963 business with the university for many years, the successful businessman graduate, is the retired vice president of loans for Whitney Bank shares his experience and his resources. In 2007, the Richard in Gulfport, MS, and a past regional director for the association’s C. Adkerson School of Accountancy was named in his honor in national board of directors. recognition of a $5 million gift. Adkerson serves on the COB Last fall, the COB named Don Whitmire its 2010 Alumni Executive Advisory Board and was 1989 Outstanding Accounting Fellow. The 1978 accounting alumnus is the vice president and Alumnus and 1991 COB Alumnus of the Year. He is a board controller for financial reporting at Freeport-McMoRan Copper member and past president of the MSU Foundation and has been & Gold Inc. Whitmire serves on the Advisory Council for the involved with the Alumni Association and athletics as well. Adkerson School of Accountancy. As a Fellow, he spent time on Also recognized by the Alumni Association were the Alumni campus in the fall, speaking with students about his career, his of the Year for each college. The 2011 College of Business undergraduate experiences, and how his time at Mississippi State Alumnus of the Year is Turner Wingo, a 1967 general business influenced him. graduate. Wingo, now retired from a career in real estate, contributes his time and expertise to the MSU Foundation as a
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Perfect Pitch MBA students Alexander Harris and Lauren McKee (center) chat with Ray Smith of Renasant Bank (left) and April Pittman of Stark Aerospace (right) after making “The Pitch.” Each year, Graduate Studies and Business Outreach hold a corporate networking and recruiting reception for students and potential employers. This spring, “The Pitch” was added as a new opportunity for students to gain experience and insight. The event involved participants pitching themselves individually to employer panels and receiving feedback from them. A wide variety of companies participated, including ADTRAN, bfac.com, Entergy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Frito-Lay, International Paper, Kohler, MSU Human Resources, New York Life, Paccar, Renasant Bank, ServiceMaster, Stark Aerospace, and Target.
Korean Execs Learn U.S. Business Practices
Playing His Cards Right
The College of Business was host to a group of Korean executives in November. They were on campus to participate in the International Business Strategy Program, directed by professor J.P. Shim. The program provides leadership and assistance for small and medium Korean business enterprises. It offers executive education and training in U.S. business practices to the owners and leaders of these companies. Shim began the program in 1991, and nearly 350 executives have participated. Also in that time, more than 20 COB faculty members, along with some from the College of Education, have traveled to Seoul, Korea. On average, two to three per year are invited to deliver lectures and visit businesses and universities. This year marked the resumption of the program, which had been on hiatus for three years due to the slow economy. Sharing in the teaching were Gerald Nelson, MSU Entrepreneurship Center; Robert Otondo, business information systems; Shim, business information systems; Ron Taylor, marketing; and Brian Watkins, international business. Topics included marketing research, challenges for small businesses in a wireless environment, trends and directions of entrepreneurship, project management and data mining, and cross-cultural international business understanding, as well as an information technology and cross-cultural seminar.
MBA student Dennis Hoyle has found entrepreneurship can be fun and games. A longstanding interest in game design took the next step when Hoyle entered a card game called Drop Site in Italy’s Premio Archimede, an international design competition. In his first competition, Hoyle won Best Card Game and seventh place overall, among 141 entries. “I’ve been designing games since high school and had decided recently to pursue it more seriously,” says Hoyle. “I wanted to try to get a game published and sell it.” In Drop Site, players take on the role of humanitarian aid providers. Their mission is to coordinate aid shipments to people in need. His success in the competition is helping Hoyle toward his goal of having a game published. Studio Giochi, the contest organizer, provides award winners with professional design for their games, prints 1,000 copies, and promotes it to game publishers. Hoyle is taking some of those copies and promoting them on his own as well, putting his MBA studies to work. The MSU Entrepreneurship Center is providing assistance with marketing and other support. Hoyle hopes it is the beginning of a career. But you won’t catch him designing computer games, which he says often isolate people. “I’m passionate about board and card games,” he states. “They bring people together, whether it’s families or friends, and cause them to interact with each other.”
