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Previous Features: Alumni
- Abby Dyer 2016-2017 recipient of The Whitlock Company Scholarship
- Northwest Arkansas - Breech Alumni Hotspot
- Inspired to Lead: Homeyers Credit Breech for Successful Foundation
- Drury and the Breech School a tradition for the Creach family
- Breech Women Find Success In the Financial Industry
- Vaughan Family Finds Success with Degrees from Breech
- Conversations with Alums: John Beuerlein
- The Unlikely College Graduate
- Nick Altrup: MBA Graduate Applies Coursework to Launch Business
- Breech Alumni Employed at the Federal Reserve
- Breech Alumni Share the Student-Athlete Experience
- 'Inspired to Lead' Young Alumni Ashley (Kilker) and Justin Powell
- Drury Helps Students Achieve One-of-a-Kind Professional Opportunities
Accounting student, Abby Dyer is the 2016-2017 recipient of The Whitlock Company Scholarship. The scholarship provides fourth or fifth year accounting students assistance in completing the 150-hour CPA eligibility requirement.
It is not unusual to walk on the trails around Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art or enjoy a concert at the Arkansas Music Pavilion and happen to run into a Drury alum. A strong community. Great economic opportunities. A good place for families. For several Drury Breech alums who describe Northwest Arkansas in these ways, a place that started out as simply a place of employment has become so much more; it has become home.
Evidence of the lifelong connections made at Drury is abundant among the alumni of Northwest Arkansas, where many of Drury’s young professional graduates have settled. Some of that may be attributed to Ashley Powell (’07), the “unofficial” Director of Drury Recruitment for Northwest Arkansas. Over the past seven years, Ashley has recruited several alumni to work in the area, often to work for her own employer, Shopper Events. Ashley’s colleagues at Shopper Events include Kaleb Doss (’11); Jordan Fry (’10); and formerly, Grant Bowden (’11), who recently moved to a new position at General Mills.
Walmart is also a large employer of Breech graduates, including Ashley’s husband, Justin Powell ’07. Justin is currently the Director of Integration Management at Walmart. He has come a long way from his beginning with the company as a cake decorator in the bakery department at a Springfield Walmart his senior year at Breech, to his current position.
Shane Miller (’08), another Breech graduate and Walmart employee, holds the position of Senior Manager, Walmart Real Estate. Responsible for negotiating leases and managing food service tenant spaces in the front of Walmart stores, Shane has been known to use Dr. Rohlf’s classroom examples in business meetings. Recently, he used the self-serve yogurt story to explain barriers to entry.
These individuals, along with the many other Northwest Arkansas Drury graduates, gather to network and reconnect occasionally at Drury to Drury (“D2D”) Alumni events held in the area. D2D attendees include Jon Marrs ’08, Account Supervisor for Geometry Global, who recently married Drury Alumni Malorie Cashel, and Morgan Atwood ’12 who is pursuing her law degree at the University of Arkansas. At these events, they meet other alums outside of their class year, such as Alan ’00 and Rachel Swearingen ’01 Harris, who live with their family in the area.
In September, Dr. Sronce visited Northwest Arkansas and caught up with these graduates at the D2D event and lunch meeting arranged by Candice Haines (‘07), a Senior Account Manager at The Harvest Group. They discussed their mutual love of international travel, which for some, originated at Drury during study abroad trips. The group took turns telling about their own respective trips to Dominican Republic; Mexico, Costa Rica, Las Vegas, Washington DC, New York City, Iceland, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, often taken with other Drury alumni.
These alumni are passionate about Northwest Arkansas as a great place to live; the strong network of Drury alumni connections is an added benefit. As strong supporters of the area, and of Breech, we are working on more ways to introduce our current students to possibilities in the area.
By Alysha Schertz
"Be proud of Drury, and know that you have received an excellent education."
Michael Homeyer, '93, shared these words of advice as guest speaker for this year's Breech School of Business Graduating Senior Dinner.
During his remarks, Homeyer focused on the importance of humility, networking, and perspective, and how a Breech education helped him along the way.
"When I started my career in banking, I was one of five recent college graduates hired for a Corporate Banking training program in St. Louis," he said.
He said his future classmates included graduates from Washington University, St. Louis University, the University of Michigan, and Moorehouse College in Atlanta. Two of those students later went on to graduate from top business schools and lead very successful careers on Wall Street and at a global telecommunications firm.
"I was intimidated," Homeyer said. "How could a guy raised in Salem, Missouri and educated at a small college in Springfield hold his own against that group? Well, I quickly realized that I was just as prepared as any of the others, thanks to my four years at Drury."
Those beliefs were solidified years later as Homeyer obtained his MBA from St. Louis University.
"Our class of 100 or so students hailed from all over the U.S., Europe, and Asia, with diverse educational and professional backgrounds," he said. "Again, I quickly realized that Drury had prepared me extremely well, both for the rigors of the MBA course load and the challenges of problem-solving among teams consisting of people from very diverse backgrounds."
"Again, be proud of your school," he said.
Homeyer graduated with dual degrees in business administration and economics. He now serves as the senior vice president for U.S. Bank- National Corporate Specialized Industries- Beverage Group.
He attended the event with his wife, Angie Bullock Homeyer '94. Angie graduated from Drury University with dual degrees in Business Administration and Communications. She was named Drury's Senior Woman of the Year in 1994.
The two met while attending Drury University, and now have three children, Grace (13), Alex (10) and Matthew (8).
Angie spent the early part of her career at Boatmen's National Bank, and later the national headquarters for the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women in St. Louis.
The Homeyers returned to Springfield to raise their family, but the two have traveled extensively which helped broaden their perspectives.
"Our perspectives are shaped by our experiences," he said. "If our experiences are narrow, then our perspectives will be narrow. In order to be successful in business, you must be able to consider and understand the perspective or objectives of your competitors, your partners, and most importantly, your clients."
Homeyer's core team is based in St. Louis, he has an office there, but regularly works from home. His team members are located all over the U.S., from NYC to Seattle, and many cities in between.
He said that he helps secure capital for companies and distributors interested in leveraged acquisitions, buy-outs or capacity expansions for breweries.
In six years, Homeyer and his team have grown the portfolio from roughly $100 million to approximately $1 billion today.
Driving that success, at least partly, is Homeyer's network.
"Clearly you're going to have to be good at what you do, but much of one's professional success relates to his or her personal network," he said to Breech seniors.
"Network, network, network," he said.
Homeyer learned that lesson early on when his first job after graduation resulted from his friendship with a Drury Alumnus.
"To this day, the overwhelming majority of my clients were referred to me by another client or some other source," he said. "Remember how important it is to constantly expand and use your personal networks."
Even through all his success, Homeyer reminded students the importance of humility and giving back to others less fortunate.
"Be confident in your skills, and celebrate your successes, but never become arrogant," he said.
And he added, "Do good things with your life."
He and Angie regularly talk to their children about their potential to do good and even great things with their lives.
"There are so many ways we can do good things," Homeyer said. "Throughout your lives, never take for granted what you have, remember that you have been blessed, and share your blessings with those in need."
He closed by reminding the students that they've returned to the same starting point. Just as they were when they came to Drury, they are now all recent graduates.
"Your present circumstances don't determine where you go; they merely determine where you start," he quoted.
"As you graduate and enter the so-called real world, hold onto this- u2018It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.' "
By: Kaitlyn Schwers
Drury serves as a family tradition to the Creach family. They come for similar reasons: to study at the Breech School of Business, to play sports, or they come because they grew up watching their family members go there. Both immediate and extended family members have been through the campus at some point in their lives, filling roles as students, athletes, staff members, instructors, and trustees.
The university connects the family, Brent Creach says. Brent, a 2000 graduate, became familiar with Drury thanks to his parents, David and Julie Creach. His father studied business and played basketball at Drury. David met Julie, a Drury cheerleader studying math and education. When their time at school ended, attending Drury basketball games became a habitu2014and still is.
"Both of my parents went [to Drury], I had been going to basketball games and camps all my life as well, so I was very familiar with the school," Brent explains. "Additionally, at that time, I had a desire to stay relatively close to home. Drury allowed me to be close to home while also giving me more freedom as I lived on campus."
While athletics helped introduce Creach family members to Drury, academics pulled them as well. Some Creach family members specialize in teaching and numbers, but most of them found themselves in the Breech business building. Molly (Creach) Terry majored in math and education like her mother, Julie, but she recalls both of her older brothers, Brent and Tyler, choosing business as a career path, like their father, David.
"As for the Breech School of Business, I think my brothers saw how well the school prepared our father for a career after college. He is a very successful insurance salesman and businessman. I think that is partly why my brothers chose to follow him at Breech," Molly explains. "As for me, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. I love numbers and math, but I knew I wanted to coach sports too."
Brent studied business administration and went on to receive his Masters of Business Administration in 2002. Tyler came to Drury shortly after Brent, receiving his undergraduate degree in 2005 in accounting and MBA in 2007.
"Drury was and is known for being a well-respected school, especially in the business field," Brent adds. "Once I completed my undergraduate degree and began working, it was a relatively easy decision to continue on and get my MBA."
Tyler explains, "I wasn't sure what I wanted to major in when I started at Drury, so my freshmen year I took u2018Introduction to Business' with Mr. Allen Foltz and really enjoyed it. The following semester I took u2018Principles of Accounting' with Dr. Penny Clayton and felt I was a natural at accounting. Dr. Clayton agreed and said I needed to be an accounting major so I went with it and never looked back."
Also like their father, the three siblings received more than just an education at Drury; they also found their current spouses. Tyler tells the story of finding his wife, Krystal, when he participated in Students in Free Enterprise (now called Enactus) and traveled for competition.
"The trip to Canada was when I first met Krystal. We ended up going on another trip together to Tahlequah, Oklahoma for a SIFE project and that trip is where we really hit it off. I asked her out when we got back from that trip and we've been together ever since," he says.
Krystal also majored in accounting. The two became engaged after college, and they stayed near to the campus.
"Tyler and I took our engagement pictures on the Drury campus and were married in Stone Chapel with Dr. Peter Browning performing the wedding," Krystal adds.
The Creach family remains close to the universityu2014through athletic attendance and alumni events. Those who live in Springfield, like Tyler, often find themselves back at Drury and Breech. In the past few years, Tyler has taught u2018Principles of Accounting' and has volunteered for the MBA mentor program, which has allowed him to give advice to current students.
"Go to class and pay attention. I firmly believe that Breech has some of the best professors in the world and if students will simply make sure they show up to every class and pay attention to what the professor is saying, they will learn a lot," Tyler reiterates. "Never skip a class, pay attention, and do your homework and you will graduate with a very good understanding of business."
Besides professional advice, the Creach family members also share personal lessons learned. Brent says students should sit back and live in the moment when they can.
"Enjoy your time in college! I know I was told this when I was there, but it's too easy to u2018look forward.' Early on, you are looking forward to getting the first year completed. Then you are looking forward to being older and having better choices of classes and living arrangements. Then you are a senior and looking forward to job interviews and starting to make money. Even though most college kids are completely broke, the money can wait. I look back now and think the combination of high school and college were the most enjoyable eight years of my life."
What they are up to now:
- David Creach, father of three, Agent at State Farm in Springfield, Mo.
- Julie Creach, mother of three, teacher at Logan-Rogersville teacher in Rogersville, Mo.
- Brent Creach, son of David and Julie, former banker with Commerce Bank in St. Louis, Mo., current stay-at-home father
- Kim (Kocian) Creach, daughter-in-law of David and Julie, physician at Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo.
- Tyler Creach, son of David and Julie, Senior Accountant with KPM CPAs in Springfield, Mo.
- Krystal (Prather) Creach, daughter-in-law of David and Julie Creach, manager with BKD in Springfield, Mo.
- Molly (Creach) Terry, daughter of David and Julie, former Logan-Rogersville and Hollister teacher, current stay-at-home mother in Fordland, Mo.
- Jared Terry, son-in-law of David and Julie Creach, elementary principal at Norwood Elementary School in Norwood, Mo.
By: Alysha Schertz
In February, Janet Yellen became the first woman in history to chair the U.S. Federal Reserve. She will lead the institution that controls much of the U.S. financial system for at least the next four years.
Throughout the financial industry, the number of women in leadership positions has been on the rise, in recent years.
Female graduates of the Breech School of Business at Drury University are reflective of that rise and have been taking on leading roles in the financial industry for decades.
"If Breech does a superior job of preparing women, I think it is because this is a nurturing place," said Dr. William Rohlf, professor of economics at Drury University. "We're big enough and have a talented student body, so there is challenge, but you can develop a really close relationship with your professorsu2014one that can support your development."
"With any career, there is going to be job-specific training college classes can't teach you, said Blair Groves, associate National Bank examiner at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. "Those challenges are a lot easier to handle though, when you have a strong foundation. Breech provided that. Breech also taught me not to be afraid to ask questions, which I have found extremely valuable in my career."
Beth Pile, chief risk officer at Promontory Interfinancial Network agrees."I had wonderful professors who took personal interest in advancing my learning experience at Breech and more broadly at Drury," she said.
Rohlf, a professor at Drury for more than 40 years, has noticed an increase in the number of women in finance related careers, but admits it has taken awhile for more to become such visible examples of success, like Yellen or Mary Barra, chief executive officer of General Motors.
According to the 2013 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Executive Officers and Top Earners, 23.1 percent of all senior officers in the finance and insurance industries were women in 2012. Additionally, 17.9 percent of board directors in the finance and insurance industry were women. The report accounts for the number of women in upper management at publically traded Fortune 500 companies throughout the U.S. Similar numbers from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission exist for private employers.
Yellen's appointment to chair of the Federal Reserve is important because it continues to show improvement in the advancement of women in these careers, but for some Breech graduates, the fact that she's a woman is a non-issue.
"It's 2014, we have to acknowledge the fact that Janet Yellen being a woman shouldn't even be important. It should be a non-issue. She was the most qualified and the most politically savvy person for the job. It shouldn't be remarkable that she's a woman," said Sarah Lewis, principal at Los Angeles-based Aequitas Wealth Management.
For Julie Barker, senior vice president at Metropolitan National Bank, it was Yellen's experience and exposure to the position that made her a good fit, even though she can relate to the reaction.
"I have had acquaintances ask me how I've been able to make it in what is considered a traditional male role in a traditional male industry," she said. "I think that experience has helped me become u2018gender neutral' in my approach to evaluating situations, and also people." I never really look at anyone I deal with in business from a male or female role. Instead I focus on their ability to conduct business in an ethical and effective manner, and whether they treat people with respect and humility."
Breech graduate profiles
Executive Vice President- Springfield First Community Bank
Jan Baumgartner has spent an impressive 40 years in the banking and financial industry. In her position, she was part of the team that raised enough capital to open the Springfield First Community Bank in 2008. In five years, the bank has grown to over $320 million in assets and is one of the fastest growing companies in the Springfield area.
Baumgartner got her first job at Commerce Bank of Kansas City as a result of connections she made at Drury University. Her father is a Breech School of Business graduate, still a practicing CPA, and he is still her greatest mentor. Her parents, along with Drury University, instilled in her the importance of community, and she has continued to serve on the board of several nonprofit organizations including the United Way of the Ozarks, and the Drury Board of Directors.
She also serves on the board for Springfield First Community Bank, is heavily involved in business development, and serves as the marketing director for the bank as well.
"What has been most rewarding for me has been the relationships and the friendships I have developed with my customers and colleagues throughout my career," she said.
Mary Beth Tripp
Assistant General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Bank of America, NA
Mary Beth Tripp had always planned on being an attorney. She looked for an in-house corporation job after law school in order to apply her business and economic training, and she has never looked back. Tripp works for Bank of America's legal department. She provides legal support for the bank's mortgage business; she's been in the financial services industry for 30 years.
"Most of the work I've done relates to legal or compliance advice," Tripp said. "However, in order to provide that support, it is important to understand the business, its financial goals and priorities and strategies. Breech helped me prepare for that aspect of the business."
Tripp has had the opportunity to work closely with mentors at each of her employers. Two of her mentors were women who served as general counsel of their respective companies.
"I have had the opportunity to work with one of them at two different companies," Tripp said. "The other has gone on to be the president of a publicly traded company in our industry."
