by Hunter Jones and Axel Grossmann
On Wednesday, October 26, the Finance Association welcomed Nordson Corporation for its fifth and final guest speaker series event of Fall 2022. Katie Colacarro, director of internal audit and manager for the Finance Leadership Development Program; Global Talent Specialist Marsalis Hammons; and Brandi Kessler, Nordson’s global college relations talent acquisition specialist talked to the students about the different scholarships, internships, and job opportunities Nordson offers to finance and business students. Students were also given the opportunity to hear from two recent graduates who are going through the Finance Leadership Development Program at Nordson, Nish Kadakia and Tia Graham, who is a recent graduate of Georgia Southern University.
The presentation began with a detailed background of Nordson’s history and a breakdown of how and where the company operates, emphasizing the global footprint of the company. The speakers continued by highlighting the opportunities that Nordson provides for students, like the Nordson Leadership Scholars Program and the Nordson BUILD Scholarship. They discussed the application criteria as well as the benefits. For example, the Nordson Leadership Scholars program is a relationship-building, scholarship, and recruitment program with the goal of attracting diverse talent and building strong company brand awareness. This program is eligible to women and those who are racially or ethnically diverse and provides students with an award of $10,000. The BUILD scholarship is available to anyone except seniors who are graduating and has a scholarship value ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.
Additionally, the Nordson representatives spoke about the Finance Leadership Development Program. The two-year rotational program allows students to work at several Nordson U.S. locations as well as an international location. During the program, which students undergo in small cohorts, participants learn about accounting and finance roles at different departments and meet with the companies’ executives. After completion of the program, students are placed in several finance and accounting related full-time positions.
Toward the end of the meeting, the speakers answered several questions about the opportunities Nordson provides as well as advice for those who would be entering the finance and accounting fields soon.
Students interested in the scholarship programs should contact Brandi Kessler (email@example.com). Those interested in the Financial Leadership Program should contact Katie Colacarro (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Nordson Corporation has a team of more than 7,500 employees with operations and support offices in more than 35 countries. It engineers, manufactures, and markets differentiated products used for dispensing adhesives, coatings, sealants, biomaterials, and other materials for fluid management, test and inspection, UV curing, and plasma surface treatment.
Emily Cannon (ACCT, 2009; MAcc, 2010), CPA, began her career as a staff accountant at McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks, & Co. in Macon. After earning her CPA designation, she became a senior accountant, a position she held until leaving the world of audit to join Coastal Electric Cooperative. Her work auditing electric cooperatives prepared Emily for the CFO/ VP of finance and accounting role at Coastal. She has now taken on the leadership of the member services function and is vice president of cooperate services. In addition to her normal duties, Emily has taken the challenge of starting Coastal’s wholly owned subsidiary, Coastal Fiber, to help bridge the gap of broadband service in unserved and underserved areas of the Cooperative’s service territory.
Adapting to new obligations as her career has progressed has been very challenging. As auditor, Emily learned to operate on the road. When she joined Coastal, Emily had to learn to be on the other side of the audit and to propel her organization forward with technology. “Cleaning up messes” caused by changes in Coastal’s finance and leadership functions was hard work but made her a better CPA, employee, and leader. Emily credits Parker College’s strong faculty, collaborative environment, and relevant curriculum with preparing her with the knowledge and skills she needed to be successful. Thanks to Parker College, Emily was well prepared to consult with colleagues at every level and to contribute meaningfully to her organization from the start of her career. Robert “Bob” Jackson, assistant professor emeritus of accounting, and Gloria Stuart, senior lecturer of accounting, along with a social involving a terrible round of putt-putt steered her decision to obtain her CPA designation. Emily says she “was blessed have many other teachers who cared for me well beyond the classroom walls and rooted for my success.”
But, Emily did not spend all her time at Georgia Southern in the classroom! She competed for Miss Georgia Southern and took Honors English classes. She was active in Kappa Kappa Gamma, Beta Alpha Psi, Gamma Beta Phi, Golden Ke.y and other leadership and service organizations. Throughout her career, Emily has striven to uphold the expectations of community service through Kappa Kappa Gamma’s House Corporation at Georgia Southern and the Richmond Hill Bryan County Chamber of Commerce executive board of directors with a few other organizations mixed in. “A healthy dose of grit and the right network have helped me though every challenge. I am able to call on former classmates, colleagues, mentors, and a nationwide network of folks who do the same thing I do day in and day out. Their experience and advice are invaluable,” Emily states. She encourages everyone to “cultivate a network that you can go to for help, guidance, inspiration, and support. Whether you need to gain knowledge or bounce around ideas, you will always have someone in your corner.”
In the future, Emily wishes to emulate her father, who was a lifetime learner. She also hopes to continue to grow in all aspects of her life. In the meantime, she and her husband, Ronny (ACCT, 2008), enjoy spending time on the water, returning to Statesboro to attend baseball and football games, competing in half marathons, and facilitating group fitness activities in their neighborhood—and being bossed around by their black lab, Tucker.
