The college’s Fourth Annual Alumni Awards Gala brought over 250 alumni, faculty, staff, and friends together on November 9 to celebrate the accomplishments and service of three business alumni and one corporation. Beginning with a reception and silent auction and concluding with dinner and an awards presentation, all expenses for the event were funded entirely through sponsorships and private support. Almost $80,000 was raised for the College Fund for Business Administration through the combination of sponsorships and proceeds from the silent auction. To view pictures from the gala, click here.
Brian Foley, a 1996 (BS) and 1997 (MAcc) alumnus of the college, was presented as the 2012 Outstanding Young Alum. The award, presented by Bruce Behn, Ergen Professor of Business and head of the Department of Accounting and Information Management, recognizes accomplished alumni under the age of 40 who have contributed in outstanding ways to both their chosen profession and their alma mater.
PepsiCo, the largest food and beverage company in North America and second largest in the world, was recognized as the 2012 Outstanding Corporate Partner for both its financial contributions to the college and its dedication to fostering support for diversity in the workplace. The corporation has partnered with the College of Business Administration to prepare students to work in fields where workplace diversity is a reality, specifically through its support of the college’s Business Education for Talented Students (BETS) summer program for high school students.
John Boll, a 2007 Executive MBA graduate of the UT College of Business Administration, was recognized as the 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year. Boll’s company, G.A. Richards, manufactures products for the office furniture and general industrial markets. He is a member of the college’s Advisory Council to the Deans, a role that allows him to work with who he describes as “an entrepreneurial administration and faculty who are helping discover and mold the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”
Mintha Roach, a 1974 alumna of the UT College of Business Administration, was bestowed the college’s most prestigious recognition, the 2012 Distinguished Alum Award for both her professional accomplishments as president and CEO of Knoxville Utilities Board and her service to her alma mater as former chair of Chancellor’s Associates, the UT Alumni Board, and the business school’s Advisory Council to the Deans.
Additionally, Jan R. Williams, dean and Stokely Foundation Leadership Chair, was awarded The Chancellor’s Medallion by Jimmy G. Cheek for his over 35 years of service to UT and the College of Business Administration.
The morning after Election Day, Bill Simon, president and chief executive officer for WalMart U.S., was the featured speaker at the First Tennessee Foundation Fifth Annual MBA Symposium. He encouraged Knoxville business leaders and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, MBA students to focus not on who won or lost, but on what needs to be done to improve the nation’s economy.
“Private industry creates jobs, but we’ve given into organizational and national paralysis driven by us waiting for something to happen,” said Simon. “The election gave us clarity, and now it is time for each of us to lead this country to the place where we want it to go.”
Simon is responsible for the strategic direction and performance of WalMart’s U.S. business, leading 1.3 million associates and approximately 3,900 stores. He delivered his passionate “Leading With Purpose” message to an overflow crowd at the Knoxville Marriott. He challenged attendees to set clear objectives, work hard, and be exceptional both professionally and personally.
“Everything you do has to have a purpose. If you are just moving in a direction without a clear objective, you are just wandering,” Simon said. “If you are determined, focused, and won’t be denied, you can do anything you want to do. If you are average, you are never going to be fulfilled. But if you are passionate and work hard, you will change the world.”
Simon pointed to his own career trajectory as an example. After graduating from the University of Connecticut in 1981 with an economics degree, Simon entered an officer-training program in the United States Navy. Following a five-year Naval career, he returned to Connecticut to earn an MBA and then joined RJR-Nabisco in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as the third-shift production manager at a cigarette factory. After about a week on the job, Simon realized this wasn’t the career he had envisioned. However, the experience had its benefits because it helped Simon clearly define what he did and did not want to do.
Instead of quitting, he continued to work his shift at night; after a quick shower and change of clothes, he spent his days working for free in the RJR-Nabisco marketing department. “They thought I was crazy,” he recalled. “I showed up in marketing and said, ‘I am smart, and I am free labor.’ I started reading market share data and writing memos. Nine months later, there was an opening in the department, and I became the assistant brand manager on a candy bar brand. So, whatever it is you want to do, do it with all your might. In everything I do, I am either all in or all out.”
First-year UT MBA student Tiffany Rosenbach of Colorado was inspired by Simon’s call to lead and live with purpose. “His words reinforced how focus and determination can contribute to one’s success; he inspired me to reflect upon my strengths and what’s next for me in my career,” Rosenbach said. “I’m determined to put myself in situations where I am fulfilling my purpose and working toward specific objectives, not just spinning my wheels.”
