Workshops help participants move from ideas to viable business plans
OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Insight Park and School of Business Administration are co-hosting Startup Weekend Oxford, set for Feb. 12-14.
The weekend will feature Innovation Boot Camp, Discovery Luncheon and Startup Weekend activities. The beginning of the weekend will give participants experience with assembling business models, with the end of the weekend resulting in pitching these business models to potential investors.
Innovation Boot Camp is a two-hour workshop beginning at 3 p.m. in Holman Hall, Room 38, designed to help students develop viable business and product ideas. Students are able to have one-on-one communication with faculty and brainstorming sessions with other participating students. The boot camp is the Startup Weekend kickoff event for students.
The Discovery Luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 12 at the Oxford Conference Center and features guest speaker Garret Gray, president and CEO of Next Gear Solutions of Oxford.
Later that evening, the Startup Weekend activities commence. Over the course of 54 hours, participants have an opportunity to create a viable business. Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, this three-day event brings together entrepreneurs, programmers, coders, developers and other business-minded individuals to form ideas and create business plans.
“Startup Weekend is an opportunity for startup enthusiasts to collaborate and go from concept to creation over a weekend,” said William Nicholas, UM director of economic development and organizer of the event. “It is a real pleasure to be surrounded talented people with a passion for entrepreneurship.”
Participants begin by taking 60 seconds to pitch their ideas to the group of attendees. All attendees vote for their favorite ideas, and the winning ideas are selected to build upon for the weekend. The group then divides into smaller teams, and each team spends the remainder of the weekend focusing in on a single business idea to develop.
Clay Dibrell, associate professor of management and holder of the William W. Gresham Jr. Entrepreneurial Professorship, is also the CIE’s executive director. He said he is excited to see members of the campus, community and state entrepreneurial-focused organizations work together to make this event possible.
“It is thrilling to see people who come to Startup Weekend with just an idea, and then over the weekend, you can see these potential entrepreneurs turning the corner from an idea to starting a new venture,” he said.
Stephen D. Johnston, CEO and board member of SmartSynch Inc. in Jackson, is the guest speaker on Friday night. His expertise at leading his company from start-up to a global technology leader for cellular-based smart grid communications will inspire participants in their quest to succeed as entrepreneurs.
During the course of the weekend, volunteer coaches will assist the teams and provide advice. A panel of professionals evaluates each group’s business development and their chances of real-world success.
“It is a highly beneficial partnership between Ole Miss entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship entities outside of the university,” Dibrell said. “Our common goal is to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem which allows Mississippi entrepreneurs to successfully stay in Mississippi.”
Insight Park staff members, the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation and employees of Innovate Mississippi organize Startup Weekend Oxford.
Registration is open to the public. Tickets for students are $25 and $50 for nonstudents. Click here to register.
Campus and online programs rise in prestigious Businessweek and U.S. News listings
OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Business Administration has risen significantly on Bloomberg Businessweek’s 2015 list of Best MBA programs.
UM ranked No. 69 this year in the second year that Bloomberg Businessweek has compiled the list. This is up seven places from its No. 76 position a year ago. Bloomberg compiled data from more than 13,150 students, 28,540 alumni and 1,460 recruiters. The university ranked highest in the student survey and job placement areas of the five-part survey.
“We are excited about the ranking, and it indicates the wonderful work of our faculty and staff in recruiting exceptional students and creating meaningful educational opportunities,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM business school. “The ranking will help our academic reputation, but is more of a reflection of what is already happening in the school and MBA program.”
The Ole Miss MBA program is an exceptional value for students, said Ann Canty, associate professor of management and faculty director of the MBA program.
“Students get an outstanding educational experience from an internationally accredited and highly respected business school at an affordable cost,” Canty said. “Most MBA programs are much more expensive.”
Cyree attributed much of the business school’s success to hiring talented faculty who understand its mission of providing high-quality teaching and research, as well as the engagement of its MBA board who have diligently worked to create an environment of learning the soft skills – such as speaking, writing and job-seeking – to help bolster solid academic preparation.
“Of course we could not do this without the intentional effort to recruit the best students, and our staff has been instrumental in raising the bar for admissions, which helps enhance our success,” he said. “Most importantly, it is rewarding that our graduates will benefit from the MBA degree and this ranking helps indicate the value that is obtained through earning an Ole Miss MBA.”
UM also recently was ranked among the Top 14 online MBA programs by U.S. News. The 36-hour online program, designed for working professionals, is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
The program may be completed in two years by taking two courses in fall, spring and summer. There is no residency requirement and students are not charged nonresident fees. More than 70 percent of the online students complete the MBA program in two years.
“Support from the MBA Alumni Board makes our program unique,” said Del Hawley, associate professor of finance and senior associate dean of the business school. “The board is made up of alumni who work at successful businesses, such as FedEx, Auto Zone and KPMG. Members come to campus several times a year and work one-on-one with our students.”
