Monday, May 19, 2014

Network for the future

Though it may be tempting to avoid networking when you’re already employed, it’s important to remember that networking isn’t just a job search tool.

Networking is more than going to the career fair once a year. It’s a continual process of building and maintaining relationships that could later turn into job opportunities. Cathy Curless, a strategic management lecturer, said she believes networking should be a constant activity.

Marketing Night 2013
“You have an opportunity to network every single time you come in contact with anybody,” Curless said. “I don’t care if it’s a stranger in an airport, if it’s somebody you meet at a conference or somebody you connect with through friends.”

Jennifer Jordan, director of the Business Career Services Center, said the BCSC provides a variety of ways for students to get involved in networking, including roundtables, mock interviews and field trips to companies. She said the BCSC events provide structure to help students learn from professionals when they network.

“They’re all forums where they can – in a non-intimidating format – learn from people who are doing the types of work that they someday aspire to do,” she said.

Foster Casterline, president of ISAK, said he does most of his networking at happy hours and casual events, but he tries to attend bigger events like conferences as well.

“All the networking events I go to are startup or technology-related, and that’s good because that community is really big in Kansas City,” Casterline said. “There’s a lot of activity, so there’s a lot of events to go to.”

Student organization events can be a good source of networking opportunities. Logan Brull, president of KU Marketing Club, said the club’s guest speakers and marketing night provide opportunities for students to meet and pursue networking relationships with professionals.

“Keep in contact with them as much as they can, especially if you’re wanting a job over an internship or you want to be first priority,” Brull said.

Check out the BCSC for networking events, and keep up with happy hours and check out online resources like Eventbrite or Meetup.

by Allison Kite

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Student wins scholarship for women in supply chain

School of Business junior Hannah Bremer was awarded the AWESOME scholarship, which will provide her the opportunity to go to the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Conference in September.

The scholarship was created by the AWESOME (Achieving Women’s Excellence in Supply Chain Operations, Management and Education) Initiative, which was established in 2013 to advance women’s roles in supply chain leadership.

Roger Woody, an executive lecturer of supply chain management and director of SCM external development, said the conference will be invaluable because of the industry exposure it will provide. He said Bremer will be able to meet professionals from a variety of companies and countries and learn more about their experiences in supply chain.

Bremer said she thought the conference would be a good opportunity to interact with supply chain professionals.

“You learn the technical things in school, but you don’t know the nuances unless you hear people having genuine conversations,” Bremer said. “I’m looking forward to acting like a fly on the wall and moving through and hearing what they have to say.”

Bremer was nominated as KU’s candidate and then chosen along with four other students from 10 top universities.

by Allison Kite

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

School of Business announces new building name

The KU School of Business is excited to announce the name of its new building as Capitol Federal Hall.

Capitol Federal Foundation’s $20 million lead gift is the largest gift ever committed to the School of Business and the largest single gift ever given by the foundation. The donation is also one of the largest gifts contributed to Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas.

Capitol Federal Foundation was established to benefit the communities in which Capitol Federal operates. The foundation’s previous gifts for the School of Business include establishing the Capitol Federal Distinguished Professorship in Financial Markets. It has also supported The University of Kansas Cancer Center, scholarships for student athletes, the Lied Center of Kansas and Spencer Museum of Art.

When completed in 2016, the building will offer students and faculty top-notch resources to be competitive not only nationally, but globally.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Networking doesn't end at the career fair

So you've got a business card. Now what? When you leave a happy hour, career fair or conference with a new contact, it’s important to follow up.

Whether you’re a techy or you prefer to keep an address book, you need to make sure you keep up with the people in your network. Chances are a recruiter at a career fair will forget you quickly if you don’t follow up. Jennifer Jordan, director of the business career services center, suggests following up because employers often meet a lot of people at an event.

“Usually at a networking event, you’re not going to have a 30-minute conversation with somebody,” Jordan said. “People are moving around, talking to various individuals. You certainly want to be sensitive to not dominating somebody’s time.”

Twenty-two percent of Internet-users over the age of 18 have embraced LinkedIn, a major social networking site for professionals, according to the Pew Research Internet Project. Some here at KU, including Jordan, use LinkedIn to both manage and expand their professional networks. Jordan said she tries to connect on LinkedIn with those whom she meets at networking events.

“If I collect a business card, I’m going to go straight to LinkedIn and try to connect with that person electronically so that I have just pulled them into my network,” she said. “That’s how I personally organize my network, but I think that other systems are probably very workable for other individuals.”

Social media sites like LinkedIn make it easier to organize and keep track of your network. Devon Bull, president of the Entrepreneurship Club, said he connects with other professionals through Twitter. He said it’s important for students to have a positive image on Twitter if they’re going to give that information out to potential employers.

“I’m trying to develop an image on there that employers can see, but most students shouldn't do that unless they've already done their work beforehand,” Bull said.

No matter the method you choose to manage your network, the relationship is an active, two-way street. Reach out soon after you meet your new contact if you feel the relationship could be mutually beneficial.

Kayleigh Sellens, president of Supply Chain Management Club and co-president of American Business Women’s Association, said remaining in contact and asking questions has allowed her to develop strong relationships with her business contacts.

“Maintaining contact and asking questions have been most beneficial for me,” Sellens said. “It lets them know that you consider them to be a valuable resource for information.”

This is the third in a four-part series about networking. Check back for the fourth and final blog about when and where to network.

by Allison Kite

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Business graduate finds success on and off field

Gavin Howard (left) was named Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year
KU football player and business school alumnus Gavin Howard was recently named the Bob Frederick Senior Scholar Athlete of the Year award.

Howard was surprised and grateful when he rose to accept the award at the Senior Celebration and K Ring ceremony on April 28. The offensive lineman from Owasso, Oklahoma, was honored for his dedication and commitment to both KU and his team.

“I was completely surprised when I realized I had won the award as there are a number of great combinations of students and athletes at KU,” Howard said. “I guess just the ability to know and perform my job as an athlete at KU both on and off the field helped me stand out amongst the other athletes.”

Howard said it’s always reassuring to see hard work pay off and the award allowed him to see that by working hard at something he can achieve recognition, which makes him want to work that much harder to achieve his future goals. He attributes his success to the people in his life.

“Always have people in your life that can both push you and mentor you or else you won’t be able to get where you’re trying to go,” Howard said. “That’s probably the most important thing. No one can do everything necessary to achieve their goals on their own.”

