» STUDENT SPOTLIGHT
Top 100 Business Students Recognized by College
Representing the top two percent of all business students, the College of Business recognized the 100 Best business students last fall in an inaugural ceremony attended by university administrators, alumni and business and community leaders.
"The College of Business has placed a renewed focus on academics, professional development and career services for our students," said Lisa Montoya, associate dean for undergraduate studies. "We are transforming business students into business professionals."
Honorees were junior and senior business majors who were nominated by faculty and staff. The students were chosen based on their record of outstanding academic achievement, leadership and professional development. Each student received a lapel pin that denoted their honor and served as ambassadors for the college.
"Attending UTSA as a second generation Roadrunner has proven to be the best decision that I could have possibly made," said Andrea de la Garza, '12, a recent finance graduate. "UTSA is more than just a university. For me, UTSA represents pride in one's city, home and culture."
As a group, the 100 Best had an average grade point average of 3.7. One third of the students were members of the Honors College and participated in the college international immersion program. Ten percent of the students were veterans or served in the Reserve Officer Training Corps and 70 percent of the students completed an internship or held a professional position while also being active in a student organization.
UTSA Accounting Students Give Back to the Small Business Community
College of Business accounting students spent the semester putting their accounting skills to practice while also serving the local small business community. The Accounting Practicum course, taught by Senior Lecturer Gary Bridges, allows students to gain hands-on experience in the accounting industry and focuses on the importance of service learning to the community.
Since the program's inception in 2008, students have completed 10,000 hours of community service—amounting to $1 million in services provided to small business clients.
Working in partnership with the Institute for Economic Development Small Business Development Center and new partner Accion, small businesses are partnered with accounting students who consult for those businesses throughout the semester.
"This program prepares students for the workplace, benefits the local small business community and ultimately strengthens the region's economy," said Bridges. "Students learn to address complex problems in a real world setting and the businesses gain a better understanding of their financial situations."
Finance Students Place First in CFA Global Research Competition
The key to being a great financial analyst instead of just a good one might be as simple as attending the right university. A team of finance students from the College of Business proved that theory by placing first in the CFA Institute Research Challenge, a global competition which tests financial analytical skills of business students from throughout the world.
Team members were recent graduates Tiby Erdely, '12, finance; Thibaut Guidet, '11, finance; and Neal Orsburn, '12, accounting and finance.
"We proved that UTSA finance students are top tier," said Guidet. "We can not only compete with some of the best business programs in Texas, but we can beat them. Our finance education gave us the tools we needed to succeed."
In addition to their academic preparation, the students also credit their participation in the college's Investment Society, a student organization dedicated to learning about and applying finance.
"Our student's success is a direct result of the top-notch teaching by our faculty combined with the applied learning experiences our students receive through the college's Financial Studies Center," said Ron Sweet, finance faculty member and advisor to the Investment Society. "UTSA has created a learning atmosphere that is unmatched by other schools."
The UTSA team beat out 19 competitors from the Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma region including teams from Loyola, Rice, Southern Methodist University, Texas Tech and Tulane. This was UTSA's third year participating in the competition and their first win.
As part of the competition the team had to prepare a company valuation of Gamestop, that included producing a written report and presenting their findings during an oral presentation. More than 3,000 students from 600 universities in nearly 50 countries participated in this year's competition.
The students credit their success to the passion of their mentor Ron Sweet. "We all love finance, but we've never met a person more passionate about his students or finance than Professor Sweet," said Erdely. "He even offered to pull an all nighter with us to help us succeed."
Founders Council Members Mentor Real Estate Students
Eighteen real estate students learned firsthand about the real estate industry through a professional mentoring program sponsored by the Real Estate Finance and Development Founders Council.
The mentorship program began last fall and provides students an opportunity to connect with industry professionals for career guidance and professional development opportunities. Participants were encouraged to meet monthly throughout the semester.
"The REFD mentorship program will benefit me long after I graduate from UTSA," said Daniel Rodriguez, a senior in the program who was mentored by Silvia Gangel. "Ms. Gangel has been an excellent resource for me and has demonstrated how to achieve success through perseverance, hard work and leadership."
