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March 2015

Student Entrepreneurs bring home Top Prizes

Emily Watson and Nathan Hall holding their awards 'checks'

EKU's IDEA State U team, under the direction of faculty advisor Laura Barthel, brought home first and third place from the Hazard Regional IDEA State University Competition March 26.

Nathan Hall won 1st Place, and $1,000, in the Plan Track division for his Longevity Tea presentation. Hall is a senior human resource management major from Richmond, Ky. 

Emily Watson brought home 3rd place and $500 in this competition in the Model Track for her U Fund idea. Watson also earned 1st place in the Collegiate Business Concept Competition two weeks ago with prize winnings of $1,000. She is a management senior from Flatgap, Ky.

According to Dr. Lana Carnes, Chair of the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business, "We appreciate very much Laura's dedication to mentoring these students. All of us in MMIB know what a time commitment this is to share her expertise in this meaningful way."

The next stop for EKU's team will be the State IDEA Competition to be held April 24-25 in Lexington. Idea State U is a program of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

Phi Beta Lambda Wins Again!

PBL students with advisor Dr. Robles (far right)

Phi Beta Lambda represented The School of Business and Eastern Kentucky University professionally and proudly at the Spring Leadership Conference in Pikeville, Ky., this past weekend. Our business students brought home five 1st place and five 2nd place awards.

  • Savannah Day – 1st place, Client Service
  • Austin Hodge – 2nd place, Accounting Principles
  • Michael Parsons – 2nd place, Cyber Security
  • Evan Singleton – 2nd place, International Business
  • Wendi Smith – 1st place, Future Business Educator; 1st place, Desktop Publishing
  • Dalton Stanley – 1st place, Entrepreneurship Concepts
  • Ron Dale Valentine – 2nd place, Desktop Publishing
  • Tyler Dahmen and Kara Sturm – 2nd place, Business Decision Making
  • Daniel Bevins, Laura Jackson, and Dalton Stanley – 1st place, Business Presentation

All of the students who attended the Conference are definitely emerging Business Leaders. They will now go on to the PBL National Leadership Conference in Chicago in July to compete in the National Academic Testing—Go Colonels!

MMIB Faculty Present at Appalachian Research in Business Symposium

MMIB faculty at the ARBS in Asheville, N.C.

Faculty from the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business traveled to Asheville, N.C., to present at the Appalachian Research in Business Symposium on March 20, 2015.

The conference gave faculty from Appalachian State University, East Tennessee State University, Eastern Kentucky University, and Western Carolina University an opportunity to collaborate and discuss research interests. Peer-reviewed research was presented in the business areas of accounting, economics, management, and marketing.

Photo gallery...

Presentations for EKU were:

  • Marcel Robles: Managing and Leading Individual Differences in Generations of Today’s Corporate Employees
  • Laura Barthel: How Have International Organizations Faced the Challenge of Communicating the Goals of the Strategic Plan
  • Laura Barthel: Survey of the Top-Ranked Undergraduate Accounting Programs to Identify the Prevalence of Explicit Critical Thinking in Their Accounting Programs
  • Allen Engle: Uncoiling COIL:  An Interim Sociotechnical Systems Assessment of International Learning Activities
  • Qian Xiao and Lana Carnes: An Action-Learning Based Approach to Teaching Strategic Management: Design of a Capstone Course
  • Mike Roberson and Beth Polin: Meaningful Critical Thinking Assessment: Drilling Down to Specific Skills and Behaviors
  • Beth Polin and Scott Dust: Do You Trust Me? The Differential Effects of Employee-Manager Ability, Benevolence, and Integrity Trust Incongruence.
  • Weiling Zhuang and Lana Carnes: Students’ characteristics and motivation to learn in an Online learning environment: An empirical investigation
  • Karen Hood, Christine Kowalczyk, & Christopher Hopkins: Texting While Driving: A multi method approach to understanding the influence of sponsor and victim context in behavior change.
  • Faridah Awang, Lana Carnes, & Qian Xiao: Holistic Assessment of Business Programs

The 2016 Appalachian Research in Business Symposium will be hosted by Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky., on March 31 and April 1.

Photo caption -  from left: Weiling Zhuang, Lana Carnes, Faridah Awang, Karen Hood, Scott Dust, Beth Polin, Laura Barthel, Marcel Robles, Qian Xiao, and Mike Roberson.

Faculty-Student Collaboration is Published Nationally

Combs and Awang

Dr. Faridah Awang and student Robert Combs share a common interest in cultural intelligence that led them to collaboration, research and, finally, publication in a national journal. Combs, a Global Supply-Chain Management senior from Lexington, has also been selected as this year's Outstanding Senior in General Business for the Department of Management, Marketing, and International Business.

According to Dr. Awang, Professor and Program Coordinator of Corporate Communication and Technology, the article was recently published in the National Business Education Forum.  Titled “Developing Cultural Intelligence across Business Functions,” it describes how culture plays a large part in business in today’s international market.

