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Taking Flight – April 2019

deanphotonewsletter2016Message From the Dean

Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred is the number of minutes in a year. A famous song from the Broadway musical, “Rent,” reminds us of that and asks the question of how we might measure the span and the things that have transpired during it. As we approach the end of the academic year, I find myself wondering the same thing. As I reflect on the year and look forward to graduation, I wonder, what have we accomplished? Did we do the things we set out to do? Did we move in the direction we had hoped, and are we closer to our goals than we were a year ago? Our mission, ultimately, is to have impact, to make a real difference on the world around us and in the lives of our students and graduates. So, as we prepare to celebrate another graduation, I contemplate the impact we’ve had in the year that is ending.

Certainly, it’s been an eventful year. You need only look at the most recent Eagle Executive magazine to appreciate that. We have a new name, a new partnership and a number of new programs growing out of the Parker gift. We’ve invested in professional development, pushing up the readiness of our graduates through our Professional Development Day functions in Statesboro and on the Armstrong Campus. We coordinated with our Student Government Association to host Parker Days of Business, an event designed to promote engagement and connectivity. We’re in the marketplace, in larger numbers than ever, through internships, our Business Abroad trips, research conferences and a wide range of student competitions. We want our students in the arena, sharpening their skills, experiencing the business world and testing themselves against others. Finally, we’ve spent time recognizing and celebrating our alumni. Our many outstanding alumni personify our mission and set a great example for our students and graduates to follow.

So, how do we measure a year, and what have we accomplished in the 525,600 minutes since graduation of May 2018? Well, measured by the impact we’ve had on the lives of our students and graduates and on the economy of our state and region, I’d say we’ve done pretty well. We’re educating and graduating more students than ever. We’re doing meaningful research that tackles important questions. We’re building our alumni network and connecting those alumni to our programs. Finally, we’re elevating our brand and fulfilling our promise to increase the value of a Parker College degree. Year upon year, day after day, minute by minute, we’re doing the things that make our College stronger. I hope you, our many thousands of alumni and friends, will find that encouraging. I certainly do, and I look forward to what lies ahead.

Alumni Spotlight – Cindy Pollack

Cindy Pollack (IS, 2012) designs and implements warehouse management systems for Manhattan Associates. She works directly with the firm’s customers, which she defines as “pretty much every retailer you’ve ever heard of,” to learn how they handle their supply chains, what they would like to improve and what they would prefer to maintain that sets them above the competition. Then, she and her team customize the Manhattan Associates software to meet the customers’ business needs and to provide support, including integrating with business critical systems, cool machinery and robotics. Cindy especially enjoys finding unique ways to work within the challenges that occur as part of the design/discovery process.

One challenge that she has faced many times in her career is motivation. Cindy has often discovered that her teammates (and sometimes herself) are not really interested in solving the problems retailers bring to them. She admits that they are not inherently motivated to ensure customers get, for example, perfectly ripe avocados or that the retailer makes the most for its bottom line. Cindy admits that it is sometimes hard to guarantee that she and her teammates leverage their intrinsic motivation to do their best work.

Cindy feels the College of Business did much to prepare her for the real world. She left Georgia Southern with a working knowledge of the technologies she uses daily and the context of how the software she works with fits within the supply chain. She also learned useful general business strategies. Because it was the first time she was able to have hands-on experience with software, Cindy’s favorite class was database management. She admits she fell in love with working with software. She also has fond memories of the core group of students with whom she took classes in her last few semesters while at Georgia Southern. Having friends she could lean on, study with, and work on joint projects with really helped all of them get through the toughest of their classes.

Recently, Cindy was assigned to work with a company with different ideas of methodology and approach related to running design meetings. As a result, the documentation provided by the company was not detailed enough to allow her and her team to develop the code needed by the client. Cindy explained what she and her team needed and worked with the company’s representatives to ensure more detailed documentation was available. In order to better understand how she and her team handle those types of meetings, the company sent a representative to sit in on one of Cindy’s other meetings. She is very proud that, after clarifying her and her team’s needs and reasoning, the two companies were able to come together to meet their client’s needs and anticipate and solve future issues before they become problems.

Cindy is very proud of those who have served on her team. In the future, she looks forward to mentoring new team members and teaching them to think critically, be proactive, and hold themselves to a high standard. Eventually, she would like to do similar software consulting for businesses outside of the supply chain sector.

In her spare time, Cindy loves cooking, reading and playing with her puppy, Ally. She loves watching Eagles football and annoying her friends who attended UF.

Eagle Executive Spring 2019

The Spring 2019 issue of the Eagle Executive is now available online. To view, visit

Business Alum Receives Talon Award

On Saturday, April 13, the Georgia Southern University Alumni Association presented its annual alumni awards to distinguished alumni at the Nessmith-Lane Center on the Statesboro Campus.