Howard graduated in the fall with his finance degree and will graduate this May with his mathematics degree. He is currently working for ConocoPhillips in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, as a revenue analyst.

by Mackenzie Leander

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

MBA student chosen for Supply Corps fellowship

Lt. Cmdr. Owen Morrissey
School of Business MBA student Owen Morrissey will represent the United States Navy and KU by participating in the Training With Industry program next year.

Lt. Cmdr. Morrissey has been selected for a fellowship with FedEx in Memphis, Tennessee, where he will spend one year learning about executive level decision-making and expand his professional supply and logistics education.

Morrissey was one of four Supply Corps lieutenants and lieutenant commanders from around the country to be selected for the program, including representatives from Duke University, University of Pennsylvania and NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Puget Sound. After he completes his fellowship, he will serve a three-year follow-on tour in one of the Supply Corps key supply chain management assignments to apply the skills and ideas gained from his experience.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Marketing is key to every business' success

Marketing is the business function that connects customer needs with company capabilities.

Marketing Professor Kissan Joseph speaks at Marketing Night
The new Marketing graduate certificate allows students to better comprehend the core principles of a business and its customers by helping them discover what consumers want and how to effectively reach them. Marketing serves a variety of critical functions in the success of businesses and business professionals. Sanjay Mishra, an associate professor in marketing and entrepreneurship, said marketing is valued as a tool for both the client and business.

“Marketing is the activity that creates value — both for the customer and the firm,” Mishra said. “Understanding the process, therefore, is critical to the success of any business, either for-profit or nonprofit.”

Mishra said marketing is so universal that every student will benefit from understanding its processes and functions, but non-marketing majors will benefit most. The certificate will provide students an advantage when applying for jobs.

Kissan Joseph, a marketing professor, said marketing requires a mixture of creative, analytical and personal assets. Someone who is comfortable with this breadth of skills would be most suited for a marketing certificate, which extends to all professionals.

“Some say that marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department — everyone should be involved in marketing,” Joseph said.  “As such, marketing expertise is critical for all business professionals.”

The certificate is open to current MBAs, MBA alumni and others not currently pursuing an MBA. The certificate is composed of five marketing courses for a total of ten credit hours. The courses cover marketing strategy, marketing research, pricing, advanced topic in managing products and discovering and evaluation of product opportunities.

Learn more at Apply by July 15 for fall.

by Mackenzie Leander

Monday, May 5, 2014

Entrepreneurship director receives Kansas service award

Wally Meyer
The man tasked with growing the Kansas economy through KU School of Business innovation has been honored with a service award. Wally Meyer, director of entrepreneurship programs, is a recipient of the 2014 Steeples Service to Kansans Award.

According to an announcement by Danny Anderson, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, this annual award was endowed in 1998 by Drs. Don and Tammy Steeples to honor Don’s parents, Wally and Marie Steeples.

The accolade recognizes faculty who provide significant service to the people of Kansas as a purposeful extension of their teaching and research.

RedTire, a KU entrepreneurship program that pairs retiring small business owners with successors, of which he created, finalized its first official match in February, in Junction City, Kansas.

Read his faculty profile for more information on KU entrepreneurship programs.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Learn the worth of valuation

Knowing how to value assets and liabilities is an essential skill which allows professionals to know their company’s worth and financial status.

The Valuation graduate certificate teaches MBAs and MBA alumni important skills in valuing companies, assets and investments.

Cathy Shenoy, director of MBA programs, said the certificate is especially helpful for those in finance-related fields, including commercial lending, corporate finance, banking, real estate and mergers and acquisitions.

“Anyone who’s going to be doing large financial transactions needs to know how to value those transactions,” Shenoy said. “If you don’t know how to value those transactions, you don’t know how to make a bid or accept an offer.”

George Bittlingmayer, professor of finance and economics, said valuation is also an important skill when professionals are looking at the financial components of a company.

“It helps you think through how a project or company is going to support itself,” Bittlingmayer said. “What are the moving parts? How do operations and the financing of the project interact?”

The Valuation certificate is only open to current MBA students and MBA alumni. It is composed of five classes for a total of ten credit hours. Students are required to take financial statement analysis and business valuation and may choose three courses from a list including applied portfolio management seminar, derivatives strategies, international finance and entrepreneurial finance.

Learn more at Apply by July 15 for fall 2014.

by Allison Kite

Monday, April 28, 2014

School honors student leaders with R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Awards

Dean Bendapudi (left) applauds the 2014 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Award honorees.
The School of Business announced its 2014 R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Award winners last week, recognizing strong, diverse leaders from different areas within the school.

This year’s winners include Amy Goodpasture, undergraduate; Kristi Marks, Master of Accounting; Adam Buhler, Master of Accounting; Anas Maazouzi, MBA; and Samer Sarofim, doctorate.

Douglas May, director of the International Center for Ethics in Business, created the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Award in 2006 to embody the positive values of the School of Business and encourage similar behaviors in other students. The seven principles of the RESPECT code stand for responsibility, enthusiasm, self-esteem, professional integrity, equity, compassion and teamwork.

All recipients exhibit a strong drive for excellence not only in the classroom but also in campus organizations, community services and part-time jobs.

Students were nominated by faculty, staff and students. The awarded recipients were chosen by the Honor Council in the School of Business.

Awards are funded by the Majorie McNish Fund for Ethnics in Business, established by J. Hammond McNish, former business law professor at the School of Business, to honor his late wife who was dedicated to education and community service.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Course bridges geography, marketing and supply chain

Spatial analysis, geocoding and thematic mapping. You wouldn’t guess by skimming Alan Halfen’s syllabus that his new elective in the School of Business is a marketing course.
Alan Halfen answers student questions.

MKTG 400: Marketing, Supply Chains and Geographic Information Systems aims to offer methods for gleaning consumer behavior insight through geographic tools.

“Geography’s principle role in marketing is in understanding people and place,” said Halfen, who created the interdisciplinary class after earning his doctorate in geography from KU in 2012. “In the field of geography, places are social constructs defined by history, cultures and perceptions.”

The senior-level course is a combination of the three fields, taught in a hybrid format. Students are immersed in the material in a mix of traditional lectures and interactive, lab-based activities, using geographic information systems, known as GIS, a set of computer tools and hardware used to analyze, manage and model data in a geographical way.

He said geographers who study places do so by understanding the people who occupy them. “Marketing merges with geography at the crossroads of people and place,” he said. Using geographic tools, businesses are able to shed light on how customers make purchasing choices, which is a foundation of marketing.

While GIS tools have been used in geography for decades, their application in business is becoming more commonplace.