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In Brief Excellence in Economic Education Southern Economic Association president William Shugart presented Paul Grimes with the Kenneth G. Elzinga Distinguished Teaching Award in November. Grimes is the College’s associate dean for instruction and operations, a professor of economics, and director of the Center for Economic Education and Financial Literacy at MSU. He serves as an associate editor of The Journal of Economic Education and is past president of the National Association of Economic Educators. For years, Grimes has worked to promote economic literacy in Mississippi among the public and in grades K-12, while also teaching and researching at the university. This has included training elementary and secondary teachers and coordinating programs to help at-risk high school students prepare for college with regard to finances and coursework. He has also trained teachers in Russia, South Africa, and Paraguay.
A Better World
Jones Cup Comes Home
In March, the Adkerson School of Accountancy was privileged to host Ken Harrison, CPA, as the guest speaker for its 2011 convocation. Harrison, a longtime friend of professor Mark Lehman, has had a successful career in CPA firms, business management, and now the nonprofit sector. He spoke to the packed Taylor Auditorium crowd about finding their passions and following them in their careers. Having come from a humble background – one in which he was first in his family to complete college – Harrison admits the main focus for much of his career was to make money. At the same time, he continued to push aside a feeling of being called to the ministry in some way. He reached a crossroads at the age of 40, both personally and professionally, when he had met his financial goals and realized he did not feel fulfilled. It was at that point he began looking for ways to serve others using his skills as an accountant. That led him into work in the non-profit sector, most notably with Heifer International, a company whose mission it is to “work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.” “My definition of wealth has changed,” stated Harrison. “At the end of the day, I realized having an impact on someone’s life is what made me richer.” He encouraged students to consider that they are in control of their own careers and to find ways to use their professional skills to better the world for those around them.
In its 25th year of existence, the COB’s PGA Golf Management Program brought the PGA Jones Cup home to Starkville. The victory made Mississippi State the first university to win the title three times. “It is always special to win a national championship event, but this year was even more special,” says program director Jeff Adkerson. Tudor, Johnson, Howell, Tashenberg, Ledom, Scott “The weekend prior to the PGA Jones Cup, we celebrated the PGA Golf Management Program’s 25th anniversary. We had more than 250 participants attend the festivities, which included a dinner the night before the team departed.” Mississippi State founded the Jones Cup in 2002 in memory of its first program director, Dr. Roland Jones. MSU later worked with the PGA of America in securing sponsorship of the event, renamed the PGA Jones Cup. SkyGolf, whose CEO is MSU graduate Richard Edmondson, is one of the title sponsors. Program alumnus Mark Tschetschot is the director of member tournaments for the PGA of America and is charged with facilitating the PGA Jones Cup. The annual tournament is a competition among the 20 schools in the PGA Golf Management University Program. The top five players from each program compete in the 36-hole event. Playing the PGA Golf Club’s Wanamaker Course in Port St. Lucie, FL, MSU finished day one in fourth place but came back with a final round fiveover-par and 590 total to win by one stroke. MSU players were freshman Matt Johnson and seniors Jon Howell, Mark Ledom, Matt Tashenberg, and Austin Tudor. Accompanying them was program coordinator Adam Scott.
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Assets&Actions ALUMNI • James Armstrong, BPA ’02 Accounting, MTX ’03, has been promoted to partner with accounting firm May & Company, LLP, in Vicksburg, MS. • Stephen Cohen, BS ’74 Economics, MBA ’92, is now the electronic filing coordinator for the Administrative Office of the Courts in Arkansas. He is working with a team to implement a new system enabling attorneys to e-file documents for district and circuit court cases. Cohen is a former MSU employee, having served as a computer specialist with the Mississippi Cooperative Extension Service and as manager of networks and systems for the university. • Nathan Cummins, BPA ’02 Accounting, MTX ’03, has been named a partner with May & Company, LLP. • Morgan Webb Files, BBA ’97 Marketing, has been employed by Lane Furniture and was promoted to vice president-marketing Lane and creative/marketing services Furniture Brands International. • Kathryn Gunter, BBA ’01 Marketing, has joined the newly created Runnels Foundation as executive director. A major project of the foundation is identifying and helping women with limited access to medical care who are at risk for breast cancer. • Thomas Haffey, BBA ’07 Marketing, MBA ’08, has become an instructor of management at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, MS. • Clay Jackson, BS ’88 Business, has taken a position as director of family services with Brentwood Funeral Services, working in the Hernando Funeral Home. • Larry Jones, BS ’69 Finance, MBA ’71, has been appointed to the Marshall University Lewis College of Business Advisory Board. • Matt Mahan, BBA ’04 Marketing, is a district manager for Dollar General, living in Kosciusko, MS.
