Join the University of Arkansas Center for Ethics in Journalism and UA Honors College for a fast-paced, thought-provoking discussion of contemporary ethics in law, business, medicine, education and journalism. It will be 2-3:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014, at Room 130, Ozark Hall.
When Stefan Trim came to the University of Arkansas from Trinidad and Tobago, it was his first time to leave the Caribbean region. Stefan, who is majoring in organizational leadership management, with minors in economics, marketing and geology, explained that moving to a new place was difficult at first, but the excellent education he has received at the Walton College of Business has been worth the effort.
Stefan decided to study business because he likes the challenge and creativity of the field. “It’s exciting to set goals and meet the challenges that come with them,” he explained. “Through those challenges, you learn so much.”
“To whom much is given, much is required,” is Stefan’s credo, and at the University of Arkansas, he’s found plenty of opportunities to put these words into action. He is a student ambassador and has served as the vice president for membership in Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional business fraternity. Stefan has also participated in the Leadership Walton program and benefited from mentoring through the Center for Retailing Excellence. As a resident assistant, he received an award at an RA conference, and helped plan events for the Diversity Leadership Institute. He has also served as president of the Caribbean Students organization, worked as a staff photographer for the student newspaper, and hosted a music show on the student radio station.
As an international student, Stefan appreciates the opportunity he’s had to experience other cultures, and he was able to experience even more through a study abroad program in Brazil. Over three weeks in the summer, he traveled with a group of students to Rio De Janeiro and Perambucu, visiting corporate sites such as the Wal-Mart distribution center and a large steel manufacturing plant. One of Stefan’s favorite memories from Brazil was the view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. “It was stunning,” he said.
After graduating, Stefan plans to work for a few years before pursuing a master’s degree. He’s keeping an open mind about his job plans, but he would like to travel, and he hopes to be in a position to motivate others and encourage innovation and creativity. Stefan is excited about his future, and for this he credits the efforts of faculty and staff. “It’s the extra mile that the professors go to give students the tools they need for the working world,” he explained. “The things I’ve been involved in have greatly enhanced my professionalism and helped me realize how great my potential can be.”
“My firm belief is that if you’re doing research, you are a better classroom teacher than if you’re not.”
The idea was to come to the United States, earn her doctorate and return to her homeland of India.
Sometimes things don’t work out as planned.
Dr. Nina Gupta, a Department of Management distinguished professor, is now in her 28th year at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. The University of Arkansas is a far cry from her native Allahabad, India, where she was one of five children among a “whole family of professors,” as she puts it. A professor herself, Gupta deviated from the family concentration of literature and veered toward organizational psychology instead. “This was sort of my breaking away,” she says.
There was also her desire to travel. While she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Allahabad, her education took her to the University of Michigan, where she earned her doctorate. She had planned to return to India, but a fellow organizational psychology student named Doug Jenkins changed everything. The two married and both became management professors at the Walton College. Their marriage produced a son, Samir, who is now grown. Jenkins passed away in 1996.
Gupta says after she and her husband came to the University of Arkansas in 1984, they saw the management department evolve into a strong research center. “My firm belief is that if you’re doing research, you are a better classroom teacher than if you’re not,” she says. “You’ve got more experiences and knowledge you can bring.”
Though her degrees are in psychology, she says she shied away from clinical psychology in favor of workplace issues, which she continues to research. She says she is fascinated by pay in the workplace and how it relates to one’s status in society.
“I think pay is probably the most important thing that happens to people at work,” she says.
Her primary focus is on how pay motivates employees in the workplace. “It’s very interesting to look at, and what I find is there are a lot of discrepancies in what a company says and what is really going on,” she says. “It’s simply not the amount of pay, but it’s how it’s done.”
While there have been female professors at Walton College through the decades, Gupta says she is the first regular tenure-track female professor at the business school. “I was the first faculty member to have a baby,” she adds.
Management faculty now consists of several women, including Gupta, who has been named to the John H. Tyson Chair of Management.
Outside of work, Gupta says she usually keeps to herself. But there’s always one thing she tries to do each day:
“I go into withdrawal if I don’t do my daily New York Times crossword puzzle,” she says.
“The projects that they have in classes are applicable to the real world.”
Working with older people or operating a payment-friendly restaurant affordable to all. These are two ideas Keri Stubbs is kicking around as she majors in both management and finance at Sam M. Walton College of Business.