MMIB faculty actively encourage faculty/student collaboration and research. This month's departmental WOW! Session, “Involving Students in Research,” was led by Dr. Weiling Zhuang and focused on best practices.

Excerpt from “Developing Cultural Intelligence across Business Functions”

“Culture matters. On the surface, this seems such an obvious and simplistic point that it is hardly worth mentioning. But in international business, cultural barriers do affect many businesses working across cultures. It is not enough to merely have cognitive intelligence when working; business managers also need cultural intelligence, also referred to as CQ.

The article describes a study to assess needed cultural intelligence skills and their effects on business operations and performance of international business divisions within multinational organizations. The study answered the following question: How can the enhancement of cultural intelligence skills affect the effectiveness of businesses’ international human resources (HR), sales and marketing, and accounting and finance divisions? The study found that HR professionals particularly need to focus on interpersonal communication skills and adapt them to specific cultures; marketing and sales professionals need to focus especially on language abilities and communication adaptability; and finance and accounting professionals need to focus on varying applications of regulations in different cultures.”


Awang, F. & Combs, R. (2015). Developing cultural intelligence across business functions. Business Education Forum, 69(3), 38-40.

Power of Maroon: Leadership Spotlight, Kirby Easterling

Kirby Easterling, Executive-in-Residence (Sarah Bucknam/C&M)

Kirby Easterling, Executive-in-Residence in Management for the School of Business, is featured in this ongoing series designed to allow EKU leaders and others in prominent positions to discuss their roles, as well as campus issues.

Easterling, who joined the Department of Management, Marketing, and International Business, at the beginning of July 2014 to prep his classes, began working “officially” when the fall semester started in August. The “very proud” three-time EKU graduate holds dual bachelor’s degrees in accounting and economics and a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance. He also holds a master’s degree in global supply chain management from The Pennsylvania State University. Prior to joining the EKU faculty, he held positions at Corning Incorporated, Lexmark International and Hitachi Automotive.

After a long career in industry, what are you enjoying most about teaching at EKU?
After a 22-year corporate world, I found myself at a unique point in life in that I could choose what I wanted to do next. I love my former company (Corning Incorporated) and colleagues, but really wanted to “pay it forward,” specifically at EKU. One of my former EKU business professors, Dr. Bertee Adkins, had a profound impact on my life, and still continues to provide me sage advice. I have a very deep appreciation of the life-long impact a professor can have on a student — either positively or negatively. The timing of EKU launching a Global Supply Chain Management program and the planned conclusion of my six-year international assignments in Japan and Singapore could not have been a better fit. There are many things I love about teaching at EKU, but engaging with the students is easily at the top of my list. I love being around students who are striving to improve their skills, competencies, and knowledge — and I think they know that and can sense my sincerity and willingness to help in any way. I am also very fortunate in that my colleagues in the MMIB Department are outstanding and a pleasure to be around. And I think it’s extremely special to be teaching at the school at which I was an aspiring student 25 years ago!

Why is global supply chain management such an explosive field in the area of international business?
There are a few reasons why Supply Chain Management has and continues to be very hot. Globalization is a major reason, as firms are buying raw materials, manufacturing products, and shipping their goods all over the world at unprecedented levels, and supply chain management is at the forefront of making that happen. Just prior to joining EKU, I had an opportunity to travel extensively to India, Cambodia, and Vietnam. My perception of those countries was skewed heavily by what I had seen on the news and TV. However, I was pleasantly surprised in that those countries are really developing (physical infrastructure and individual competencies) and, as economies and disposable incomes grow, consumers are demanding the same products and services that we in more developed countries enjoy. Without the major pillars of supply chain management, those customers could not be served. A second major reason is that top executives are correctly assessing that effective supply chain management is often a quicker path to improving profitability than simply selling more product; point being that supply chain management effectively done can often lead to cutting costs quicker than commercial organizations can go out and generate additional sales. My previous employer, Corning Incorporated, correctly recognized this opportunity and for the past few years the “acquisition” of supply chain talent has exceeded literally all other functional areas across the entire company. In fact that was exactly the scope of my last job — launching and staffing a new supply chain hub for Corning with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

What impact do you hope to have on our students and the program?
I really believe we are on the cusp of greatness at EKU. There are so many exciting things happening on campus — new facilities, lots of new programs, a willingness to be creative and think “outside the box,” etc. What most people don’t know is that EKU’s new bachelor’s degree program in Global Supply Chain Management is the first amongst the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s eight public universities. To use a business term, we are ‘first to (the) market’ in our state. We recently succeeded in having EKU’s GSCM program added to a very prestigious listing of universities offering supply chain management degree programs. When prospective employers or students click on “Kentucky” on the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) website, only one school is listed, and that’s EKU! To be a part of a new program launch is tons of work and also tons of fun. I take great pride in knowing that I’m helping students prepare themselves for a successful career — regardless of their business major. I think many EKU students relate to me as I’m originally from Pike Co. in rural eastern Kentucky. I had a student from southeastern Kentucky tell me last semester, “You know, I didn’t think people from our area could actually lead big companies, live overseas, travel the world…but looking at what you’ve done, I think I’ve been underestimating what I can accomplish if I apply myself.” That statement is perhaps the most rewarding of my entire professional career. It doesn’t get much better than inspiring someone that they can do more than perhaps they had originally expected of themselves. I like to talk to students (individually and in groups) outside the classroom in sharing things that we maybe don’t focus enough on in college — professionalism and the need for effective career. These things are highly important regardless of whether you’re an education major or a business school major.