Chief Risk Officer, Promontory Interfinancial Network
Beth Pile has been a national bank regulator for 19 years. She's been with her current company for 11 years, and in her current position for four. She is responsible for regulatory compliance across the company and also manages the company's risk exposure.
She sought out a career where she could apply her business degree and was introduced to the financial industry through a connection she made at a job running tennis tournaments and leagues at a Country Club.
"One of the members was a bank regulator with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and encouraged me to apply there. While being a bank regulator was not something I planned on, the work sounded intriguing," she said.
Pile wanted a job that made her feel challenged and where she made a difference being at work.
Pile spent some time as bank regulator in Dallas, gaining valuable experience as a large bank liquidity analysis expert. She had the opportunity to transfer to a New York City regional office at the request of one of the first women the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency commissioned as a National Bank Examiner.
"As a young woman transferring from Texas, I was not exactly welcomed with open arms by the older men I advanced over in NYC," Pile said. I learned I just needed to do my job and the respect would follow."
Pile recommends that any young professional, women especially, take risks and stretch themselves.
"With any new job comes hard work and going the extra mile," Pile said. "The experience you gain will position you for more challenges ahead. Secondly, just enjoy what you do. Life is too short to just go through the motions. Make the best of it and keep a positive attitude."
Principal, Aequitas Wealth Management
Sarah Lewis has more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, and has found success here in the U.S. through her Los Angeles, California-based firm Aequitas Wealth Management, and overseas in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Paris, France and Oslo, Norway.
She and her business partner, Joseph Alexopoulos, founded Aequitas Wealth Management in January, 2007. She had just relocated back to the U.S. after spending 18 years overseas with Cru00e9dit Agricole SA in Paris, France and other companies like JP Morgan Chase, Ernst & Young Consulting and Electronic Data Systems Management Consulting Services.
In 2008, the U.S. experienced the worst financial crisis since the great depression. Despite that, business took off for Lewis and her new company.
"People were shaken in their relationships with large financial institutions," she said. "They were willing to listen to alternative ideas, and that's exactly what we offered."
Today, Aequitas recently finished construction on a brand new office building in Los Angeles, and plans to begin hiring more employees.
Lewis received her master's degree from Thunderbird School of Global Management, which she attended because of a connection she made through Drury University.
"What I really appreciated about Drury, and particularly the Breech School of Business, was that the professors in addition to being qualified academically to teach, brought real-world business experience and connections," Lewis said. "I was interested in pursuing a career in business, so that wealth of experience that brings a whole new dimension to the program was important to me."
Lewis was honored as a 2012 Woman of Achievement by the Century City Chamber of Commerce and also received the 2010 Los Angeles Lakers/Comerica Bank Woman of Innovation Award.
Senior Vice President - Mortgage Division Manager at Metropolitan National Bank
Graduated: 1982 MBA 1993
Metropolitan National Bank has 12 banking centers located in six counties throughout southwest Missouri, and is the largest independently owned bank in the region. Julie Barker has managed the mortgage division of that bank for the past four years, and has spent nearly 31 years in the industry.
During her career, Barker has experienced many challenges, though she prefers to think of them as opportunities.
"If you look at problems as u2018opportunities,' than you can approach these circumstances from a positive viewpoint right from the very beginning," she said. "That has helped me get through many of the challenging situations I've been faced with."
Barker's biggest challenge was experiencing the evolution of an independently owned community bank being acquired by one of the largest banks in the nation. Ultimately, the decision forced her to return to community banking, she said.
"I've had the good fortune of working with many of the very best bankers in southwest Missouri throughout my career," Barker said.
For Barker, mentoring starts at home at a very young age, she comes from a long line of strong females in her family and hopes to continue that heritage with her children.
Associate national bank examiner at Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Blair Groves is a recent graduate of Drury University and the Breech School of Business. She currently works as a bank examiner for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an agency under the United States Treasury Department.
She took some business classes as an undergraduate, which eventually turned in to an accounting degree and her first job as an auditor for a public accounting firm.
"During my role as an auditor, I had the opportunity to assist in the audit of a few banks," Groves said. "It peaked my interest, and came more naturally to me than others. I decided I wanted to focus on banking, and thought being an examiner would be the best way to be submersed in the industry."
Though young, Groves has had the opportunity to work with a few mentors during her career. The primary one though, according to Groves, is her mom, Julie Barker.
"It is always interesting to see the banker side versus the regulator side," Groves said. "I can always count on my mom to give me her straight opinion. She has the strongest work ethic I have ever seen and I will be forever grateful to her for being such a great example of a career driven woman and mother."
Groves credits her experience at Drury with her ability to not be afraid to ask questions; something that now makes up 75 percent of her job.
"Every bank does things differently," she said. "It's my job to understand what they are doing, how they are doing it and than analyze the effectiveness of it. My number one piece of advice for (young women) pursuing a career in this industry is to be confident and be heard. There are many days when I'm the only female, or one of few, in my working group, but I don't let that be a factor."
Attending Drury is an unforgettable experience according to the Vaughan family.
Bill Vaughan, Allen Vaughan, and Kaitlyn Vaughan are three Drury alumni—father, son, and daughter. Each of them graduated with a degree from the Breech School of Business. They shared similar opportunities, but all have a different perspective on their years with Drury and Breech.
Starting out at Breech
The first step was learning. Throughout their time at Drury, the Vaughans started out taking introductory business classes. Some classes immediately gave them a challenge. One class even made them some money. Bill shares his memory of Dr. Evan’s accounting course, where he learned about the stock market.
“In this one particular class, we did a stock market simulation. We all had to pick a stock at the first of the semester, and we had to follow it the whole semester long,” Bill says. “Come to find out, he [Professor Evan] invested in the stocks that we had chosen and those students that were successful received the earnings. Professor Evan took the loss on the others. As a result, I was able to date Kathy Patterson who is now my wife for about a month on my earnings.”
Kaitlyn started classes at Breech during her freshman year. She was eager to impress her professors, and she was up for a challenge. She took Dr. Wyatt’s Business Foundations class--one of her most challenging classes.
“We had our very first test and I thought it was so hard. I posted on Facebook, I said, ‘Dr. Wyatt’s Business Foundations test kicked my butt!’ and I had made the mistake of accepting his friend request.” Kaitlyn adds, “When I came to class the next day he pulled up my Facebook—in front of the whole class—and read my status out loud, and said, ‘Who else felt like this?’ He was a tough guy and it was a tough class, but it was definitely one of my favorites.”
At Breech, students take what they learn in the classroom and they apply it in the real world. Before graduating from Breech, Allen had the opportunity to create a business plan in his senior class with Dr. Nowak. He never imagined that one day he would have to make his own business plan.
“We had gone through all the rigors, we had done everything, and then we had to put together a business plan. And here in my mind I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with that.” Allen explains, “I never saw myself in a position to use it or to do that, but it was fun and we were able to get in groups and it was with friends of mine. Then it turns out ten years later, we just wrote our first business plan and that was all I could think about.”
Going out in the world
Students at Breech not only get to use their knowledge in the community, but they also take it out of the country. Kaitlyn spent some time studying abroad and traveling with Students in Free Enterprise. During her time at Drury, she visited at least five different countries such as Poland, Germany, and the Dominican Republic.
“I’ve been abroad with SIFE. We went to Germany to watch the World Cup, and we were able to go into a high school in Hamburg and teach micro lending classes, so that was really cool,” Kaitlyn says. “We did a service project in the Dominican Republic where we installed a bio sand water purifier at an elementary school. Breech definitely offered me lots of opportunities to go abroad and learn new things.”
Life after Breech
The Vaughans left Breech with a wide variety of skills and experience that helped them get to where they are today.
“The Breech school did not teach me how to be a banker, but the Breech school gave me the ability to learn how to be a banker by challenging me to develop my critical thinking skills and giving me the confidence to take those skills out into the business world,” Bill says.
Breech not only gave them the confidence they needed to succeed, but also experience that opened many doors for them. “Breech helped me get to where I am now by the connections that they provided me and by realizing that the things I learned in the classroom are actually applicable to a real job, right out of college. I didn’t think that that would be possible, but it actually is,” explains Kaitlyn.
Where they are now
Bill graduated in 1974 with a degree in Business Administration and Economics. He currently lives in Urbana, MO and works as the president of the Bank of Urbana. Bill is currently serving on the Drury Board of Trustees. Allen continued his education and obtaining a Master’s in journalism at Northeastern University in Boston and then came back to Springfield where he now owns TAG Media. Kaitlyn graduated from Drury in 2010 with a degree in Finance. Kaitlyn was hired by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City where she spent a semester as an intern while in school.
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.
March 11, the Breech Student Advisory Board hosted John Beuerlein, General Partner at Edward Jones in St. Louis, Mo., Drury class of 1975, and Emeritus Trustee of Drury's Board of Trustees. Before Beuerlein spoke in the Lay Hall Auditorium about corporate culture and innovation at Edward Jones, he sat down with SAB members to talk about his career, reminisce about his days at Drury and even share advice with graduating seniors starting their careers.
What was your first job out of college? How did you land it?
1975 was a terrible job market so I took the coward's way out and I went on to graduate school (MBA) at Washington University in St. Louis. In between my first and second year there I started interning at Edward Jones in the Equity Research department. I had one interview, it worked out and I've been there for 36 years. I also married my wife, Crystal, (Drury class of '75) that same year and I've spent the last 36 years trying not to give either one of them a reason to get rid of me. So far so good!
What advice would you give to graduating seniors starting their careers?
They might be persuaded to settle for the highest salary, but I would encourage seniors to hitch their wagon to a growth-oriented company. If you have a high salary at a company that is not growth-oriented, your career may not go anywhere. I have had eight different positions at Edward Jones and that is because of the company's growth. Guess what? The learning doesn't stop after college. It's important to remember that.
What does your job consist of as a general partner at Edward Jones?
I lead the Product Review division and I am responsible directly to our Managing Partner. The division is responsible for quality control and works out the mechanics around new investment products. In addition, we monitor roughly $670 billion worth of assets held in the hands of Edward Jones clients. If we see any cracks in the financial armor of those issuers it's our job to wave the warning flags and offer guidance to our clients on how to manage any problems.
What is your fondest memory from Drury?
Kissing my girlfriend for the first time on the steps of Smith Hallu2026I can say that because she is now my wife.
What was the motivation behind funding the Edward Jones Minority Scholarship at Drury?
A: It was purely selfish. It was an investment that was good for the school, with an aim to increase diversity. In addition, I was hoping that some of those students would come to Edward Jones after they graduated and help make our firm a better place.
How has a liberal arts education helped in an analytical career?
The nature of the role I perform is not analytical in its totality. Understanding human behavior is important. While at Drury, I took psychology and political science classes and that helped me to learn the fundamentals of interpersonal relationships. The course work in economics has helped me to understand the markets each and every day for the last 36 years.
What would you like to see out of students, in general?
Students come away from school with a lot of debt and they are trying to pay off that debt while earning as much money possible. You can become overly focused on those obligations. I hope that doesn't blind them from the need to give back and contribute to society.
Too many people settle for financial success when there is much more out there. It is important to lead a life of significance which comes from helping others. That is one thing I really love about Edward Jones. Financial Advisors help people achieve their life's most important emotional drivers such as planning for education or retirement, taking care of their parents, leaving a financial legacy; all of these things are noble causes. Financial Advisors help people be successful, and when they are good at their job, they achieve personal significance in their lives too.
What does Drury need to do in order to stay on top of higher education?
It needs to invest in excellent professors and strong core curriculum; that is a critical competency. The expectations for students needs to be set high and those expectations must be maintained.
What do you love about Drury?
I love that it provides for a liberal pursuit of the truth. Drury is a place where all kinds of ideas can come together in a penalty free environment to be explored by people of diverse cultures, leading to a rich discussion of the truth.
Written by Amber Perdue, senior Public Relations and Advertising major
By: Yelena Bosovik
Other than scenes from Law and Order, I have never seen the inside of a prison cell. My family, however, is all too familiar with them. The last three generations of my family served time in Soviet prisons, not for something they said or did, but because of what they believed.
My family relocated to the United States in 1999, seeking refuge from religious persecution in Ukraine. My great-grandfather served a 15-year-sentence in a Siberian prison camp. My grandfather, who served as pastor of a large Pentecostal church for 40 years, the majority of which was under the Communist regime, underwent several public, citywide trials for his faith. My father got the lighter end of the deal, serving “only” three days in a local jail.
Despite facing a potential life of religious harassment and discrimination, my eight-year-old self did not understand why we had to move. All I knew was that everything familiar and dear was taken away. I was bitter and frustrated when we first moved to the U.S - I hated feeling incompetent, struggling to communicate at school, and being forced to re-learn basic social skills.
It was not until fifth grade that I discovered a different world in books. Books did not judge my accent or how often I mispronounced or misused words. Instead, they offered possibilities, showing that in America, you can be anything you wanted to be.
So, I aimed high, sought out challenges, and worked hard. But, it wasn’t until tenth grade that I realized college was really an option for me. Neither my parents, grandparents, nor their parents attended college – the religious persecution, changing regimes, war and political corruption simply did not allow it.
And there I was – a tenth grader finding myself on a college campus for the first time. Drury was hosting a high school accounting conference, and I was attending with my school’s Future Business Leaders of America chapter. I saw the students with their textbooks, laughing and discussing class assignments, I sat in the classrooms and ate in the Commons. It was like entering another world, one that I had only read about in books, so I made it my sole goal to get into Drury and get it paid for in scholarships.
I ended up graduating at the top of my class and was accepted into multiple universities with several generous scholarships from both community donors and the universities. Through out the college admissions process, Drury admissions staff, faculty, and students were phenomenal – they guided me through every step of the process and answered all my questions (I must have sent out a hundred emails asking about everything, from clubs on my various interests to what the college experience is like).
Now, graduation is only weeks away, and I fondly remember the shy, terrified freshman I had been four years ago. And I compare her to who I am today – the more confident, educated leader, and it makes me more grateful than ever for the opportunity to get a college education.
I credit most of my personal and intellectual growth to the students, faculty, and staff in the Breech School of Business Administration. Their wisdom and kindness has given me a wealth of knowledge, confidence and maturity. They challenged me to take courses that have expanded my horizons and taught me what it’s like to be a confident (aspiring) businesswoman. I am especially grateful for each of my professors and advisors – their unending patience to go over the same questions over and over again until I finally understood the material, their recommendations for internships and for sharing their knowledge every single day.
This fall, I will start law school. That tenth grader on Drury’s campus years ago wouldn’t have dreamed of this in her wildest fantasies, but through my experiences and successes at Drury, I was exposed to the idea of becoming an attorney and making an even bigger impact on the world. My professors and advisors were there with me through every step of the law school admissions process, and I hope as I start my career soon, I can make every one of them proud of the professional I will become.
Finally, I hope that my efforts to succeed in school and beyond have made a good start on showing my parents how thankful I am for their sacrifices. After all, they gave up their entire lives, their home, and everything familiar to give my nine younger siblings and I a chance to pursue the American dream. A simple thank you is not nearly enough to express my gratitude.
Nick Altrup’s ultimate goal was to start his own business. Thanks to the Drury’s Master of Business Administration program at Breech School of Business, he was able to do that.
Nick graduated from the MBA program in May 2010. He completed his MBA at Drury while working a full-time job and having a family. Nick was able to complete the program on his own time.
“I think for anybody that—whether you have a family or not, if you have a full-time job or close to a full-time job—it’s a great fit for you because it’s flexible, you can take the eight week class schedule," he says. "It’s very flexible; you can take one at a time or two at a time, and finish in one year or two years.”
Nick now owns a local business in Springfield, which he started while he was taking classes at Drury.
“It was perfect timing that I was starting a business while finishing the program because I was taking everything I was learning and applying it over and over again,” Nick says.
Every class Nick took was beneficial in some way to starting a business, but overall, completing the MBA program gave Nick confidence as well.
“I think the entire experience that I got at Drury—everything from the classes to my fellow classmates to the professors and things I was learning—I think it all just combined to give me a sense of confidence that I could really do it,” Nick says. “I guarantee that there’s no way I would have had the confidence to do what I did if I hadn’t gotten the MBA.”
The program gave him not only the confidence to start a business, but also the opportunity to visit another country. One highlight of his time at Drury included a week-long trip to Beijing, China with some classmates.