Halfen hopes students will be able to understand how geographic information systems can be used by businesses to solve complex problems, how to employ basic GIS programs and how to critically analyze case studies for their use — or lack — of spatial data and geographic information systems.

With strong enrollment in its first semester, Halfen plans to offer the course every year in the spring semester. He is developing additional elective courses that focus on data analysis and visualization, and looks to create a course on location-based marketing in the future.

“As data becomes more and more available, it will be more important than ever for skilled workers to use technology to manage and understand data,” Halfen said.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Supply chain management drives when, where, how of business

Supply chain management is one of the fastest growing but most misunderstood areas of business.

Supply chain students study abroad in Panama 
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the supply chain management field is expected to grow 22 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is double the average growth rate for all occupations.

Joe Walden, a decision sciences and supply chain management lecturer, said he thinks supply chain management is an important business skill because it touches all other departments of a company. A company can’t survive if its supply chain fails to get the product to the consumer.

“I think everybody that’s going to go to work for any company needs to understand supply chain, but especially those who are trying to become an MBA
need to understand how the supply chain interacts,” Walden said. “It’s not a stand-alone function.”

One of the biggest roles of supply chain management professionals is to look for opportunities to increase the company’s bottom line by finding the most cost effective and efficient way to get resources and produce and transport a product. However, supply chain management professionals also drive top-line revenue by finding out what the consumer wants to buy and where and when they want to buy it. Steve Hillmer, director of finance economics and decision sciences, said supply chain is important because it revolves around getting the product to the customer.

“It starts with the customer and asks, ‘What does the customer want?’” Hillmer said. “Then it goes back and asks, ‘Okay, now where do we get that?’”

The Supply Chain Management graduate certificate is composed of one decision sciences course and four supply chain management courses for a total of ten credit hours. These courses cover operations management, procurement and supplier management, logistics and distribution management, information systems for supply chain management and Lean Six Sigma.

Learn more at and apply by July 15 for fall.

by Allison Kite

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Business law professor recognized for paper

Journal of Financial Crime, an international research journal published in the United Kingdom, has recognized John Gergacz, KU professor of business law, for writing one of the journal’s “Highly Commended Papers of 2013.”

Gergacz’s paper, “In-house counsel claims against a corporate employer and access to privileged corporate communications: An analysis and a proposal,” appeared in the journal in fall 2013.

The paper evaluates in-house legal counsel’s dual role in wrongful discharge claims against a corporate employee and its effect on privileged corporate communications.

“I feel very honored to have my work recognized by the Journal of Financial Crime,” Gergacz said.  “Its editorial board consists of legal scholars from throughout the world and I am pleased that they selected my piece for this distinction.”

Gergacz is also the author of the leading legal treatise, “Attorney-Corporate Client Privilege 3rd edition.”

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Peeps hatch plan to sell all year

Easter’s famous marshmallow chicks have come to roost year-round.

Peeps, one of Easter’s most popular candies, may dominate the marshmallow candy market, but it’s yet to be determined if they can survive on the shelves year-round. Starting May 1, Just Born, the treat’s manufacturer, will add new varieties of Peeps including miniature Peeps and three different flavors (strawberry crème, chocolate crème, and sour watermelon). Vince Barker, an associate professor of strategic management, said he thinks the strategy is wise and uses his sons as evidence.

“While I do not eat a lot of Peeps, my family loves them and my sons in particular are huge fans,” Barker said. “We already buy peeps shaped as pumpkins and hearts for other holidays as treats, so my family’s experience shows a market might exist for Peeps outside of holiday periods.”

Barker said Just Born’s strategy will lead to more than just increased revenue and customer satisfaction. Keeping Peeps on the shelves year-round will likely lower the cost of production. Laura Poppo, a strategic management professor, said she agrees with Barker— producing Peeps year round makes economic sense.

“Assuming Peeps require some specialized equipment to manufacture, if they only use this equipment a few months out of the year, then their return on investment is minimized,” Poppo said.

Now that Peeps will be offered all year, people can count on constant access to them at grocery stores.  With these candies taking up shelf space, Poppo is concerned by what it might replace.

“I am just wondering what product the supermarkets are going to take off the shelf in order to put Peeps on the shelf year round — I hope it is not black licorice,” Poppo said.

by Mackenzie Leander

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

School of Business makes rank on Best for Vets list

The University of Kansas School of Business was recently ranked No. 25 on the Best for Vets: Business Schools 2014 list.

Military Times releases the annual list of the top colleges, business schools, employers and other organizations for veterans. To determine the ranking, Military Times released a survey and analyzed answers from the colleges and universities that responded.

The ranking considers schools’ resources, tuition, programs and GMAT scores among other factors. Military Times also released a list of the best universities for veterans in the fall, and KU as a whole ranked No. 23 on this list.

The School of Business and the University of Kansas have created programs and support for veterans, reserve and active duty soldiers including the MBA with a concentration in Petroleum Management, the Brigade Pre-Command Course and the Masters of Science in Business Supply Chain Management and Logistics, as well as other non-academic programs and services.

Dee Steinle, administrative director of masters programs, said a variety of university and business school programs were factored into the ranking, but one of the most important was the MBA program.

“In particular, there was a point of interest on the MBA program because I think it’s a very familiar commodity across schools,” Steinle said. “While I think all of our programs played into it, the MBA was probably the most recognizable program that they circled back to.”

The business school provides a variety of programs tailored to the needs of veteran and current military students. Steinle said the MBA with a concentration in Petroleum Management is beneficial to Navy officers who are looking for new skills.

“We have a specific part of our MBA program that allows supply corps officers from the Navy to come to KU, earn an MBA and take hours within the School of Engineering as well to reshape their careers into fuels officers,” she said.

Greg Freix, director of the Master of Science in business supply chain management and logistics program, said while both the business school and the university have strong programs for veterans, they’re working on initiatives to further improve services for veterans. One such initiative is a veteran legal services center, which would be run through the School of Law in Green Hall. Law students, supervised by faculty, will assist veterans with legal issues surrounding veteran’s benefits claims.

“We’re trying to better identify the veterans on campus in a way that meets with legal requirements,” he said. “We’re trying to better serve the veterans on campus as we pull together folks from all these different areas.”

by Allison Kite

Friday, April 11, 2014

Dean Bendapudi inducted into KU Women’s Hall of Fame

Dean Neeli Bendapudi was inducted into the
Dean Neeli Bendapudi
KU Women’s Hall of Fame last night along with five other new members.

