Category Archives: Undergraduate Student

Walton Class Crafts Ad Campaign for Local Baker While Making a Difference in the Community

Gaining real-world experience in a career that you love. Earning credit toward your major. Making a difference in your community.

All from one class project. Pretty cool, huh?

For the spring 2017 semester, Anne Velliquette, clinical assistant professor at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, assigned a service-learning project to her Integrated Marketing Communications class. Teams formed and assignments were made. The project developed full blown advertising campaigns – and the research and pitches that go along with it – to promote Rockin’ Baker, a local mission-focused, benefit corporation bakery located in North Fayetteville.

Entrepreneur Daymara Baker (left) joins Creative Lense Advertising and Anne Velliquette (right), Walton clinical assistant professor.

Walton students Alexa Wood, Bethany McClain, Connor Clark, Demrie Lowry, Emma Meyer and Danielle Deats teamed up to create the Creative Lense Advertising agency for their team project and claim first place in the class competition.

“For this project we formed teams to create an advertising agency, which included coming up with an agency name, logo, and tagline, in order to prepare a campaign for our client, Rockin’ Baker,” said marketing major Demrie Lowry. “We were required to prepare three visual advertisements, a creative brief and we also created a social media plan.”

“I intend to pursue a career in marketing and this project will definitely help me in my career. It allowed us to work firsthand with a real client who actually wants to hear our ideas and feedback,” Lowry said. “I believe it will set us ahead because we have actually prepared a creative brief for a client based on their goals, which is exactly how it will be in a real-world setting.”

Rockin’ Baker

The client – Rockin’ Baker – prepares fresh breads such as traditional baguettes or sourdough, along with sourdough accented with nuts, herbs, olives, bananas, rye flour or chocolate. Tuesday through Saturday, it supplements baked goods with lunch sandwiches and salads.

When opening the doors of Rockin’ Baker, a rush of warm bread fresh from the oven awakes your senses. The shop doesn’t just smell good; it promotes good as well. The bakery is a registered nonprofit. It creates jobs and develops job skills for at-risk people who are interested in the culinary industry.

The team set out to reflect the social mission and fresh bread the bakery is known for.

“I learned how valuable it is to have something that sets your business apart,” said Alexa Wood, a marketing major. “For Rockin’ Baker, it’s their social mission. There are various other bakeries in NWA, but no one has the same mission and values as her, and that’s why people are loyal to her business. If you can provide something of value to customers, that’s when you get their repeat business and loyalty.”

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With themes of “rising up to empower others” and “natural ingredients for the natural state,” Creative Lense team members promoted the bakery’s fresh bread and its mission to train workers in artisan baking skills, safe food handling, quality control and other marketable skills.

“Students overall embraced the social mission of Rockin’ Baker and did their best in fully understanding the challenges and limitations,” said Daymara Baker, founder and chief executive officer of the bakery. “Some of them went beyond their assignment to provide additional support to grow the business.”

Avenue Advertising
(left to right) Representing Avenue Advertising, Walton students Rachel Simpson, Alyssa Corral, Lacey Case, Sydney Barre, Raygan Sylvestor and Landri McGregor present the “Baking a Difference” ad campaign for Rockin’ Baker.

The second place team, Avenue Advertising, pitched ideas for their ad campaign and used “baking a difference” to project the good work Rockin’ Baker does in empowering others through job training.

“Ultimately, we were trying to create a campaign that would be extremely low-cost, sustainable, and effective in order that Rockin’ Baker can grow and increase capital stability,” said Rachel Simpson, Avenue Advertising team member and a junior with a double major in marketing and accounting.

The integrated marketing project is a junior/senior level class and provides a hands-on experience to get students ready for the job market.

“It is a challenging yet very rewarding experience for the students. Ultimately, they are able to gain experience in two distinct advertising agency roles – that of the creative designer as well as the account executive,” Velliquette said. “Many of them have the goal of working in some capacity for an ad agency. And even those that may have other plans, the real world experience provides great resume and job interview material for the students. Many past students have told me how proud they were of their work and that during interviews, it helped them to land an internship or job.”

To learn more about Rockin’ Baker, visit rockinbakeracademy.org on the web or on Facebook under RockinBaker. The bakery is located at 3761 Mall Avenue in Fayetteville.

Walton Ph.D. Student Wins Fellowship to Study Rice, Information, Markets

Information moves markets. That’s something every business student understands – or should.

Jessica Darby wrote her honors thesis on the relationship of rice markets and information while she was a University of Arkansas undergraduate. Now, as a doctoral candidate in the university’s Sam M. Walton College of Business, she’s studying ways that timely and accurate information flowing out of the supply chain can help rice farmers in Arkansas and around the world.

