Cottrell MBA Spotlight: Vinay Kumar

by Evie Somogyi, marketing intern and senior marketing student, Mike Cottrell College of Business

Getting your MBA is very beneficial — even after years of experience. As manager of an IT development team at General Motors, Vinay Kumar decided to get his MBA after 18 years in the field. Throughout his career, Vinay worked across multiple geographies, roles, and functions. As Vinay’s career progressed into managerial roles, he found that, “although I had been exposed to broad perspectives and paradigms that helped to strengthen my management skills, I still felt that he was missing a stamp of academia from his career resume.”

In his current management role at General Motors, Vinay’s team supports GM’s Customer Relationship Management Systems for GM business teams, GM dealers, as well as external third-party CRM providers. GM’s CRM systems allows GM to run targeted promotions and GM dealers to review customers’ vehicle service history before they show up for service. As a result, they provide better customer service by knowing their customers.

Vinay chose the Cottrell MBA for a number of reasons. Vinay said that, “UNG provided me so the perfect opportunity to access an accredited school — in close proximity — with a flexible class schedule to fit my busy life.” After talking to alumni, attending orientation, and going through the curriculum, Vinay knew that he had found a “hidden gem in North Georgia.” To top it off, “GM provides a strong employee development program that offers tuition support — which made it an opportune time to enrich my education.”

 Vinay’s first two semesters have proved that he made the best decision by choosing the Cottrell MBA. He said that, “the overall experience has been very rewarding, both academically and for broader professional networking.” His classes have given him a different perspective and he has found that, “the MBA academic content is practical and teaches skills and concepts that you can implement right away.” Vinay used his leadership course as an example when describing how beneficial his courses have been. He said the course, “was not just a conceptual discussion about what a good leader should be, but rather an active encouragement to find the leader in yourself.”

Though he is only through his first few semesters, Vinay has already gained knowledge from his courses that he can implement simultaneously into his current role as IT manager. He said that, ”project management and leadership courses have direct application to what I do on day-to-day basis at work. The leadership course in particular helped me identify my specific traits and behaviors which I am able to channel through my leadership style.” As someone in the technology field, Vinay is planning to pursue the Specialization in Technology Leadership.

Vinay views his MBA journey as a “holistic experience” that has encompassed strong academic values, personal growth, and networking opportunities. He has enjoyed being able to network with students from a variety of different backgrounds. With the opportunity to work on group projects, Vinay has gotten to hear new perspectives. Furthermore, he has been able, “to learn about other people’s domains, the challenges they face, and how they solve them.”

Going forward, Vinay has made it his priority to apply everything that he has learned to his current role. He would also like to carry forward the networking connections that he has gained through the program, and give back to the UNG local community as opportunities arise.

For more information on the Cottrell MBA, visit http://ung.edu/mba.

Internship Spotlight: Stephan Morgan, Novagradac & Company, LLP

by Evie Somogyi, marketing intern and senior marketing student, Mike Cottrell College of Business

Have you ever wondered how your peers land internships at prestigious companies? Stephan Morgan, senior accounting major, shed some light on how he landed an internship with Novogradac & Company, LLP. In his current role, he completes audit engagements for various partnerships, conducts business specific research, gathers and analyzes data, interprets results, and compiles reports for clients.

We asked Stephan how he was successful in procuring his internship and his reply was, “I owe this internship to Beta Alpha Psi (BAP) at UNG. I first met with a principal from Novogradac three years ago at a BAP banquet where we sat at the same table and talked over dinner. I stayed in contact with her throughout the years at various BAP events, and I was eventually contacted about an internship opportunity.”

As far as being prepared for his internship, Stephan said that, “I can pull from something I have learned in almost every class I’ve taken in the Mike Cottrell College of Business.” Of course, all of his accounting classes have been very beneficial. However, he also learned a lot of important business skills from his management and business communications classes. These courses have given him some insight when it comes to dealing with particular situations down to composing a well-written email.