“Even though it was only a week, that was the highlight because now I can say I’ve been to Beijing,” Nick says. “I think we got exposed a little bit to different cultural practices and business.”
To anyone who is thinking about joining the MBA program, Nick has plenty of advice.
“I guess the first thing would be not to undervalue the relationships that you have with your fellow classmates, because when you graduate, those are going to be your peers in the business community if you stay here,” Nick says.
In addition, Nick also says that students should realize that getting an education is not enough to get a job. Students should know what they want to do and have a passion for it, and should find a way to make themselves stand out.
“You have to be able to differentiate yourself from all the other people that have an education and be able to show actual, specific skills in a certain area that are valuable to the market place,” Nick says.
By following his own advice, Nick has been able to see his career dreams come true.
“I really am living the dream. I’m doing exactly what I want to do.”
Nick is currently the owner of 417 Marketing, a Web design and SEO company located in Springfield, Mo.
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.
Today, Drury graduatesu2014old and newu2014are finding careers based on their experience they have gained with internships, networking and applying what they learned in the classroom.
Six Drury grads are now working full-time positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City because of the experiences and opportunities they endured along the way. This group of Drury alumni includes James Den Beste, Donna Ward, Andy Burkemper, Kaitlyn Vaughan, Brad Champion and Joey Sands.
Most of these graduates had the opportunity to complete an internship at the Federal Reserve prior to securing full-time employment. The internships were secured through the help of Drury's Breech School of Business and the Office of Career Planning and Development.
James Den Beste, a 2010 graduate who currently works at the Federal Reserve with ITT administrative services, said he received a job offer with the Federal Reserve after completing the summer internship program. Internships help students prepare for the professional world by through experience in the workplace.
"My current full-time position was offered to me following the completion of a summer internship with the Bank in 2009," James says. "Not only did my summer internship provide me with a valuable learning experience, it also led to a job offer a full school year before graduation."
Others, like Joey Sands, started working at the Federal Reserve through connections with other Drury alumni. Andy Burkemper, a 2007 Drury graduate, helped Joey make a decision on finding a job at the bank.
"I hadn't participated in the internship program at the Federal Reserve, and throughout my college career it had remained off of my radar for an employment possibility," Joey says. "However, after hearing about Andy's positive experiences and researching more about the Federal Reserve on my own, it quickly shot to the top of my list for employment prospects."
Some graduates are finding themselves to be successful in their career with the Federal Reserve. Donna Ward, a 1988 graduate, holds a position as Senior Vice President at the bank. Her success was made possible, thanks to what she received from Drury.
"Drury provided me with the skills I needed to be successful in my career at the Bank. The Bank values leaders with breadth and depth of knowledge," Donna says. "Breech offered me a strong business foundation and the Drury liberal arts experience provided opportunities to broaden my perspective and thinking as a leader."
Career at the Federal Reserve are not without pressure, and some former students find such pressure to be fulfilling. Kaitlyn Vaughn, another 2010 graduate who works in human resources, says working at the bank gives her a sense of motivation.
"I most enjoy the people with which I work. The Federal Reserve houses a population of employees whose goal is all the same, to help the organization succeed and fulfill its core missions," Kaitlyn says. "Working with people of such a high caliber pushes me to consistently perform at a high level."
In the end, graduates thank Drury for helping students get to where they are now. James appreciates the effort and hard work Drury put out to help him get to where he is.
"I would like to give Drury, and specifically the Breech School of Business, a lot of credit for helping me get to where I am today. However, I cannot point to one thing and say, 'that is what Drury did to put me on the right path,'" James says. "It is a combination of many great things together that make the Drury-Breech education experience unique."
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore double majoring in multimedia production/journalism & writing.
Student-athletes have a unique college experience. They get up early for practice, they go to class, they practice again, they work, they go to sleep for the night, and then they repeat the process all over again the next day.
At Drury University, this is an experience that all former swimmers and business students are familiar with. Four alumni share their stories of being a Breech School of Business student and being a part of Drury’s swim team.
Becoming a student-athlete
Ron Staab came from Indiana to attend Drury in 1980. He chose Drury for two reasons: to study business and to swim.
“I was recruited from my home state of Indiana as a freestyle and backstroke specialist. The team’s history and planning for the future growth of the team intrigued me,” Ron explains. “The Breech School of Business presented a unique opportunity to advance my interest in the business acumen with a focus on a small class atmosphere with a high degree of professor interaction. The quality of the faculty was very important to me as a student.”
Ron currently has two daughters who followed closely in his footsteps. Hillary Staab joined the Breech school as a management and marketing major in 2008. She dedicated herself to sports, and also became a member of the swim team.
“I have been dedicated to sports my entire life and had always planned to be a student athlete in college,” Hillary says. “When I was younger I thought it would be for gymnastics but when I got to high school and swimming became my primary sport, it was evident that no matter where I went I was going to swim.”
Per-Ola Brinck, a 1983 Drury graduate, had a similar opportunity. “[I] came to Drury from Sweden and always wanted to swim and study in the USA growing up,” Per says, “[I] looked at several schools and felt Drury was the best fit—smaller school with a good team.”
Being a student-athlete
Doyt Ladd joined Drury in 1978 when he received a scholarship for swimming. During his time at Drury, he decided to study business administration and economics at Breech. To Doyt, swimming on the team and studying business became a very positive experience. He found that being a student athlete was less stressful thanks to some help from his professors.
Doyt explains, “At Breech you were part of a family of students and teachers. Being a small school it allowed you to get to know your teachers and vice versa. The teachers knew you were a student athlete and respected your requests for special dispensation because of travel day or Nationals.”
Hillary also had good experiences at Drury being a student athlete. Though she had a busy schedule, she formed close bonds with her teammates.
“Every day was an early morning practice followed by a few hours of classes, a few hours of work, and yet another practice, wrap it with homework in the evening and crash early so you can get enough sleep before another early morning,” Hillary describes. “It seems so antisocial with the swimming schedule but it brought the team very close together, it built those relationships that will truly last a lifetime.”
Most of these student-athletes spent four years together—in the pool and in Breech. They share memories from swimming on the team and learning in the classroom. For Ron, swimming at Nationals for the first time was a big moment as an undergraduate.
“My favorite memory was many. The team activities throughout the years I will always remember,” Ron says. “If I had to pick, I would say representing Drury University as a National Champion both individually and as a team member, followed only by representing Drury University at the 1984 Olympic Trials.”
Others, like Doyt, also cherish many memories of being on the swim team.
“No specific [favorite memory], but memories of jumping thru the skylight into the pool, getting up for finals at Nationals by listening to AC/DC in the van on the way to the meet, hitchhiking to a swim meet because our van broke down, and of course, winning our first National Championship in 1981,” Doyt recalls.
These student-athletes also remember their times at Breech, like Per-Ola who remembers talking with Dr. Strube in his office each day.
“[I] met a lot of people both at Breech and being a part of the Panther swim team that became friends for life,” Per-Ola says. “Dr. Strube was my advisor and he was always there to make the best of each day.”
Hillary also favors memories at Breech. She remembers her past professors, like Dr. Rohlf.
“'Everybody Happy?’ It didn’t matter what class you were in, you could always hear Dr Rohlf greet his class with that phrase,” Hillary says.
Life after college
Most student-athletes move on from their sport after college. Some of them keep doing it as a hobby, some go on to graduate school, get their MBA, or go off to work. Other graduates, like Per-Ola, go on to start their own family.
“Drury was and will always be part of my life since I graduated from Breech, met my wife at Drury and got married at Drury [in] Stone Chapel,” Per-Ola explains. “When I came to Drury in December of 1979, I had no idea how my life would change and that I would still be living in the USA 33 years later and having a great family.”
Looking back on their college experience, these former swimmers have advice for future and current student-athletes.
“Enjoy the time and keep in mind that you are there for a reason,” Ron says. “College life is a very important time in a young person’s life. Enjoy your time, but work hard at preparing yourself to enter the world.”
Ron’s daughter, Hillary agrees. “The ‘enjoy it while it lasts’ is so cliché but now that I’m on the other side, I fully understand it now and it really does apply.”
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.
Ever the enterprising business student, Justin Powell (‘07) supplemented his study abroad trip to Germany by using his karaoke skills at a local pub. As Justin tells it now, “every Wednesday night they would draw a winner for a 50 euro gift certificate. I was able to win 3 times which allowed me to pay for all of my friend’s expenses and in turn take cash from them to help me survive a few weeks longer in Germany... I had to be creative to truly survive my way through the semester.” Married to Breech alumna Ashley (Kilker ‘07), conversations about their time at Drury and experiences at Breech occur frequently as Justin and Ashley continue their successful careers as Director of Global Integrated Processes at Wal-Mart and Business Development Manager at Shopper Event. Both are thankful for the lessons they learned at Breech in the classroom and through the opportunity to network with a variety of business leaders. They also knew they wanted to give back and give back they did by helping to sponsor the first Breech Study Abroad Honor Reception and contribute to the Breech Study Abroad Scholarship fund.
For Justin and Ashley, studying abroad while at Drury was “truly a life changing experience that allowed [them] to grow personally, meet lifelong friends from around the world (and therefore continue to travel after graduation to visit them), and gain perspective of the world we live in.” When they learned of the Breech Study Abroad Scholarship fund, they knew this was the perfect fit for their support of Breech. They knew the difference having a few extra dollars would have made on their own trips, thereby reducing the pressure and stress and allowing for more enjoyment of the experience.
In support of their passion for study abroad, Ashley and Justin hosted the Breech Study Abroad Scholarship Honor Reception in the Breech School of Business on September 26. Held in the Breech lounge, Greek food and beverages set the international mood and donors, recipients, faculty, students, and supporters met together to celebrate the first year of the scholarship fund. The stories by Brooke Hickman, Sarah Burrows, and Denise Taylor about the difference the scholarship made in their ability to fund the trip and the experiences they had on their travel moved the room. Dr. Shirley was also able to announce those that had stepped up to support full scholarships of $2500. Along with Justin and Ashley Powell, Jane and Tim Bennett sponsored a scholarship and Curtis Dinan, with matching funds from ONEOK, supported two scholarships. Additional good news came after the event, when so moved by what they learned at the event, Leaster and Jayme Gibson also donated a scholarship.
Two years after the project management students started the Breech Study Abroad Scholarship Fund, the program is actively making a difference in the lives of our students. Talking about the experience Justin notes, “We encourage all alums to look for a fund that speaks to them. Whether that is the Drury Fund or a department/scholarship specific fund, find the one for you and contribute. A few dollars goes a long way to helping our school and the students that attend it, so no amount is too little.” To find out more about opportunities to support students at the Breech School of Business contact Dr. Michael Shirley, firstname.lastname@example.org or go directly to our give to Breech webpage.
By Alysha Schert
Drury helps students achieve one-of-a-kind professional opportunities.
“My time at Drury and the contacts I made with the professors in the Breech building helped me get where I am today. My experiences there were invaluable,” said Leslie (Snyder) Nashed, a 2005 graduate of Drury University.
Nashed, age 31, will become Chief Financial Officer at Inter-State Studio and Publishing Co. in Sedalia, Missouri in early 2015. Her grandfather started the company during the Great Depression more than 80 years ago.
Prior to returning to her family business though, Leslie and her husband, Adam Nashed, a 2006 graduate of Drury University, spent several years with KPMG in the Cayman Islands. An experience she credits, at least partly, to the connections she was able to make through Drury University.
“The level of caring shown by the faculty and staff at Drury, particularly in the Breech School of Business, exceeded my expectations,” Nashed said. “Even early on as sophomores they were getting us familiar with local accounting firms and introducing us at recruiting events long before we were even looking for full time jobs. They really cared about our future and our success, and did their best to help us get those jobs nailed down before we graduated.”
After graduation, Leslie accepted a position with KPMG in Kansas City.
Adam Nashed, her future husband, started on a similar track with BKD, LLP in Springfield. He later worked in Kansas City after the two became engaged.
In 2008, KPMG started looking for senior associates to move to its office in Grand Cayman. As someone who wanted to travel, Leslie knew it could be the perfect opportunity. She and her husband both interviewed for the positions and both were hired. They moved to Grand Cayman in the Fall of 2008.
“Moving really made sense for us,” she said. “It was a great opportunity, and I think one of the best decisions we ever made.”
According to Nashed, Grand Cayman was a melting pot of different cultures - something she never expected to experience growing up in Missouri. The two stayed for nearly five years and immersed themselves in Cayman life. They worked with clients from all over the world; took up scuba diving and even bought their own boat; doing nearly 100 dives their first year on the island.
“It’s an extremely active island,” she said. “It’s 70-80 degrees year round, and we definitely took advantage of that. Adam golfed all the time, we joined sand volleyball leagues, played rugby and got really involved in the social scenes outside of work as well. It was great.”
She said they were around 25 years old when they moved to the island, and some of the youngest at KPMG. Nashed worked nearly three years for KPMG in the Cayman Islands before moving on to the role of controller for one of the largest offshore law firms on the island. Her husband, stayed with KPMG for a year before moving on to a new career as well.
“Living there the time that we did was incredible,” she said. “We’re glad to be home, but living in Grand Cayman is just a slower pace of life. You’re very isolated down there and the friends we made became our family. I always thought I would live in a large city and never return to the small town I grew up in, but living there taught me it wasn’t that important to me anymore. It made me appreciate family and being part of a small community so much more.”
The two came back to Missouri in January 2013. Leslie took a job as Controller for her family-owned and operated business, and Adam is a self-employed financial advisor.
“It’s good to be back,” she said. “The experiences we had in Grand Cayman made it possible for us to come back to Sedalia. It’s nice to be back close to family; but I’d recommend to anyone with those kind of opportunities to take full advantage. Adam and I both realize how incredibly blessed we are to have had those opportunities at such an early stage in our lives.”
Leslie always knew she wanted to go work for a Big Four accounting firm. She didn’t know things would come together so nicely, but she does know that Breech professors helped her make the necessary connections to get things moving in that direction. She had offers from several big accounting firms in the Missouri area when she graduated. It was KPMG that appealed to her the most.
She said KPMG was a major sponsor for local Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) competitions. Leslie was very involved in SIFE, now known as Enactus, at Drury University. In fact, she said, it was her involvement with SIFE that helped develop her passion for travel.
“I got to go to some pretty interesting places with Drury, either by competing in SIFE competitions globally or by doing some international class credit hours such as Morocco, Russia, and Germany,” she said. “I never studied abroad, but I think in the back of my mind traveling as part of my work was always something I desired to do. I knew KPMG could give me that opportunity.”
Previous Features: Connections
- Dr. Charlie Pettijohn Recognized in Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice
- Breech School of Business inducts Gohn, Rohlf into its Hall of Fame
- Breech Week's Professor for a Day
- Tuition Reimbursement Allows Breech Students New Opportunities
- Business Connections Serve Drury Students
- Students and Alumni Reach Out to Breech
- Community Connections. Bright Futures.
- Men's Basketball Players Find Success in the Classroom and on the Court
- Accounting Program Develops Successful Students and Alumni
- "Inspired to Lead" Alumni Mentors Inspire Breech Students to Succeed
- Siblings From Central America Share Their Breech School Experiences
Dr. Charlie Pettijohn and his co-authors of the 2006 article "Emotional Intelligence and Dispositional Affectivity as Predictors of Performance in Salespeople" were recognized in the April edition of the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice as having one of the Top 20 articles by citation count in the last decade.
Drury University’s Breech School of Business Administration inducted two new members into its Hall of Fame during a ceremony held on Saturday. Longtime West Plains banking executive David Gohn and retiring economics professor Dr. Bill Rohlf joined 19 previously inducted members of the Hall as the Class of 2016.
David Gohn graduated from Drury in 1964 with a degree in economics. Gohn has been a leader in community banking for 52 years and currently serves as the chairman and CEO of West Plains Bank and Trust Company. He began a management training program at Union National Bank in Springfield before accepting a position with the West Plains Bank in 1966. He served on the Drury University Board of Trustees from 1988-2009 and is a past chairman of the board.