My last note focused on the market and the power it has over the success, or the lack thereof, of an organization. I suppose you could summarize that perspective as the external view of strategic management. From this external perspective, strategy is all about anticipating and satisfying the demands of the marketplace. But there is also an internal view, which holds that success is driven by an organization’s unique and valuable resources and capabilities. From this perspective, organizations that perform well do so because they have some capability, or possess some asset or property, that allows them to succeed over their rivals.
At the risk of sounding a bit academic, this internal perspective is what scholars call the resource-based view (RBV) of competitive advantage. The RBV grew out of the work of economists like Edith Penrose (1959) and David Teece (1980) but came fully to life with the work of Jay Barney (1991), who argued that competitive advantage and superior performance were a function of uniquely valuable resources or capabilities that were difficult to imitate or substitute. To illustrate, think of a great location for a convenience store, a more powerful battery in a cell phone, a popular logo on a sneaker, or a superior technology for canning and preserving food. Companies that own such assets can leverage them to create strong competitive advantage, and that strong advantage can lead to strong earnings. From this internal perspective, strategy is less about the market and more about developing distinctive and valuable capabilities and then translating those capabilities into products and services the market wants and needs. Let me illustrate using an example we will all understand. The Parker College has a strong faculty, experts in their disciplines who are also committed and strong teachers. We are a part of Georgia Southern University, a unique and respected brand in Georgia and across the southeast. We have good facilities, a relevant and current curriculum, and a strong network of alumni, partners, and support staff. On top of all that, we have a strong work ethic and a can-do and assertive culture; as the old saying goes, we pregame harder than your team plays. For Parker College graduates, that means we plan and expect to work harder, faster, and smarter than the competition. Now, most every school has some of these things. But few schools have them all. And, so, it is the combination of these assets and capabilities that gives us competitive advantage by providing the market with value that it cannot get elsewhere.
So, how do we make sense of these two perspectives, the internal and the external, and how do we blend them together into a strategy? Well, just as I explained above, we believe the market wants talented, well-trained, and hardworking graduates who are capable and willing to roll up their sleeves and get busy on Day 1. We believe we have the faculty, the facilities, the raw materials, and the work ethic to produce that sort of talent and to do it better than any of our competitors. And, so, we focus every day on doing just that, one graduate, one class, one semester at a time, over and over again. Then, we let the results speak for themselves. It is a slow, steady build, and we are committed to the long game. But it is the right strategy, leveraging both the internal and the external, for the sake of creating superior value for all the constituents of the Parker College!
One of the major requirements for Mr. Ken Wang’s, lecturer of management, international management classes is to conduct a cultural interview with someone from a different cultural background or different nationality. The students need to describe major differences between their two cultures, use a theoretical framework of Hofstede’s or Trompenaar’s cultural dimensions, such as individualism/collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity/femininity, indulgence/constraint, and long term/short term orientation for in-depth analysis. In all, 64 students from three classes interviewed their friends, classmates, faculty members, teammates (such as football team), grandparents, mothers, uncles, aunts, etc. from 34 different countries or regions including Puerto Rico, Honduras, Mexico, Nigeria, Brazil, Peru, United Kingdom, Columbia, Guam, Guatemala, Thailand, South Korea, the Netherlands, Ghana, and China.
Through the project, the students have enhanced their appreciation and understanding of diverse cultural backgrounds, which is important in developing them into effective leaders and for success in workplaces and society.
Truett Haswell interviewed a Georgia Southern MBA student from Honduras. He commented “What I have learned through this project is the vast difference between America’s culture of individualism and entrepreneurship compared to other cultures that think much more about family and values. If I were to do business in Honduras, I would try to immerse myself into the community as a whole rather than just in a business sense. People would respect that, and I’ve realized how important it is to be perceptive of how other cultures do business and adapt to that.”
Lauren Burel interviewed a fellow classmate from Nigeria. She wrote, “I very much enjoyed the cultural interview that I conducted with Bimpe. I really had no prior knowledge of Bimpe’s native country of Nigeria. This interview really opened my eyes up to how much of an important part culture plays in global management. I found it very interesting how the older generation of management in Nigeria is very close minded, I think it’s interesting to see how younger generations change that by implementing more welcoming and open work environment. Learning how culture plays a part in global management will help me in the future understand co-workers from different countries, and it will help me work better with them. Overall, I loved conducting this interview. It was very informative and intriguing.”
Venus Mincey-White (FIN, 1994) will assume her role as clerk of the board of the Bulloch County Board of Commissioners on November 28 after having served as deputy clerk since August 2016. As clerk, Venus will support the board‘s members by serving as their representative and records custodian and by managing all appointments to various boards, committees, and advisory bodies within the county. Congratulations, Venus!