Missouri State University
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Beta Alpha Psi Achieves Superior Chapter Status

group photo of students and faculty
Dean Stephanie Bryant (center) with Dr. Dick Williams, School of Accountancy Director (immediate right), Dr. Karl Keller (back row far right) and student members of MSU Beta Alpha Psi.

Following the success of the 2015-2016 academic year, the Missouri State chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, BAP, has been recognized internationally as a Superior Chapter. In order to achieve superior status chapters must have outstanding performance in all award categories.

“Under the leadership of Carl Keller and George Schmelzle, the Theta Pi Chapter has far exceeded the baseline requirements of Beta Alaph Psi and has excelled in the areas of academic, professionalism and leadership” says Merle Hopkins, President of the Beta Alpha Psi Board of Directors. As a reward, Beta Alpha Psi will receive a $500 check from the KPMG Foundation.

In the spring of 2016 three BAP teams finished first at Best Practices Regional Competition and went on to compete at Internationals in Baltimore, Maryland in August. Two of the three teams earned top finishes in Baltimore.

“We are so proud of our Beta Alpha Psi Chapter for receiving this high honor.” States Dr. John R. Williams, Director of the School of Accountancy. “Under the direction of Dr. Keller and Dr. Schmelzle, BAP has been very successful. With this new Superior Chapter recognition, the success continues.”

BAP students celebrate their regional competition win
BAP students celebrate their regional competition win

About Beta Alpha Psi

In order to become a member of Beta Alpha Psi, students must attend an AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) accredited program, be among the top 35% of their university class or have a 3.25 cumulative GPA.  There are more than 300 Beta Alpha Psi Chapters across the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

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TCM Students Find Success in Competition

Heavy Highway Division; 1st place
Heavy Highway Division; 1st place

Students from the construction management program have recently found success at both regional and national competition. As a member of  The Associated Schools of Construction, MSU sent 5 teams to compete in the Region 4 competition in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Students from nine total universities met up in Nebraska to compete in four distinct categories: Commercial, Design-Build, Heavy-Civil and Specialty Contracting.  MSU walked away with four of five teams placing in their respective competitions. Competing and placing were:

  • Specialty Division; 2nd place: Brian Chastain, Jeff McLaughlin, Wyatt Rapp, Ben Howard, Emily Bozarth, Matt Anderson. Serving as coach was Mr. Jacob Nelson
  • Specialty Division: 3rd place: AJ Bartlett, Alejandro Esteban, Justin Hawkins, Connor Kennedy, Terry Miles and Dylan Weddle. Serving as coach was Mr. David Joswick
  • Heavy Highway Division; 1st place: Ronald Antonini, brandon Belt, Jordan Ford, Brandon Stefens, Brisben Street, Juan Trujillo. Serving as coach was Dr. Amir Behzadan.
  • Commercial Division; 2nd place; Amber Struemph, Cody Stout, Edward Olson, Cory Wickersham, Aaron Parkhurst, Tayler Briggs. Serving as coach was Mr. David Joswick.
Sergio Lescano inside Cox Health as part of his internship.
Sergio Lescano inside Cox Health as part of his internship.

In addition, construction management students also competed in Dallas, Texas as part of the Associated Builders and Contractors National Project Management Awards Competition. The MSU team composed of students Amber Struemph, Cody Stout, Cory Wickersham and Brandon Olson finished in 2nd place. A total of 23 colleges and universities were represented.

Finally, TCM Graduate Sergio Lescano was named a finalist for the 2016 National Construction Intern of the Year presented by Heavy Construction Systems Specialist, HCSS. For being named a finalist, Sergio received a $4,000 scholarship. You can read more about Sergio and his intern experience with Killian Constrution student here. Missouri State was also represented in 2015 when Chase Ekstam was named 2015 National Construction Intern of the Year by HCSS and received a $10,000 scholarship.







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Bears Business Brief: Ten rules for a successful administrative team

By: Clif Smart; President, Missouri State University

Clif Smart Headshot
Clif Smart

Several years ago, General Colin Powell was on campus to give a public affairs convocation address. During his visit, I watched his presentation, got to do a question and answer session with him, saw him give a press conference and watched him interact with people of all backgrounds. He was one of the most impressive people I had ever met.

That inspired me to read his book titled “It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership.” Chapter one is titled “My Rules.” As a result, I created Clif’s 10 rules to live by, which I go over with each person I hire to work directly for me — members of my university administrative leadership team. Some of my tips are similar to those of the general; some are my own. I’ve modified the list here to make it more generally applicable. But, in essence, here are my rules:

1. No surprises — let me know as soon as you are aware of trouble brewing or problems arising. Don’t delay, hoping they will go away — they almost never do. If I know, I can help you or bring in others who can help you.

2. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts with me, even if they are different than mine. Don’t be afraid to tell me you think I’m wrong — I may be wrong. You are helping me when you do this and won’t be punished — I promise.

3. Cellphones are a great business tool. But turn off your cellphone during meetings. Your focus should be on what we are discussing.

4. Use appropriate lines of communication. I expect people who work for me to limit their communication with my bosses, the board of governors, and inform me if it occurs. In turn, I limit my interaction with their subordinates and inform them if it occurs. Corollary to this rule: communicate on your level with other institutions. I talk to other CEOs. People who report to me talk to other vice presidents. If they need interaction with a CEO, they should tell me and I will do it.

 5.  You should advocate for your position and your unit, but when a decision is made, you should support it 100 percent, even if you disagree with it. It is now your decision and you must defend it to your unit.

6. I expect people who work for me to be loyal to me — no exceptions. In return, I will be loyal to them and give them public credit for achievements of their unit or of the university when they are involved.

7. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. I will support you if it doesn’t work out — I promise.

8. My team must work together, not in silos. That includes all campuses. First corollary — no empire building. Second corollary — share information. Be inclusive and transparent.

9. Kindness works. Love works. Said another way, I expect professionalism and civility at all times, in all interactions.

10. Never lie or deceive me or your peers. This is a terminable offense — I promise.

These rules are easier to set out on paper than to follow, at least by some managers. To have a leadership team that will live out these rules, I have found you have to hire based more on character than solely on experience. It is so much easier to teach someone the substance of the job than proper tone, civility, honesty, humility, kindness, compassion, collaboration, selflessness, etc.; so, if you want this type of leadership team, it is important to hire people who manage this way.

Clifton “Clif” M. Smart III has served as the 11th president of Missouri State University since June 27, 2011. Smart is known throughout campus and the state of Missouri for his collaborative leadership and strong relationships with students, faculty and staff. Before his presidency, Smart served as the Missouri State University’s general counsel.

This article appeared in the January 8, 2017 edition of The News-Leader and can be accessed online here.

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Bears Business Brief: Businesses can help protect employees from data breaches

headshot Richard Ollis
Richard Ollis

Most of us have read about large data breaches, like the recent Yahoo breach of 500 million accounts — reportedly the largest such incident in history. Businesses are ramping up security, training, response, and insurance tactics to respond to this ever-increasing threat. Although this continues to be a significant area of focus, many businesses fail to realize that many of their employees have been “hacked” through these data breaches and are struggling to regain their identity, repair their credit, or repair their health records. This scenario is becoming almost commonplace, causing presenteeism (coming to work despite illness, injury or anxiety but resulting in reduced productivity), missed work and undue stress. Unfortunately, businesses need not only a strategy to protect the business itself but also a strategy to help employees impacted by breaches. A solid plan can actually become an employee benefit.

Recently, an employee of a local business experienced a cyber breach of his medical records, which resulted in over $500,000 in medical expenses being “charged” to his health insurance account. This created a record-clearing nightmare for this individual. He had to work to repair his medical records, have financial records changed and charges reversed, and consider credit monitoring. To make matters worse, the insurance company was uncooperative and unresponsive. As you can imagine, this breach that impacted one individual has created significant effort, strife and poor feelings about a “benefit” being provided to him by his employer.

Employees can experience cyber breaches at home or work. These breaches can have a significant negative impact on both the employee and the company, regardless of the source. Much has been written about the big breaches like Target and Yahoo, but many are impacted by all types and sizes of breaches. The likelihood of your business associates or you personally being “hacked” is growing every day.  Most businesses would benefit from providing employees with training, tools, resources and insurance advice to reduce the impact on employees and, ultimately, their company.

Some basic computer protection is always in order. This applies to business, personal and mobile devices. IT professionals can assist with installing firewalls, anti-virus programs and security software. Updating software programs with upgrades provided regularly by software manufacturers is critical in keeping all programs up to date with security provisions. Regular backup of all devices is paramount.

Passwords are my personal nemesis. Making sure they are changed regularly, making them “strong and secure” and storing them in a safe and secure place are key security practices. Many hackers use password-cracking software, and weak passwords are especially vulnerable. Some basics password-creation tips: Make them at least 10 characters in length (including at least one uppercase letter), include one or two special characters, and include one to four numbers. Passwords should be changed regularly (at least annually) and should be different for most accounts.