Since Bendapudi returned to KU in 2011 as the first female dean at the School of Business, she has raised more than $55 million for a new state-of-the-art business school to open its doors in fall 2016. She has helped implement a program to instill social responsibility in business students by pairing MBA students with Kansas nonprofit organizations, and she has collaborated with university departments to increase the number of women in business.

“The university is lucky to have such an articulate and enthusiastic representative,” said Ann Cudd, vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies.

Since 1970, KU has inducted outstanding leaders into its Women’s Hall of Fame, which is located at the fifth floor of the Kansas Memorial Union.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A clean sweep for accounting students

Accounting students (from left) Kara Notvedt, Morgan Shapiro and Adam Baker.

KU business students cleaned house at the ConocoPhillips Accounting Challenge last week, taking home prizes for first, third and fourth place.

Students were divided into teams of three, each student from a different university, to compete in the challenge. The three winning teams included business school students Morgan Shapiro (first), Kara Notvedt (third) and Adam Baker (fourth). Notvedt attributes her success to vital skills she learned from KU courses and professors.

“I felt prepared going into the case competition because the accounting program and business school at KU hold their students to a higher standard,” Notvedt said.

Both Notvedt and Morgan Shapiro strongly encourage KU business students to seize opportunities like the accounting challenge.  It’s important for students to network early on in their careers and it will end up paying off, Shapiro said.

“I gained more confidence talking with people that held powerful positions within a company,” Shapiro said.  “Not only did I get to network with the employees of ConocoPhillips, but I also had a lot of fun at their offices.”

The business school congratulates Shapiro, Notvedt and Baker and encourages students to participate in opportunities like the ConocoPhillips Accounting Challenge.

by Mackenzie Leander

Friday, April 4, 2014

Learning the strategy of leadership

Successful business leaders must possess strong strategic thinking skills and decision making abilities.

The new Strategic Management graduate certificate provides a skill set that makes for more effective decision makers.  The certificate integrates economics, psychology and management to provide detailed insight into what makes companies competitive. That knowledge is not only important in the business world, but can also translate into a student’s personal life.

“This program may help MBA students to lead a more fulfilling personal life by making decisions strategically, and it may help them to better manage their work by understanding and practicing the strategic management process,” said Jane Zhoa, associate professor of technology management.

The certificate teaches students how to effectively lead and make decisions while adapting to rapidly changing organizations, environments and demographics. Vince Barker, professor and faculty coordinator of the certificate, said this advanced management focus is important to current MBA students, but it also serves a wider market.

“It’s also a great thing for students who already have an MBA,” Barker said. “They pick up that specialized knowledge that’ll allow them to be a better manager and better business owners.”

The Strategic Management graduate certificate is made up of four management courses and one business course, a total of 10 credit hours. The courses cover international business, corporate strategy, managing technological innovation, strategy implementation and managing strategic direction and change.

Apply for fall 2014 by July 15. Visit for more information.

by Mackenzie Leander

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The nuts and bolts of networking

Though networking styles can vary depending on someone’s personality and style, there are several important components of successful networking.

In our previous networking blog, networking was defined as a two-way relationship, so one of the biggest networking don’ts is to view the other person as a mere asset to you. In Upstart Business Journal’s article, Founder and President of Come Recommended, Heather Huhman, said some people forget that networking is a mutually beneficial relationship.

“Think about how your skills and expertise might be useful to your networking contacts and give, give, give before asking for something in return,” she said.

To network successfully, you have to put yourself out there but remain professional and poised. Though confidence is important, arrogance can make you seem insincere. Devon Bull, president of KU Entrepreneurship Club, said it’s important to balance confidence with professionalism.

“Don’t be overly aggressive,” Bull said. “Most people don’t know they’re being overly aggressive. There’s a point of being confident and then there’s a point of grabbing someone when they’re mid-conversation with someone else.”

It’s important to remember to follow up with other professionals promptly. Not only does it send a signal that you valued your conversation with him or her, but it increases the likelihood that they’ll remember you. Foster Casterline, president of ISAK, said if you make a good connection with someone, it is important to follow up immediately.

“If it’s somebody that there’s potential to have a professional relationship with, you’ll know by the end of your initial conversation what the next steps are going to be,” Casterline said.

Because networking is based on relationships, it is important to maintain the relationships you build through events and coffee. Jennifer Jordan, director of the Business Career Services Center, said she likes to keep track of her network electronically.

“If I collect a business card, I’m going to try to go straight to LinkedIn and connect with that person electronically so that I have pulled them into my network,” she said. “That’s how I personally organize my network.”

This is the second in a four-part series about networking. Check back for blogs about how to follow up after an event and when and where to network.

by Allison Kite

Friday, March 28, 2014

Global awareness important in all business

In the increasingly global marketplace, international business is a vital expertise for professionals in almost any industry.

The MBA graduate certificate in International Business Management gives professionals the tools necessary to navigate differing business practices, laws and currencies across borders. Dennis Karney, a professor in international business and the faculty coordinator for the certificate, said he believes international business is the norm and that true domestic business is essentially extinct.

“We live in this world dominated by difference,” Karney said. “Difference is increasing. Borders are disappearing when it comes to trade. There are more and more players involved, countries involved.”

The International Business Management certificate offers MBA students the opportunity to specialize while pursuing an MBA. It also offers professionals that aren't seeking an MBA the opportunity to expand their skills without committing to a full degree. Karney said the certificate tells employers that the student or professional has acquired additional skills in a concentrated area.

“It’s an identified, concentrated body of knowledge that let’s you go beyond the kind of stuff covered in basic courses,” he said.

The certificate includes five classes for a total of ten credit hours. Students study international business strategy, cross-cultural management and business practices in foreign countries, international finance, human resources management and global marketing.

Apply for fall 2014 by July 15. Learn more at

by Allison Kite

Thursday, March 27, 2014

University awards faculty promotions

Jim Guthrie, Associate Dean
for Academic Affairs
Sue Scholz, Associate Dean of
Faculty Development and Research
As the school year winds down, the School of Business is celebrating retiring faculty and congratulating promoted faculty.

Jide Wintoki has been awarded tenure and the promotion to associate professor of finance.

Associate professors Vince Barker and Kissan Joseph have been promoted to professors. Barker will take over as area director for management for Ron Ash, who will step back into a non-administrative faculty role.

After Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Doug Houston retires this summer, two new associate deans will step in next year. Jim Guthrie, William and Judy Docking Professor of Business, will become associate dean for academic affairs, and Professor Sue Scholz will become associate dean of faculty development and research.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Big 12 MBA students to compete in Lawrence

The Big 12 Case Competition gives promising MBA students a platform to showcase their abilities with a real-world business problem from a local business.