The thought of working with those much older came to Keri while she was in high school in Cassville, Mo., when she was in Future Business Leaders of America. One project involved making Valentine’s Day cards to give to members of the local senior center.
“They were so nice and so grateful,” she says. “I thought it would be really cool to work with the elderly.”
Fast forward to an entrepreneurship class Keri took at the University of Arkansas. There, she wrote a paper on “pay-what-you-can” restaurants where patrons decide how much their meals are worth. The idea is that those who are financially secure will more than pay the suggested price, compensating for those who can’t, Keri says. Many restaurants have tried this, including Panera Bread. This experimental model, with its obvious challenges, fascinate her. “It’s a risky business,” she says.
As a junior, Keri still has time to figure out her career path. With a minor in marketing, her concentration in three fields can open doors to many opportunities, she says.
Keri could have attended college in her home state. But the University of Arkansas roots run deep in her household. Her parents, who are both from Arkansas, met at a Razorback ballgame. In fact, several of her family members have names engraved on the campus’ Senior Walk, which lists every graduate from the institution.
“I grew up always having been a Razorback fan,” she says.
Keri admits that she briefly flirted with the idea of going to school elsewhere. In hindsight, she says, it was rebellion. When that passed, she applied to the University of Arkansas. It was her only college application. “I haven’t regretted it since,” she says.
Growing up in Cassville, located about 60 miles northeast of Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas is a completely different world from her hometown of about 3,000, she says.
“It feels like it’s a lot farther away from here,” she says. “I like it.”
Once at the university, she says it took her some time to find her place. Freshman Business Connections, a first-year program for business majors, helped, she says. Her participation in the program inspired her to become a Freshman Business Connections mentor, advising new students who were once in her shoes. While she says serving as a mentor to first-year students is rewarding, being a Walton College Student Ambassador, where she gives campus tours to potential students, adds a new dimension to her college volunteerism.
“Getting them before they’re freshmen is always exciting,” she says.
Her involvement with Students in Free Enterprise (S.I.F.E.), now Enactus, where she served on the leadership team, enlightened her to other possibilities a business degree can do. One of the S.I.F.E. projects entailed helping Mama Dean’s Soul Food Kitchen restaurant with its bookkeeping along with assisting a charitable meal program.
She also participates in Leadership Walton, a program offered to business students that provides training applicable to the real world, such as business etiquette, networking and community service.
But it goes back to her professors, who provide the core knowledge she needs to be successful.
“The projects that they have in classes are applicable to the real world,” she says.
“Everyone in the whole college has been really friendly and helpful.”
To break the ice with people she has just met, Joanna Campbell sometimes gives them one of the many stickers she keeps in her desk. Each bears the name of her hometown, Olsztyn, and features a coat of arms with an image of St. Jacob the Elder, protector of the Polish city.
Olsztyn, located about three hours north of Warsaw, is the home of Cathedral Basilica of St. Jacob, built in the 14th century. The castle located in the Old Town can claim noted astronomer and mathematician Nicolaus Copernicus as one of its past residents. It’s a piece of her past she likes to share as she transitions to her new role as an assistant professor in the Department of Management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. “Everyone in the whole college has been really friendly and helpful,” she says.
Campbell grew up learning English, having chosen it as her second language — a requirement in Polish schools. She left her native country after high school graduation to attend college at Arizona State University.
Like many undergraduates, she dabbled with different courses before settling on two majors – finance and economics – and earned degrees in both. She says she worked in an office job for a couple of years, but it wasn’t for her. “I really missed academia,” she says.
She was accepted in the management doctoral program at the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and graduated this past spring.
Campbell, who joined the management department in July, is spending the fall semester on campus devoted solely to her research. Her interests include corporate governance, top managers, stakeholder management and innovation. Campbell’s research has been published in Strategic Management Journal and Journal of International Business Studies. She says she is excited when her research findings can benefit the real world.
For example, in a co-authored paper forthcoming in Strategic Management Journal, she and her colleagues examined the effects a new rule introduced by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010 that would allow certain shareholders to nominate directors to a company’s board. The rule was challenged in court, and one of the arguments used was that there was insufficient evidence the rule would improve shareholder value. “Our findings consistently show that the rule benefits shareholders, especially for firms with lower board independence or greater CEO control,” she says, adding that she hopes to share her findings with the SEC.
Then, in the spring, she will bring her knowledge to the classroom when she begins teaching the Business Strategy course.