Dr. William (Bill) Rohlf received his bachelor’s degree from Baker University in 1967 and completed his Ph.D. in economics from Kansas State University in 1972. He came to Drury University shortly thereafter, where he has since served as a distinguished member of the faculty at the Breech School of Business Administration. In his tenure as professor of economics, Bill has been honored as recipient of numerous awards, and his very successful basic economics textbook is widely recognized for its emphasis on the application of economic reasoning in the analysis of current economic events. Affectionately known to his students as “Dr. Lovable,” Rohlf is indeed a caring but demanding teacher, who is highly respected for his innovative methods and teaching style.
“We’re pleased to be able to honor two people who have done so much for Breech, for Drury and for the business landscape of the Ozarks,” said Dr. Robin Sronce, Dean of the Breech School of Business. “Their contributions have made a difference for businesses and students for decades – and their impact will continue to be felt for years to come.”
The Breech Hall of Fame was created to honor Drury alumni and faculty for outstanding professional achievement in the field of business. The reputation of the Breech School has grown tremendously since its inception in 1957 due, in part, to the success of its alumni. Inductees into the Hall must have made a significant, positive impact in the field of business through exemplary leadership, have demonstrated professional conduct consistent with the mission of the University and the Breech School of Business Administration, and have demonstrated a concern for improving their communities.
Past inductees include legendary Fortune magazine editor Carol Junge Loomis, Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris, Ford Motor Company CEO Ernest Breech, and O’Reilly Auto Parts executives Larry and David O’Reilly.
Story by Mike Brothers
By Steven Anderson
Being a member of the Breech community at Drury University has a lot of perks. From study abroad experiences to real world business experience and internships, students have a common driving force behind all of their opportunities. This force is the Breech faculty and staff. The main goal of the faculty and staff of Breech is clearly expressed through their mission statement: "Preparing ethical leaders for the global business community." While they do a great job, they know that they cannot complete the task all on their own. For this reason, Breech implemented a new program through the inaugural Breech Business Week held in April called "Professor for a Day" where local businessmen and women donated their time to Breech students. During the class, each Professor for a Day was able to provide information, advice, and stories, and answer any questions that their students might have.
One of the Professors for a Day was Kris Nau, Vice President of commercial lending and relationship manager for Liberty Bank. Nau's favorite part of the event was when he was able to speak with students and engage them in a dialogue. "Listening to their responses and understanding the student perspective on issues and what they are thinking u2013 quite often it is pleasantly surprising and I learn something from them," he said.
Another Professor for a Day from whom students were able to learn was Bob Hammerschmidt, Regional President of Commerce Bank. In his position he focuses on obtaining new clients and encouraging sales across all product lines. Hammerschmidt says that in his 40 years of banking, things have changed from charters in each town dealing with many different aspects of banking, to being more centralized and allowing the presidents to deal with customers and prospects, or what he calls "the fun stuff." Because of all of his experiences, Hammerschmidt was a perfect choice to be a professor for a day.
By offering an activity focused on attitude, Hammerschmidt conveyed that embracing change in a positive way, and looking for ways to improve an organization is one of the most important things that people in the workforce can do. His greatest piece of advice to both current students and recent graduates was, "Regardless of the acquired technical education, skills, or experience in the workplace, the greatest differentiator for an single individual is attitudeu2026period."
Rebecca Senn, a 2014 graduate, was one of the students lucky enough to have had Mr. Hammerschmidt as a Professor for a Day. As a finance major, Senn was able to hear about his experiences and what steps he took to become the Regional President of Commerce Bank.
"It was interesting to hear about the practical application of finance and learn more about the banking industry," Senn explained.
Senn added, "the Professor for a Day program can help students by allowing them to see what career opportunities are available to [them] after graduation. It also gives area employers a taste of the Drury community and shows that the many gifted students of Drury would be wonderful additions to their firms." Senn hopes that learning from both the failures and successes of current business leaders will enable students to make better decisions in the future.
Nau gave some important advice to recent graduates that can be applied to anyone and everyone: "Stop worrying about things you can't control u2013 focus on those that you can."
Breech's Professor for a Day event was a positive experience for not only the students, but for the visiting professors as well. It was a great event that benefited everyone involved. Both professionals and students are looking forward to continuing the event in the coming years.
By Alysha Schertz
Despite recent economic woes, several companies have continued to offer tuition assistance and reimbursement programs for their employees.
Educational assistance from local companies like John Deere Reman, SRC Electrical LLC, and CNH Reman, can be extremely beneficial to students attending the Breech School of Business and other two-year and four-year colleges and universities in the area.
"Approximately 20 to 25 percent of our fulltime MBA students in the Breech School of Business are receiving some kind of tuition assistance from their employers," Angie Adamick, MBA Director at Drury University said.
She said the School saw tuition assistance pull back slightly during the recession, but as the economy continues to recover, more and more companies have started offering bold tuition assistance programs again.
"The market is more competitive for employees," Adamick said. "More employers are starting to offer programs again, and a lot of students are definitely taking advantage of it."
Kevin Bishop, a graduate of Drury University, was able to take advantage of the tuition reimbursement program offered by his employer, John Deere Reman-Springfield LLC, to complete both his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Drury.
"Continuing my education got me the opportunity to be selected for additional career advancements," Bishop said. "I've worked in production most of my life. As I furthered my education, opportunities in the management side of the business continued to emerge."
Bishop (pictured far left in photo) completed his undergraduate degree from Drury University's Breech School of Business in 2006. He obtained a Master's degree from the Breech School of Business in 2011.
Bishop was recently promoted to a position in BPI Supply Management and Logistics at John Deere Reman. He credits his ability to advance in the company to the opportunities made available for him to continue his learning.
"I look at it as providing future value to myself and for the company," he said.
Steve Huffman, Supply Chain Manager at SRC Electrical, LLC in Springfield, is also obtaining his MBA through the tuition reimbursement program at his company.
"Continuing education aids in us gaining relevant knowledge," Huffman said. "It keeps us at the top of our game and helps us help ourselves and our companies to move forward, instead of being stagnant."
According to Huffman, SRC Electrical offers full time employees complete reimbursement for credits or certifications obtained, with approval, at accredited institutions.
He said that course curriculum must lead to a degree in a job-related field, and students must receive a "C" or better in the course to get reimbursed.
Huffman chose Drury over other accredited institutions in the area for the small class sizes and project-team approach he believes will be useful in his career.
"The interactions with classmates model what happens in the real world," Huffman said. "As leaders in the business community we will forever utilize this experience."
In general, tuition reimbursement programs offer an opportunity for business continuity, low employee turnover, and an attractive recruitment tool.
"Programs like these are a win-win situation," Adamick said. "The employee is gaining the benefit of additional education at reduced or free cost to them personally, and the employer benefits from an employee who has more applicable experiences and knowledge they can apply to the workplace. They become better employees that can help drive the company forward. It's not hard to sell companies on the investment."
Peter Cappelli, author of the National Bureau of Economic Research paper Why do Employers Pay for College?, finds that, in general, tuition assistance programs appear to allow firms to hire and attract better quality, more educated, more productive, employees.
The Society for Human Resource Management, in a recent survey, estimates that around 54 percent of companies offer some form of educational reimbursement.
According to Candida Deckard, Director of Human Resources and Safety, her company, CNH Reman, has offered reimbursement since the company was founded.
"We have a very unique culture here, ripe with entrepreneurial spirit," Deckard said.
"We hire people and they stay. Our turnover rates are very low. People want to be here, and we want to help grow them to their full potential. Our goal is to grow our people internally, whether that means they want to become managers, or they become more enriched for the position they currently hold."
Deckard, who works in HR and is responsible for the tuition reimbursement program at CNH Reman, is also completing her MBA at Drury through the program.
She said that, last year, CNH Reman had 7 percent new employees take advantage of the program, down slightly from 2012 when the company had 12 percent.
"I'm surprised more employees don't take advantage of the program," she said. "It's there and available for those who want it. For me, it was always something I knew I would eventually do. I just want to be the best I can possibly be in my field, and continuing my education and continuously learning will help me do that."
Deckard chose Drury, despite the opportunity to go to any accredited institution in the area and get reimbursed through the program.
Drury's Breech School of Business doesn't have an exclusive relationship with any local company, but Adamick does keep close tabs on company relationships.
"I meet regularly with local companies and their HR departments," Adamick said. "A lot are already offering some type of tuition reimbursement program, so I make sure they are aware of what Drury's MBA program can offer. We want to make sure they are aware, and their employees are aware, that we can work with them and are proud to offer such a distinguished degree in the area."
Students who study at the Breech School of Business are expected to study business theory and retain what they learn in their classes, but being a business major at Drury also goes beyond learning in the classroom.
Dr. Michael Shirley, director of Breech, emphasizes that students need to take what they learn and put it to the testu2014out in the professional world of business.
"When you talk about studying business it really doesn't work well if you do that just as to theory," Shirley said. "You've got to combine theory with practice. You've got to make that connection to the business world. It has got to become real."
Connect through internships
One major goal at Breech is to prepare students for the real world. Breech does this in a few different ways. One way Breech prepares its students is by requiring an internship for them to experience.
Students commonly undergo an internship during their junior or senior year of school. Usually students receive an internship with the help of faculty at Breech, who have connections with business professionals. They can also find an internship through the Career Planning & Development office at Drury, where they organize and manage all internships. In addition, students sometimes find an internship through someone they know or through what they are interested in.
Breech students have received internships in a variety of places in the past.
"We had a young man do an internship with the FBI this past summer in Washington D.C.," Shirley said. "One of our more interesting internships occurred last summer when two of our students did an internship in Malaysia. They satisfied their study abroad requirement and their internship there. We have a lot of different places where the students will do internships."
Connect with professionalism
Another requirement Breech has is a professionalism class. This is a one credit hour class that students usually take while they are doing an internship.
"Our thought there is that when we're teaching students the various business disciplines of accounting or finance or management, that's very focused in on that business discipline," Shirley said. "It's notu2014howeveru2014focusing in on how it is that one conducts themselves when they're out in a professional setting."
The class looks at various issues that may happen in the workplace. Then they talk about how they would respond to that issue, in a professional manner. Some examples include communicating with co-workers, solving conflicts in the workplace, what is appropriate to wear to work or what is expected from a supervisor.
"What we want our students to appreciate is that there is etiquette in the workplace and you want to be appropriately prepared for that," Shirley said.
Connect with business leaders from all over
Breech also offers other ways to connect its students with the business world. Faculty try and have students interact with other business leadersu2014whether that be through a business meeting or a taking students to visit a corporation.
"We want our students to not just be connected with the local business community, but also with the regional, national and international community because our mission is really to prepare that next generation of ethical business leaders in a global world," Shirley said.
Studying abroad is also a requirement in Breech, as it allows students to be able to make connections with business professionals from other countries.
Shirley emphasizes that making a business connection is not just a local, but it is important to have business and cultural experiences in other places. Students study abroad because business is global.
These are only some opportunities Breech offers for students to make business connections throughout their time at Drury. Success cannot happen without these connections, according to Shirley.
"You normally don't see success in isolation; it's normally a part of connections, it's normally a part of other people, it's normally a part of a team," Shirley said. "Highly effective leaders are only as effective as the team around him or her."
For more information about Breech or about opportunities offered through Breech, contact Michael Shirley at email@example.com or visit room 100 in the Breech building on campus.
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.
On the evening of April 19, the atmosphere upstairs at Springfield Brewing Company was electric as students, dressed in their finest business wear, mingled with community members, Breech School of Business alumni and faculty. Refreshments flowed; hor's devours consumed, business cards exchanged and advice shared. Overall, the event was deemed a success.
"College students are the professionals of tomorrow and by investing time and energy into meeting with the students, professionals may be able to pass along a piece of insight or advice that will impact the students and their professional career, said Nate Reed, a Drury alum who graduated in 2009 with a degree in criminology and marketing and is now the special events coordinator at The Arc of the Ozarks.
The event began as a class assignment in Dr. Robin Sronce's project management class, where students split up into committees, delegating the responsibilities of planning the event. As the semester progressed, the project gained momentum, attracting the support of local businesses, Breech alumni and faculty.
On the night of the event, reality suppressed all expectations with over 120 people in attendance. The highlight of the evening was a speech by Dr. William Rohlf, professor of economics, who reflected on the changes he's observed around campus in his 40 years of teaching at Breech.
"Forty years ago, chalkboard was the medium we used to express our wisdom. Forty years ago, the word friend wasn't a verb, it was a noun and you didn't friend people, you had friends, but not 300 of them! But I would say students aren't different today, although there are a lot more opportunities available today," said Dr. Rohlf.
Danielle Newcomb, junior finance major, says she attended the event for the networking, "Having the chance to meet with alums and professionals in a more relaxed setting, as opposed to an interview, was exciting and made it feel a bit less scary. As we prepare to enter the workplace soon we, as students, need to feel comfortable around professionals and events like that give us that chance."
Dr. Michael Shirley, professor and director of Breech School of Business, rounded up the event by thanking Dr. Sronce's class for planning the event and the students and the alumni and faculty for attending.
"The opportunity for our current students to meet and interact with alumni and business leaders was invaluable. The introductions and experiences shared at the event ensured the building of successful connections, for students and alums alike," said Dr. Shirley.
At the end of the evening, students walked away with business cards and networking skills while alumni and faculty made a few more memories by which to remember their time in the Breech School of Business.
"It was a most successful event with great attendance and the right people attending. The students did a tremendous job in planning a quality event. In fact, it was so successful that it will become an annual event," said Jim Anderson, president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Breech Advisory Board.
Written by Yelena Bosovik, a junior finance and economics major.
Powerful connections are made every day, thanks to the relationship between Drury University's Breech School of Business and BKD.
To date, 59 BKD employees have attended Drury, including five partners, with 34 being Breech accounting majors .Laura McCarthy Knese u201810 has been employed at BKD since graduation. She appreciates BKD's inclusive atmosphere, which reflects her liberal arts education: "BKD encourages team interaction, from first year staff all the way to partners. All levels of employees are treated with equal amounts of respect and every voice is heard.
"Breech's high first-time CPA exam pass rate is due in part to the BKD Accounting Education Fund that enables faculty to purchase CPA review materials and other supplements for the classroom Drury graduate Kurman Karabiev u201813 quickly became a vital part of the team during his internship at BKD.
Manager, Kristen Bright u201803 says, "I was extremely impressed with Kurman's professional demeanor, work ethic and ability to grasp information quickly, which is so important in our line of business."
The Breech and BKD partnership is just one example of how area businesses work with Drury University to provide students with real-world experience and networking opportunities, while strengthening their own businesses as well as the Greater Springfield community.
By: Kaitlyn Schwers
Student-athletes at Drury have discovered it is possible to have a successful season and a good semesteru2014just ask any member of the men's basketball team.
Ten of 17 members of the team come from the Breech School of Business. They see each other often in the classroom and on the court. Most of the players come to Breech to study business because of the school's reputation, like sophomore Drake Patterson.
"I decided to become a Breech School of Business student because of the tremendous reputation," Drake explains. "I am also not positive on what job I would like to pursue after college so I thought that a degree from a prestigious business school like Breech would give me the opportunity to choose a job that I would enjoy."
Other student-athletes study business at Breech because they hope to start a business. Senior starters on the team, Brandon Lockhart and Alex Hall, came to Breech for this reason.
"I chose to become a Breech student because it's one of the top business schools in the area," Brandon says. "I also would like to own a business at some point in life."
Alex adds, "I decided to be a Breech School of Business student because I am interested in owning my own business one day."
A lot of players find that being a student-athlete is a challenging experience, but as business majors, they also receive support and encouragement from their professors in the Breech building. Some players may find that their professors are their biggest fans, like Dr. Robin Sronce and Dr. Janis Prewitt.
"I am a big fan of Drury basketball. I have season tickets and try to attend as many games as I can," Dr. Sronce says. "It is a lot of fun to see the students on the court."
"I go to all of the games, I'm a season ticket holder, sit four rows up, and I'm on my feet the whole game and have no voice after the gameu2014it is fun," Dr. Prewitt adds. "I sit with my husband and a couple of other faculty and, since we know the students, we really have fun at the games! I went up to the Rockhurst game this year and I think the players really appreciated it."
Professors at Breech, like Dr. Michael Shirley, work with student-athletes often so they don't fall behind in class.