A KU MBA student competes in the 2013
Big 12 Case Competition
The School of Business will host the Big 12 Case Competition in Lawrence this weekend for the first time since it began eight years ago.  MBA students from nine conference universities will compete to solve a yet-to-be-revealed local company’s business problem over a 24-hour period. Dee Steinle, KU administrative director of masters programs, cautions the competition is “intense” and said it makes students fire on all cylinders while performing under pressure.

“Case competitions generally are great ways for students to put into practice what they've learned in the classroom,” said Cathy Shenoy, KU director of MBA programs. “The competition lends more urgency and focus to the process of coming up with a solution.”

Paul Epp, a KU MBA student who participated in last year’s competition and will take part in this year’s, experienced firsthand the importance of properly strategizing during the process of finding a solution. Epp says the competition is all about pacing yourself and not rushing to solve the problem. He looks forward to this year’s competition because of the opportunities it offers.

“My favorite part about the competition is getting the opportunity to travel, problem -solving with a good team and seeing how we compare to the competition,” Epp said. “It's always hard to know how well you're doing when always surrounded by the same people.”

Students present their final solutions to the competition judges made up of business leaders and company executives, making it an important networking opportunity. Though networking with executives is a plus, Prasanna Tadimeti, a KU MBA student competing for the first time this year, is focused on the importance of interacting with students from competing schools.

“The competition provides a platform to interact with students from other business schools in the region and helps us in understanding where we stand. We learn about their MBA experiences and thus improve ourselves further,” Tadimeti said.

Epp and Tadimeti will compete with Michael Wade Smith and William McCullough for the KU team.

by Mackenzie Leander

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

HR a part of every manager's job

No matter what position you hold in a company, everyone has to know how to manage people.

Source: NBC Studios
The new Human Resource Management graduate certificate aims to train not only HR professionals, but anyone who needs to know how to staff a business and train employees.

“Anyone would benefit from this whether they’re a specialist in HR or just a manager,” said Professor James Guthrie.

Guthrie said the certificate is a good opportunity to specialize in HR management, even if someone already has a business background.

“A lot of people move sideways into the world of HR once they join a company, and a lot of people haven’t had direct training in it,” he said. “Even if a person has a business degree, there’s usually not a lot of opportunity for specialized training in HR.”

The Human Resource Management graduate certificate comprises five classes and 10 credit hours of work. Students complete management coursework in staffing, performance management, compensation, rewards, training and development, and international HR.

Any credits earned through the certificate can later count toward the Working Professional MBA when a student is ready for the full degree program.

Apply for fall 2014 by July 15. Learn more at

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Networking isn't just about exchanging business cards

Though many students recognize the importance of networking, the concept can be vague, and many students don’t fully grasp how to effectively network.

Though many in the business school have their own networking styles, most agree that successful networking is based on building lasting relationships with other professionals.

Foster Casterline, president of ISAK, said networking goes beyond talking to employers at a career fair.

“It’s relationship building,” Casterline said. “I think a lot of people think that networking is going out and selling yourself like in career-fair-style networking, but that’s not how it really is.”

Casterline also emphasized the importance of humility in networking.

Networking shouldn't be about professional facades,” he said. “As a student, you're there to learn which makes you coachable and genuine. That's who people want to build relationships with.

Networking can and should go beyond an initial conversation. Jennifer Jordan, director of the Business Career Services Center, said she believes professionals and students can each bring something important to the table.

“Networking is a give and take relationship,” Jordan said. “I think a lot of students are very intimidated by networking and feel like it’s kind of opportunistic or self-promoting, but I think it’s a relationship that goes both ways. It can have a professionally-aligned objective, but it can be more broad than that as well.”

Though Jordan emphasizes a two-way street, many students can feel like they have little to offer professionals in return for advice and job opportunities. Cathy Curless, a lecturer in the School of Business, said students can often offer more than they realize. One of Curless’ students once helped her train for and run a marathon.

“That was a pivotal moment for me to realize that there was so much I could gain from somebody younger,” Curless said.

She also said networking allowed her to get ideas for her classes to help her engage students and keep them interested in the topic.

“The more I can understand what motivates twenty-somethings – what engages them, how do you keep their attention in class, what kinds of examples and companies are they interested in hearing about – every time I hear information about that, that helps me a great deal,” she said.

This is the first in a four-part series about networking. Check back for blogs about networking do’s and don’ts, how to follow up after an event and when and where to network.

by Allison Kite

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Retool your knowledge base with a Foundations of Business MBA certificate

Amy Thomas
Amy Thomas is an event planner with more than a decade of experience in weddings and events, but she found herself missing important business acumen in her new position.

“I have an education background,” Thomas said. “And while I've worked in event planning for many years, I need a better understanding of what it means to run a business.”

She enrolled in the KU MBA program’s new Foundations of Business certificate program to grow her knowledge base and move her career forward.

The Foundations of Business graduate certificate comprises five classes and 10 credit hours of work. Students complete management coursework in financial accounting, statistical decision making, financial management, marketing and organizational behavior.

The certificate gives professionals critical tools in business administration and provides a smooth segue to the Working Professional MBA when a student is ready for the full degree program.

Apply for fall 2014 by July 15. Learn more at

Monday, March 10, 2014

Building leaders from the get-go

The School of Business prides itself on the development of leaders inside and outside of the classroom with the help of organizations such as Business Leadership Program (BLP).

Up to 25 high-ability students are admitted into the BLP each fall. Once they are admitted they spend their freshman and sophomore years developing leadership, professional and managerial skills. Frances Lyons, assistant director of recruitment, wants students to get excited about the opportunities that BLP provides from the start of their academic careers.

“The program offers them opportunities that they wouldn't necessarily receive through other outlets,” Lyons said. “They are in small cohorts, so they are immediately surrounded by high-ability, high-achieving students with similar goals and drive. So they are building that network from the get-go.”

See what students have to say about the benefits of being in the BLP:

Kevin Cheng, sophomore 
BLP has helped me by providing networking and career building events with professionals in the community as well as other motivated students with similar interests as me.  This has allowed me to strengthen my career goals and gain the necessary skills needed to succeed in the future.  Students should get involved because it is a great way to meet other students and work on your leadership, networking and interpersonal skills.

