Category Archives: GSB

Walton MBA Program Offers New Certification with Nielsen

By Becca Trippe

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas is working with Nielsen, a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers watch and buy, to expand its professional development offerings to include a Nielsen Academy Certificate Program for Walton MBA students. Continue reading Walton MBA Program Offers New Certification with Nielsen

Faculty: Best of the Best

Congratulations to the following faculty selected by the Sam M. Walton College of Business Awards and Elections Committee for the following college awards:

Award Winning Faculty

Gary Peters

Gary Peters
Outstanding All-Around Faculty Award


Robin Soster
Excellence in Teaching Award


Tomas Jandik
MBA Teacher of the Year


Simone Peinkofer
Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award


Jeff Mullins
Outstanding Adjunct Teacher Award


Viswanath Venkatesh
Excellence in Research Award


David Douglas
Excellence in Service Award


Amy Farmer
Excellence in Diversity Award


Cassandra Davis — Ph.D. Candidate — Marketing

Cassandra Davis, marketing Ph.D. candidate at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, is passionate about inspiring future generations of minority academics. Aligned with the Ph.D. project, a non-profit organization with the goal of increasing diversity in business leadership, Cassandra describes herself “as a person who is both African-American and a low-income, first-generation college student.” Cassandra proudly displays leadership for under-represented students as an “educator, mentor, role model and ally.” Once she completes her degree, Cassandra aspires to be a professor at a research university where she can continue to be a driving force in recruiting and retaining more minority students.

Cassandra brings an interesting perspective to her studies and teaching responsibilities in the marketing department. As a former territory sales representative in the tobacco industry, Cassandra learned “first-hand how public policy and shifting cultural and ethical boundaries affect marketing.” She has used her background as a foundation for her research, with a goal of impacting her community, government institutions, and public policy.

“I am motivated by the fact that the research I engage in is personally and socially relevant.”

Cassandra also shows her commitment to social issues in her personal life. Recently she read a book on minimalism and started the process of downsizing her possessions. In her leisure time she enjoys taking long walks, reading and traveling. She is especially fond of the time she spent in Lyon, France, studying and exploring the region, soaking up the language and beauty.

Cassandra advises potential doctoral candidates to “start with the end in mind.”

They should “make sure they can envision their future after receiving their diploma” and ask themselves:

“What kind of job do you want to have (university position or industry)? If an academic career is your goal, what kind of institution do you see yourself joining? What kind of research do you want to pursue? What location do you want to live in? It is my belief that answering questions about your future will help you decide if a Ph.D. is right for you and help you figure out which Ph.D. programs meet your needs.”


“I have learned to look at problems and opportunities holistically, using a range of analytical frameworks and tools. The Walton MBA has provided me with a sophisticated lens to look at and makes sense of business issues.”

Thato was born in Gaborone, Botswana; however, he attended a boarding school in South Africa for five years. His interest in community outreach and global affairs fueled his desire to work with both for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Thato_Masire_MBA_profile“My interest in global affairs was enhanced after studying abroad in Norway. I was selected to be a Peace Scholar by the Nobel Peace Prize Forum. Through the Peace Scholars program, I was able to engage my interest at a deeper level academically and practically.”

Prior to graduate school, he worked in Washington, D.C., as a project assistant for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs supporting the Southern & East African teams. Thato also gained valuable experience when he worked for Safdico, South African Diamond Corporation, in Botswana. In his position as a project coordinator, he spearheaded various initiatives in the executive office such as developing a comprehensive handbook for clients and producing various communication templates.

Thato is passionate about his future and he has invested time into his academic career to help propel his future success.

“My dream job is one that leverages my skills and capabilities, while still providing me with an opportunity to develop further. My dream job should be enriching, challenging and give me a purpose.”

Thato is a 2015 graduate of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and the Walton MBA program. He specifically chose the Walton College because of its flexibility and adaptability to work with his MPS degree.

“The Walton MBA program allows for a concurrent degree with the Clinton School and it is the premier MBA program in the state of Arkansas.”

He says the classes he has taken have provided him with the resources he needs to succeed.

“Both programs have provided me with an opportunity to further develop transferable skills, namely in communications, critical thinking and problem-solving, which I use every day in my career.”

He mentions one course specifically, Strategic Management. He finds the blending of theory and real world examples intriguing. This makes for a fun learning environment.

“I have developed a deep appreciation of the pivotal role strategy plays in business. Additionally, I have found strategicmanagement to be very interesting as every day on the news there is a strategy-related story that I can tie back to class theory/discussions.”

By continually challenging yourself and expanding your comfort zone, Thato says, “You’ll profit immensely.”