If you are pursuing an internship, Stephan encourages you to network and stay in contact with the people in your network. He also stressed the importance of getting involved and building your resume; “Being involved shows that you know how to multitask and find a good work-life balance.” By being a part of Beta Alpha Psi, he “learned soft skills through the professional development meetings, had numerous opportunities to travel, network, and deepen his understanding of the accounting world.” Stephan said, “I honestly believe that without BAP I would not be set up for such success like I am today.”

Through his hard work, dedication, and the connections that he was able to foster through the Mike Cottrell College of Business, Stephan was able to land an incredible internship. Prior to the final version of this article, Stephan said that, “The skills that he has gained in this internship will be extremely valuable for his future endeavors.” Indeed, this rings true, as Stephan was recently hired by Novogradac & Company, LLP.

 In the future, he plans to “continue his work in the public accounting world at Novogradac & Company, LLP, and begin his journey towards obtaining his CPA license.”

Confidence UNG Wrap-Up

by Evie Somogyi, marketing intern and senior marketing student, Mike Cottrell College of Business

On March 29th, women at the Mike Cottrell College of Business gathered to hear from other inspiring female leaders at the 2017 Confidence UNG women’s leadership conference. This year’s event was sponsored by the Kappa Delta Foundation.

To kick the conference off, motivational entrepreneur, Kristy Dickerson, took the stage. Kristy is the CEO and Co-Founder of STARTplanner. Through her business, she empowers others to lead healthy and balanced lives with her all inclusive day planner.

She stressed the importance of turning walls into doors. A good way to start is knowing your strengths and weaknesses – especially your weaknesses. For example, when Kristy had a photography business, she knew her strength, photography, but she outsourced her weakness, photo editing, to another company. She also spoke about refusing to let others tell you what you can, and can’t do. Instead, believe in yourself.

After a short break, 3 executives from Home Depot joined the event for a panel discussion. We had the pleasure of hearing from senior HR manager Adriana Avella,  director of merchandise planning Neha Hatia, and senior merchant Charlotte Gooding. They all brought unique ideas to the table and stressed the importance of knowing the culture of your company and the people you work with. Furthermore, they touched on the importance of leveraging your opportunities and taking advantage of networking.

After the panel discussion, we had a chance to do some networking during lunch. The panel from Home Depot sat with students and gave them more advice on their future careers and becoming confident business women.

Following lunch, we had the opportunity to hear from our keynote speaker, Emmy-award winning news anchor Jovita Moore of WSB-TV. She stressed the importance of overcoming your own fears, finding your strength, and not allowing anyone to hold you back. Moreover, no matter what obstacles you may face, persevere. Furthermore, remain strong and true to yourself and your passions.

Women of the Mike Cottrell College of Business left with a new sense of confidence and tools to use throughout their confidence journeys. Brigette Kinkade, a business student who attended Confidence UNG, said, “not only did Confidence UNG help me feel empowered, but it was also great to meet so many other women in the business College. It was truly inspiring to see women lifting each other up.”

Intern Spotlight: Laura Beth Snipes, Reach Records

by Evie Somogyi, marketing intern and senior marketing student, Mike Cottrell College of Business

At the Mike Cottrell College of Business, we focus on creating value for future employers by building strong graduates ready to take on the world. One of the ways that we do that is through meaningful internships and corporate partnerships.

Senior marketing major Laura Beth Snipes was selected this spring as an intern at Reach Records, a faith-based record company co-founded by Ben Washer and Grammy-Award winning artist Lecrae. Through this internship, Laura Beth has been able to combine her two passions: music and creative marketing.

Daily, Laura Beth gets to do a number of activities: creating graphics and execute email campaigns, help create and design content for social media, attend and contribut to digital and marketing team scrum meetings, and other tasks like photography and helping with planning artist events. Laura Beth said that she has been “so blessed to intern here and every day is something new.” Laura Beth’s internship at the record label has solidified the fact that she wants to focus on music marketing as a career.