Mel Mihelic, sophomore 
The Business Leadership Program helped me find my niche on the KU campus right from the beginning of my freshman year. It gave me a place to be comfortable and social while challenging to reach outside of my comfort zone and work hard to achieve. I truly believe my KU experience wouldn't be the same without BLP!

Annie Lewis, sophomore 
The Business Leadership Program is a great way to get to know other outgoing students in the school of business and learn about all of the opportunities available to you. BLP helps students make important connections with faculty and realize their own potential. Personally, I met many of the people who I now take most all of my classes with through BLP, so it helped me to find similar faces in the mass of Budig 120.

by Mackenzie Leander

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kansas Impact Project molds MBA students into exceptional leaders

Full-Time MBA students won’t graduate without being tested by real-world business dilemmas through the Kansas Impact Project (KIP).

KIP is designed to thrust first-year MBA students into the realities, both rewarding and challenging, of an MBA’s career. Besides the obvious learning application, KIP is intended to develop student’s strategic-thinking skills, problem solving and teamwork. Diane O’Byrne, coordinator of KIP, said this is an opportunity students need to take advantage of.

KIP team with client, Habitat for Humanity ReStore
“It’s the chance for students to take what they’re learning in the classroom and utilize that knowledge to problem solve a very real-world issue for a non-profit,” O’Byrne said.

O’Byrne has advised and worked with her six teams as they’ve acted as consultants to their partner non-profit or service organization, but it’s the students who have stepped up to the plate. This week, six months of performing research, identifying problems and brainstorming solutions are coming to an end, but what they’ve learned will last a lifetime.

Will McCullough, a current KIP student working with the Kansas Rural Center, said the project fosters a challenging environment that has pushed him to the edge, because even though the project is rewarding, it’s also very difficult. He describes how the project faces students with the realities of business:  indecision, bad practices and leaders who are rough around the edges.

“Anyone who is able to thrive and succeed in KIP has proven themselves to be an incredible leader,” McCullough said. “It gives great opportunity to cut our teeth on some tricky stuff.”

As KIP students finalize their presentations to be given this Thursday, they keep in mind that it’s not only the client they’ll be presenting to. Friends, faculty, university administrators, elected officials and the general public will all be present Thursday to hear each team’s final solutions for their organizations.

McCullough is more than ready to see the results of half a year’s work, he said. He has become a strong advocate for the project after his experience and encourages future MBA students to get excited about being part of KIP.

 “It'll make you whine like a little foolish baby, but as you push through and get stuff done, it'll stretch you and strengthen you,” McCullough said.  “And at the end of the program, you'll wake up one day and go, ‘Wow, I can handle a lot more now than I used to.’”

by Mackenzie Leander

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Professor’s phone call provided pivotal moment for KU student

As a junior at the University of Kansas, an unexpected phone call from a professor put Bill Plybon back on track to major in accounting. More than three decades later, Plybon and his wife, Suzanne, have made a $100,000 gift to create the Allen Ford Tax Fellow fund at KU in honor of Allen Ford, the Larry D. Horner/KPMG Peat Marwick Teaching Professor of Professional Accounting.
Bill Plybon with Allen Ford

The Plybons live in Atlanta, Ga., where Bill is vice president, secretary and deputy general counsel for Coca-Cola Enterprises. He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from KU in 1982, and a law degree from Emory University School of Law in 1986.

Plybon changed his major from accounting to general business after working through Ford’s difficult intermediate accounting course. He planned to apply to law school and knew he needed a high undergraduate GPA. When Ford learned of Plybon’s change in majors, he tracked him down at his fraternity house. “He said, ‘I heard you dropped out of accounting, and I wanted to tell you that’s a mistake. I think you should stay in accounting, you can do it, and it will be good for your career,’” said Plybon.

At Ford’s urging, Plybon returned to his original major and to his longtime plan of following not only in his father’s footsteps, but also his grandfather’s — his father was an accountant; his grandfather an attorney. Plybon believed the combination of both degrees would provide unique career opportunities.

Since 2004, Plybon has worked for Coca-Cola Enterprises, where in 2010, he was part of the team that negotiated the $14 billion sale of its North American bottling territories to the Coca-Cola Company. Before joining Coca-Cola Enterprises, he was a partner in the Trial and Appellate Practice Group at the law firm of Alston & Bird in Atlanta, where he helped lead the investigation of  Enron Corporation.

“So much of what I’ve done in my career, I can trace back to that moment when Allen Ford called me, and I decided to go back to accounting,” said Plybon. “It was completely pivotal.”

Allen Ford said, “I am overwhelmed by Bill and Suzanne’s generosity and flattered that Bill gives credit to me for contributing to his success. A phone call to a good student seems like a rather insignificant event, although there is a message for all professors that we have the opportunity to make significant contributions — in and out of the classroom. The intangible income generated for the professor is both awesome and non-taxable.”

Plybon credits his KU professors for the knowledge they instilled in him. “That’s how knowledge comes to you, through the professors,” said Plybon. “They teach the literal accounting — the debits and credits — but they also teach about becoming a professional — and that makes all the difference.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Supply chain continues growth spurt

In the six years since the supply chain management major was created, enrollment has increased from seven to 96 students while the program has maintained the highest job placement rate among undergraduate business programs.

Supply chain students participate in study abroad in Panama
Though supply chain is one of the smallest degree programs at the School of Business, it is one of the most sought-after skills in the job force. Roger Woody, executive lecturer and director of supply chain management external development, said the program always has more internships and jobs available than students to fill them.

“A student sat here not an hour ago, and said, ‘It was so exciting at the career fair.  When I mentioned I was a supply chain major, the recruiters’ eyes lit up and they pounced. They wanted to talk more,’” Woody said.

Supply chain at its core is about getting product to the consumer as quickly and efficiently as possible. Woody said many students either have no sense of what supply chain is, or they think it only involves transportation.

“My definition starts at research and development and ends with a satisfied focus on a satisfied customer,” Woody said.

Kayleigh Sellens, president of the Supply Chain Management Club, said she believes supply chain management is essential in every area of business.

“You have to think about the product that you’re hoping to develop and where you’ll get the resources to manufacture it from,” Sellens said. “How will you transport these resources? How will you manufacture the product? How will you distribute the product? Where are you going to keep your inventory? If you don’t answer all of these questions then you won’t have a product for marketing to advertise and sell, and then your company won’t make any money.”

Knowledge of supply chain can also help managers find inefficiencies and make improvements in their companies. Chen Zhao, an accounting major enrolled in the supply chain management concentration, said she believes the concentration will complement her accounting degree because she is interested in audit.

