Internal Drive, Supportive Faculty Helped Ericka Gutierrez Be Successful in COB

Attaining her master’s in business administration was going to be a daunting task, but Ericka Gutierrez was up for it.

Most days began around 5 a.m. for her. She finished up tasks and assignments she hadn’t the night before at the library, prepared for another day and saw her 5-year-old daughter, Aryana, off to school. She was at her desk by 8 a.m., working as outreach coordinator for the UCA Office of Diversity & Community.

From there, she either worked several hours at her part-time job or attended night class. That was followed by a few hours in the library each night to work on assignments. Then, she tried to get a few hours of sleep before the next day began.

“It’s difficult to be in school at the post-graduate level and have all those moving parts,” said Gutierrez. “But I never doubted that no matter what happened, I could reach out to my professors and they would support me. I knew from my undergraduate in the College of Business I could take all this on and have the support I needed.”

Gutierrez first came to UCA in 2012 as a transfer student from the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton.

MORE: Transferring from UACCM? Check UCA’s 2+2 Transfer Agreements

“I was a first-generation college student in my family so I needed a little extra help in navigating through college, finding my bearings and navigating the next steps,” said Gutierrez. “My professors were the best throughout that process and impacted me tremendously.”

After she settled on a management degree with an emphasis in logistics and supply chain management, Gutierrez said Scott Nadler, Ph.D., associate professor of management, walked her through her first career fair, introducing her to his contacts in the industry.

“That first career fair can be intimidating,” she said. “There a lot of people and recruiters, and it’s hard to know what to say and how to present yourself. Dr. Nadler diffused the tension and helped me through it.”

That type of support and encouragement continued throughout her undergraduate with other professors including Doug Voss, Ph.D., associate professor of logistics and supply chain management, and Michael B. Hargis, Ph.D., dean of the UCA College of Business and then-associate professor of marketing and management.

LEARN MORE: Logistics & Supply Chain Management

“It was really unheard of to have that type of support,” said Gutierrez. “I felt at home with a group of professors who were willing to walk with me through my education. It was great to have that type of support from people I looked up to.”

When she graduated in 2014, Gutierrez had various opportunities in logistics and supply chain, but the pull to work at UCA was too strong to ignore. She accepted a position as an admissions counselor and began recruiting throughout central and northwest Arkansas.

“I loved UCA, and the position sounded great,” said Gutierrez. “The more I learned about it, the more I knew that was where I needed to be. As a Hispanic woman and first-generation college student, it was incredible to connect with so many students who were like me and reassure them they could achieve the educational goals they had and have the support at UCA to do so.”

Her previous experiences in the college, along with an opportunity she saw to grow personally and in her career, Gutierrez returned to the College of Business in 2016 to pursue an MBA.

“I wanted to continue to learn about myself and see what area of business I wanted to enter eventually,” said Gutierrez. “It was an amazing experience.”

Gutierrez immediately saw the benefits of the program. Concepts in Organizational Behavior helped Gutierrez better address and counsel students in her new position as coordinator for Hispanic and Latino outreach initiatives in the Office of Diversity & Community.

Her Innovation Leadership course with Jeff Standridge, Ph.D., adjunct instructor of finance and member of the College of Business Advisory Board, “changed my perspective in my personal life, motherhood and in my career,” said Gutierrez.

“It’s a do-and-learn class,” said Gutierrez. “It’s about implementing new products or ideas in effective ways. It presents a process you can follow and implement whatever you’re doing, get feedback, adjust and reapply. It’s something I’ve been able to apply in my job and it’s been rewarding to see how it’s helped with implementing new programs in our office.”

LEARN MORE: Master of Business Administration

While many of the days were long, Gutierrez said smaller class sizes, paired with helpful professors and hybrid courses helped her tremendously.

“I was able to take face-to-face classes when I felt I needed to do that, but I had the flexibility to take online classes, too,” she said. “Having that option was amazing and makes it possible to achieve.”

Ultimately, her time in the MBA program was transformational for Gutierrez.

“I took a lot of self-development and growth out of that program,” she said. “I was able to explore my strengths and weaknesses which is invaluable. Whether it is personally, academically or professionally, if you’re able to see your strengths and weaknesses, you can be strategic in those areas.”