"I have great appreciation for the talents, commitment and efforts of our student-athletes, as well as other student groups who practice and perform with such skill. We have such talented students here," Dr. Shirley says. "I try to offer help and support for any work missed, and remain flexible as schedule issues come up, offering alternative assignments or make-up work that allows the student to have success in both endeavors."
Brandon, who double majors in marketing and management at Breech, has worked with his professors to stay on top of his studies.
"There have been many challenges since a lot of school days are missed for traveling. But all the teachers are pretty understanding when it comes to this," Brandon says. "There have been many nights where getting two or three hours of sleep is a win. There have been trips when we get back at three or four in the morning and have class at eight or nine in the morning. But being a student and playing basketball at the same time has helped improve time management skills."
Junior Shane Rudman, a marketing major, agrees that there is a struggle when balancing academics and basketball, but he emphasizes the importance of getting his degree.
"It's very challenging to say the least. You always have to juggle school and basketball," Shane says. "I feel like a lot of people looking in feel like we don't have to go to class or do homework, which is totally wrong. Maybe if you are the next LeBron James and going into the NBA but not the rest of us. Most of us don't go professional in basketball so it's incredibly important to go get a degree. Overall though, it's fun; you always will have something to do and I'm the kind of guy that embraces challenges."
One thing that Drake likes about Breech is that the players support each other during the semester.
"I also really like that there are so many other athletes in most of my classes, it reassures me that if they can do it, then there is no reason I shouldn't be able to do it either," he adds.
Because of the small class sizes, the players also get to know the other students and faculty well. Brandon explains that he likes the family-like atmosphere in the Breech building.
"It makes meeting other students easier and building stronger relationships," Brandon says. "Teachers know students by a face and name because of the small classes. Now that I am in upper level classes, I know mostly everyone in the class since I have taken many classes with them throughout my years at Drury."
After graduation, some players hope to continue playing basketball, others are thinking about graduate school, and the rest, like Shane, would like to go into the workforce.
"Not everything is set in stone yet but I do have a couple options right now. I may go follow my dad's footsteps and work in the company that he became really successful in or I may use one of the many relationships I've made through Drury and take one of those routes. Right now, I have been working in my father's company that works in the financial services industry," Shane explains. "All I know is I feel I have a great future aheadu2014an exciting futureu2014and the Breech school is a big part of that."
This season, the men's basketball team won the NCAA Division II National Championship in Atlanta, Ga. against Metro State on Sunday, April 7, 2013 with a score of 74-73. They finished the season with a record of 31-4 and have recently been invited to play an exhibition game against Duke University's Blue Devils during the 2013-2014 school year.
In the past 25 years that Dr. Penny Clayton, Professor of Accounting and Program Coordinator, has been teaching at the Breech School of Business, she has seen a majority of accounting students graduate from Drury University with a job lined up for them. Some of these students receive a job offer almost a whole year before they even receive their diploma.
But, securing a job doesn't happen without effort. The success of Breech's accounting program depends upon the relationship between dedicated faculty who make the program strong and alumni who reach out to current Breech students.
A strong accounting program
The strength behind the program comes from faculty, such as Dr. Clayton, who prepares each of their students for future careers in accounting. Working alongside her are Dr. Rod Oglesby, Professor of Accounting, Dr. Tiffany Cossey, Assistant Professor of Accounting and Coordinator of the VITA program, and Dr. Kelley Still, who presently serves as Executive Director of the Edward Jones Center for Entrepreneurship.
"We have a very comprehensive and structured program and that's important as the accounting recruitment process is becoming extremely competitive," Dr. Clayton explains. "It is also important to prepare students for job interviews which we accomplish by working with the Career Center on resume preparation and mock interviews. In Breech, all majors are required to have an internship to provide insights into selecting a career path."
Seven students graduated from Drury during the 2012-2013 school yearu2014two last fall and five recently in May 2013u2014who all studied under Dr. Clayton's instruction. These students have been placed in some of the top accounting firms in the United States, such as BKD and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Recent graduate Jason Kester will be relocating to Kansas City, Missouri in September 2013 to start his career at BKD, where he first held an internship.
"Dr. Clayton worked to get me a special internship at BKD that has led to the job I will start in September," Jason says. "Since it's a small team, there isn't a major recruiting process like there is for tax or audit. This means that without Dr. Clayton, I wouldn't have this job opportunity that I'm very excited about."
Another recent graduate, Wes Bird is working with PwC in Kansas City, Missouri. Breech helped Wes discover the skills and experience he needed to get where he is today.
"Through my classes in Breech I've learned the technical, team, and leadership skills necessary to work in the professional world," Wes explains. "The connection that was made by a Breech professor, Dr. Clayton, for an internship also gave me practical experience and an idea of the public accounting work environment."
Other students who have graduated this past year will be working other top firms such as PwC in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Elliott, Robinson & Company, BKD and Hardy and Associates, all in Springfield, as well as Baker Tilly Virchow Krause in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Alumni who give back
However, the Breech accounting program also thrives because of their alumni who went through the same program and had success.
Jeremy Clopton, a 2005 graduate, is thankful for his time at Breech. The accounting program helped him get to where he is todayu2014with BKD in Springfield.
"The most memorable part of being a Breech student was the faculty," Jeremy says. "The Breech faculty made students their top priority from their freshman year through graduation. Specifically in the accounting department, the faculty were integral in helping me prepare for the CPA Exam, looking at possible internships and getting me in contact with potential employers prior to graduation."
Because of their success, some Breech alumni enjoy coming back to visit with current students during networking events such as Reach Out to Breech. Carrie Brown, a Drury alumnus who received her bachelor's degree in 2007 and her MBA in 2008, interacts with students when she can. She currently serves as the senior accountant at Elliott, Robinson & Company, LLP in Springfield and the president-elect on the alumni council.
"I do get to interact with the students at some events that I go to, Carrie says. " One of my favorite events is the Senior BBQ that takes place at the beginning of the school year. It is fun to interact with the seniors and hear about their plans post-graduation."
Alumni-student networking serves another purpose than just meeting face-to-face. The experience allows students to receive real career advice and help from professionals.
Casey Carroll, a current accounting student at Breech, recently worked with two of Drury's alumni who offered her experience and guidance.
"I have more contact with alums than I thought I would," Casey admits. "I worked for Clayton, York, & Hopp, CPAs during this past tax season helping prepare tax returns. This firm was founded by Kailey York and Brittany Hopp, two Drury Breech alumni. They were wonderful mentors and helped me tremendously moving towards my future career in accounting."
To get the most out of any program with Breech, Jeremy suggests that students should join student organizations. "Being a member of various organizations while on campus helps develop teamwork and time management skills and provide a great way to network with alumni in the community."
Learn more about Drury's accounting program under "Majors" on the Breech webpage.
In 2009, junior Breech student Grant Bowden attended a Breech Hall of Fame induction ceremony for esteemed MBA alumnus, Bill Ricketts. Grant watched as Mr. Ricketts accepted his award, which honored him for his reputation in leadership development and entrepreneurial skills. Inspired by the honoree's address, which detailed his experiences as a Drury Board of Trustee as well as his roles as president for several other organizations, Grant decided to introduce himself at the end of the evening.
This meeting and initial conversation built a connection between Bill and Grant. They met periodically over the next two years, sharing many discussions about career and personal development. Grant, now a marketing manager at Shopper Events, remembers those discussions well. Grant recalls, "Mr. Ricketts instantly showed a genuine interest in getting to know me and helping me develop as an individual. He was always incredibly generous with his time, knowledge and advice providing me with many valuable lessons that I have carried with me as I started my career in Bentonville, Arkansas."
Recently, we talked with Bill about his views on mentorships. Bill, who finds the personal relationships that develop as the most rewarding part of being a mentor, has been involved in a multitude of formal mentor programs through schools or set up through mutual contacts. Yet, he values most those informal mentoring moments that arise when someone initiates contact with him, which reflects how he found mentors during his own career. In his educational years, formal mentoring programs were not available. Instead, he sought out individuals with strong qualities of personal character, moral integrity, and professionalism as role models. He encourages more students to reach out as Grant did to someone they would like to emulate. As Bill explained, "it doesn't cost anything to ask, so why not try. If someone is a good leader they will be more than willing to help and will appreciate being asked."
In fact, Bill believes that mentoring is a responsibility of a good leader, and good leaders are beneficial to companies and employees alike. These are people who display integrity and strong moral character, and to whom others can look to for guidance. However, one of the steps to becoming a good leader is to find satisfaction in employment. Bill encourages his mentees to find a passion rather than just a job, and to approach that passion with urgency and determination. This is important, he stated, because "your work is always with you so you might as well enjoy it."
These lessons made a difference to Grant, and are ones he will always carry with him. "I owe a great deal of thanks to all of the alumni I was lucky enough to get to know during my time at Drury." He added, "The Drury Alumni family has proved to be incredibly tight knit and willing to help other Alumni and students out. This is something I am very thankful for."
Preparing students for future leadership responsibilities is something the Breech School of Business takes seriously. This development occurs in many aspects of our educational experience, but one that continues to show meaningful results is the powerful connections made between students and alumni mentors. Breech alumni have a powerful impact on our students and their future careers and leadership opportunities. These relationships often develop through pre-arranged mentoring between alumni and students, and others occur informally, as in the story of Drury Trustee Bill Ricketts and former Breech student Grant Bowden.
There are many ways to be involved at Breech as either a mentor or mentee. For additional information on opportunities available contact Dr. Mike Shirley. firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Kaitlyn Schwers
When Javier Detrinidad first heard of Drury University, he was competing in an international Enactus competition in Canada, representing his home country of Nicaragua.
“I was surprised after my presentation,” Javier comments, “One of the students from the Drury Enactus team approached me and introduced himself and told me about this project they were working on. They wanted to invite me and two other team members of Nicaragua to come to Drury for a week-long project.”
Javier agreed to come to the United States for the project. While he was there, he wondered what it would be like to be a Drury student. After visiting Springfield and getting to know the Enactus advisors, he decided to apply to Drury. He was accepted in time to begin the fall 2006 semester. Because of his involvement with Enactus, Javier joined the Breech School of Business as a marketing and management major.
Irene Detrinidad, Javier’s younger sister, chose a similar path a few years later. She and her family came to Drury for Javier’s graduation in 2009. While she was there, she considered Drury as a possible option for college.
“I had always wanted to come to the United States, and Drury seemed like a good place. It was small, and it didn’t seem that scary,” she says. “For an international student, I feel like Drury is a place that can receive you well.”
Now, like Javier before her, Irene is a sophomore marketing and management major.
For Javier and Irene, coming to the U.S. from Central America wasn’t so simple. Both students passed their TOEFL exams, but they experienced a little bit of a language barrier. But with help from their Breech advisors, both students have been able to succeed.
“Spanish is my native language. Coming in, you think you know English, and I did,” Javier explains. “I thought I was very good conversationally. But then you get thrown into this very rigorous environment: you start going to class, taking tests, writing papers. That’s a very difficult approach, different from Latin America. But there was that closeness to, not only the group of international students that we had, but the support from my advisor and having the personal touch from the professors.”
Irene finds her experience to be the same. She observes that Breech cares about community.
“Your professors, they always try to help you. It is impressive. If you email your professor saying, ‘I don’t understand this,’ they will immediately answer you. You don’t have to wait for weeks for an answer. You don’t have to go through a professor’s assistant or whatever. It’s so personal,” Irene explains.
During his undergraduate years, Javier became close with his mentors, Dr. John Taylor and Dr. Robert Wyatt, a former Enactus advisor.
“I just talked to Dr. Taylor yesterday. I call him my life advisor,” Javier adds. “He became a really good friend when I was at Drury. He and Dr. Wyatt, who is now gone [from Drury], were my advisors, academically, but they helped me through the transition of coming from a different country. I didn’t have anybody here. I didn’t know anybody. I made friends at Drury and I still meet with many of them, talk to them. We communicate every chance we can. Some of my closest friends were from the Enactus team.”
Javier and Irene also keep in touch almost every day.
“I was actually telling my brother about all of the classes I am taking,” Irene explains. “I’m just taking a psychology and a history class outside of Breech on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and it’s so weird because in those classes, I’m completely quiet. You don’t know anyone. But then you come [to Breech] on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and you know everyone.”
Sometimes, Irene looks to her brother for advice about her coursework and future plans. So far, economics with Dr. Steve Mullins has been one of her favorite classes at the Breech School. She is considering adding economics as another major.
“When I told my brother, that I was taking [economics], he said, ‘Okay, Irene, get ready. It’s a tough class.’ I hear many people say that it’s one of the toughest classes at Breech,” Irene says. “But I felt really excited. I put so much effort into it. I feel like after economics, the world makes sense. Now when I read the newspaper and hear the news, everything makes more sense. It’s a class that everyone should take, not just Breech students.”
After Javier graduated from Drury, he went on to receive his MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo. He is currently employed at Edward Jones as a multicultural marketing strategist, and has lived in the U.S. now for seven and a half years.
In the future, Irene plans on applying to join the Enactus team at Drury and hopes to go to graduate school after finishing her degree.
“I feel like I really want to stay in the United States,” she says. “It’s just because I feel like here in the States, you have more opportunities. Right now, back home, there are a lot of economic and political issues. The country is going through a hard time. It’s not that I’m running away from my country, but I just felt like when I left my country, I felt that America could give me more opportunities to grow, and one day I’ll come back to my country and do more. I just want to prepare myself to do better.”
Previous Features: Engagement
- Abby Dyer receives The Whitlock Company Scholarship
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program
- Breech Mentor Program Partners Students with Working Professionals
- Breech Students Intern At American Italian Pasta Company Drury Business Students Raise Money to Help Fellow Students Study Overseas
- President's Day of Service - Ozarks Food Harvest
- Faculty Feature: Dr. Clif Petty - Essential Hazards
- Dr. Prewitt Recognized As One of the 2014 Women's Justice Award Recipients
- Breech Student and Edward Jones Scholar Interns with Fortune 500 Company
- Breech Student Jason Kester Interns At BKD
- Breech Student Interns At BNP Paribas
Accounting student, Abby Dyer is the 2016-2017 recipient of The Whitlock Company Scholarship. Abby is a junior from Eminence, Missouri and after graduation, plans to pursue a career in public accounting. The $1,500 scholarship was funded during the fall semester with the purpose of providing a scholarship to a fourth- or fifth-year accounting student pursuing the 150-hour CPA eligibility requirement. Under the guidelines of the Drury University Office of Financial Aid, the Whitlock award was given based on academic achievement, career potential and financial aid parameters. Congratulations to Abby Dyer!
Studying business doesn't just happen in the classroom.
At Drury, students practice what they learn through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. Accounting students go out in the Springfield community to help low-income citizens and senior citizens prepare their taxes. This is a free program and is open to the public.
Accounting professor, Tiffany Cossey, is in charge of organizing the VITA program that will begin this February. Cossey says the program is useful to accounting majors because it gives them practical experience.
The students who volunteer for this program have been educated with at least one semester of a tax class and who have been certified through a testing process.
"It helps them understand public expectations and it adds a dimension beyond theoretical application in the classroom," Cossey says. "They have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in a real business environment."
In addition, this program allows students to practice working with people in the community.
"They can use their accounting skills as well as honing interpersonal skills," Cossey says. "Also, it gives them the opportunity to provide community service, an experience which can be rewarding in and of itself."
Business students benefit from the VITA program, but so does the community. Cossey says the program has had a good response from the community in the past.
"Last year Drury prepared approximately 500 tax returns, and had 24 volunteers," Cossey says. "Years in which we have had larger accounting classes and more volunteers, the number of returns filed are even greater."
Cossey says that people turn to the VITA program because it helps people understand and file their tax forms that they may have trouble with.
"The preparation of even the simplest a tax form can be difficult and confusing for most people. Tax forms and instructions are not user-friendly, and many people do not know what is taxable and what is not," Cossey explains. "As a result, most end up paying a great deal of money to have their return prepared, sometimes hundreds of dollars. This program provides tax preparation for free to the members of the community who can least afford to pay for preparation."
When a student partners up with a mentor, it can be the beginning of a professional relationship or even a lifelong friendship. At Drury University's Master of Business Administration program, students are required to complete a mentorship with a business community leader for 10 to 12 months. A mentor from the Springfield area is paired up with a student through an application process. The program allows the mentors to advise a student, help them create a professional network, and assist them in meeting their academic and career goals.