Most businesses develop training programs for staff. Many, however, do not provide effective training on business and personal computer security. Protecting online accounts from phishing is an example of a tactic used to “trick” a user into providing information or clicking on a link that installs malware. Training programs that address the strategies hackers use, such as social media security, mobile devices and wireless networks, can prove invaluable for both business and personal users.

In addition to training, businesses can help employees by offering group discounts or access to credit monitoring/fraud prevention services. Services such as Identity Guard, Lifelock and All Clear ID are just a few of the offerings that provide help monitoring credit reports, website surveillance and restoration of identity, finances and health information.

Individual insurance coverage can be added to or included in an employee’s personal insurance program such as a homeowners policy. This coverage is normally limited for items such as lost wages, costs associated with restoration and legal fees.

Businesses can and should be an advocate for their employees, and computer security is no exception. This area is particularly important for both the business and its employees. Training, services and insurance advice can be part of an overall strategy to reduce risk and create an additional employee benefit.

Richard Ollis is CEO of Ollis/Akers/Arney, an employee-owned business consulting and insurance advisory firm.

This article appeared in the December 24th, 2016 edition of the News-Leader and can be accessed online here.

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Bears Business Brief: Big Data: It’s not just for data scientists anymore

By: Dr. Rick Brattin

Rick Brattin headshot
Rick Brattin

Harvard Business Review once proclaimed the data scientist as the sexiest job of the 21st century. Bloomberg has said data scientists are the new superheroes. It’s no secret there is a shortage of data analytic skills today, especially with regard to big data. A quick Google search on “data analytics shortage” will find thousands of articles written on this topic. In typical supply and demand fashion, the job market is responding by pushing salaries to all-time highs. According to job recruiting site Glassdoor, the national average salary for a data scientist is $113,436, and many of their listings top $200,000 for experienced candidates.

Those of us who consider ourselves part of the data analytics movement are often quick to repeat stories like these, almost as a marketing campaign to recruit others into the fold. I believe, however, that we may be inadvertently sabotaging the long-term growth of our own field, with the sabotage in the form of discouragement and isolationism. We often paint data analytics as an exclusive club open only to those with the highest of statistical and technical know-how. This view fails to recognize that demand for the data analytics’ skill set extends well beyond the capabilities of a small group of elite data scientists.

To illustrate my point, I’ll use a popular framework of data analytic talent first proposed by McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), a research organization dedicated to understanding the evolution of the global economy. MGI segments data analytic talent into three groups: deep analytical, supporting technology and big data savvy.

The deep analytical group are people who conduct data analysis and have advanced training in statistics and/or advanced data analytic methods. Examples include actuaries, operations research analysts and statisticians. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, actuaries are exam-certified professionals who analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. Operations research analysts and statisticians typically hold advanced degrees in a quantitative field and solve problems in business, engineering, health care or other areas.

The supporting technology group includes people who focus on the technological aspects of data analytic solutions. Examples include computer scientists, software engineers, computer programmers and database administrators. These are people skilled at collecting data for analytics and writing software for conducting specialized analysis.

The big data savvy group includes people who demonstrate a keen understanding of their business and are capable of defining relevant questions that data analytics can answer. They need only possess a basic knowledge of statistics and/or data analytic methods. Examples include business and functional managers, engineers, market researchers and psychologists.

The data scientist role is most closely aligned with MGI’s deep analytical group. They have advanced understanding of statistics, technology and business. These are rare individuals, perhaps worthy of the hype and high salaries. But by focusing our attention on these few, we almost discount the contributions of the other two groups — especially the big data savvy group.

MGI agrees. They estimate a shortage of 1.5 million data-savvy workers needed to take full advantage of big data in the U.S. alone.  These are not data scientists. They are managers, analysts, and researchers — roles held in business for decades. Forbes.com echoes this idea by including decision-making, problem-solving and the ability to analyze data in their list of the top skills employers want.

My point is this. The data scientist plays an important role in data analytics and big data, but that is not the only role. I believe the true potential of data analytics lies to a large degree within the collective hands of managers and analysts, those who understand their business and know just enough about big data to add real business value.

Dr. Rick Brattin is an assistant professor of Computer Information Systems at Missouri State University. He has 25 years of experience in data analytics, business intelligence, and information governance withFortune 100 companies. Email: rickbrattin@missouristate.edu.

This article appeared in the December 17th, 2016 edition of the News-Leader and can be accessed online here.

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