BIT Club Meeting ~ 2/26/19

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its second meeting on Tuesday, February 26th.  It will be held in the College of Business Auditorium (Rooms 107/208) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.) and is open to all majors on campus.  Allison Nicholas and Jay Callaway, both with First Orion, will be our featured speakers.  First Orion is a leader in network enterprise solutions, call identification, and call management software, focusing on data-driven call transparency across the calling experience.  Allison and Jay are both UCA graduates and we are delighted to welcome them back to campus.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

Recent COB Grad Hopes to Take Education Back Home

It excites Uyanga Tsogtbaatar to think about the impact her education could have on her home country of Mongolia.

Steady access to the country’s goods, services, businesses and health care does not extend far past the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. Much like in the United States, access wanes in rural areas.

This is where an expertise in supply chain management and logistics could help build a foundation of transportation and infrastructure to support the country’s rural population better. It’s the degree Uyanga earned December.

“I want to be a good citizen to my country,” she said. “I want to be an active part of improving its logistics and supply chain field and the infrastructure of my country.”

Logistics and supply chain management is a major Uyanga landed on after trying so many others to no avail. She came to Arkansas because of her extended family, an aunt and uncle and cousins who lived in Little Rock. It took several different majors and a transfer for her to land in the UCA College of Business and the Logistics and Supply Chain Management program.

After that, it didn’t take long for her to find her niche.

“I’m not someone who likes to stick to one thing or task,” she said. “In supply chain, it is a wide variety of responsibilities. It’s the reason I love it so much.”

One of the reasons she came to UCA was because of the on-campus atmosphere. Campus life was thriving at UCA with activities and student organizations. In the College of Business’ Logistics and Supply Chain Management program, she found faculty who supported her.

Whether it was Jim Dittrich, Scott Nadler, Ph..D., or Doug Voss, Ph.D., Uyanga said “they have all been so supportive of me and helpful.”

It was Voss who helped her obtain a $1,000 scholarship in her final semester from the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA).

“My mom and dad both work and help me pay for school, and $1,000 is a lot of money in Mongolia,” said Uyanga. “I was so excited to receive that scholarship because it helped so much.”

A few months removed from graduation, Uyanga is focused on gaining a few years of experience in the industry before she returns to Mongolia. Her former professors, like Dittrich, think she’ll find success in whatever she pursues.

“She is the most driven student I have met at UCA,” said Dittrich. “I think she will be very successful at whatever she sets her mind to do.”

Vance Johnson Lewis, Ed.D., Named Ambassador for Academy of Management

Vance Johnson Lewis, Ed.D., assistant professor of management in the University of Central Arkansas College of Business, has been appointed as ambassador to a division of the Academy of Management.

Lewis was one of eight to be named an ambassador to the Academy of Management’s Management Education and Development Division. He began his three-year term Jan. 15. In the role, Lewis will oversee development initiatives to promote and create robust international membership for the academy.

He recently completed a three-year term as an ambassador to the Academy of Management’s Organizational Behavior Division.

The Academy of Management is one of the premier professional associations for management and organization scholars. It was founded in 1936 and has more than 20,000 members across more than 120 countries. The academy houses several divisions and interest groups, including management education and development, entrepreneurship, consulting and organizational behavior.

Lewis came to the UCA College of Business in 2016. Prior, he was a clinical assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, a lecturer at Oklahoma State University and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Central Oklahoma.

After earning his bachelor’s in management at UCA, Lewis earned his master’s in higher education leadership at the University of Arkansas and his doctorate in higher education at Oklahoma State University. He completed a post-doctoral certification in marketing and management at the University of Florida.

Lewis has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals and has presented nationally. He is a member of the Academy of Management, Midwest Academy of Management and Society for Human Resources Management.

The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. The UCA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Visit for more.

UCA, Acxiom Accepting Applications for High School IT Careers Camp in June

Robotics Demonstration – 2015

High school students interested in learning more about a possible career in information technology can now register to attend the UCA/Acxiom IT Careers Camp set for June 26-29.

The camp is free, thanks to funding provided by Acxiom, and is open to all students entering grades 9-12 in the fall. Previous participants are welcome to apply.

The four-day, three-night camp will introduce students to college and career opportunities in information technology in an interactive, engaging environment. Campers will compete in teams to design the best webpage using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, learn programming with Raspberry Pi and participate in a robotics workshop. Students will also visit Acxiom and  Makerspace.