This knowledge is enhanced by her husband, Colin Campbell, who is a finance professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She says commuting to be with each other has been par for the course – ever since he graduated before her and moved away to accept a job, while she remained to finish her doctorate at Texas A&M. Still, they manage to spend weekends, summers and Christmas breaks together, which may include running and playing tennis at Wilson Park in Fayetteville.
Sometimes, they even collaborate on research. “We both agree we have the best jobs in the world,” she says.
The floodwaters took over much of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. This could have spelled the end for Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza, which had opened only eight months earlier on the edge of the city’s Garden District.
The home of James “Jammer” Orintas sustained serious roof damage that displaced him for a few months. Yet his pizzeria was spared. He consulted with his partners and they agreed: Theo’s needed to re-open as soon as possible.
And it did in early October of that year. Theo’s provided relief for those with flooded homes and others suffering from power outages. For many, cooking at home wasn’t an option, Orintas says.
A citywide curfew limited Theo’s operating hours, while Katrina itself limited the availability of menu items. For the following six weeks, diners had a choice of either pepperoni or sausage pizza with Budweiser, Bud Light, Coke or Diet Coke.
The place was packed. “We ran out of food every single day,” Orintas says.
Theo’s also looked out for the public workers trying to restore the Crescent City.
“The police were working out of a city bus across the street from us,” Orintas recalls. “We took pizzas over.”
Now, eight years later, Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza survived Katrina and has even expanded, with two other locations in the New Orleans area and thousands of “likes” on Facebook.
Orintas – who was given the nickname “Jammer” by his father when he was one of five other students named James in his kindergarten class – didn’t immediately go into the restaurant business after earning his bachelor’s degree in finance in 1999 at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Instead, Orintas worked as a budget analyst for the Al Gore-Joe Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000. He then spent four years as a financial analyst for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Yet, he kept looking back fondly to his younger days when he worked at U.S. Pizza in his hometown of Little Rock and, later, in Fayetteville as a university student. “I thought it was a great experience,” he says. “It was really fun.”
The idea of opening a pizzeria was sparked when Orintas’ buddy and fellow Arkansas alumnus, Greg Dietz, complained to him there wasn’t any good pizza in New Orleans, where he lived. The city known more for its gumbo and jambalaya was in dire need of a quality pizzeria.
Orintas, Dietz and their friend, Ted Neikirk, also a University of Arkansas alumnus, took the plunge. They opened Theo’s Neighborhood Pizza, a friendly place with brick walls and concrete floor and exposed ceilings and an extensive pizza menu with items named “Hawaii 5-0” and “Vegan-ator”. Sandwiches and salads are also available. “To me, it has the feel of a pizza joint,” Orintas says.
He says his management and marketing classes at Walton College have been especially helpful in operating a business. “When you have 85 staff members, the day-to-day management of that alone is difficult,” he says.
The business is growing. He and his partners are looking for a fourth pizza location. They have been approached with franchising opportunities, but Orintas says they prefer to wait.
Orintas advises anyone starting a restaurant business to do their homework. That would include negotiating the best, affordable lease as well as structuring management and employees – all while keeping a good, consistent product. “Planning is the key to success,” Orintas says.
Recent Sam M. Walton College of Business graduate Isaac West has three passions: business, faith, and social work. He spent his college years trying to combine these passions and will continue to do so as he enters the workforce.
West said he almost didn’t make it to college. “I never thought I would go to school at all. I grew up really poor and neither of my parents had gone to school. I didn’t think I was smart enough to go to college. I got into bad stuff—doing drugs and the whole party scene—during high school. Towards the end of my junior year, I thought, ‘This is dumb. I’m going to work hard and maybe go to college.’” So, he applied to the University of Arkansas. At first, his application was rejected, but West didn’t let that stop him. He took matters into his own hands. “I came up and talked to some people. I begged them to give me a chance. They said okay and told me not to screw up. So, I started school.”
West said he first majored in accounting, but he quickly realized he was meant for something else. His enthusiasm for giving back inspired him to study organizational management instead. “I saw and read about all these different organization really working hard trying to impact people’s lives, around the world. I saw this common pattern of people having these big hearts, wanting to change people’s lives, but they lack the business sense to run the business side of their operations efficiently. So I thought, maybe I could learn some business and help them out,” he said. “I saw that everything rises and falls on leadership. I chose organizational leadership because I wanted to understand how organizations run and how to manage and effectively lead people to help them reach their organization’s goals.” He chose to minor in economics because he found the subject “a lot of fun.” He said learning how economies work and develop really interested him. “A dream of mine is to go someplace and figure out a way to help the entire economy, to help these people get better educated and build up the economy,” West said.