Rosenbach’s classmate, Darren Brown of Austin, Texas, was equally encouraged by Simon’s message that “anything is possible.” Said Brown, “MBA students are all ambitious, so it was encouraging to hear him say that you can pick your own direction and, with the proper drive and focus, you can achieve your goals.”
In addition to recounting personal anecdotes, Simon shared examples of leading with purpose in his role at WalMart U.S., which serves more than 140 million customers each week and had revenues of $264 billion in fiscal year 2012. Simon and his team have focused on reinvigorating WalMart’s core business model—lowering costs in order to offer customers lower prices—and fulfilling the company’s mission of saving people money so that they can live better. Simon sees helping customers stretch their paychecks and provide for their families as WalMart’s purpose as a company.
“The vast majority of people who work at WalMart believe in that mission and live that mission every day,” he said. “We’re not always perfect, but we try our best to live and operate with a purpose. If somebody goes to another store because our lines were too long and then pays more for a box of cereal, we have failed. But if we do our jobs well, people will pay less. That’s our purpose, and it drives everything we do.”
Symposium attendee Chuck Morris, president and founder of Knoxville-based Morris Creative Group, said he was impressed with Simon’s willingness to share his time, insights, and passion for what he does. “I was struck by how appreciative and down-to-earth he is. His lesson about paying your dues by putting in the hard work was particularly important for the MBA students who are focused right now on landing a specific job. Simon emphasized that success isn’t about the job title you have, and it isn’t something that’s handed to you. You have to want it, you have to earn it, and whatever you do, you have to be all in or all out—never halfway.”
Funding for the UT MBA Symposium was a generous gift from First Tennessee Foundation, a private charitable foundation solely funded by First Tennessee Bank. Since its formation in 1993, First Tennessee Foundation has been committed to building a better Tennessee by awarding more than $60 million to nonprofit organizations serving Tennesseans. To plant the seeds of success in our state, about one-third of foundation giving goes to education and lifelong learning.
Previous UT MBA symposium speakers have included Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, Texas oil and gas executive T. Boone Pickens, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
During his trip to Knoxville, Simon also served as the keynote speaker for the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Supply Chain Forum, sponsored by the college’s Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Forum.
Read more at the Knoxville News-Sentinel site by clicking here.
Fidelity Investments recently made a leadership gift to establish the Phillip Fulmer Masters Investment Learning Center Endowed Scholarship at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The scholarship will benefit students majoring in finance and working in the Masters Investment Learning Center, a learning center within the college that enhances financial literacy among the university, the College of Business Administration, and the business community. The gift was made in conjunction with Phillip Fulmer’s induction into the College Football Hall of Fame and presented at the Volunteer Leadership Luncheon on October 19 at the Knoxville Convention Center.
"Fidelity Investments is honored to establish the Phillip Fulmer Masters Investment Learning Center Endowed Scholarship,” says Joe Siragusa, vice president of Fidelity Investments. “Coach Fulmer’s greatness is being recognized with his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame, and, to further recognize this achievement, Fidelity Investments wanted to support the University of Tennessee College of Business Administration with this donation bearing Coach Fulmer's name."
Fulmer now works in the investment industry for BPV Capital Management, a Knoxville firm.
“I am certainly proud to have a scholarship bearing my name at my university,” says Fulmer. “I appreciate everyone involved with this honor, especially the Fidelity Investments people who made it happen.”
Those wishing to honor Coach Fulmer by contributing to the newly established scholarship fund should contact the college’s Office of Development and Alumni Affairs at 865-974-6083.Return to Top
“If you’re not doing business analytics you can bet that your competition is!” said IBM executive and University of Tennessee alum Mark Enslin. Enslin was speaking at the UT Business Analytics as a Growth Strategy conference held Oct. 11 and 12 at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The conference brought together 170 business managers to learn about the impact of business analytics and how it can be applied to their business.
Enslin’s observation reflects the reality that business analytics is part of the business strategy of the leading companies in most industries, as evidenced by the range of companies represented by the conference speakers: Google, Terradata, Capital One, IBM, Caterpillar, Link Analytics, Kroger, Pilot-Flying J, Regal Entertainment and FedEx.