Alumni also lead professional development workshops for students with the goal of making Ole Miss MBAs stand out.
“They want Ole Miss graduates to have a polished resume in their hand, to walk with confidence into an interview and to be a valued employee in their company,” said Ashley Jones, director of MBA administration. “Recent exit interviews with students indicate the MBA students are successful in their job search. According to interviews conducted with May and August graduates, 67 percent had jobs prior to degree completion. The average compensation was $63,000.”
For more information about Bloomberg rankings, visit http://bloomberg.com/bestschools2015.
For more information about UM’s online MBA program, go to http://www.bus.olemiss.edu.
John Glass pays tribute to his 'Pop' through faculty chair in Meek School
OXFORD, Miss. – When businessman John D. Glass talks about his father – a hard-working business owner of a printing company and publisher of a newspaper – the love and respect can be heard each time he recalls a memory.
A longtime benefactor of the University of Mississippi, Glass has established two new endowments, including a named faculty chair to pay tribute to his father’s life. The William Quintard Glass Chair of Journalism in the Meek School of Journalism and New Media is a nod to his father’s long career at the helm of Glass Printing Co. and The Newbern Tennessean newspaper in Dyer County.
John Glass of Memphis, Tennessee, has committed a planned gift of $2 million to establish the faculty chair and to create the John D. Glass Endowment for Business Excellence in support of the university’s School of Business Administration. Previously, Glass funded a faculty support endowment in his name and a speaker series in his father’s name, both for the business school.
“I have always loved my father and the University of Mississippi,” Glass said. “I could not think of a better way to remember both. Think about it – his name will be linked forever to Ole Miss. I am proud to make this gift. I remember when Pop and I were hugging each other for the last time, he whispered into my ear, ‘Son, I love you, and have you said your prayers?’ These are the words I hold dear.
“My Pop only had a fifth-grade education. His father died when he was young, leading him to quit school and work to help support his family. Even with this background, he was a great believer in college and always encouraged me to give my best efforts. As a result, I have earned undergraduate, master’s and law degrees, all because of him.”
While $500,000 of his new planned gift is directed to the business school, where Glass earned his undergraduate degree, the remaining $1.5 million secures a named chair-level faculty position in the journalism school. Building faculty support continues as a top priority for UM, which boasts the largest student enrollment among Mississippi’s public universities and needs to add around 215 faculty members over the next three years, Ole Miss leaders have said.
Named faculty positions offer prestige and salary supplements needed to recruit top faculty members.
Will Norton, dean of the journalism school – an academic unit experiencing rapid growth with undergraduate enrollment soaring 26.6 percent, from 1,044 students in fall 2014 to 1,322 this year – expressed appreciation for Glass’ decision to fund and name a faculty chair for his father.
“It means a great deal to the Meek School and the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics when an accomplished professional makes a significant donation to pay tribute to a longtime journalist,” Norton said.
“John Glass is not only honoring his father, but he is also helping assure that future students benefit from outstanding professional instruction. We are deeply grateful for this tremendous gift and feel that Mr. Glass’ father would be proud to have his name permanently linked with the preparation of future journalists.”
Glass hopes the holder of the William Quintard Glass Chair of Journalism can mentor UM students, as his father mentored him. After an almost-50-year career in the trust area of banking with Union Planters, First Tennessee and Morgan Keegan, Glass and a business partner formed Sentry LLC, a private wealth management firm in Memphis.
“Because of Pop’s guidance, I chose to pursue a banking career from 1960 to 2009 in the trust department,” he explained. “He told me this area was the best way to learn how to make and manage money; that turned out to be very good advice.”
Ken Cyree, dean of UM’s School of Business Administration, saluted Glass for sharing his resources.
“John Glass continues to enjoy an incredible career and stands as an excellent role model in ‘giving back,'” Cyree said. “He doesn’t take his successes lightly, maintaining a strong belief in ‘paying it forward’ to express his dedication to a father, who passed on valuable life lessons, and to his alma mater, which prepared him for his career.
“The impact of Mr. Glass’ investments in the business school will be far-reaching, helping to assure students are taught to be business leaders and visionaries.”
Glass grew up in Newbern, Tennessee, and joined the Ole Miss student body, where he says he learned, in addition to academic study, “to get along with people and how to conduct myself in public.”
“When I arrived on campus, I felt as though I was ‘home.’ If you love home, you always come back,” said Glass, who also has a home in Oxford and attends athletics and other events. “I’m thankful for everything – every opportunity – that I was given. I want to bless Ole Miss for what it’s done for me.”
When giving credit to Ole Miss and his father, Glass also makes a point of thanking God.
“My Heavenly Father has blessed me more than I could ever imagine. He has been more than abundantly good to me. Everything I have comes from Him for reasons known only to Him. I want to give back to Him what He has graciously given me. It is much better to serve than to be served.”
