Business school alumni share experiences, advice with students

October 18, 2012 | Leave a Comment

Business school alumni share experiences, advice with students

BUIES CREEK - Nearly 35 alumni of Campbell University’s Lundy-Fetterman School of Business returned to campus Wednesday to speak with students in more than two dozen classes about their career field and to offer words of advice during the school’s eighth annual Alumni Recognition Day.

“This was a good opportunity to not only come back to see the growth of Campbell, but to also invest in the younger generation and to hopefully broaden their horizons about what they can do with a business degree,” said returning alumnus the Rev. Andrew Lupton ’08 MBA, a missionary with Global Youth and Family Ministry.  

During the full-day event, alumni with backgrounds ranging from church planting and technology sales to financial forensics and county management shared with undergraduate students about how they’re using their Campbell experience in their current work as well as internship and employment opportunities at their companies. Alumni were matched with classes related to their field, which also allowed them to address topics being discussed in class and to answer students' questions. 

In a Healthcare Policy and Law class, for example, alumni Cassie Wallace ’02 MBA and Richard Dean Hinkley Jr. ’95 addressed about a dozen topics related to health care, from compounding pharmacies and counterfeit drugs to the Affordable Care Act and the Health Information Protection Act (HIPA). Wallace works in strategic development at Blue Cross and Blue Shield; and Hinkley, who has a bachelor’s in business administration from Campbell, is a business development manager who has previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry. 

“This whole day has been great,” said Denise Boney, a junior from Rose Hill, N.C., in healthcare management who heard from about a half-dozen dozen alumni over three classes, including from Wallace and Hinkley. “It has been informative and helpful, but it has also been encouraging, because I’ve seen people who have made it. It shows you that Campbell produces successful people. It takes time, but if you work hard and listen to those who have made it, good things can happen.”

Here are six pieces of advice a few of the business school alumni shared with students:

Serve others. “Your life is not your own. You were designed to serve other people, and you belong to other people. That was something very valuable for me to learn while I was studying here at Campbell. It has influenced what I do and strategically why I do what I do. Ask yourself, How is what you are doing now preparing you to serve the church if you’re a Christian? If you’re not a Christian, how is what you are doing now preparing you to serve other people?” – Andrew Lupton, missionary with Global Youth and Family Ministry

Know your stuff. “I’m more of a technical resource person in my current position. And I have conversations with some people who think I don’t know the things they’re talking about, but I do know. I do understand profit margins and marketing analysis and things like that. [My MBA degree] has helped me a lot to know what is going on. It has been a secret weapon in a lot of ways to be able to use that education. There is no one job that you’re going to get to do when you have that degree. It’s a great tool in your tool bag to have.” – Paul Michniak ’98 MBA, a systems engineer at Cisco

Differentiate yourself. “About eight months into I job I had at Bank of America, a lot of my friends who were hired at the same time—about seven of them—got laid off. It’s important to differentiate yourself from the people you’ll be working with. What may help you to do that is absorbing as much information as you can while you’re here so that when you get out into the work force, you know that whatever field you’re in, whether marketing or trust or accounting, you know that area very well. People will recognize that. So work hard. That starts now. One of my former professors said an internship is like a long job interview. So even when you’re doing an internship, for example, you need to work hard because those develop into career opportunities. And be professional in whatever you do. You’ll be valued by employers if you tell someone you’re going to do something and you actually do it and follow through.” – Kristin Rice '08 MBA, attorney with Carolina Law Partners

Don’t throw out your books. “I didn’t throw away my textbooks or sell them after I finished a class. I still use information from those books nearly every day, and there have been times I’ve had the need to go back to those books. I took a business law class when I was here, and I’ve gone back to that when I’ve had to deal with the Federal Trade Commission and with contract negotiations, for example. And there’s the organizational development, marketing concepts, managerial finance, return on investment, sales leverage—all these types of methods are still in those books and all this language is still spoken around the halls from people who know what they are talking about.” – Mark Sodana ’98 MBA, director of services at HP Software  

Keep your options open. “My undergraduate degree was in finance and  economics. When I came to Campbell to get an MBA, though, I did an internship in marketing that directed my career path. What you may think you want to do may not be where you’re supposed to go. Look at other opportunities and what doors may be opened. You may end up somewhere you completely didn’t expect but that may be a much more rewarding experience.” – Cassie Wallace ’02 MBA, strategic development at Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Network and think critically. “Networking is important. It’s all about who you know. Find an organization or an individual that you want to work for and develop a plan to meet that person or people within the organization. . . . Critical thinking is also important in your career. I think critical thinking defines you as a person. Do you think outside the box, or are you willing to just give straightforward answers all the time? This can impact your promotional schedule and how quickly you advance.” – Jason Yuhase ’09, an associate wealth management advisor at Northwest Mutual Condrey Group

Photo caption: Among the returning alumni who participated in the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business’ 8th annual Alumni Recognition Day were Kristin Rice ’08 MBA and the Rev. Andrew Lupton ’08 MBA, the business school’s first two recipients of the Gore Center for Servant Leadership Awards. Both completed the business school’s 3/2 program, which allowed them to earn a bachelor’s and an MBA in five years. Today, Rice is an associate attorney with Carolina Law Partners, and Lumpton is a missionary with Global Youth and Family Ministries, a church-planting organization.

Article by Cherry Crayton, Digital Content Coordinator