IT professionals will also be on-hand at the camp and serve as mentors to the students. All meals are provided and campers will be housed in New Hall for the duration of the camp. Applications are accepted through Feb. 22. To apply, click here.

Camp Selfie – 2018

The camp, hosted in partnership with the University of Central Arkansas College of Business and Acxiom, began in 2007 and has welcomed more than 300 students to campus to learn about information technology.

The UCA College of Business is the fastest-growing college at the University of Central Arkansas with more than 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 13 baccalaureate degrees, two master’s and one graduate certificate across four academic departments and houses the state’s only insurance and risk management program. The UCA College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Visit for more.

Advice for the Future from COB Alumnus Pat Moon

Pat Moon left Arkansas in 1984 a recent finance graduate of the UCA College of Business for an MBA program in Texas.

He wondered how his baccalaureate degree and preparation would stack up against his competition from other schools, but ultimately, he was pleasantly surprised.

“I found the UCA faculty prepared me well to be successful in studies and the job market,” said Moon. “I appreciate how the College of Business prepared me to compete.”

Moon had been exposed to the world of investments as a child when his dad bought him 100 shares of CCX Network, what would one day become Acxiom. Still, he came to the College of Business planning to major in accounting. But when he reached the upper-level classes, he couldn’t ignore the pull to finance and investments.

Moon is now a chartered financial analyst with more than 30 years of experience in the industry, including as a portfolio manager and trust investment officer. He has been at Meridian Investment Advisors in Little Rock for more than 20 years as a managing principal. His clientele includes families, endowments, foundations and retirement plans.

In the past three decades, Moon has seen many changes to the financial and investment industry. Like most, technology has revolutionized the way things are done.

“Investing requires information and technology has allowed me to get information easier, faster and in more volume,” he said. “But it can be a two-edged sword. Information can overwhelm you if you don’t sort out what is important and what is not. Ultimately, you have to be able to make the decision.”

For students entering the field today, Moon said a solid foundation in accounting is key because every investment requires the evaluation of information to make sound decisions for clients.

“That information will include financials where knowledge of accounting is critical,” he said. “It’s also beneficial to reach out to professionals in the industry before you graduate to seek input. You’ll be able to learn what to expect, might find a mentor and will grow your network while in college.”

The switch from college to career can be challenging for some or most, but Moon said coming to work with a consistent drive to achieve will help.

“A job probably won’t demand more of you than the pressure of getting your degree, but it will most likely be more structured and require that constant effort to succeed,” he said. “It’s important to be organized, use technology and learn new technology, develop a network, learn to make sound decisions with the information you have, ask questions and maybe most importantly — listen.”

UCA College of Business Corporate Partners: Edafio

The UCA College of Business enjoys many corporate partnerships in the business community. These relationships serve as a pipeline to opportunity in a host of industries for our graduates. We are fortunate to have cultivated such a relationship with Edafio Technology Partners. Check out the video to see how three College of Business alumni — Paul Bradley, Ben Youngblood, and Yong Seung — have taken their education and found a rewarding career.

Finance Major Sally Fridström’s Ambition Drives Her to Succeed

There’s a determination that drives everything Sally Fridström does and it is what leads her professors to believe she’ll succeed no matter what she pursues.

“There’s almost a stubbornness to her determination, but it is in a good way, and it serves her well,” said Parker Woodroof, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UCA College of Business. “She’s bright, she prides herself on her work ethic and she’s good at talking to anyone.”

That drive is just innate in Fridström, a senior finance major and member of the UCA women’s golf team. Whether on the course or in the classroom, she wants to succeed and be the best.

Last summer, Fridström had the opportunity to showcase her abilities at The Accelerator, a 28-day boot camp at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

The camp, offered through Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management, puts college students and recent undergraduates in front of companies, ranging from startups to multi-national firms, to work through real-life business problems and provide consultation.

“I was fortunate to collaborate with two teams of about eight people, which provided more than 160 hours of consulting work for various companies, including Google Fiber,” said Fridström.

“They came with an issue or problem and we tried to solve it,” said Fridström. “We had four or five days to research, formulate a strategy and then present our idea that was judged by C-level executives.”

Participants also took part in MBA-level coursework in branding, design, economics, product development and more. Fridström said the wide variety of business classes she’s had through the College of Business’ foundation and core requirements, which exposes all business majors to many disciplines — including accounting, finance, logistics, information systems and more — helped her settle into her advanced coursework.