• Derron Radcliff, BBA ’01 Marketing, serves as box office manager for the MSU Riley Center, the performing arts, conference, and education venue in Meridian, MS. • Jack Sherman, BBA ’82 Business Statistics and Data Processing, has been named vice president-global information technology for A.O. Smith Water Products Company, a Tennessee–based international manufacturer of residential and commercial water heating equipment. • Allison Wilson, BPA ’07 Accounting, MPA ’08, has joined Metro Mechanical Inc., as controller.
FACULTY & STAFF • PGA Golf Management Program director Jeff Adkerson received the 2010 Gulf States PGA Horton Smith Award for the second consecutive year and the third time in four years. The honor recognizes a PGA professional for contributions to education. Adkerson has also accepted an appointment to serve on the PGA of America National Membership Committee. • MBA director Darrell Easley has been accepted to the MSU Learning Experience for Aspiring Professionals (LEAP) program. LEAP provides select MSU employees advanced knowledge, enhanced leadership skills, and practical work application. • Several faculty members have been awarded funding from the university’s Office of Research and Economic Development for research with MSU colleagues from other disciplines. COB recipients include Nicole Ponder, marketing, for work in consumer vulnerability; Robert Sainsbury, information systems, for study of the impact of an online counseling library; Becky Smith, economics, for research in climate change education; Merrill Warkentin, information systems, for exploration of wireless communication and networking technologies frontiers;
and Carlton Young, Meridian Division of Business, for study in promoting wellness through health sciences. • J.P. Shim, professor of business information systems, was the faculty recipient of the 2011 MSU Diversity Award. • Assistant professor of management James Vardaman has been named Most Outstanding Reviewer in the Health Care Management/Public Administration Track by the Southern Management Association. • Brian Watkins, director of the International Business Program, received the 2010 Mississippi World Trade Center’s Excellence in International Trade Education Award.
STUDENTS • Lee Barkley, an international business major, was awarded one of two university Phi Kappa Phi junior scholarships. • Risk management, insurance, and financial planning students Bess Butler and Emily Crow accepted five awards on behalf of the MSU Gamma Iota Sigma chapter at the GIS Annual Management Conference last fall. The awards were: Most Improved Chapter, Membership Development, Chapter Management, Alumni Relations, and Public Relations. • Rob Chittom, a senior in finance, was recently named 2011 Orrin Swayze Scholar by the Mississippi Young Bankers Association. Chittom’s recognition as top banking and finance student in the state marks the fourth year in a row an MSU student has claimed the honor. • In December, Trent Cumberland became the first graduate of the technology management program of MSU-Meridian’s Division of Business.
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Trading Up McCool Hall will soon boast a state of the art trading room – a financial lab that replicates a real world experience for students, using industry standard information sources. Real-time financial information will be available through tickers and stock boards as well as flat-screen televisions tuned to financial and news networks. The room will be equipped with the computers and software needed for simulated trading, deal capture, settlement, analytics, pricing, portfolio management, and other tasks. “This project will serve as a bridge between the classroom and financial markets,” says Mike Highfield, department head of Finance and Economics. “It will be a powerful recruiting tool as students visualize learning in a dynamic, professional environment. Current students will gain experience with global trading and risk management, preparing them for the marketplace. Alumni will have a forum in which they can return to teach the financial decision making processes they employ daily. Imagine having someone like Jan Gwin or one of the Brumfields showing students how to identify patterns in bond or commodity markets using the same equipment and software accessible to them at their businesses.” Morgan Keegan & Company and alumnus Jan Gwin, managing director, were early supporters of the project. The Brumfield family – Frank and Mary Frances, Harris and Terry, Hardy and Amy, and Jay and Shanon – offered a matching challenge that facilitated significant progress. Phase one construction will begin this summer with the installation of a stock ticker, televisions, electronic fittings, flooring, and glass walls. For information on supporting the next phase, contact Jack McCarty at (662) 325-9580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Dividends_Spr11.indd 22
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