Tai Crater decided to knock on the Sam M. Walton College of Business door again after she earned her bachelor’s degree in Finance 12 years ago. This time, she wanted to earn her Executive MBA degree. Realizing that the program was convenient to her work demands and current lifestyle, with both online and once-a-month attendance she became a student again.

Tai Crater “I did some research and very quickly determined that I wanted to get my Executive MBA from my undergraduate institution. The Walton EMBA program is a highly regarded program with excellent credentials. In addition, based on my undergraduate experience, I knew the program would be challenging, the faculty would be exceptional, and that I would have all the resources I needed to be successful… the rest was up to me!”

Tai has lived in Arkansas her entire life. While growing up, she resided in Little Rock and El Dorado, but she now calls Northwest Arkansas her home. She is grateful to her parents for encouraging her, as well as her two sisters, to dream big and teaching her that she could be anything she wanted to be as long as she was willing to work hard for it.

“In my work, I want to accomplish a million things. Mostly, I want to be a good manager and help others achieve their career goals. However, I also want to become a chief officer of a Fortune 500 company. I truly believe I can do it so I’ve set my sights on it for now!”

Tai started working for Tyson in December 2002 as a financial analyst, and she was promoted to the position of cash manager in July 2005. Since October 2009, she has been working as the director of risk finance and insurance. She manages all of the financial aspects associated with the company’s property and casualty insurance. Her team, which serves as the liaison between all departments, is responsible for effectively managing the company’s total cost of risk.

Tai CraterAlthough Tai admits that her social life has seen a decrease in activity since she started EMBA program, she is fully aware of the tradeoff.

“This is a two year program that will push you to work harder than you have in long time. I tell myself a few things: (1) it’s only temporary (2) if someone else can complete this program while working in a demanding position, then so can I and (3) it’s worth it!”

Despite the hard work, there are several perks to being a student at the EMBA program. By participating in courses delivered by distinguished faculty she has already improved her listening skills, increased her motivation to learning and face new challenges.

“The EMBA program almost immediately improved my confidence level across all aspects of business. I have been able to take what I’ve learned and apply it to my work and, at times, my personal life, very quickly. My understanding of the different aspects of business has significantly improved since the day I started the program. In addition, the program includes students with such diverse experiences. The opportunity to go through the program with this intelligent group of people with varied backgrounds has been very beneficial.”

Tiffany Jarrett: Executive MBA Class of 2017

The pursuit of higher education is a value Tiffany Jarrett learned from her father. She remembers watching her father work toward his master’s degree when she was a teenager. She hopes her decision to pursue a graduate degree at this point in her life, with a demanding full-time job and four young children at home, will similarly inspire her own children.

“My family is a constant reminder of why I need to succeed and do my best in this program.”

This thought keeps Tiffany motivated as she makes the drive to Fayetteville once a month for classes, and occasionally to meet with classmates for study groups. She lives in Jenks, Oklahoma, about 2 hours from Fayetteville.

tiffany_Jarrett_and_sonsBalancing a full-time job with graduate school and family responsibilities is a challenge that Tiffany meets by scheduling study time on a daily basis and being clear with herself and others about the demands of the program.

“When taking part in a program like this you have to be ok with the fact that your life will be a bit unbalanced. It is a two-year sacrifice that yields a lifetime of success. Before starting the program, my loved ones had a clear understanding of my new responsibility and they also hold me accountable for balancing my time.”

Even though Tiffany lives in Oklahoma, she has strong ties to the University of Arkansas. She completed her bachelor’s degree here in Elementary Education and was a Razorback cheerleader during her time as an undergraduate student.

After graduating, instead of going into education she went to work in business where she gained extensive sales experience. Tiffany now works as a Government Account Executive with Verizon Wireless, where she provides technological solutions for government entities.

After a combined 16 years experience in medical, pharmaceutical, and technology sales, she is ready to challenge herself and advance to the next level. She found that, without a business specific degree, her advancement opportunities were limited. She decided it was time to pursue a graduate degree in business. The Walton College was her top choice.

“I am an Alumni of the University of Arkansas. It was always my first choice. The standards set by this organization are exceptional. The reputation and the experiences that I am gaining from this program are priceless.”

The Walton Executive MBA program (EMBA) provides the perfect opportunity for Tiffany to gain the advanced knowledge she’s seeking. This part-time program is designed for working professionals and allows students to pursue higher education without giving up their full-time jobs. Classes meet in-person once a month and the remaining work is completed online.

Tiffany appreciates the approach her professors take toward teaching. Students are encouraged to come up with novel solutions that work within business and environmental constraints. She’s found that working from this perspective has given her a new level of confidence.