Conference attendees heard some inspiring success stories. Ed Hudson, senior director of strategic initiatives at the Kroger Company, shared Kroger’s experience in using business analytics to drive 34 straight quarters of same-store sales growth through its customer loyalty program. In spite of the intense competition in its industry, Kroger has used business analytics to become the second largest retailer in the U.S.
“Business analytics is creating a revolution in business that no company can ignore. It will determine who the new winners and losers will be.” said Julie Ferrara-Brown, conference organizer.
Ken Gilbert, head of UT’s Department of Statistics, Operations, and Management Science, elaborated. “It’s analogous to the supply chain revolution which began in the 1980s. With that revolution, the old way of manufacturing, distributing, and selling things was no longer viable. You became a winner or loser, depending on how you responded. There were a lot of different ways that the losers failed, such as by simply failing to change or by viewing the change merely as a way to reduce costs.”
But there was a consistent strategy for the winners: they focused on using the capabilities of the integrated supply chain as a way of increasing demand by (1) providing better customer value (e.g. more personalized service, better delivery, better quality, etc.) and (2) creating the capacity to meet that growth by creating a more efficient supply chain.
“That same strategy will characterize the winners in the business analytics revolution,” continued Gilbert. “When Kroger increases same-store sales, they are growing the business without having to invest in new capital. When that happens, good things happen to the bottom line. The productivity of capital (and labor) goes up.
That productivity increase underscores why business analytics is good news for the future of the economy. The importance of productivity to economic growth is the one thing that economists agree on. As business analytics makes businesses more productive, the economic pie can grow, and everyone will be better off.”
The UT College of Business Administration is responding to the business analytics revolution. “We made business analytics a strategic initiative,” said Jan Williams, dean of the UT College of Business Administration. “A recent McKinsey study predicted that by 2018, the U.S. will need 150,000-190,000 new business analytics professionals and 1.5 million data-savvy managers. We intend to prepare students in all majors to use data to increase sales, to improve operational efficiency, to provide employees information needed to make better decisions, and to challenge the status quo in business policies and practices.”
Currently, the UT College of Business Administration offers an undergraduate degree in business analytics, a master’s degree in business analytics, and a dual Master’s of Science in business analytics/MBA degree. No other business college offers this scope of business analytics programs. In addition, UT offers business analytics as a concentration to MBA students and undergraduates in other majors.
UT was a groundbreaker among business colleges to offer this depth and breadth of business analytics curricula.
UT also sponsors a Business Analytics Forum where representatives from noncompeting companies meet twice a year to share best practices. Forum members include Caterpillar, State Farm, Capital One, Jewelry TV, and Pilot-Flying J. In addition, the college intends to launch a business analytics research center. This center will allow companies to work with UT faculty and graduate students to discover new solutions to problems in their organization. A doctoral program in business analytics will be created in conjunction with the center.
With the end of the calendar year upon us, many people are considering their plans for year-end philanthropic giving. For many, it may be possible to stretch your giving dollar much further. Did you know your company may match – sometimes at up to a 3:1 ratio – your philanthropic financial contributions? Organizations of all sizes often offer such programs, some of the nation’s largest employers among them. Some of the companies you may recognize include BellSouth, IBM, AT&T, State Farm, Coca-Cola, Ford Motor Company, UPS, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Wells Fargo, GE, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte, ExxonMobil, Ernst & Young, and Proctor & Gamble – just to name a few.
Not sure if your company participates in a gift matching program?
Visit www.matchinggifts.com/tennessee to find out!Return to Top
Mintha Roach was still in her teens when she pulled out the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, catalog to search for a new college major. Enrolled in another program at UT, Roach felt that path wasn’t a good fit.
“In the business curriculum, I saw subject matter that would be helpful to me,” says the 2012 winner of the College of Business Administration’s Distinguished Alum award. “It lined up perfectly with my interests in human resources and management.”
Roach discovered there were not many women choosing business as a major in the early 1970s. “Business majors were predominately men, but I wasn’t deterred by that,” she says.
Navigating classes filled primarily with men provided good training for things to come. As president and CEO at Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB), she is the first woman to hold that position. Roach has been lauded for breaking barriers for women in business in East Tennessee and received the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
It was the usefulness of a business major that appealed to her. “I am a practical person. I was a first-generation college student, and I was serious about getting a good education,” says Roach. “I was focused on learning what I needed to make myself employable.”
After college, she worked for the city of Knoxville in personnel management for 17 years before moving to KUB. Today, in KUB’s top role, she is responsible for electric, gas, water, and wastewater service for almost half-a-million customers.