In summer 2008, West participated in the university’s community development project in Belize, where a group of students aimed to help one town “in any way we possibly could.” West said he wanted to make an impact in the area, but he left frustrated. “There were all these professors who wanted to be completely committed didn’t have the funding to do so. There were professors in charge, but no one was actually leading the project. There were all these brains—all these incredibly smart professors and students—running around like chickens with their heads cut off, trying to do stuff and not accomplishing really anything. The big gap in that was leadership. When I came back, I thought someone definitely needs to study this. I saw this gap in lots of organizations that I’d been reading about. This goes back to how I chose my major,” he said.
To help out at home, West mentored elementary-age students at Life Source International, a Fayetteville-based non-profit organization that works with at-risk families. He said he could really see the effect that organizations like Life Source have on those they try to help. He mentored a child who, when West met him, was failing the third grade. In a year’s time, the child was on the honor roll. He said his experience at Life Source taught him about another side of business. “There’s a side of nonprofits that you don’t really learn about in business school,” he said. “It was interesting to learn how you bring families in, or market to a family to bring them in, to try to help them.”
West said his three passions—business, Christianity, and social work—will play a major part of his future plans. “My parents worked very, very hard to give me and my brothers a better life than what they had. I want to do the same thing,” he said. “I want to create a family of my own, but I also want to fight for families around the world. I figure the best way I can do that is not to go start something and do my own thing, but rather stand behind organizations that are fighting for families around the world and trying to help them in any way I possibly can to reach their goals, whether through funding, marketing, organizational development, or just defining their goals.” To reach his own goals, West said he plans on working for three to five years, possibly pursuing a graduate degree, and then “jumping in” at a non-profit organization.
So, what do you get when you pull Isaac West off the shelf? West developed a personal brand statement to let people know exactly what he is all about: “To love God; empower, inspire, dream with, and encourage people; and pioneer ahead to reach the dream God has put in my heart.
Hailing from the “Spinach Capital of the World”, Alma, recent graduate Heather Phillips made her mark on the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
Phillips was chosen as the Walton College Outstanding Graduating Senior as well as one of the Outstanding Students in Marketing and Logistics.
While awaiting her entry into the Peace Corps, Phillips is interning at The Harvest Group, a sales and marketing firm in Rogers. “I was accepted into the Peace Corps in February,” Phillips said. “I am now anxiously awaiting the official invitation that will tell me where I am going and when I am leaving.”
Phillips was nominated for the Business Advising program where she says she will be able to use her education to help small business owners in developing countries. “Although I would love to go somewhere warm, I chose the option that said I was willing to go anywhere,” Phillips said. “I have no idea where I will be sent!”
Always having a passion for helping those less fortunate led Phillips to choose the Peace Corps as the perfect route for her to take to combine both her interests and her major. “I have always thought about the Peace Corps as an option,” Phillips said. “I did not decide to apply until Christmas break of my senior year.”
Phillips said during her last year of school she volunteered at Seven Hills Homeless Shelter where she said throughout college she developed a love for the homeless culture. “This probably started when I went on a four week long Campus Crusade for Christ inner-city program in Seattle,” Phillips said. “I had the opportunity to work with the homeless, as well as with people in prison.”
“I have the utmost respect for the business school,” Phillips said. “When I entered college I did not know what I wanted to do with my life, but when I was advised by some older friends to not go as an undeclared major, I randomly decided to major in General Business, and then later found my niche in marketing.”
Phillips said it never ceases to amaze her how the Walton College has perfected the art of making its students a “tight-knit” community. “I have come to know and care about a large number of my professors because they truly care about their students’ success inside and outside of the classroom.”
Phillips said her parents are always impressed by how well she knows her professors, “it is simply not something you find at every university or even in every college at the University of Arkansas.”
As a freshman honors student, Phillips was put into a classes with the same group of people and she said it was nice to get to know her classmates early on because those were the people she had classes with during her entire college career. “The whole honors section became really close,” Phillips said. “I’ve already been to three of their weddings this summer!”
Phillips was also actively involved in her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, during her college career.
News from the College of Business at the University of Arkansas