“The program encourages free-thinking and holds you accountable for being original and studious. It’s inspiring me to become an expert and spark change in whatever marketplace that I’m working in.”

Despite a schedule that is packed full, Tiffany finds time to enjoy cooking, lifting weights, dancing, shopping, and watching her kids play sports.

She is committed to advancing her career and eventually may apply her business knowledge to the field of education. Her dream job is to work at a university as a business school professor or university diversity director.


“When I was younger, I dreamed of being CEO of a large corporation. Now that I am currently in my career, I cannot specifically pinpoint a “dream job” but what I do know is that my dream job is one that will fulfill me, excite me, push me, and allow me to make a large impact.”

Brittany fell in love with the culture and people at Kraft during a summer internship just before her senior year of college. She was accepted into the Management Development Program following her internship, and she spent her senior year anxiously awaiting the opportunity to start her career with Kraft. She gives credit to the company stating,

“I am the professional and business woman that I am because of my company’s investment in me.”

Brittany_Simmons_ExecMBA_profile_groupToday, Brittany works full-time as a customer category manager at Kraft Foods, strategically planning with internal sales teams and external customers to innovate and grow sales, while concurrently pursuing her Executive MBA degree. She is the first to admit the balance between the two has been one of the toughest life challenges she has faced, but one she has met gracefully.

“To have the natural inclination to want to give my absolute all and best to everything that I dedicate myself to necessitates a balance that keeps me sane as an individual and focused as a professional and student. I strategically plan my study schedule to fit around my needs, which means adjusting for work travel or rigorous work projects and ensuring that I am still able to get to the gym a few days after work or have a reconnect dinner with a friend.”

Brittany, a New Orleans native, is highly motivated to excel in all aspects of her life, especially her academic and professional careers.

Her decision to pursue her Executive MBA degree at the Walton College was fueled by her desire to gain knowledge relevant to her work and to grow professionally. She searched for a business school that would complement her goals and provide a solid academic foundation to her established experience.

Brittany_Simmons_ExecMBA_profile_1“As I progressed further into my career, I knew that it was time to partner my professional brand with a reputable business school whose curriculum would take me to the next level professionally. Ultimately, I chose the Walton EMBA program because it met the criteria of affordability, industry relevance, and it embodies an increasingly strong reputation that I knew would grow my professional brand. Additionally, from the moment that I met the administration at the Walton College, I knew immediately that I would be supported and would be more than just another student.”

How critical is an MBA to moving her career forward?

“The Walton Executive MBA program has provided me with conceptual knowledge that has been immediately pertinent to my career and has given me the ability to think more strategically and truly have a seat at the table.”

Her advice for prospective students:

Apply now! This program has been so rewarding and it has only just begun. I will not say that it is easy to balance working full time and pursuing your masters, but I will say that it is worth it.”


Raised in Moro, a small rural community in east Arkansas, Lauren Waldrip learned much from that front-porch culture. She was introduced to a strong work ethic as a kid. From driving a tractor to LaurenWaldrip1laying polypipe, she was a great help to her dad’s business. Fifth generation of an Arkansas farm family, Lauren was surrounded by row crops, namely soybeans, and grew up without the interference of stoplights or stop signs. Those days taught her that the more time she put into her crops, the more she would be rewarded at harvest time.

Lauren was destined to attend the University of Arkansas, as has every member of her immediate family. Her parents, Mark and Angela, graduated in the late 70s. Lauren, now an MBA student at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, majored in both marketing and public relations with a minor in accounting. “During my first semester, I was undeclared,” she says.

“Then I decided to go with Walton College. I knew how strong Walton College is and what it means to a degree.”

If asked, Lauren’s friends will easily describe her as a sports fanatic. She remembers calling the Hogs at a very early age. She even turned her passion into a professional activity. Lauren’s involvement with the athletic department on both a professional and personal level was something that enhanced her college experience. She knows that the Razorbacks have a positive effect on recruiting, enrollment, the UA campus, and on Northwest Arkansas as a whole.

Lauren WaldripLauren is as passionate about her career as she is about the Razorbacks. When she interned in 2011 as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator John Boozman, she chose agriculture as her focus. She wrote press releases for Boozman’s website, attended legislative hearings and corresponded with constituents. She also served as student body Vice President, and created a Collegiate Membership specifically for students while recently working at the Razorback Foundation. The program garnered more than 2,200 members in its first year.