“We can find issues or somewhere to improve in a business, and supply chain is the method to actually put that into practice,” Zhao said.

The supply chain management program also has a variety of opportunities to engage students outside the classroom, including study abroad programs, trips and clubs. Zhao applied for a supply chain internship in Germany for the summer of 2014. The program also provides a study abroad trip to Panama, and last year students visited UPS in Louisville, Kentucky.

by Allison Kite

Monday, February 24, 2014

B-school hopes to see more women get an MBA

MBA programs throughout the nation are dominated by men 3:1.

Though this remains true for KU, the MBA program is working hard to create a better balance. KU MBA advocates for having more women in the MBA program because it wants more women leaders in top business organizations. When more women are in MBA programs, it levels the playing field in the workforce.
Members of Women's MBA Association and MBA staff
members attend the Lawrence Go Red for Women luncheon.
Dee Steinle, administrative director of masters programs, doesn't want women to shy away from an MBA for fear of entering a male-dominated career.

“We are undersubscribed with women,” Steinle said. “I would just like for women to actually look at this program and realize that an MBA, no matter what your passion is, it’s going to make you better at it and give you the edge.”

The MBA program encourages women to pursue their passions in business. No matter what the business is, an MBA provides a management education that is going to give women an advantage over competitors.

Women currently in the program have found great success by taking advantage of the resources it has to offer, such as the Women’s MBA Association.  Christy Imel, a first-year MBA student and president of KU’s Women’s MBA Association, recognizes that when it comes to creating a 1:1 ratio in the workforce, we still have a ways to go. She’d like to see more women utilize their MBA.

“What I would like is to break the cycle of women leaving the workforce and never returning,” Imel said. “I think earning an MBA is a great way to break that cycle. Women who left the workforce to raise a family can come back to KU, full or part time, earn their degree, and get all the help and resources KU has to offer.”

Imel said she feels KU excels at representing women in the program by having many female MBA staff members and a female dean of the School of Business. She said she feels KU makes a concerted effort to make sure everyone in the program feels welcome.

KU’s MBA program wants to break the mold of the stereotypical business leader by encouraging women to get their MBA and assisting them in finding success after they graduate.

“I think that it’s important to know that women can come at this program from wherever they are at and it’s going to give them the business skills to pursue their passion in a way that’s much more strategic,” Steinle said.

by Mackenzie Leander

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting involved could get you the job

Every KU student has heard the advice, “Get involved.”

From orientation assistants talking about getting the most out of college to advisors talking about resumes, the buzz on college campuses is extracurricular activities.  For many students, extracurricular activities are fillers on their resumes, but they can be more.

Extracurricular activities can also mean skill development or a link to future employment.  Michael Luchen, the former president of Information Systems Association of KU or ISAK, secured his position at CremaLab through his role in ISAK.

Through the club, Luchen connected with entrepreneurs in the Kansas City startup community including CremaLab co-founder Daniel Linhart.  Luchen remained in touch with Linhart, and when he connected with Linhart again at Big Kansas City, Linhart told him about the open project coordinator role at CremaLab.

“Involvement is what I attribute to all my successes, and I ended up at what I would call my dream job,” Luchen said. “I wouldn't have been here if it wasn't for getting involved in clubs like ISAK.”

ISAK provides opportunities for students to separate themselves from the competition through job crawls, guest speakers and networking events.  Greg Freix, faculty advisor to ISAK, said by being in an organization, students are able to gain skills they would otherwise lack including leadership and interpersonal skills.

“It’s difficult to be a leader in a classroom,” Freix said.  “You can be a top student, but in terms of working with others — maybe in a group activity — but nothing the same as in an organization.”

Other business school clubs, including Alpha Kappa Psi, focus on professional development among their members.  Krutarth Gohel, president of Alpha Kappa Psi, said the club holds interview workshops, hosts guest speakers and provides leadership opportunities to give its members an opportunity to develop skills outside the classroom.

“The biggest factor that AKP contributes is an experience for the member or the students,” Gohel said. “Whenever you can provide some sort of experience, you can talk about it in an interview or you can talk about it while you’re networking.”

Whether an organization provides direct contact with a future employer, networking and interviewing skills, or leadership experience, it is an essential part of a well-rounded education.

Learn more about clubs at the School of Business here.

by Allison Kite

Monday, February 10, 2014

After you graduate, the B-school still shows you love

Just because you've graduated doesn't mean we've forgotten about you. The KU School of Business loves to keep in touch with its Jayhawks. See what we can do for you even after you have that diploma.

Alumni social/networking events
The School of Business hosts networking and social events for alumni around the state and country. These events are a great opportunity to get to know your fellow Jayhawks, some of whom could help you land your next job.

You can network, meet new friends and keep up with the School of Business all at once. This week, the school is hosting the KC Young Alumni Social for graduates working in the Kansas City area.

After you've been working for a few years, you may decide you need to add a new skill set to your resume. It’s easy to return to your alma mater for a certificate. Whether you’re thinking about a graduate degree or just want to add some new skills, KU offers certificates for a focused area of study.

Career services
The Business Career Services Center offers career preparation and partners with employers to ensure students are exposed to the best companies and opportunities. That resource doesn't
end when you graduate. BCSC is available to help recent graduates, too.

Alumni are also encouraged to join some of the KU Business alumni groups on LinkedIn to see the latest job postings as well as upcoming event information.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Finance board member named CEO of UMB Bank

credit: KCBJ
Last week UMB Financial Corp. named Michael Hagedorn CEO of UMB Bank, after serving as CFO of UMB Financial since March 2005. Hagedorn is a member of the KU School of Business finance advisory board and we congratulate him on this great accomplishment. You can read more about his new role via Kansas City Business Journal.

Monday, February 3, 2014

5 ways to avoid Groundhog Day Syndrome

In honor of Groundhog Day yesterday, the School of Business has provided its students with 5 ways to avoid Groundhog Day Syndrome as they work toward success this semester.

In a study by Ronald Riggio published in “Psychology Today,” Groundhog Day Syndrome is the feeling of living the same thing over and over again or feeling stuck in an everyday routine, which makes it seem like life is passing you by. Try these tactics to break out of your rut.

How to avoid Groundhog Day Syndrome:

1. Mix up your morning.  There is nothing worse than starting your day off the same way every day. Tomorrow morning, take a new route to class or work. A little sight-seeing with the windows down on the way will jump start your day and keep you energized.

2. Take a risk. Today, raise your hand in class and comment or present a new perspective to a topic. Don’t sit idly by; get engaged. You’ll not only feel better, but you’ll remember what you did that day when the test comes around.