What insights from your own vast experience in global supply chain management have you tried to share with your students?
My students are constantly telling me that they appreciate the unique perspectives I bring to teaching. Not only are we fully diving into textbook material and case studies (staples of business school!), but I supplement heavily with “real world” examples gathered from my 22 years working with three Fortune 500 companies across three different industries — things that worked well, as well as things that didn’t. One of the things I’ve really been emphasizing — to Supply Chain majors as well as Business School students in general—is that they’re entering into a world where not everyone acts, looks, talks, and has the same values and beliefs as they do. Literally every company — except for maybe the traditional small “mom & pop” company — has some degree of a global supply chain (maybe a supplier or a customer in another country), and teams that are executing those supply chains are very diverse and spread across various regions and time zones. The other element I really emphasize is “concept integration,” meaning that aspiring professionals have to be able to link all elements (ex. Marketing, Finance, Supply Chain) holistically and not think of them independently, as is often the case in normal coursework.

According to a recent article in Fortune magazine, the logistics industry, even though it’s growing rapidly, still has a recruiting problem because it’s either misunderstood or invisible. Explain.
This is a great question. In fact, I recently gave an update on Eastern’s new Global Supply Chain Management program to Richmond Rotary (business leaders across the county), and at the end of my presentation one of the business leaders came up to me and said, “All those areas you talked about that encompasses Supply Chain Management, we do them — but we don’t call it Supply Chain.” The term “Supply Chain Management” is fairly new actually, really becoming widely used just in the last 10 years or so. In fact, when I first started my career, there was little to no concept of an integrated supply chain — just individual departments maximizing their own self-interests with minimal regard to impacts throughout the organization. But the Supply Chain profession is making great strides. One of the biggest aids in helping people understand the function is the creation of the Supply Chain Operating Reference (SCOR) model. This model calls out the main pillars of a Supply Chain (Planning, Sourcing, Making, and Delivering) and also specifies the deep integration between the various elements from the initial supplier to the final customer — which is what we now call Supply Chain Management. By the way, the industry leader that approached me after the Rotary event is now highly interested in having some of EKU’s Supply Chain majors do internships at his company!

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The Power of Branding

The Power of Branding presentation

Thanks to Brad Flowers and Will Jones from Bullhorn Creative in Lexington for today’s presentation and discussion of EKU Branding.

The Marketing Club sponsored this event.

Maroon SHRM Elects Officers for Spring 2015

Spring 2015 SHRM Officers

EKU’s Society for Human Resource Management (Maroon SHRM) is a student run organization open to all majors interested in the human resource management profession.

Members engage in a number of professional, charitable, and service projects throughout the semester. Maroon SHRM currently holds officer elections at the beginning of each semester, providing students a channel in which to exercise leadership.

Pictured (left to right) are the senior Spring 2015 Maroon SHRM officers:

  • Brody Freeman (General Business, Corbin) - Vice President of Publicity
  • Ryan Baker (Management, Berea) - Chief Operating Officer
  • Nuri Yurdakul (Management, Springboro, Oh.) - Chief Financial Officer
  • Victoria Bishop (HR Management, Danville) - Chief Information Officer
  • Dan Shepherd (Management, Cincinnati, Oh.) - Vice President of Service Projects
  • Jeff Moon (HR Management, Harrodsburg) - Chief Learning Officer
  • Ashley Halsey (HR Management, Stanton) - Chief Executive Officer

Maroon SHRM has participated in several notable service projects in recent years, such as collecting donations to assist in preventing families from losing their homes and sending care packages to troops.

The group also regularly invites professionals to dialogue on topics of interest. At their March meeting, Mr. Tim Hall, SPHR, spoke to the group. Mr. Hall is Director of Human Resources for the Tetra Tech facility in Lexington. Tetra Tech is a leading provider of consulting, engineering, program management, construction management and technical services worldwide. The company has over 13,000 employees with a revenue of $2.5 billion and a geographic reach of more than 300 offices worldwide.

Members also receive a wide variety of professional benefits from participating in Maroon SHRM. Other events include guest speakers from business leaders in related industries, insight into graduate school options, plant walkthroughs, and other networking experiences. Maroon SHRM meetings are posted on the SHRM bulletin board outside of Room 102 in the EKU Business and Technology Center.

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