Group of people

l-r: Jimmy Childre; Karl E. Peace, Ph.D.; Rebecca Nagy, Ph.D.; Jennifer Hanselman; Otis S. Johnson, Ph.D.; Spence Hoynes; Sheila Hoynes; Drew Ernst and M. Ann Levett, Ed.D., pose for a photo after winning their respective awards.

Talon Award
James (Jimmy) Childre, Jr. (ACCT, ’76)
Presented to the alumnus/alumna who best represents excellence in his or her career field, service to his or her alma mater and service to the community, Childre is a third generation auto dealer. In 1980, at the age of 25, he founded Childre Ford, Inc., in Sandersville, Georgia. Childre Ford has won numerous awards including Ford Motor Company’s prestigious Chairman’s Award for being one of its top performing dealerships. While continuing in the Ford dealership, Jimmy served for 15 years as a board member, chair and CEO of Washington County Regional Medical Center. At Georgia Southern, Childre is chair emeritus of the Georgia Southern Foundation, having served 28 years including two terms as chair. Childre has also served on the Parker College of Business Advisory Board, the Alumni Association Board, the Center for Entrepreneurial Learning and Leadership, and the Athletic Foundation Board.

To view all award recipients, visit

Parker Days of Business

by Mike Harris, senior marketing student, SGA representative

The week following spring break, the Parker College of Business Student Government Association (SGA) representatives hosted “Parker Days of Business.” During this week-long event, the SGA reps conducted a panel discussion on professionalism in the workplace, invited business students to the SGA meeting and hosted “The Parker Fashion Experience.”

The Student Government Association (SGA) senators representing the Parker College of Business orchestrated and executed a week of events to increase student involvement with SGA and to market the Parker College of Business. Senators Kahria Hadley (junior, marketing major) and Mike Harris (senior, marketing major) spearheaded the event named “Parker Days of Business.”

The week began on Monday, March 25, 2019, with the SGA senators giving out free Insomnia Cookies to students as well as flyers for events later in the week. On Tuesday, March 26, the senators hosted “The State of Professionalism Panel.” This event’s purpose was to allow students to hear about and ask questions regarding the professional climate throughout college and after graduation. The panel consisted of five speakers including Ms. Danielle Smith, director of experiential learning and student engagement for the Parker College of Business, and Marketing Professor Trey Denton, Ph.D.

SGA holds weekly senate meetings on Wednesday evenings in the Russell Union Ballroom, and students were invited to attend to hear the accomplishments of SGA and future plans for the organization, as well as voice their concerns to their representatives. Thursday, March 28, was the “Parker Fashion Experience.” At this event, the senators hosted a fashion show, showcasing attire from casual to black tie. Student organizations affiliated with the Parker College of Business had the opportunity to recruit new members and network with students at the conclusion of the showcase.

“The senators consider the week of events to be a success and plan to train the incoming Parker College of Business senators to execute a similar event during the same time next year,” stated Mike Harris, a Parker College SGA representative.

Online Master of Science in Applied Economics Prepares Students for Job Market

Students pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Economics through Georgia Southern University’s online program have access to an affordable and flexible program that provides training for real-world situations.

The fully online Master of Science in Applied Economics (MSAE) program, which is ranked Number 1 in affordability by and Number 11 by, prepares students for careers in various roles including financial markets, industrial organization, government regulation, international trade, health care, economic development and consumer choice.

The MSAE program prepares students for inevitable changes in financial markets and teaches them how to pivot when making business and policy decisions.

By providing the skills and competencies necessary to perform theoretically meaningful, practical analysis of financial markets, students learn how to evaluate business decisions and policy programs and explain the progression of various events, as well as their impact on the economy in a business or policy context.

The courses taught in the online MSAE program are based on economic theory, providing a foundation in the structure and common patterns of business and policy decisions. Students are taught to quantify relationships while evaluating the relative importance of changes in the economic environment. Through courses and case studies, students are able to transfer knowledge and problem-solving skills across fields, allowing students to recognize the characteristics of new problems, adapt quickly to new circumstances and resolve the problems with skills that have been developed through the program.

Graduates of the program are ready to build sound econometric models and are able to use the best available software packages to interpret results in a way that helps make sound business and policy decisions. Graduates compete for employment in the for-profit and nonprofit private sectors as well as in federal, state and local agencies.

With geographic and schedule flexibility, the AACSB-accredited online MSAE program offers strong academics with courses designed and delivered by online certified professors, simulations and discussions and training in applied economic analysis using real-world data.

Students in the program also have the opportunity to receive a graduate certificate in Applied Economics to meet regional accreditation for teaching.