Angie Adamick, director of the MBA program, says, "More of what they do is involved outside of any academic area. We try to match students up with mentors who are in their possible career path or a field that they are interested in."
Meet the mentor
Matt McQueary, a current MBA student, participated in the mentor program in 2010. Being new to Drury, Matt started out in the Master's program but was soon welcomed by his mentor, Marc Mayer. Marc is the assistant vice president of Great Southern Bank in Springfield and a Drury alum. During their first meeting, both immediately found a common interest.
"[Marc] also played basketball for Drury when he attended the university," Matt explains. "I'm a huge basketball fan. I play weekly, so it was a great non-formal talking point when we first met."
During a mentorship, students are encouraged to meet regularly with their mentors. Students join mentors for meetings or lunch, but also for other activities.
Matt says, "We met for drinks every month, but we also would get lunch or do other activities as well, such as golf. We mostly talked about classes and the program, but we also discussed other things, like March Madness, hobbies, and our future plans."
Explore the business world
A part of the mentor program allows students to meet with Springfield business people, but it also gives students an insight on the professional world and a chance to ask questions.
MBA student, Leah Hein, took advantage of the opportunity. During the 2011-2012 school year, she met with Michael Finch, the Chief Financial Officer at City Utilities.
Michael says, "[Leah] asked some very challenging questions and I really enjoyed the opportunity to share with her what I believe are a few keys to success."
Leah's questions led her to receive important advice. "We talked about everything from resume tips to personal financial planning to the challenges of managing employees. I think one of the most important things that came up in several conversations was to u2018pay attention to detail.' Mr. Finch really emphasized this idea without coming right out and saying it," Leah explains.
Learn through a different perspective
Breech tries to match up students and mentors in the best way possible. While not all students are set up with mentors who have the same career goals, they still find the opportunity to be helpful for their future.
Kevin Dearlove, who will be graduating from Breech in August, was introduced to Lola Butcher, a health policy writer. Lola advised Kevin to be open to other future possibilities.
"This mentoring experience was absolutely energizing to me," Lola says. "As I coached Kevin to explore many opportunities rather than limit himself in any way, it reminded me to follow that advice for myself."
The mentorship made Kevin re-consider his future plans. "She helped give me a better idea of where I wanted to go," Kevin explains. "After I get done with my master's, I'm going to start working on my doctorate. She kind of helped put me in the path of picking a school in the east coast."
An Experience for all
The mentor program benefits students, but it also benefits the mentors as well. For Leah's mentor, Michael, the opportunity gave him a chance to pay it forward.
"For me, I enjoyed the opportunity to share my experiences and talk about what went right and what I would do differently if given the opportunity," Michael says. "By participating in the mentoring program, I have an opportunity to give back to my community and in particular, my alma mater."
For others, the mentor program gives them a chance to hear from a college student's perspective.
Matt's mentor, Marc, explains, "I benefitted from Matt in seeing a younger person's perspective of the business world. He brought a fresh thought process to it and gave me some good ideas on things I can do to better myself as a business person."
Overall, both students and mentors found that the program offered them a unique experience, important advice, and possibly a new friend.
"I would encourage anyone who has ever thought about being a mentor to jump at the chance, if asked," Michael says. "It is very rewarding and time well spent."
The MBA program is accepting applications for the next group of Mentors. If you are interested in participating in this program you can fill out the online Mentor Program Information Form or contact Angie Adamick for more information.
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.
Internships are a vital part of the college experience at Drury. Students of the Breech School of Business are required to complete an internship during their college career.
The American Italian Pasta Company (AIPC) is one company where Breech students have found success in a summer internship program. Three Breech graduatesu2014Chris Barratt, Melissa Hollon, and Kristen Pflummu2014completed the program during summer 2011.
The headquarters of AIPC is located in Kansas City, MO. AIPC is dedicated to producing dry pasta and has three plants in the United States and Italy. The company hires interns to work in finance, accounting, marketing, and IT. The AIPC internship program teaches students a variety of skills to benefit them in the future, such as project management skills, presentation skills, career planning skills, and business etiquette skills.
Recent Breech graduate, Chris Barratt, had the opportunity to do an internship with AIPC in the summer of 2011. Chris discovered the internship opportunity through his professors at Breech. His time at AIPC put him at an advantage for his future.
"The internship has been beneficial to me because it got me exposure to the corporate side of business," Chris explains. "I learned how to approach new jobs and tasks that I had not been exposed to before. Also, I got to work with different individuals and departments in a company to complete tasks and projects."
Melissa Hollon, former Breech student, also found some benefits of working with AIPC as an intern. The company allows their interns to lead in hands on business projects. Melissa's task was to research a problem she was given, find a solution, and convince others as to why her solution was the best.
"AIPC had kind of a different outlook on the way the interns should be employed," Melissa says. "They really wanted to engage you in what the company was doing already and treat youu2014basicallyu2014like a regular employee. AIPC gave each intern a specific project to tackle."
Students also found that the AIPC internship program gave them the experience to move forward. The internship with AIPC helped Chris receive other opportunities.
"The internship at AIPC gave me the experience and background to land my next internship this coming summer at PricewaterhouseCoopers in St. Louis. One of my projects at AIPC was developing better Governance, Risk, and Compliance procedures for the company," Chris explains. "My part in this was to help develop better ways for the company to track and document its internal controls on a Project Lifecycle Management platform. My experience with this made me an ideal candidate at PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Risk Assurance department which audits the internal controls of public companies."
AIPC has sought out Drury students for the internship program since 2009. Jennifer Nollette, AIPC recruiter, visited Drury's main campus February 2012 to conduct interviews for the summer 2012 program.
"AIPC began working with Drury in the summer of 2009 with an intern working for AIPC. Since then, the program has grown and AIPC seeks out Drury students to fill intern positions and entry level business positions," Jennifer explains.
The interns gained valuable experience from working with AIPC. They also made important connections with the employees, some of which are Drury alumni.
"As Drury alumni, we recognize the importance of giving back to the university in any way we can as well as helping the next generation of Drury students prepare for their future," Jennifer says.
Other Drury alumni at AIPC include President Walt George, who currently serves on the Breech Business Advisory Board, and Director of Sales and Operation Planning, Brandon Jobe.
Melissa adds, "There are about 100 people in that office. Working in an office of 100 people, I got to know almost everyone. Those connections are not going to easily be broken."
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.
It is not often that students have the ability and opportunity to interact with their professors outside of the classroom. However, the chance to interact with professors outside of class is one of the many benefits and rewards of attending Drury University.
On Wednesday, September 18th, fifteen Breech School of Business students and faculty members joined together to volunteer their time and talent at a Southwest Missouri, non-profit organization. As part of Drury University's President's Day of Service, leaders in Breech decided it would be appropriate to both host a food drive for a local kid's cafu00e9, and volunteer to sort donated goods at a food bank.
The Ozarks Food Harvest food bank serves 28 Southwest Missouri counties, and over 250 hunger relief organizations in the area. At the food bank, students and professors joined together to sort thousands of pounds of canned food, boxed food, toiletries, bottled water, juice, and many other items donated by local vendors. It was a great experience, as well as a lot of fun.
The experience allowed undergraduate, graduate, transfer, evening college and international business students the opportunity to work and socialize with one another and faculty members. The various theories and methods we are studying in our business courses maximized productivity and job satisfaction in our food sorting duties. At the end of the volunteer shift, students and faculty alike understood the importance of volunteer service having sorted 8,555 pounds of food. This event was another reminder of why it is so vital to give back to others, as others have given so much to us throughout our lives.
This volunteer opportunity was a real-life demonstration of how Breech professors are constantly "preparing ethical leaders for the global business community." Thank you to Dr. Clifton Petty, Dr. Michael Shirley, Dr. James Simmerman, and Dr. Robin Sronce for investing your time by participating in this volunteer opportunity with Breech students. We speak on behalf of the students who participated, we will encourage many more to participate in this rewarding experience. More information about the Ozarks Food Harvest can be found at: www.ozarksfoodharvest.org
By J.D. Mahaffey, Finance & Management '15 and Robin Shaeffer, B.B.A. u201814
I love football. But I hate to see football players injured. And therein lies the problem.
One second I am cheering a leaping catch by a wide receiver, and in the very next second I am hushed at the sight of the receiver lying motionless on the turf.
At a visceral level I often feel a connection to the injured player. One day when I was a teenaged football player I was running with the ball on a wet field. I spun around to avoid a tackle, and then began backpedaling to keep my balance. A defensive back was coming full speed toward me, and he lowered his head just as I began backpedaling. We collided hard. He ended up with a cracked helmet. I ended up with three broken vertebrae and a two-month sentence in a hospital bed.
Football certainly involves speed and agility, even grace. However, at its essence football is a violent struggle between teams, and violent collisions between players. Spectacular tackles make the highlight reels at least as often as shifty running. But as public concern grows over concussions and other serious injuries resulting from football collisions, those responsible for the game have begun to consider how they might reduce the risk of serious injury. The NFL has issued new rules aimed at eliminating the most dangerous types of collisions. Equipment companies have designed new helmets and other protective gear. And many coaches have developed new training methods and safeguards. But are these efforts on target? To what degree is it really possible to make a violent game safer?
I believe many people are wondering something similar about business these days. Business is competitive. Many markets are high speed and full contact. So is it possible to make business safer for stakeholders? When hazards are essentialu2014in the sense that they lie close to the very nature of a businessu2014can we protect stakeholders without losing something of the basic character of business?
Consider the case of financial services. Financial services firms compete to attract and retain clients. Clients demand attractive investment returns and, sometimes unrealistically, protection from risk. Financial service providers did not dream up derivatives in order to make mischief. Most derivatives were created to "thread the needle"u2014to boost investor returns and hedge risk. Similarly, bankers did not develop non-conventional mortgages as weapons of mass destruction. Although today we mostly consider them toxic, mortgage bankers designed these loans to meet particular borrower profiles. When used responsibly these derivatives and exotic mortgages posed no noteworthy risk to borrowers or lenders.
Financial services firms compete aggressively to design new investment instruments and credit vehicles, and to hedge risks. And ultimately these firms compete to attract and retain the most profitable client relationships. This competition is essential, and at the same time, potentially hazardous. Derivatives are reliable tools for hedging risks, but they become dangerous when they are de-coupled from their original purpose, or when used for highly leveraged speculation. Non-conventional mortgages work well when the lender retains the loan (and risk), or when sold and securitized in a manner that is transparent and well regulated. But when lenders play hot potato games with credit risk what once looked like an innovative mortgage product may begin to take on the form of a financial Frankenstein.
Bankers are not the only ones who face this essential nature vs. core hazard conundrum. Consider the case of the electronics industry. At its heart the electronics industry is a two-chamber powerhouse of high-tech product development and efficient global supply chain management. Companies like Apple and Samsung manage vast networks of component makers and assemblers. The engineers and designers in these companies develop the next big thing, and then pass along the production specifications to the ninjas of supply chain and contract manufacturing. Apple and Samsung specify thousands of component parts to arrive just-in-time to feed their massive assembly operations. The obvious outcome for customers is a continuous flow of powerful and convenient devices available at reasonable prices. But the amazing synchronicity of innovation and cost-effective manufacturing is also tied to distinctive hazards. International contract manufacturing may lower cost, but it also increases the risk that contractors will cut corners on worker safety and health. This intense technology race also creates enormous temptations to cheat. Corporate espionage and theft of intellectual property are costly and pernicious hazards.
So what can be done to better manage the essential hazards, those that lie at the very heart of an industry or market?
First, businesses should identify and give highest priority to these fundamental hazards. Essential hazards should receive top priority in setting corporate policy, and companies should lobby for best practices with regard to industry association guidelines and government regulation. It is often easier and more attractive to set policy for issues that are tangential to the company's core business, or for those that happen to be politically or socially popular. But sophisticated policy with respect to a company's charitable giving does not compensate for oversights with respect to worker health in its assembly operations. A financial services firm should first (and continually) grapple with policies related to the management of risks and the responsible creation and marketing of financial products and services. Electronics firms should squarely face the challenges of global contracting and related safety and health concerns ahead of other matters.
Second, setting policy for essential hazards should be viewed as an ongoing project and championed by executive leadership. It is best to view this area of policy in a manner similar to that recommended by the total quality management movement. In other words, corporations should continually improve policy with respect to essential hazards. Rather than merely setting policy, firms should work to continually improving policy. Policy guidelines are clearly important, but measuring performance and strengthening it over time are equally important. The need for a continuous improvement approach to policy is particularly important for those competing in higher-speed and more dynamic markets.
Finally, it is important to recognize that essential hazards are tied to the legitimacy of an industry or area of business practice. Despite the current level of public concerns about concussions, it is hard to imagine U.S. football losing its charter, or for that matter losing a significant portion of its social and political support. Business legitimacy is similarly robust in many cases. But this should not blind us to the fact that poor management of essential hazards may lead to sudden waves of regulation, punishing litigation, and/or widespread loss of stakeholder support. Responsibly managing essential hazards is deeply challenging, but it may also be the most crucial aspect of protecting the heart and soul of business.
By: Elizabeth Penfold
As the daughter of a former Missouri Court of Appeals judge, Associate Professor Dr. Janis Prewitt knew she wanted to be a lawyer since she was young. She has fond memories of listening to oral arguments and discussing cases with her father. Wanting to be sure she was ready for the challenges that laid ahead, she waited until the end of her first semester of college to tell her family about her intentions to attend law school. Six years later she graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law. Today, she helps students at Drury pursue their own dreams of being a lawyer. Through the business law courses that she teaches, and as the faculty advisor of Drury’s Pre-Law club, Dr. Prewitt helps provide students with the tools to be successful.
Dr. Prewitt was recently recognized as one of the 2014 Women’s Justice Award recipients. The Women’s Justice Awards recognize women throughout the state of Missouri for their leadership, integrity, service, sacrifice and accomplishments in the legal field. Dr. Prewitt received her award in the Legal Scholar category for her work at Drury University.
Preparing for Law School
Freshmen who are interested in law school should start planning as soon as they know that they want to be an attorney. “Take a law class,” is the straightforward advice that Dr. Prewitt gives to students who are unsure about whether or not law school is for them.
“I can’t imagine going to law school without ever having taken a law class,” she said.
Almost any major can prepare students for law school, and Dr. Prewitt says that students should get their undergraduate degree in something that interests them. While most pre-law students study political science, there is plenty of room for other interests, Dr. Prewitt said.
Science majors that know biology and how the body works have an upper hand in personal injury law, and business majors are taught the fundamentals to represent companies in court.
“Breech [School of Business] prepares students for just about anything, law school especially. We offer so many management courses, human resource courses, and accounting courses,” Dr. Prewitt said. “It would be very difficult to represent a business as a lawyer without knowing accounting and management.”
In addition to taking courses that best prepare them for graduate school, Dr. Prewitt suggests befriending other pre-law students, and getting involved in the Pre-Law Club on campus. Students in the Pre-Law club study together and encourage each other during the toughest times of the year: LSAT season. The connections they create with other club members, and guest speakers, provide students with even more opportunities for success.
Life after Graduation
While only about ten business majors a year choose to attend law school, they spread across the country; extending the Breech School of Business Administration network even further. Dr. Prewitt tells her students they “should figure out where [they] want to live, and then figure out where [they] want to go to law school.” Some, like Cody Reinberg ‘08, attend law school in Missouri; others have gone on to Boston University and San Francisco. While it’s sometimes hard to keep in touch with students after they leave Drury, Dr. Prewitt is confident about their futures.
“Our alumni are amazing,” Dr. Prewitt said. Many provide opportunities to recent graduates and help them make connections and start their careers. “A lot of our trustees and alumni are lawyers that end up hiring our law grads,” she added.
Dr. Prewitt loves seeing former students return to Drury as alumni to help others achieve their dreams of law school and beyond. This, in addition to seeing her students get accepted to law school, is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job.
By: Kaitlyn Schwers
Graham Jaynes barely knew anything about natural gas when he accepted his first accounting internship with ONEOK in Tulsa—one of the largest natural gas distributors in the U.S. and a Fortune 500 company. Though Graham did not know a lot about the energy industry, he was the right student for the competitive internship, as Dr. Kelley Still says.