Eighteen students have participated in the program since its inception last fall. Mentors have included Jeff Bailey, '86, Bob Barnes, Chuck Calvin, Plack Carr, Pat Duncan, Walter Embrey, Silvia Gangel, Brent Given, '85, Laurie Griffith, Dale Kane, Kevin Roberts and Tim Swan.
"This program allows me to share my passion for education with the students, and to ensure that the next generation of industry professionals is prepared for the workforce," said Laurie Griffith, executive vice president at Texas Capital Bank. "I've also learned that students today have expanded their horizons and are ready to embrace not only local, but global job opportunities as well."
Business Scholars Program Succeeds in Mission of Graduating Students
Established in 2002 as a program to help first-generation college students make a smooth transition from high school to college and on to graduation, the Business Scholars Program (BSP) in the College of Business celebrated its biggest accomplishment yet—the graduation of 22 students from the program in one semester.
"I am very thankful for everything the Business Scholars Program has offered me," said Rose Ornelas, '12, a marketing major. "I have grown as a professional thanks to the events, workshops and conferences that I have attended. I'm also grateful for the academic assistance and scholarship opportunities that helped me accomplish my goals."
BSP provides academic, leadership and professional development services for first-generation college students. Students also develop leadership skills through mentorship and community service activities. The program boasts an 84 percent retention rate for participants.
Business Scholars Program graduates were Crystal Aldrighette, Juan Cabrera, Esther Cole, Laura Cox, Jessica Figueroa, Laura Galvan, Daysi Garcia, Angelica Garcia, Jamaal Hollingsworth, Carmen Lafuente, Patricia Lara, Rochelle Mata, Rose Ornelas, Oanh Pham, Luis Reyes, Jo Rios, Courtney Skelly, Ryan Smith, Nadine Suh, Christian Tijerina, Cynthia Urrea, and Joseph Valencia.
"The Business Scholars Program serves as a community of support for academic achievement, friendship and professional development," said Rosa Garza-Girdy, director of undergraduate studies and the Business Scholars Program. "Participating in a community of like-minded students who face the same challenges enriches the college experience and makes students more likely to realize their goals."
UTSA Business Student Named Pearson National Fellow
During his senior year Caleb Pendleton, '12 was one of 20 students nationwide awarded the Pearson Prize for Higher Education. The award, given by the Pearson Foundation, recognizes students who distinguish themselves through commitment to community service.
"It was an amazing experience to learn from other fellows about their community service work," said Pendleton who received the $10,000 award last fall at a ceremony at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. "There are three things that I love: business, technology and helping people. I've been fortunate to be able to combine each of these passions in my life."
Pendleton, who recently completed his undergraduate degree in information systems, is the co-founder of a real estate company focused on assisting low-income families own homes.
Business Students Travel Around the Globe in Summer Immersion Programs
Seventy business students participated in seven international immersion programs funded by the College of Business this summer.
These 10-day intensive immersion programs, led by faculty members, include academic presentations, visits to local corporations and cultural experiences. Prior to the immersion experience, students study the history, culture and socioeconomic conditi0ns of each country. Following the experience the students complete a final project.
This year's trips featured new excursions to the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Immersion locales included Abu Dhabi/Dubai, Argentina/Chile, Australia/New Zealand, Canary Islands, Finland, Malaysia/Singapore and Spain.
"Immersions broaden global perspective and unequivocally make the point that business is done differently around the globe," said Lisa Gomez, director of international engagement in the college. "Students visit businesses from the most prominent industries in their respective countries. In the Middle East, the students explored the energy, shipping and transportation industries. In Malaysia the students studied Islamic finance and toured Groupon."
The immersions give students an introduction to the challenges of doing business internationally. "It's like a textbook coming to life," said Jesus Valadez, a senior majoring in international business who participated in the Spain immersion. "We learn about management and operations in different cultures in the classroom, but to see it firsthand really makes a big impact."
Since the inception of the international business immersion program in 2007, 322 students have participated in exchanges to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.