Glass hopes his gifts provide educational opportunities that students embrace. When asked what he would tell today’s college students, he said, “Make good grades and persevere – never think about quitting. College is a real opportunity; try diligently and stay with it.”
Glass said his father encouraged him to do the same by using a unique illustration: “When I graduated from Ole Miss, Pop took me into the kitchen and turned on the water. He said, ‘This is you in college.’ Next he turned off the water. ‘This is you out of college; get a job and get off my payroll.’ As you can see, both the University of Mississippi and my Pop have blessed me over and over again. I am giving back to them because they graciously gave to me.”
Glass’ planned gift gives him membership in the 1848 Society, named for the year the university opened its doors. The society recognizes generous donors who thoughtfully provide for the university through planned and deferred gifts. For more information, call the UM Foundation at 800-340-9542 or 662-915-5944, or visit http://www.umfoundation.com/planning.
Annual event helps connect students and industry professionals
OXFORD, Miss. – The state insurance commissioner and industry leaders are among the speakers headlining the University of Mississippi’s annual Insurance Symposium. The event, hosted by the School of Business Administration, is set for Wednesday and Thursday (March 18-19) at The Inn at Ole Miss.
The school’s Risk Management and Insurance Program offers many opportunities for students to meet and interact with professionals through internships and special events. The annual symposium also brings professionals and students together through education.
“Our program is delighted to once again host such distinguished industry leaders at our symposium and we are proud to showcase our program, the university and our state to our industry guests,” said Andre Liebenberg, the school’s Robertson Chair of Insurance and associate professor of finance. “The strength of our speaker lineup is the result of excellent work by our advisory board members who guide our program and lead our fundraising efforts.
“We are honored to serve the regional insurance industry in this manner and know that the 200-plus industry participants and all the student attendees will value this opportunity to learn from today’s thought leaders.”
The insurance program at Ole Miss is the nation’s seventh-largest, and almost 100 percent of engaged students are placed in the insurance industry upon graduation, Liebenberg said.
Early bird education sessions begin at 1 p.m. Wednesday, followed by sessions throughout the afternoon. A welcome reception at the Oxford-University Club concludes the day.
Thursday’s activities begin with breakfast at The Inn at Ole Miss, followed by a welcome session featuring Mike Chaney, Mississippi commissioner of insurance. The day’s education offerings include a session with Robert Hartwig, an economist and president of the Insurance Information Institute, and another with Glenn Renwick, chairman, president and CEO of Progressive Insurance.
Robert Khayat, UM chancellor emeritus, is slated to speak at the symposium luncheon, and educational sessions will continue throughout the afternoon.
Registration for the symposium is $200. Online registration is available at http://www.olemissalumni.com. For more information, contact Kathy Shoalmire at 662-915-2830 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. News & World Report lists university in Top 25
OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi’s online MBA program is ranked in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 list of 25 Best Online MBA Programs.
UM tied Ball State University for No. 16. Other SEC schools on the list include Florida at No. 4, Auburn (No. 10) and Mississippi State (tied with the University of Tennessee at Martin for No. 18). Indiana University, Temple University and the University of North Carolina all tied for No. 1.
“We are very proud of the success of the online MBA program and the recognition of the incredible value this program provides to our students,” said Ken Cyree, dean of the UM School of Business Administration. “The fact that they can continue working and provide for their families while furthering their education is a wonderful opportunity. It is especially satisfying to be able to help our men and women in uniform to further their education.”
Besides this overall ranking, U.S. News & World Report ranks UM as a top university in the areas of:
- Faculty credentials and training rank: 49
- Student services and technology rank: 53
- Student engagement rank: 35
- Admissions selectivity rank: 20
- Peer assessment score (out of 5): 3.1
UM’s online MBA program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The program may be completed in two years by taking two courses in fall, spring and summer. There is no residency requirement and students are not charged nonresident fees. More than 70 percent of the online students complete the MBA program in two years.
“We strive to be accessible to students through both predetermined interactions such as weekly discussion board meetings, in addition to the ability to ask questions to the class or professor,” Cyree said. “We also have several opportunities for students to meet face-to-face to develop connections with their classmates. The courses are rigorous and demanding and are a companion to our on-campus program, and in many cases the same professor teaches online and on-campus.”
The online program’s student population is a combination of young professionals and experienced, successful professionals.
“They are located from coast to coast and abroad,” said Ashley Jones, director of MBA/MHA Administration. “We have bankers, engineers and entrepreneurs. Along with those in the fields of business and accounting, we have students in the field of medicine that include a surgeon, anesthesiologist and a pharmacist. All have different career goals, and they each bring learning opportunities to the class.”
For more information about U.S. News & World Report rankings, visit http://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/mba. For more information about UM’s online MBA program, go to http://www.bus.olemiss.edu.