“Hopefully, Graham’s performance at ONEOK will open the door for more interns at their company,” she explains. “They need a lot of new people over the next few years and I hope that we can interest several Drury students in the oil and gas industry.”
Drury’s connection to ONEOK is possible through alumnus and Breech Advisory board member, Curtis Dinan. He graduated in 1989 with undergraduate degrees in accounting and business management. Curtis currently serves as senior vice president of ONEOK Partners, but he will soon become Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of ONE Gas, a spin-off company from ONEOK. He reached out to Breech last spring for interns.
“We are looking for people who have learned how to think, not what to think. Drury’s liberal arts education, study abroad program, and real life hands-on experience sets its graduates apart from others,” Curtis says.
This summer, Graham worked indirectly with Curtis’ department, close to his field of study.
“I was in gathering and processing—specifically in the accounting department. A lot of the day-to-day routines dealt with account reconciliations and the minor details of the accounting cycle,” Graham explains. “But for the most part, I got split up into different work groups and put on specialized tasks—a lot of that dealing with other projects they were working on.”
Curtis says accounting students, like Graham, contribute to accounting assignments similar to what they learn in the classroom. They also complete larger tasks where they are asked to review, analyze, or update projects, give their input, and present their findings.
“I’d say overall, like the day-to-day cycle, it reinforced some of the things that I had learned through accounting. The most valuable thing I learned was the importance of once you’re in a field, once you’re in an accounting position, you’re going to be doing the same type of work as you would be doing with any business. I think the thing to really take away from it is to learn the industry in and out,” Graham says.
For any student who is working with a product or service they aren’t familiar with, Graham has one piece of advice: read about it and talk to people. Before Graham started working with ONEOK, he read about natural gas.
“While I was there, I took advantage of every [piece of] reading material and everybody that was willing to talk about the industry [to] really understand the value chain—from the moment that they’re connecting well-heads and sucking gas out of the ground and what has to happen in order to get a final product at a burner tip somewhere,” he says.
Graham was the first Drury student to complete ONEOK’s internship program, and he hopes to see more students join in.
“Being such a strong company and as it is positioned to grow, a lot of students could benefit from a Drury connection with ONEOK,” he explains.
Graham completed his internship at ONEOK in August, but before he left, ONEOK extended an invitation to come back next summer.
“Graham did a great job for us and represented himself and the university very well,” Curtis at ONEOK says. “It was a pleasure having him as part of our team this summer.”
Graham adds, “I owe a lot of thanks to [Dr. Still] and Mr. Curtis. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have known about ONEOK. I loved working in the natural gas industry, learning about it. It’s been a lot of fun just for the three months.”
Graham is currently a senior at Drury. He expects to graduate by May 2015 with undergraduate degrees in accounting and finance.
After four years of business classes at Drury, the time finally came for me to test my knowledge this summer during an internship. I worked at the Kansas City office of BKD, which is a major public accounting firm. As someone who never originally considered the field of accounting, I was fortunate to have a professor that helped me find a spot outside of the traditional audit and tax arenas. I signed on to be a part of BKD’s small but quickly growing transaction services team. It’s a consulting group that performs due diligence procedures for mergers and acquisitions, as well as feasibility forecasting for healthcare systems, among other projects.
Some people get the impression that interns often do menial tasks, and don’t really get to experience what the work is truly like. This was certainly not the case for me, as I started doing meaningful work the very first week. I was able to apply much of what I learned throughout my accounting courses at Drury, while also learning as much as I could from my team members about how things are done at BKD.
Within a few weeks, I was doing most of the work on a new buy-side diligence engagement. I prepared schedules for our report from client documents and developed questions for management of the target company. This preparation culminated in a trip to the target company in Houston, Texas, where I worked with both our client and the CFO of the target company. This was a great chance to see a project through from start to finish, and be able to work with not just the BKD team, but the client as well.
Sometimes the learning curve was steep, and expectations were high, but I always felt confident that I had learned what I needed to know in my classes at Drury. I learned more from the experience than I could have imagined, and was disappointed when the internship was over. I developed strong connections during the summer, and I may very well end up working in that group after I graduate thanks to the internship opportunity.
Jason Kester is a senior majoring in Economics, Accounting, and Finance
Investment banking in the central United States is almost non-existent and trying to obtain access to a New York-based firm is practically impossible. Yet, a lot of persistence, hard work, and knowing a single alumnus can go quite far in trying to obtain an internship.
After many phone calls and emails during the fall of 2011 and January, I secured a phone interview with BNP Paribas--a large French bank (equivalent of the J.P. Morgan of Europe). After the first phone interview, I was moved on to final round interviews. For these final round interviews, BNP Paribas flew me up to their New York office for a day of interviews. During my time at the office, I discovered that there had been over 2,000 applicants for the internship and only 20 had been brought to the NY office. The interviews were on Friday, and I learned of my offer the following Monday. I (of course) immediately accepted.
During my time at BNP, I interned in Capital Markets within the Equities floor. The first couple of days were spent at a training facility, where we met all of the fellow interns across the bank and learned the technical information. Most of the interns had rotational internships, spending five weeks each at two different desks. For my internship, the first half was in Prime Brokerage with the Relationship Management team, and the second half, I worked for the Structured Products team.
I typically spent about 50-60 hours a week working. The day was full of networking, learning, and tasks. BNP really encouraged me to meet as many employees as I could and learn about the many different roles across the floor. I loved my whole experience, especially the energy of the city and office. I was surrounded by a variety of individuals and quite a lot of French people. Since I speak French, I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to practice parler francais!
On the last day of the internship, the office delivered their hiring decisions. Out of the twenty interns on my floor, only five received offers. I was the only undergraduate to receive an offer, which was very exciting.
I worked very hard, but I was always smiling and bringing what I like to call, "The Midwest Charm." I accepted the offer, and I will be starting next July in their NY office.
Previous Features: Faculty
- Faculty Awards
- Faculty Research
- Additional Faculty Presentations
- Faculty in the News
Dr. Shannon McMurtrey is named Security Professional of the Year. His recognition was announced at the ATIP awards sponsored by BIZ417. Read more...
In spring 2017, faculty will be presenting the following research:
Dr. Katlin Cundiff, "The Role of Women in the Arab Awakening," at the Southwest Academy of Management Conference.
Dr. Clif Petty, "K9 University and the Personal Protection Dog" at the Society for Case Research Meeting.
Dr. Charlie Pettijohn & Dr. Gary Holmes, "An Analysis of Marketing Student Perceptions of Proper Organizational Behaviors" at the Association of Marketing Theory and Practice.
Dr. Charlie Pettijohn & Dr. Linda Pettijohn, "Chinese MBA Student Attitudes and Perceptions as They Relate to Personal Selling" at the Association of Marketing Theory and Practice.
Dr. Kelley Still Nichols, “The Public Pension Exemption in Missouri State Income Tax: Why the tax break?” Faculty Research Series hosted by the Drury Teaching and Learning Center.
Dr. Shannon McMurtrey, Screening and discussion of The Conversation as part of the The Moxie’s Science on Screen series.
Previous Features: Study Abroad
- Drury MBA's Travel to Greece Spring 2016
- Global Engagement - Study Abroad in Egypt
- Global Study Abroad: An Education in Spain
- Breech MBA Program Celebrates China Trips in the Past Five Years
- Breech Graduates Teach English Abroad
- Breech Students Travel to Greece for Service Learning Over Winter Break
- Building A Student Network in Slovenia
- Study Abroad Memories: Greece, Winter 2014
Drury MBA's traveled to Greece with Dr. Holmes and Dean Sronce. They visited a variety of business and the Greek Parliament.
It's not every day you get to play golf near the pyramids of Cairo. That's exactly what Drury golf player and marketing and management major Stephanie Rosetta experienced with nine other Breech students. They had the unique opportunity to study abroad in Egypt during winter break of 2010.
Getting to Egypt
For Stephanie, it was difficult to balance time between playing on the golf team and finding the time to study abroad. However, when a trip to Egypt caught her eye the Breech School of Business was able to help her get there.
Stephanie says, "It kind of worked out really well because like I said--being a golfer--it's just one of those things where I needed to study abroad for Breech, but trying to do it during the summer or the first semester was going to be nearly impossible for me. So, one of my other teammates saw this [trip] that came up, so we got really excited about it. It sounded really good. I talked to Dr. Robin Sronce and she worked with the instructors to add some business applications into the trip so that it met the requirements of the Breech study abroad experience. It proved to be a great study abroad trip."
Observing the culture
Another student that came along with Stephanie was Grant Bowden. He graduated from Drury in May of 2011 with a degree in marketing and management. Grant had a goal to observe business practices in Egypt. He says he felt well prepared before the trip and was excited to have the opportunity to go.
"I feel that the courses I took in Breech prior to my trip prepared me extremely well for my study abroad trip to Egypt," Grant explains. "On top of courses focused on international business, the faculty also did a great job of sharing their personal experiences and insights on things to watch for while in other countries."
Stephanie also learned a lot along the way, especially about the different ways the people of Egypt conduct business. For example, she found that bartering was quite common and expected.
"If you didn't barter, they felt like you weren't doing it right, like that's how you would conduct business," Stephanie explains.
Learning about Egypt and seeing the pyramids
Students took away knowledge about the business practices in Egypt, but they also discovered more about the country itself and the cities they visited, like Cairo and Alexandria. "It was kind of like a culture shock right at first because when we got in there were so many people." Stephanie adds, "As we found out from our tour guide, the city itself was not built for the number of people that now live there."
Grant explains that he learned a lot from the Drury faculty that accompanied them, but also about current events and Egyptian culture from their tour guide. [He was an] Egyptian guide who masterfully opened our eyes to not only the monumental amount of history in Egypt, but also the current issues his country was facing. The very same issues that have since erupted and forever changed Egypt for the better."
One of Stephanie's favorite memories of the trip was seeing the pyramids. "It was so funny because when we went around and got up to the pyramids--and they were amazing--it was one of those things that you couldn't believe you were there and you seeing everything," Stephanie explains. "But then you look past it and there's the streets and there's the McDonald's, there's the shopsu2014they were just right across the road."
The overall experience
Students say their trip was successful overall. They felt privileged to be able to take home valuable knowledge of international business. "This study abroad trip truly helped prepare me for my career, which hopefully will include doing business internationally in the future," Grant says.
Others took home unforgettable memories. "I liked the trip. I really enjoyed it. It was definitely something I could check off the bucket list type of thing," Stephanie says. "It was such an experience to be able to say that I did that and to see the things that we saw. Before I came to Drury and saw that the program offered it--I didn't think I would ever get there."
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.
After living four months in Spain, one Drury student discovered life in a whole new way that she never experienced before. Studying abroad allows students to visit another culture, but to Kristen Pflumm, it also meant opening up her mind to different ideas in a way that couldn't be learned at home or in a classroom.
Pflumm is a senior marketing and management student at Drury, who is preparing to receive her business degree. But before finishing her undergraduate experience at Drury, she wanted to take an opportunity to visit Barcelona, Spain for one semester. In fact, students majoring in business at Drury must fulfill a study abroad requirement.
Students choose to study abroad for a variety of reasons. For Pflumm, going out of the country meant taking risks and doing something she wasn't used to doing. Pflumm explains that these are the kinds of skills employers may look for in applicants.
"[Employers] look for people who have studied abroad because it shows they're adaptable and are willing to take risks and put themselves outside of their comfort zone," she says.
Adjusting to a different culture
In Barcelona, Pflumm took business classes and GP21 classes with students from other parts of the world as she learned to adjust to a new environment and a different language.
"I went over there not knowing anybody," Pflumm says. "I was like a fish out of water, but with the program, you're paired up with your roommate and there's a bunch of college kids, so everyone just kind of finds their niche, their group of friends."
Plus, Pflumm said, her education at Drury through the Breech School of Business helped her become more prepared for the experience. Before her trip, she learned and practiced Spanish, but she also felt ready for the classroom setting.
"I went abroad with a lot of people from Arizona State u2013which is a school of 70,000u2014and they weren't used to a class setting being so small, but I was used to it," Pflumm explains.
Preparing for the future
Though classes were small, Pflumm made connections with other people to prepare for working in the business field where professionals often work together and network.
"As far as preparing me for the future, as a business student, global business is inevitable and more than likely I will be working with an international company or a team of people that are from other places around the world," Pflumm says. "I think my study abroad experience prepared me to know how to handle those types of situations."
Experiencing life in Spain
When she wasn't in class, Pflumm took some time for fun during her trip. During her spare time in Spain, she visited other parts of Spain - and Europe - to fully experience the culture.
"I think studying abroad for a semester really allowed me to submerge myself completely in the culture and truly live like a Spanish person wouldu2014tweaked a little bit by my American ways," Pflumm says.
Overall, Pflumm's study abroad experience was an enriching one, and she found that she wasn't quite ready to come back home when the time came. It was one of the most important opportunities for her business education and she made new friends while she was away. In the future, Pflumm hopes to go back to Spain to teach English for a year.
For other students who are considering the program, Pflumm says to go for it, even if you're not sure because it is worth a risk.
"I think it's a great thing for Druryu2014and for Breechu2014to especially promote [the study abroad program] because I think some people are apprehensive to do it," Pflumm explains. "But I think everyone sees the benefit in the long run."
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a sophomore majoring in communication.
More than one hundred students have experienced the final phase of the Drury Master of Business Administration program, a class which includes a trip to Beijing, China.
Now, MBA students, alumni, faculty, and mentors are invited to share their stories and memories of China for a celebration. The Breech School of Business, along with the Drury Alumni Association, is hosting "Great Times on the Great Wall" November 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event, at Parlor 88 on Republic Road, will commemorate China trips over the past five years.
Tickets for the event are $10 and can be purchased through the Alumni and Development office.
MBA graduates continue to reflect back on their memories of China and how their global experience affected them both professionally and personally.
For some of the students, exploring China itself was their favorite memory: the sights to see, the Great Wall, and the culture, included. But students also recall the challenge of the language barrier and discovering China for themselves.
MBA graduate, Clark Satterlee, looks back on his trip to China as a learning experience with language.
"Two of my greatest memories are the time spent at the Silk Market and a trip myself and three of my classmates made down to the inner city basketball courts," Clark says. "At the Silk Market, most of the people knew some English and could talk with you. However, I spent a lot of time relying on non-vocal communication to really understand what was being said and make sure my communication was effective."
Brian Williams, who now serves as Vice President, Business Development, of Cox Health, remembers parts of the trip that were unplanned.
"My favorite memory of the trip was the unstructured portions of the trip where different groups ventured off into uncharted venues. These venues ranged from the Silk Market to local restaurant establishments," Brian explains, "Here is where several of life's international lessons were learned."
Students not only took home favorite memories, but also the things they learned. Today, graduates find that what they learned in China has carried over into their professional life in some way or another.
Clark, for example, uses his non-verbal communication skills he used in China to interact with other professionals.
"I realized at that point that you can communicate and connect with people on a deeper level through more than just words. Now in my professional life I have put this to use. I work with a couple hundred people, handling both business and IT related issues/processes/improvements," Clark says. "While doing this, I spend a lot of time just interacting with people. Their words tell me some of what's going on, but I've also learned to read their non-vocal communication to be more effective in dealing with them. This makes my job much easier and allows me to be successful when helping them out."
Another graduate, Becky Bonner, uses her experience from the trip in her career by being able to discuss international market investments.
"We are constantly talking to our clients about the importance of having a portion of their investments in international markets and especially emerging markets as that is where the growth is going to be in the next five years," Becky adds. "It helps to be able to tie in what I saw on our trip and what we discussed about the articles read prior to the trip. And, I can't help but continue to read articles that I see regarding China. Having been there just makes it seem more connected. It truly is becoming a world market."
Other students, like Brandon Adamick, also found a way to apply what they gathered during the China experience to their personal lives.
"The China trip has made me open my eyes, and I have started donating time and money much more than I used to. I enjoy donating to organizations worldwide that I feel have a good cause. I plan on contacting and helping these organizations in person when I am near their country on my travels," Brandon explains. "I have trips planned to Botswana and Columbia in the next six months, and I look forward to really seeing the progress of the organizations I have donated to in both countries."
Brian's trip to China allowed him to grow on a more personal level as well after spending time with his fellow classmates.