She is well aware that “a college degree is no longer all it takes to be competitive in today’s markets” and recognizes the significance of a master’s degree to take her place among business leaders. As a native Arkansan, Lauren knows the impact of the Sam M. Walton College of Business in state, national, and international levels and believes this opportunity is a vital step for her future success. She is excited to learn new perspectives on business and problem-solving from a diverse group of faculty whose teaching skills she has already witnessed. The dynamic market of Northwest Arkansas is another reason she chose the Walton MBA. Leveraging the Graduate School of Business’ relationships in area corporate offices, Lauren is gaining practical work experience and establishing a strong business network.

Lauren says she finds her motivation on a daily basis through her relationship with the Lord. She feels she has received many blessings during her time in Fayetteville and strives to glorify Him through all those experiences by sharing the joy of the Lord with others.


Since he spent the first nine years of his life moving from Army base to Army base, it can be said that Drew Bozarth was predisposed to entering military service just like the last three generations of Bozarth men had. However, Drew could not have been prepared for the honor and pride associated with being one of “the Few and the Proud.”

DrewBozarth_headshot1Drew graduated from Harding University in 2006, where he majored in English and played football for 5 years. The summer after he graduated from Harding, Drew married Becky Bowerman and moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended the Washington University School of Law. In 2009, Drew graduated law school and commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps to become a judge advocate.

After completing initial officer training, Drew reported to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.  While at Camp Lejeune, Drew put his legal training to good use, serving as a civil law attorney, trial counsel (military prosecutor), and, later, as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate to the Commanding General of Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, a command that consists of all Marine Corps installations on the east coast. Once his tour in the Marine Corps was completed, Drew and his wife knew that they were returning home to  Northwest Arkansas.

DrewBozarth_group2As Drew returned home and began to settle into civilian life, he noticed that he lacked a basic familiarity with business. “Fairly early in my transition into civilian society, I noticed that I spoke a different language than the individuals I was connecting with at the corporations in the area. It dawned on me that I had a big gap in my education and training.”

Marines are trained to be focused and decisive, so Drew knew exactly what he had to do. Drew started the Walton Executive MBA program in 2013.

The military prepares service members for combat and humanitarian operations, but to climb up the corporate ladder, transitioning veterans may need a different kind of training. “Just like training is essential to be a successful service member, training is essential to be a successful corporate employee. If a transitioning service member lacks a business background and has decided to pursue that route in civilian life, I would encourage that individual to pursue some form of education or training.”

When Drew began to look at MBA possibilities, he recognized that he would need a program that allowed him to balance work, home, and school. As a Legislative Research Manager in Wal-Mart’s Compliance Department, Drew monitors and interprets pending state and federal legislation on non-food products and chemicals while providing his interpretation to managing teams.

“The Walton Executive MBA was geographically convenient and well-respected, particularly in Northwest Arkansas. I also thought DrewBozarth_classroom3the structure of the courses would be most conducive to maintaining a decent work/life balance.”

The Walton Executive MBA program has helped Drew become more familiar with the corporate world. Having been introduced into business culture, he has also discovered new ways to utilize his experience and leadership training.


“Growing up near campus, I initially thought I needed to leave Northwest Arkansas to grow both academically and personally. However, as I learned more about the unique community and opportunities available in the Walton College, I realized that the University of Arkansas and the Walton College would give me every growth opportunity I was looking to find.”

Brooke grew up in Rogers, Ark., and makes the short trip to Rogers from Fayetteville frequently to see her family.

“While I have always been extremely self-motivated as a student, I have been blessed by the encouragement of my family. My parents taught me at a young age the value in being a well-rounded individual and always doing my best. Additionally, I have a great group of friends that hold me accountable and always support me.”

Brook AtwellWhen she’s not at school, she enjoys spending time on the lake, attending her little sister’s events, trying new recipes with her mom, and volunteering for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Brooke says she is confident that choosing to earn her degree from the Walton College was the right decision.

“As a student in the Walton College I have been given opportunities to study abroad, serve as a leader of student organizations, and gain work experience, while learning from highly qualified faculty. This unique experience encouraged me to remain in the Walton College and pursue an MBA.”

Last summer she worked at Nielsen in the Bentonville office as a summer intern on the Walmart team. Her project primarily focused on analyzing the explosive growth of Neighborhood Market stores and the effect the growth would have on Walmart. In her analysis she looked at demographics to compare the key shoppers at Neighborhood Market stores to Supercenters, sales data to determine the key categories at Neighborhood Market stores, and issues surrounding cannibalization of sales due to the close proximity of Neighborhood Market stores and Supercenters.

“It was an exciting project that allowed me to use multiple Nielsen tools and answer a unique business problem. I am looking forward to working for Nielsen again this summer.”

Brooke says the MBA program has introduced her to new ways of thinking, presented opportunities for professional development, and surrounded her with great students and faculty.

“I am confident that the skills and networks I build in the program will be important to my future success after graduation.”