Darby researches how rice farmers get their information about markets and how they make decisions based on that information. She’s asking farmers if better sources of information, additional resources and more analytical tools can be developed to help with market decisions.

In spring 2017, Darby gained support for this research by winning a prestigious and highly competitive Adam Smith Fellowship from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The one-year fellowship for graduate students – which includes a quarterly stipend – can total up to $10,000. Fellows also are eligible to apply for conference and research support.

“I believe that working with the Mercatus Center will help me develop market-based tools and address relevant policy levers to reduce the information burden for farmers,” Darby said. “I want to articulate the power of markets in agricultural supply chains.”

Her research can also be a powerful tool in helping the farmers and the economy of Arkansas. Arkansas is the largest rice-growing state in the nation, with the crop grown on 1.3 million acres each year, mainly in eastern Arkansas counties stretching from Louisiana to Missouri.

Darby’s interest in commodities such as rice and the behavior of commodity markets was sparked by an internship as a commodity analyst with an Arkansas-based global trading and sourcing company, and a second internship with one of the largest shippers of grain on the inland river system. The latter gave her insight into the role that public information – especially United States Department of Agriculture reports – plays in decisions.

“In both roles, I was responsible for producing regional analysis to determine potential growth and necessary defense strategies to adapt to changing market and political environments,” Darby said.

Darby was introduced to free-market concepts and information’s impact on commodity trading and pricing through a Walton College supply chain class on capitalism and a class on futures and options in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. The latter class sparked an interest in working with Andrew McKenzie, a professor of agricultural economics and agri-business.

“He introduced me to Milo Hamilton’s book, When Rice Shakes the World,” Darby said. “Hamilton discusses the implications of policies on the functioning of global rice markets and argues for a ‘freer, market-oriented way for rice.’”

McKenzie directed Darby’s honors thesis on rice futures markets. The two published that research in the U of A undergraduate research journal Inquiry and then extended the research. Darby presented this extended research as a paper at the NCCC-134 Applied Commodity Price Analysis, Forecasting and Risk Management Conference. The two then co-authored an article on the topic – “Information Content of USDA Rice Reports and Price Reactions of Rice Futures” – that was published in Agribusiness: An International Journal.

“Our research shows that the USDA provides the rice futures market with important information needed by Arkansas rice mills and farmers to market their crops,” McKenzie said. “The Arkansas Farm Bureau notes that Arkansas farmers produce more than 9 billion pounds of rice each year, which generates billions of dollars to the state’s economy and accounts for approximately 25,000 jobs, crucial to rural communities.”

The impact of such research on Arkansas and its economy inspires Darby to continue to dig into the topic. “It’s important to me that my research connect to industry,” Darby said. “I have to see the practical application for both farmers and agri-businesses – especially those involved in the food supply chains here in Arkansas.”

McKenzie added that, in an era of declining federal budgets, the kind of research he and Darby have produced provides economic justification for the continued publication of USDA reports. Darby said that it also illustrates an opportunity for the private sector to provide additional valuable information.

“Our results undoubtedly show that USDA reports play a vital role in helping futures markets to discover price and that this is particularly important for the U.S. rice market, where there is a paucity of private data and forecasts to supplement government numbers,” McKenzie said. “However, our research also highlights the fact that rice futures are a thinly traded market with low liquidity and volume.”

McKenzie and Darby are currently engaged in potential research to explore factors that may be driving low trading levels, which increases uncertainty for farmers. Darby said the aim is to determine potential solutions to increase volume and open interest through both regulatory changes and private information provided by partners in the supply chain.

Darby earned a B.S.B.A. in economics from the Walton College in 2015 and a Walton M.B.A. in 2016. She says her passion for reading, research and free-market capitalism left no doubt she would enter Walton’s doctoral program right away. Winning the Adam Smith Fellowship is pushing that passion into a whole different realm, though.

“I believe that it will enable me to examine and better articulate the power of markets in global agricultural supply chains,” Darby said, “as well as the power of global agricultural supply chains in the structuring of global markets.”

Supply Chain Management Honor Society Inducts New Members

Sigma Chi Mu Tau, the Supply Chain Management Honor Society founded by the Department of Supply Chain Management at the Sam M. Walton College of Business in 2016, has inducted 14 members into its second class.

The University of Arkansas initiates are:

Seniors: Chu Chen, Katherine Gavin, Alissa Gardner, Macy Roe and Sarah McGuire.

Juniors: Kate Barger, Shane Canady, Garrison Coker, Ryan Edwards, Emma Fields, Taylor Hunt, Cristina Perez-Espinoza, Sadie Wallner and Ryan Walter.

The two co-presidents, chosen from the junior class, are Hunt and McGregor.