Group of people

l-r: Zac Coquerville (Dalton State College), Trevor Brown (Dalton State College), William Harris (Georgia Southern University), Ngoc Le (Georgia Southern University), Mohammad Abdallah (Georgia Southern University) and Martin Nunez (Dalton State College)

Logistics Team Competes in Innovation Challenge

On March 29-30, a team of logistics students traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to participate in and compete in the first-ever FreightTech Innovation Challenge. Georgia Southern University was one of 14 schools to compete.

The students were tasked with finding transportation and logistics solutions based on a fictitious customer looking to expand its operations throughout the Southeast. With the FreightWaves SONAR technology system, the first-of-its-kind freight market data and analytics platform, the student teams offered solutions to help find the most efficient and cost-effective transportation and logistics solutions for the customer in their case. Throughout the case competition, students were able to ask SONAR market experts and coaches from various corporate sponsors to help them “solve” the case, according to Jeff Mason, managing director of alliances of FreightWaves.

“I am impressed with the level of talent among the college students competing in this challenge,” stated Mason. “It was hard to pick a winner because they are all going to be successful. I would hire every one of them.”

The Georgia Southern University team placed third, receiving $1,000. Marc Scott, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics, said the feedback the team received from the judges set this 24-hour case challenge apart from others our logistics students have participated in previously.

“This was a unique opportunity for our students to get great feedback from industry leaders in solving time-sensitive problems [that] real supply and logistics companies face on a daily basis,” stated Scott.

“We are thrilled by the staggering amount of interest in pushing the boundaries of freight technology in Freight Alley,” said Craig Fuller, CEO and founder of FreightWaves. “This event celebrate[d] the culture of innovation, transparency and disruption that fuels freight’s growth engine.”

The Challenge, organized by FreightWaves and CO.LAB and sponsored by Reliance Partners and U.S. Xpress, is a 24-hour transportation and logistics use case competition. Students spent two days working to solve challenges facing the transportation and logistics industries with the chance to win cash prizes and find potential employers. The team that placed first in the competition received $5,000, followed by $3,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place.

“The FreightTech Innovation Challenge [is] a powerhouse event of innovative thought in our industry that hosts the brightest young minds from across the nation’s most prestigious schools to drive the future of freight,” said Sahej Singh, Business Intelligence & Strategy manager at Reliance Partners, one of the sponsors for the event.

Group of business students

(l-r): Emil Laursen, Joshua Crews, Madison Jones, Ernst D’Alto and Franklin Winborne

CFA Institute University Alliance

In December 2017, the Parker College of Business Department of Finance joined the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program. More than 200 U.S. universities are members of the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program and more than 500 universities participate globally. Since 2017, RongRong Zhang, Ph.D., has chaired the CFA Affiliation Committee, which includes members Axel Grossmann, Ph.D., and John Hatem, Ph.D. Zhang’s leadership has allowed Georgia Southern to obtain this affiliation with the CFA Institute. The CFA Scholarship Committee members believe “the University Affiliation Program with the CFA Institute increases the exposure of our finance program and provides another great opportunity for our graduates to achieve excellent placement in the investment industry.”

CFA Charterholders are among the most highly sought-after employees in the finance industry. One advantage of the CFA designation noted by the CFA Institute on its webpage is that the CFA is standard for everyone, regardless of location (globally), work history or educational background. While MBA degrees vary considerably in quality and rigor, the CFA is a global credential. The CFA Institute, launched in 1947, offers the coveted designation along with the CIPM designation.

To gain the CFA designation, candidates must pass a series of three exams plus accumulate four years of professional work experience in the investment decision-making process. The professional experience can be attained before, during or after passing each of the three exams. The Level I exam is offered in June and December each year, while the Level II and Level III exams are only offered in June of each year.

Benefits of membership in the Affiliation Program for current Georgia Southern University students include the Department of Finance’s ability to offer at least three scholarships per year to current students to help cover the cost of one of the three required examinations. These scholarships waive the program enrollment fee and reduce the exam registration fee significantly.

Passing the series of exams is no easy feat. For the most recent Level I exam offered in December 2018, only 45 percent of the more than 77,000 candidates passed. In June of 2018, candidates for Level II and Level III passed at 45 and 56 percent, respectively (62,216 and 35,518 candidates sat for the respective exams). To date, four Parker College of Business finance students have successfully passed the CFA Level I exam, five are currently preparing for the June 2019 Level I exam, and one student is preparing for the June 2019 Level II exam. Georgia Southern students who have received a CFA Scholarship and have taken the Level I exam have an overall pass rate of 100 percent—an impressive overall record given the statistical pass rate for this exam.

“I am very grateful that Georgia Southern is affiliated with the CFA Institute to provide the scholarship,” stated Samuel Russell, a student who graduated last spring and passed the Level I exam. “The program played a large role in getting a job before graduation. I think it’s increasingly important to pursue professional designation, like the CFA, that will signal your level of interest and dedication.”