Roach has been instrumental in transforming KUB, consolidating its business and operating functions to be more efficient. Today, KUB has 40 percent more customers and 30 percent fewer employees than it did when she arrived 20 years ago. The company’s challenges now, she says, are updating its aging infrastructure while keeping utility rates affordable.
“My education shaped who I am,” says Roach. “I trace every opportunity that has come to me back to the decision to go to UT and major in business.”
Her involvement at UT includes being former chair of Chancellor’s Associates, the UT Alumni Board, and a current member of the College of Business Administration’s Advisory Council to the Deans and the UT Foundation. Her husband, Jon, is a graduate of UT business and law, and they are parents of two UT business graduates: Jon II, who majored in logistics, and Evan, who majored in finance.Return to Top
Charles Noble is the Proffitt’s Professor of Marketing in the UT Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management. He joined the College of Business Administration faculty about 18 months ago after several years on the faculties at the University of Mississippi and Boston College. He teaches all levels of students (PhD, MBA, and undergraduate) with a focus on innovation and new product development. In his short time at UT, he has become active on campus including serving as the director of the Marketing PhD program.
Noble completed his PhD in marketing from Arizona State University, an MBA in marketing and international business from Babson College, and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Boston College. He has published in top rated journals in marketing, management, engineering, and new product development and takes special pride in translating that academic work into a useful form for managers. In addition to his teaching and research at UT, Noble wears various other hats outside the university including as a vice president with the Product Development & Management Association and as a research faculty member with the Center for Services Leadership at Arizona State University.
While Noble’s former professional background was in corporate finance -- working in strategic planning for two national retailers -- many of his professional endeavors have centered around small business development. In his undergraduate days, he was a founding member of the BC Student Agencies, an entrepreneurial incubator for aspiring business people, where he helped launch three businesses, two of which are still thriving 25 years later! More recently, he founded The GrowDelta Initiative, a community service organization which created a structure and training system for small business owners in the Mississippi Delta region. He is pleased that numerous small businesses were launched and grew with help from this organization.
Today, product development, innovation, and design are his professional passions. Students in his classes learn the entire new product development process from generating consumer insights and brainstorming (“ideation”) through various screening steps, and all the way to developing a working prototype of a new product which is judged by an outside panel in final presentations.
“Today’s companies, regardless of the industry, want people who can challenge established thinking and find new ways to create customer value,” said Noble. “At a broad level, those are the kinds of creative thinking and doing skills I try to convey in my courses.”
At home, Noble and his wife, Stephanie (also a member of the UT Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management), are the proud parents of four young children. In the scraps of spare time he can find, Noble likes to practice woodworking (he even made most of the furniture in his children’s rooms), listen to Blues music, and cheer for sports teams from his home state of Massachusetts.Return to Top
UT College of Business Administration senior, Astrid Emkes, is making sure to take advantage of every opportunity that comes her way during her collegiate experience. The Mexico City, Mexico, native is majoring in logistics and supply chain management with a concentration in international business. Additionally, Emkes is part of the Global Leadership Scholars (GLS) program, which enables her to participate in honors classes and seminars in leadership development.
As part of GLS, Emkes studied abroad in London, England, during the spring of her sophomore year (2011). While in London, she took classes and interned with Hope & Greenwood, a business dealing with British confectionary. She often says that she “cannot thank GLS enough for all the doors it has opened for [me].”
In addition to her internship with Hope & Greenwood, Emkes has also interned with the Department of the Treasury for the State of Tennessee, the Department of Finance and Administration for the State of Tennessee, and most recently with ExxonMobil. During all her internships Emkes was able to use the skills that she had acquired at the University of Tennessee not only in logistics, but in other areas as well.
Apart from internships, Emkes has sought out a variety of enrichment opportunities within the university and the Knoxville community. She has served as an ambassador for the College of Business Administration since May of 2011 and is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, the largest professional business fraternity on campus. Emkes has also helped build eight houses with Habitat for Humanity and is currently serving as a volunteer for the Humane Society of Knoxville.
Emkes has loved every minute of her experience at UT.
“If someone said that I could do college all over again,” said Emkes, “and that I had been accepted into every university in the world, and that somehow all tuition was paid for, I would still choose the University of Tennessee.”
Emkes has already accepted a position she will begin post-graduation working for ExxonMobil.Return to Top
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