Membership is extended to supply chain management juniors and seniors as well as educators and professionals who have shown dedication and contributions to the supply chain management profession. Sigma Chi Mu Tau recognizes academic merit and encourages leadership, ethical behavior and commitment to high standards in the pursuit of supply chain management excellence.

Membership is open to students majoring in supply chain management who have taken at least one upper level supply chain course. Invitations are sent to students based on rank in class. Juniors must rank in the top 10 percent of their class and seniors must ranking in the top 20 percent of their class.

Invitations are extended once during a student’s academic career.

The organization is accepting university memberships as well for future chapters. Contact faculty adviser Carole Shook at shook@uark.edu for more information.

Enactus Partners with the American Legion to Support Community Programs

Enactus, a student-led entrepreneurial organization at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, is partnering with the Shelton Tucker Craft American Legion Post #27 in Fayetteville to remodel the facility, revitalize its business operations and increase its membership.

The Enactus team will develop a sustainable business model to allow American Legion members to refocus on community outreach and education. The post operates a volunteer-staffed bar and restaurant to fund outreach and social programs that educate young people about democracy and military service and provide veterans and their families with social opportunities, career skills and other support.

The Enactus team is also developing a membership and marketing campaign to recruit members from the Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom, Desert Storm and Afghanistan conflicts to increase membership at the post. The student team created a Go Fund Me site  to support these initiatives. Enactus plans to host an official grand reopening of the post in July 2019 to coincide with the Post’s centennial celebration.

“I was inspired by the members of this American Legion Post,” said Pamela Styles, associate director of outreach for the Center for Retailing Excellence and Walton Fellow for the University of Arkansas Enactus team. “The Enactus students and I were privileged to attend their November membership meeting. I was in awe of their tremendous sense of duty to this country and to their brothers in arms. Being a witness to the reverence with which they conducted the MIA ceremony dedicated to those still missing but not forgotten, the pledge of allegiance, a prayer, and the reading of the preamble to the Constitution touched me deeply. These men and women have given the ultimate in service and continue to serve the community in which they live.”

About the Shelton Tucker Craft American Legion Post #27: The Shelton Tucker Craft American Legion Post 27 was chartered July 31, 1919. Its name honors three local servicemen, Martin Lynn Shelton, William Marion Tucker and Clarence B. Craft. The post conducts numerous programs that serve the community and fellow veterans and their families. It supports more youth attendance to American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girls State, which highlight government and leadership skills, each year than any other post in Arkansas.

About the Center for Retailing Excellence: The Center for Retailing Excellence was established in the Walton College in 1998 with a portion of the $50 million endowment from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. The center focuses on developing future leaders and serves as a bridge between academics and the retail industry.

Hog Ride Offering Students Alternative Travel Plan

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Byron Alley

A speeding ticket after freshman orientation – one that raised the cost of his car trip from about $70 to nearly $300 — planted the idea with Byron Alley that there had to be a better way to and from the Fayetteville campus of the University of Arkansas for students who live in Texas. Continue reading Hog Ride Offering Students Alternative Travel Plan

Information Technology Students Receive Insight from Industry Executives

The Information Technology Research Institute, an outreach center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, hosted executive forums on Sept. 14-15 for high school and college students interested in the field of information technology.

Information technology executives from Tyson Foods Inc., the state of Arkansas’ Department of Information Systems, Walmart, Arvest Bank Operations, Acxiom, ConocoPhillips, FedEx, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc., Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield, Teradata and Movista were on hand to answer questions about appropriate academic classes, desired skills and information technology trends and to offer career tips.

Rajiv Sabherwal moderates the Executive Forum.
Rajiv Sabherwal, chair of the information systems department, moderated the technology panel while Eric Bradford, managing director of ITRI, managed the event.

More than 250 high school students from across Arkansas attended the forum on Sept. 15. Their questions addressed issues ranging from Windows 10 deployment, data breaches, hiring tips and developing information technology talent. Panelists provided multiple responses, each from their unique perspective. View this event at http://bit.ly/2dtpGAk. The forum was moderated by Rajiv Sabherwal, chair of the Walton College Department of Information Systems.

Some 80 University of Arkansas students attended the forum on Sept. 14.  Susan Bristow, clinical assistant professor of the information systems department, moderated the question and answer session. Students inquired about academic studies, interview preparation and career options. After responding to questions, members of the panel talked to students individually.

The Information Technology Research Institute is committed to promoting student interest in the study of information technology and facilitating the interaction between potential employees and its board of advisers. The executive forums for high school students and college students are just two events the institute hosts to accomplish this goal.

To learn more about the Information Technology Research Institute, visit itri.uark.edu.