To become a member of the University Affiliation Program, courses offered in the finance major must include at least 70 percent of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge. The Candidate Body of Knowledge includes ethical and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, financial reporting and analysis, corporate finance, equity investments, fixed income, derivatives, alternative investments, and portfolio management and wealth planning.

“The University Affiliation Program with the CFA Institute increases the exposure of our finance program and provides another great opportunity for our graduates to achieve excellent placement in the investment industry,” stated Axel Grossmann, Ph.D., professor of finance.

As a CFA University Affiliated Program, Georgia Southern has the option to participate in the annual CFA Institute Research Challenge. In the 2019 Southern regional competition, at least 23 teams represented 20 universities. The Georgia Southern team performed very well; their written report ranked among the top teams and allowed them to compete with other teams in Atlanta, where they presented their work.

For more information about the Parker College of Business Department of Finance membership in the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program, visit To learn about the CFA Designation and the offerings of the CFA Institute, visit

Thanks to Allissa Lee, Ph.D., professor of finance, for providing the article to the Office of Marketing & Media.

Professor teaching

Jeff Bush (ECON, ’13), president of Parker’s, addresses students on life after college during PDD Armstrong.

Parker College Takes PDD to Savannah and the Armstrong Campus

On Tuesday, April 9, the Parker College of Business hosted its Professional Development Day (PDD) on the Armstrong Campus. PDD Armstrong allowed students to interact with employers representing various companies from Savannah businesses while gaining valuable advice about ways to best prepare for their futures as business professionals.

During the event, which ran from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., Parker students were offered the opportunity to attend events for which they had pre-registered, enabling them to receive a complimentary swag bag and free lunch. Throughout the day, students attended breakout sessions put on by representatives from the College’s corporate partners, most of whom are Parker alumni. Each session lasted about an hour and covered a variety of topics beneficial to any college student aspiring to become a successful young professional.

The day started with a welcome from Dean Allen Amason, followed by a keynote address from Jeff Bush (ECON, ’13), president of Parker Companies. Students attended sessions they had pre-selected when registering. Session topics included the power of goal setting, working with emotional intelligence, the value of networking, and self-image in 2019. After the breakout sessions, students attended a mix and mingle lunch, at which they had the opportunity to network with the presenters and their fellow classmates.

The Parker College of Business is committed to equipping its students with the skills needed to standout in their first “real job” and in the young professional phase of their lives. Events like Professional Development Day illustrate that commitment.

The fourth annual Professional Development Day will be held on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at the Parker College of Business on the Statesboro Campus. For more information and to become involved, please contact Danielle Smith, director of experiential learning and student engagement, at

Group of business students

l-r: Irita Mishra, Huiling Liu, Ata Karbasi-Kheyr, Melanie Hinterplattner and Lakshmi Madarasu

Ph.D. Students Soar at the Logistics Doctoral Symposium

by Christian Rossetti, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics

The Logistics Doctoral Symposium is the premier event for doctoral students and faculty to help prepare the next generation of logistics scholars. With five Ph.D. students and two faculty members, Georgia Southern was well represented. Melanie Hinterplattner, Ata Karbasi, Huiling Liu, Lakshmi Madarasu and Irita Mishra attended sessions on research methods, career management and publishing. Sessions were led by some of the most influential academics in the field, as well as rising stars. In addition to Georgia Southern, the University of Arkansas, Michigan State, Iowa State, University of Tennessee and Arizona State each sent Ph.D. students. More than 70 faculty members from 20 logistics and supply chain programs also attended. Christian Rossetti, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics and supply chain management, noted, “The Logistics Symposium fosters relationships that will last decades.” Marc Scott, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of the Southern Center for Logistics and Intermodal Transportation, added, “Consistent feedback from colleagues and peers at other institutions highlighted … the quality of preparation and training our students receive.” With committed faculty and motivated students, the Logistics Ph.D. program at Georgia Southern is soaring.

Faculty/Staff News

John Hatem, Ph.D., professor of finance, was featured in WalletHub’s piece about 0% APR credit cards. To read the article in its entirety, visit

Jie McCardle’s, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, paper, “The Effects of Strategic Alignment and Competitive Priorities on Operational Performance: The Role of Cultural Context,” was accepted for publication in Operations Management Research.

Arda Yenipazarli, Ph.D., associate professor of operations management, received the 2019 European Journal of Operational Research Editors’ Award for Excellence in Reviewing. This is Arda’s second consecutive year for receiving this award. Congrats, Arda!

Marc Scott, Ph.D., assistant professor of logistics, was featured and quoted in an article by Intermodal Insights. To view the article, visit

Mike Toma, Ph.D., professor of economics, was featured in WalletHub‘s piece about the best first credit cards to apply for. To read the article in its entirety, visit

Last updated: 3/12/2022