“It was good having that overall foundation with me because if I had been fast-tracked in finance, I wouldn’t have had knowledge of the marketing and management side,” said Fridström. “It helped me be an active member of the team during our work.”

Without the requirement to explore different realms of business early in college, Fridström might not have found her niche in finance and marketing. She began as a general business major, but the foundation and core requirements exposed her to fields she enjoyed immensely.

“It makes you well-rounded,” said Fridström. “Throughout those first few years, you’re establishing a foundation of interest with broad knowledge across a spectrum of topics. It helped me find out what I really like and what I didn’t like, which was great.”

Fridström decided to major in finance and discovered an interest in marketing through time in Woodroof’s courses, and ended up choosing it for her minor. Learning the art of persuasion, how to carry yourself and present your brand are all aspects of marketing she enjoys.

“It’s super interesting,” she said.

“Parker is the best professor, he made me more aware of marketing,” said Fridström. “He makes classes more interesting, which makes us all more engaged.”

Once she graduates in May, Fridström is concentrated on getting her master’s in accounting and ultimately becoming a certified public accountant. She was recently accepted to Vanderbilt University’s Master of Accountancy program in the Owen Graduate School.

“Accounting is the language of business,” said Fridström. “If I am able to master it and become a CPA, I’ll have endless opportunities and be able to leverage my background in finance and marketing as well.”

Long-term, Fridström would like to be a financial advisor for athletes. An athlete herself, Fridström sees a clientele she identifies with and can help navigate financial decisions.

“Whatever she decides, she’ll be equipped to do it,” said Woodroof.

BIT Club Meeting ~ Thursday, January 31

The Business & Information Technology (BIT) Club is having its Spring Welcome Meeting and Kick-Off on Thursday, January 31st.  The event, which will be held in the College of Business Auditorium (Rooms 107/208) during X-period (1:40 – 2:30 p.m.), is open to all majors on campus.  Doneshia Moore, a UCA alum who is an IT Recruiter for Insight, will be the featured speaker.  Joining her will be Amber Welch and James Sullivan – all UCA graduates!  Insight is a Global Fortune 500 IT Sales Company and will be at our Career Fair.  We are delighted to welcome them all back to campus.  Refreshments will be served and door prizes will be awarded.  All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend.

Paul Bradley: UCA College of Business Gave Me Advantage in Career

Paul Bradley wanted a sophisticated, technical education in a team-oriented setting. He found both in the UCA College of Business and the Department of Management Information Systems.

A Conway native, Bradley grew up around computers and in the middle of the internet and dot-com boom.

“I remember I was about 8 years old when my parents bought our first computer,” said Bradley. “It was interesting. It was so big and bulky, and old school. You look at it now and think of what an antique it is.”

The internet’s influence grew and so did Bradley’s computer skills. He learned how to build applications and develop websites. He took several high school courses to further his knowledge. He also worked for a local internet provider, selling its dial-up network.

When he came to the UCA College of Business in 2002, the MIS program allowed him to grow even more.

“It was a people-minded program,” said Bradley. “It had the technical, computer and IT aspects, of course, but it wasn’t a sit-behind-your-desk, never-talk-to-anyone type of program.”

Real-world situations presented in the classroom allowed Bradley to gain a deeper knowledge of the concepts and applications discussed.

“The professors had real-world experience to go along with an academic foundation,” said Bradley. “The classes I found most valuable were when the professor could present a concept in the form of a case study and show a wide scope of applications. You could think through the logical steps, expound on the complexities and go beyond what is in the book.”

When he returned in 2007 to pursue an MBA in the college, Bradley found the same benefits. Only this time, he could directly apply what he learned in his career.

“There were concepts I could take from strategic management and organizational behavior and could apply to the team I was leading, which made it much more valuable to me” he said. “My employer at the time was going through a production transition process, so a lot of the classes about operations and logistics applied well because we were searching for ways to reproduce processes and make things easier.”

Now, Bradley works for Edafio Technology Partners as its Conway Market Leader. The company has offices in Conway, North Little Rock and Rogers and serves as an IT managed services outfit, supporting its clients’ networking, server and infrastructure needs.

Bradley continues to see the benefits of his undergraduate and master’s education at UCA and the College of Business play out in his professional life.

“I do feel I was prepared in a much more professional, mature sense at the College of Business,” he said. “I feel like UCA set me up very well compared to peers I’m competing against for positions.”