Her classes at UNG have been a tremendous help throughout her internship, especially the graphic design classes she has taken for her minor. Without those classes, she wouldn’t have been able to do half the things she has done in her internship, such as photography and graphical content creation. From the marketing side, courses like marketing management, marketing research, and strategic management have been a big help.

Because Laura Beth wants to pursue a career in music marketing, her internship has enhanced her value to potential employers in the music industry. She said that her internships both at Reach Records and formerly her internship in the Mike Cottrell College of Business have also taught her how to step outside of the box to solve problems and how to be confident in her abilities.

As Laura Beth looks forward to graduating in May, she has some words of encouragement for future graduates. She begins with a quote from her favorite band, the Avett Brothers. The quote goes: “Decide what to be and be it.” She really believes it is as simple as that. She encourages students to, “Work hard and give what you love your all, and that will get you wherever you want to be. Some people make up excuses for not being able to do something, but I promise that you will never know if you never try. Hard work and persistence pays dividends in more ways than one.”

When you are looking for opportunities, it is important to take advantage of your resources. Laura Beth attributes a lot of her connections to her professors. She encourages you to “talk to your professors and get to know them, as well as respect them, because their connections could be of great value to you one day.”

As far as the future goes, Laura Beth is open to the crazy opportunities and adventures that may present themselves. She would love to be able to say that she will make it to Nashville and go straight into the music industry, but she knows that life is unpredictable. She has worked hard to make it this far, and she will continue to work hard to pursue her dreams.

5 skills employers are seeking but Millennials are lacking (through the eyes of a Millennial)

by Evie Somogyi, marketing intern and senior marketing student, Mike Cottrell College of Business

In the fall of 2016, the Mike Cottrell College of Business had the opportunity to invite business professionals to a Management and Marketing Department Advisory Council meeting.

During their discussion, they explained what employers expect from college graduates entering the workforce. The business professionals compared their expectations with the reality of what millennials have to offer.

As a millennial, I was surprised by some of their responses, and I knew that I had to share their insights with fellow millennials.

So, what are employers really looking for in a potential hire?

  1. Communication skills.

In the business world, the ability to communicate without technology is key. However, in a world of texts, emojis, emails and video conferences, face-to-face communication skills are dwindling. The visiting business professionals mentioned that soft skills, in general, are lacking in our generation. One of the business leaders mentioned that they “look for soft skills during the interview.” In reality, employers expect potential hires to already possess soft skills. They can take anyone with the proper soft skills and teach them technical skills.

  1. Public speaking.

Public speaking is a skill that a lot of people struggle with — including myself. The Washington Post mentioned in an article that, “Overall, fear of public speaking is America’s biggest phobia.” The ability to articulate an idea or plan is essential in business. This means that we have to be able to converse, present, and negotiate with confidence. The Mike Cottrell College of Business offers several courses to enhance our communication skills as well as the newly formed PROS program. I personally used my elective hours to take courses to help hone my soft skills.

  1. Be present.

When first starting a job, it is important to learn the culture of the company and adapt to that culture. While we (millennials) prefer to work from home — in our PJs — employers expect to see us in the office. It is impossible to figure out the culture of a company if we are never present to experience it. What better way to connect and contribute than to be present?

  1. Ability to work in a team.

Those dreaded team projects that we did in college are going to come in handy at the office. While millennials prefer their accomplishments to be individual, it is important to be able to collaborate when needed. In the real world, one person cannot do everything. Through the help of teams, people can specialize and get more done.

  1. Critical thinking skills

In a business environment, a lot of problems can arise. It is up to employees to figure out how to deal with these situations accordingly. The visiting business professionals agreed that “problem solving is important in a fairly complex world.” It is vital for employees to be able to “see an issue and adapt quickly.” They brought up the fact that entrepreneurs are natural problem solvers. When asked to rank the importance of different courses, they ranked entrepreneurship classes as one of the most beneficial courses in obtaining critical thinking skills.

While millennials have gained a reputation that will be hard to shake, it is up to us change our future employer’s minds. Through the help of our education, and professional development, I believe that we will be ready to surprise them.