"Because I was an older adult learner, I grew personally from the experience by interacting with my younger classmates," Brian explains. "They challenged me to see things from the perspective of a different generation and in my case really two different generations. They challenged me to be better and to do better."
For ticket and reservation information for the "Great Times on the Great Wall" event, contact Dr. Robin Sronce at email@example.com or call 417-873-7438. For more information on the Drury MBA program, contact Angie Adamick, Program Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 417-873-7612. Applications for the Drury MBA program are currently being accepted for classes starting on October 22 and classes starting in spring 2013.
Interview and article by Kaitlyn Schwers. Kaitlyn is a junior majoring in multimedia production and journalism.
Sarah Stremme had a perfect job that she loved, a comfortable apartment and a wedding on the horizon. She'd used her savvy networking skills and marketing degree to land a position with Intouch Solutions, a digital pharmaceutical advertising agency in Kansas City, Kan.
"I would sit at my desk and dream of all the places I still wanted to visit before I settled down. Then it hit me. I was settled - I was doing all the conventional things you do after college graduation, but I wasn't being fulfilled," said Stremme, who initially moved to South Korea after graduation to teach, and backpack across Southeast Asia before returning to Kansas.
A year and a half later, Stremme and her husband began discussing the possibility of returning to Korea to teach. As their excitement mounted, details began to fall into place. Currently, they are into their second year of teaching in the fishing town of Pohang City, in the Gyeongsangbuk-Do province of South Korea.
"Everyday I learn something new. I speak very little Korean, so sometimes conversations get really interesting. I am pretty much the master of charades, but I enjoy the challenge," said Stremme, who cites her love for travel to her globe trotting experiences while at Drury. She studied abroad in Greece, and as a member of the Drury ENACTUS team, traveled to South Africa to build food tents and water purifiers.
"Drury helped to broaden my understanding of the world outside the comfort bubble of Springfield. The professors encouraged us to get out there and see what the world had to offer. So, that's what I am doing," said Stremme.
Kristen Pflumm, recent marketing and management graduate, has been employed in Spain since fall 2012 as an Auxiliar de Conversacion, which is Spanish for a language/teaching assistant. The program is offered through a grant from the Spanish government who place native English speakers all over Spain in either primary or secondary schools.
"Honestly, I wanted to work abroad, because I wasn't ready for a big girl job yet. The job market at home is still weak and I saw this as a once in a lifetime opportunity to work, travel, and live in a foreign country all at the same time," said Pflumm, who learned of the opportunity from her sister, who also participated in the program for two years and gave rave reviews.
And so that is exactly what she did, embracing all the adventures that come from living the life of an expat.
"Everything is a bit more complicated here. For example, banks close at 2:00 p.m., grocery stores are closed on Sunday, you rely on public transportation, and the language barrier makes things difficult as well. But, it's all part of the experience," said Pflumm, who also credits her transition into working abroad to her study abroad experience while at Drury.
"My professors at Drury made me think analytically and encouraged me to think outside of the box, which is an invaluable skill. I think it's wonderful that Drury wants to push and encourage its students to follow their dreams no matter what they are," said Pflumm.
Pflumm and Stremme both highly recommend graduating seniors explore opportunities abroad.
"After graduation, the world is seriously your oyster," said Stremme. "It doesn't have to be a year, but go abroad now, while you're young and don't mind sleeping in hostels, overnight trains and airports."
Adds Pflumm, "Look for opportunities that are outside the norm, and if you have a true passion for something, just go for it. I remember everyone asking me what I was doing after school and I got so sick of it, because I felt like saying u2018I'm hopefully teaching in Spain' didn't sound super legit. Don't let everyone else's expectations of what you should do dictate what you actually want to do u2013 be brave!"
You can follow along with Sarah's adventures at SaraheStremme.blogpost.com.
Written by Yelena Bosovik, senior finance and economics major at Drury University.
By: Kaitlyn Schwers
Ten Drury students had the opportunity to travel to the island of Aegina in Greece in January to study globalization and international issues at the Drury Center. Along with classroom learning overseas, the students also participated in service-learning with the Aegina community.
The trip and study abroad experience was organized and led by Dr. Robin Sronce, Associate Professor of Management and Director of Community Outreach and Leadership Development, Courtney Swan. The trip included various service projects such as working with the local food and clothing pantry, cleaning up a protected forest and river bed, and planting a community garden.
“We were very intentional about weaving service-learning into the trip to try and enhance what the students were learning as well as increase connections with the local community in Aegina through mutually beneficial partnerships,” Swan said. “For example, the students were not only reading and having classroom discussions about corporate social responsibility and leadership in a global context, but also getting to explore the issues with local leaders, businesses, and organizations experiencing them first-hand. Then, we worked with local citizens and service organizations to identify and complete service projects tied to the issues being studied.”
Senior Emily Rhodes, an elementary education student, found that the service projects made the trip more unique because it allowed students to meet local people.
“We were completely immersed in the culture, which was amazing. I learned so much about their culture by being around all the Greeks and doing volunteer projects.” Rhodes said.
Some financial support for the service-learning portion of the trip came from a member of the Breech School of Business Advisory Board, Jane Bennett and her husband Tim. The Bennetts provided the students with funds to purchase supplies and equipment to make it possible for the service projects to take place.
Dr. Sronce, who provided class instruction, explained, “As a service-learning class, one of the points of the trip was to engage with the community and to do that we needed some funds for some of the projects we were doing. For example planting the garden, which will supply winter vegetables for distribution by the Aegina volunteers, required some additional supplies. Some of those things were donated by people on the island, for example the garden center donated the seeds. However, there were other things needed like garden hoses and tools to make the project work.”
The students met with citizens during the service projects, and they also met local business leaders. They took time to explore Greece and learn more from an economic perspective as Phillip Bodenschatz did, an accounting and finance major at the Breech School of Business.
Bodenschatz said, “[I] saw many of the ancient ruins of Athens, met with a couple different company leaders from the community of Aegina, and did some volunteer work for groups around the island of Aegina. I learned more about the current economic situation of Greece and what is being done to stimulate the economy back to where it was in the early 2000s.”
“The trip was extremely successful, with meaningful interactions between students and local citizens. I am looking forward to returning with the next group of Drury students in May,” Sronce said.
Visit www.drsroncevisitsgreece.wordpress.com to learn more about their trip to Greece and to see additional photos.
Ljubljana is the capital city of Slovenia, a small country in Europe bordered by Croatia, Austria, Italy and Hungary. During the day, you can find people enjoying a cup of coffee or sampling dessert on the banks of the Sava River that runs through the center of town. In the evenings, the city turns into a magical, romantic place with lights strung up the streets and musicians providing entertainment late into the night hours.
This is the scene that Carolyn Adams, a marketing and management major, describes from her three weeks of studying abroad at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana. Two other Drury students and Dr. Paul Nowak, professor of finance, joined Adams on the trip in July.
During their stay in Slovenia, the students attended classes during the day, enjoyed activities planned by the program in the evenings and explored the city and surrounding countries during the weekend.
"While in Slovenia, I learned it is not only important to work hard, but to play hard too," said Adams. "I learned so much outside of the classroom from spending time with my new friends from Finland, Great Britain, Austria, Germany, Australia, Slovenia and Serbia. I learned about their cultures, their countries, governments, what they enjoy doing, and what their life experiences were."
Dr. Nowak, who taught a finance course during the trip, says that the same vibe was echoed amongst the faculty, "I enjoyed the rest of the faculty, they invite them from all over the world."
Collin Klages, an accounting major, says that he found Slovenia unlike any of the other countries he's visited in Europe. "It is much cleaner and the people are much more friendly there than the others I've visited. The nightlife in Slovenia was a lot of fun and really relaxed. People sat outside of pubs and cafu00e9's at all hours of the night," said Klages.
Drury's strong relationship with the University of Ljubljana also opens opportunities for students in Slovenia to do a semester exchange program at Drury.
Matej Podlesnik, finance major, says that he hopes this study abroad experience will show him first hand the differences between the United States and Slovenia. So far, Podlesnik says that one of the biggest adjustments he's had to make is academic. Unlike the "American system," which requires a lot of student input and involvement through out the semester, in Slovenia academic structure focuses less on homework and places the most weight on the final exam.
Another exchange student, Dario Radosevic, is working on his master's degree here at Drury. Originally from Rijeka, Croatia, Radosevic attended college in Slovenia. According to Radosevic, studying abroad is an important aspect of the student experience.
"As the process of globalization connects us, we are becoming citizens of the world. In business you never know where you can get a new idea or opportunity, so connecting with people is the best way to find that out," said Radosevic.
Whether the students are studying here or in Slovenia, due to the opportunities offered by Drury, they are able to take their education to a whole another level, building a strong personal and professional network worldwide.
Story by Yelena Bosovik, senior finance and economics major.
Written by: Jessica Dillard and Olivia Tinkler
Our trip to Greece was as life-changing as everyone told us it would be. After a short 17 days, we miss Greece as if it was our homeland. The experiences were positive, eye-opening, and refreshing. There is something intriguing about a culture in which our civilization and its ideals stem from. It became quite the challenge for us to brainstorm an article that summarized our experience without writing a novel. We decided to briefly share with our readers a list of our top memories from our study abroad trip to Greece. These are in no particular order because it would be almost impossible to pick a favorite.
Restaurants and Nothing but Fresh Food
We were surprisingly pleased with our culinary experience while in Greece. We were not quite sure what to expect; for many of us it was our first experience overseas. The restaurants were all unique and quaint. The food was all fresh! It was amazing, and clean eating truly is good for the soul.
Meeting Local Greek Business Owners
It should not be surprising, but studying abroad does involve some actual learning. One evening, we had the opportunity to meet with a young local Greek business owner and hear about her company that produces olive oil soap. We all enjoyed hearing her story, and I am very certain all of us walked out of her shop with 5 to 12 boxes of soap in hand. If you’re interested in some soap, you can visit her website at http://www.coolgreeksoap.com
Brad Hollenbeck’s Belly Flop
The people you go on such a journey with either make or break the experience. While Brad may have been a little sore and regretful, his decision to do a perfect-10 belly flop in the Mediterranean Sea is something we will never forget!
Becoming an International Traveler
You can’t deny the fact that it is pretty cool to get to say you have traveled abroad. Visiting foreign countries is truly an eye-opening experience. You have to let go of your “American ways” and become an adaptable visitor.
Perfecting Our Gardening Techniques
We didn’t travel all that way to be tourists. We got our hands dirty and helped feed families of Aegina. All the food grown is donated directly to families in need through the group Aegina Volunteers. We tilled up the dirt, created rows, planted a variety of vegetables, and finished with a good watering. We are happy to report that some of the veggies have already been harvested and are feeding families!
Working With Some Good-Hearted Women
The Aegina Volunteers is a group of retired Greek women on the island of Aegina who volunteer their time to help those in need in their community. They are a very inspiring group of women. They are accomplishing so much and are so passionate about the work they do. We had the opportunity to help these women by creating a Facebook page and also teaching them how to use it, so they can expand their reach.
Enjoying a Nice Bike Ride
On one of our free days, our entire group decided to rent bicycles and do some exploring! Despite the bikes being in poor condition (flat tires, chains falling off, etc.), we had a great time. We found an abandoned water park and resort, and saw even more breathtaking views.
The ‘Shock and Awe’ of the Ancient Temples and Ruins All Over Greece
There really are no words to express the feeling you get when you stand next to a temple dating back to 1,600 B.C. To experience these majestic sites is something we will miss the most! Let the pictures do the talking.
A Climb Up Mount Oros
One of our free afternoons on the island was spent hiking all the way to the top of Mount Oros, the highest point on Aegina Island. The climb typically takes hikers 90 minutes. Our group, sliced that time in half, and made it to the top in only 45! Despite the thorns and rugged terrain, the view from the top was definitely worth the climb.
It’s Not a Trip without Some Selfies
Selfie Sunday may be an American thing to do, but just because we were in Greece did not mean that we could not still partake!
Here Kitty Kitty!
Go to the Aegina Island, and you’ll find that it is impossible to avoid the island’s countless cats! They were everywhere, and most of them were super friendly! It definitely filled the void of missing the animals we loved back home.
Want to read more about our time spent in Greece? Check out Dr. Sronce’s blog!
Previous Spotlights: Alumni
- William J Carner
- Sandy Meyers
Name: William J Carner
Degree(s) Earned & Graduation Year(s): B.A., 1970; MBA (Missouri) 1972; Ph.D. (Missouri) 1989
Current Profession: Business Professor, Westminster College
We’d love to share more about your professional success with our current and future students – please describe your career path to this point as well as your current profession:
I went into banking after my MBA, working in Memphis, Los Angeles, Springfield, & St Louis. I started my own company in bank consulting after leaving the St Louis bank. The Bancpen Reports were used by over 2,000 banks nationwide in market share and profitable including over 2/3's of the top 100 banks. Sold in 1990 to Thomson Publishing of Toronto Canada and merged into their Sheshunoff Division in Austin TX. After finishing my contract I was chair of the marketing department at St Edward's University, then moved to the University of Texas at Austin where I taught in the new Business Foundations Program. In 2001, I was named Director of the Foundations program and served there until 2007 when we moved back to Missouri. In 2011, I joined Westminster College as a business professor and now hold the William Gordon Buckner Chair in Business. I also served as President of the Drury Alumni Association in the 1980’s.
How did your experiences in the Breech School of Business prepare you for your professional career?
It was especially helpful as I have started or helped start 5 businesses including Bancpen and FundsXpress (an internet banking company) plus 2 sport memorabilia companies, & a financial services information company. The broad business background prepared me for running a business.
Were there any specific courses or areas of study that were especially useful to you?
Do you have any favorite memories inside the Breech building?
Seeing an article from the Wall Street Journal in which I was quoted placed in a prominent place on the bulletin board.
What advice would you offer to a new student beginning their course of study in the Breech School of Business?
Learn all you can about every aspect of business as you will need them all when you get your first job. Even CPA's have to market themselves and marketing and management people need to know their costs.
Name: Sandy Meyers, CPA, CPCU, ARM-E, AINS
Degree(s) Earned: Bachelor of Arts – Accounting and Business Administration; Master’s in Business Administration
Graduation Year(s): 1990; 1997
Current Profession: Director – Risk Management at City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri
We’d love to share more about your professional success with our current and future students – please describe your career path to this point as well as your current profession:
After graduating with my undergraduate degree, I followed the traditional accounting career path and worked in public accounting. My experience at a local CPA firm included tax preparation, audits, reviews, and attestations. I joined City Utilities nearly 23 years ago and have served in a variety of roles throughout the organization, including financial reporting, budgeting, project management, IT security, physical security, and risk management. As the Director – Risk Management, my current responsibilities include corporate property and casualty programs, enterprise risk management, and financial technology. Continuous learning and professional certifications are an important part of my ongoing development and career goals. When you find the right company and corporate culture, you will enjoy whatever projects and roles that they offer you.
How did your experiences in the Breech School of Business prepare you for your professional career?
Drury University and the Breech School of Business provide a strong foundation of teamwork and collaboration among the student body. The active engagement of all students makes Drury graduates better able to handle new challenges, leadership roles, and different environments. It is important to learn how to integrate different personalities and skillsets. Not everyone has the same talents so the team must identify what contributions and strengths that each team member brings to the table and discover how to capitalize on them.
Were there any specific courses or areas of study that were especially useful to you?
The corporate strategy and policy, organizational behavior, financial management, and accounting classes have all proven especially useful throughout my career. It is extremely beneficial to view your education and career holistically. Having exposure to a variety of disciplines has given me the ability to evolve and change throughout my career. Most jobs will not remain static and having a strong baseline of core classes allows Drury grads to quickly adapt to situations and remain flexible when presented with new challenges and opportunities.
Do you have any favorite memories inside the Breech building?
Dr. Clayton’s smile and encouragement every class. Her positive energy is contagious and she personifies the spirit of Drury.
What advice would you offer to a new student beginning their course of study in the Breech School of Business?
Networking is an important aspect of career development. Building professional relationships and spending time collaborating with peers allows you to develop new perspectives and attitudes about a variety of topics. Remain open minded and flexible throughout your time at Drury and you will find that more opportunities will come your direction. Get out of your comfort zone and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.