3. Make a new friend. It’s never a bad idea to meet new people. Go out of your way to sit by someone new on the bus or strike up a conversation with a peer in the office. Even if it doesn't turn into friendship, you’ll feel good about interacting with someone new.

4. Be Creative. It’s easy to get lost in homework and responsibilities at work, but it’s important to have a creative outlet. This week, start a new project or make a list of things you want to accomplish over the next month. Go ahead and start thinking about the future. This will pep you up and make everyday work seem less mundane.

5. Break a Sweat. You've heard it once and you’ll hear it again; exercise does wonders. Making time to work out will not only better your health, attitude and mood, but also give you an outlet for “you time.” Exercise boosts brainpower, leading to a more productive day.

by Mackenzie Leander

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Entrepreneurship programs help #growKS

In honor of Kansas Day, take a look at how the business school’s entrepreneurship program gives back to the state. This infographic illustrates the economic value of Kansas' flagship institution and its means of spurring innovation through economic development, education, consulting and beyond.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Student groups count on UBC for support

College isn't just about the classes. It’s also about the experience.

The Undergraduate Business Council (UBC) is a student government organization dedicated to making business school students’ experience as great as it can be.

The UBC is an umbrella organization responsible for governing all student groups within the business school. In addition to that, the UBC’s goal is to support the school and provide students with opportunities to be successful.

“Our goal is to energize the business school students and give them different events they can attend to meet people, get them involved and get them excited about the school,” said Kelvie Crabb, faculty advisor of the UBC.

To ensure that student clubs are able to offer networking events, social dinners, lectures and more, the UBC assists with funding, event planning and communications between each group. The council is made up of an executive team, student club representatives and a general assembly to ensure that all business students are able to take part.

A popular UBC event is “A Night Out with the Leaders,” to which the council invites 50 business students and 50 local business leaders for a night of networking. It’s important to the UBC that students, both in and outside of the council, are able to get to know others involved in their own interests.

“The biggest benefit of being in the UBC is meeting a huge variety of students within the school.” Crabb said. “It’s especially great if you haven’t chosen your major yet because the council is made up of all different business majors. Most importantly, it’s a great way to feel like you’re giving back to the school and energizing your fellow students.”

Learn more about the UBC here.

by Mackenzie Leander

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Professor shares marketing insight with local businesses

Noelle Nelson speaks to business owners Tuesday at a marketing seminar.
KU School of Business Assistant Professor Noelle Nelson spoke to a group of 65 local business owners in Lawrence today as part of a seminar about marketing.

The seminar, “Top Marketing Ideas for 2014,” was sponsored by Jay Wachs, president of BriarCliff Group, and Dee Bisel, Owner of Minuteman Press.

Nelson, who researches marketing and consumer behavior, shared advice on how big data can aid small business owners, as well as what consumers have come to expect from marketing.

For their marketing plan to succeed, Nelson said, business owners need to know who their customers are and who they want their customers to be. That’s where big data, such as a customer’s address or purchase history, can help them learn what that customer expects from their business.

By using big data, a business owner learns more about their customers’ needs, thereby creating a stronger relationship between buyer and seller, Noelle explained.

Since social media has become a major form of communication between customers and businesses, Nelson said, it’s even more important for businesses to focus on online interactions. What business owners need to understand, she added, is that it’s not enough just to be on Facebook or Twitter anymore.

“What’s impressive is that you use those tools to address (customers’) problems,” she said.

 by Annie Montemayor

Finding her stride in the B-school

The state motto of Kansas is “Ad Astra per Aspera” meaning, “to the stars through difficulties.” Senior business student Kayleigh Sellens can relate to that.

Kayleigh Sellens
Sellens is a double major who will graduate from the University of Kansas this May with a degree in business administration, with concentrations in supply chain management and international business, a degree in Spanish and a minor in global and international studies. She is on track to leave KU with a 3.0 GPA, but it took some time for her to adjust to college life before she got serious about school.

By graduating in the top 20 percent of her class at Free State High School in Lawrence and scoring a 28 on the ACT, she earned a spot as a University of Kansas 2010 Mt. Oread Scholar. But that first year didn’t reflect her previous academic achievements.

“I think one of my problems was that when I started to struggle that first semester I was embarrassed and didn’t utilize the resources that Mt. Oread Scholars could have provided,” Sellens said. “I should have gone to them for help.”

Her job, where she worked almost 30 hours a week, interfered with her sophomore year by taking her focus away from school. The poor performance as an underclassman motivated her to recommit to her studies. She realized if she wanted to graduate in four years, she needed to step up her game.

“Early in her career, she was told not to pursue business because of her GPA,” said Shu Tosaka, academic advisor at the B-school. “She proved everyone wrong.”

In Sellens’ first semester as a business student, spring 2013, she enrolled in 17 credit hours at KU and six credit hours at a community college. Ever since then, she’s taken no less than 18 hours each semester, along with at least six every summer. She’s done all of this while averaging an overall GPA of 3.62.

“I’ve had to really focus on organization and time management in order to juggle such a busy schedule,” Sellens said. “This semester, I’m only taking 15 credit hours. I’m hoping it will seem like a breeze in comparison!”

Earning a double major with a minor wasn’t enough for Sellens. She wanted even more from her education at KU. Through the Spanish department, she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for six weeks during the summer of 2012. Last summer, she spent 10 days in Panama with 14 other supply chain management students. She is also president of the Supply Chain Management Club and co-president of the KU chapter of American Business Women’s Association.

“I’ve gotten first-hand experience that I couldn’t have gotten elsewhere as an undergraduate,” she said. “I also think that I’ve gotten better at public speaking and improved my writing skills through my roles in different student organizations.”

Nearly every success story has something or someone behind the scenes helping advance the plot. For Sellens, it’s her mom, whom she describes as her number one fan.

“My mom is a huge motivator for me,” she said. “If I’m struggling with something, all I have to do is call her and she’ll remind that I’m doing the best I can and I shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. I honestly don’t think I would have been able to accomplish all of this if it wasn’t for her.”

While attending a career fair last semester, Sellens found her dream job: working in the Dallas/Fort Worth area as a commodity manager for American Airlines. After she thought she blew her first interview, she didn’t think there was any chance that American Airlines would want a second. As Tosaka said, she’s proving everyone wrong, and in this case, that includes herself. She landed her dream job, and after graduation she is moving to Texas to begin her career in business.

by Dan Dutcher