Congrats to Kathy and Becky!

As the semester winds down and 2013 comes to a close many of us stop to reflect on the changes in our lives over the past year. Although change is inevitable, the Plaster School of Business has had its share of change this semester with the retirements of Kathy Edwards and Becky Wiley. We wish them the best and hope as they each enter a new adventurous life of retirement they will have all the good experiences that come with it. While remembering retirement is part of life, the moment coming to a person, giving them the chance to rest, relax, be with friends and family, and enjoy the life outside the office. This is also a time for one to enjoy the fruit of their hard work for all these years.

Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. Congratulations!

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Cragin plans to raise money for Childhood Cancer

Each year the Student Senate hosts the St. Baldrick’s event at Missouri Southern. The event raises money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation through head shaving, in-kind donations, and a silent auction. Donations are encouraged as all proceeds go towards the fight against childhood cancer. This year our very own Dr. Cragin, professor of marketing, has become a “shavee” for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. All year he has grown his hair out in anticipation to gather donations from those wanting him to shave it off!

Please join Dr. Cragin and donate towards this cause at http://www.stbaldricks.org/participants/mypage/661511/2014.

2013 Outstanding UE Instructor Award

Dr. Agee, professor of business law, earned the 2013 Outstanding UE Instructor Award this past December. Her passion, dedication, and love for teaching make her the perfect candidate for this award.

Bria Lamica, freshman pre-med biology major, says “Dr. Agee helped make my transition into college very easy. She is so understanding and supportive. If anybody needs something, she is the first person to volunteer to help. She makes me proud that I chose MSSU. I am so honored to have had her as a professor.”

Congratulations Dr. Agee on your outstanding award!

Congratulations – Dr. Nielson

Congratulations to the now Dr. Nielson for completing his doctorate degree. Dr. Nielson began at Missouri Southern August 2013 as an instructor of management.

PSB Professors Accepted to Present Paper

Dr. Beverly Block, professor of business administration, and Mrs. Michelle Dawson, instructor of management, recently received a congratulatory notice of their acceptance to present at the Association Business Communication Southwestern US conference. They will present the collaborative paper: Using the Business Communication Course to Evaluate Written and Oral Communication in Formative Assessment on March 12-15, 2014 as part of the Federation of Business Disciplines annual conference.

PSB Creates iBILD

The Institute for Business Innovation, Leadership and Development (iBILD), an initiative of MSSU's Plaster School of Business, will offer support in the Southwest Missouri and larger 4-state area.Through curricular, co-curricular and outreach activities iBILD will drive economic growth in the 4-state region by creating a nexus for learning, innovation and problem solving within the context of business, manufacturing and computing to create value.

The goals of iBILD include:

  • Form solution teams comprised of senior students from the instructional areas in the PSB, mentored by faculty and representatives from companies that have a particular solution need.Establish an integrated business process that links market research, product design, product manufacturing, sales, and integrated internet marketing, ordering, sales and fulfillment.
  • Provide direct corporate training and development on issues related to management, marketing, technology and strategy.
  • Offer seminars and lecture series to engage the larger community.
  • Sponsor regional competitions in technology, entrepreneurship and innovation among high school and college students, and also offer professional competitions for prizes and funding for new ventures.

Dr. Vernon will be teaching the first course offering a preparation course for the American Society for Quality’s (ASQ) Certified Quality Technician (CQT) examination beginning January 7, 2014. The course will meet on Tuesdays from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM for eight weeks ending on February 25, 2014.  It will cover all areas of the CQT body of knowledge with major emphasis on statistical techniques and statistical quality control as these areas tend to give student the most difficulty on the exam.

The CQT Exam Preparation is one of many courses that will be offered through iBILD.

For more information about registering for a course or getting involved contact Stu Dunlop at Dunlop-j@mssu.edu or call 417-625-3128.

Student Organization Update

Phi Beta Lambda / Collegiate DECA

Merit Badge University

The Merit Badge University for area Boy Scouts was hosted November 22, 2013 at the Plaster School of Business. More than 150 Boy Scouts registered for the event, which allows them to earn badges in areas such as personal management, public speaking, art and entrepreneurship. Those attending had the opportunity to earn up to two badges during morning and afternoon sessions. The event served as a fundraiser for Phi Beta Lambda and the Collegiate DECA clubs at Missouri Southern.

"This is one of the main fundraisers for the year for PBL/CDECA," said Stu Dunlop, assistant professor of marketing and co-advisor to the student groups. "We have about 30 volunteers – faculty, students and alumni – who will help with running the event.

"Part of the fees paid by the Scouts will go to our clubs to help defray the cost for travel to national competition."

State and National Competitions

During the spring semester PBL/CDECA will be traveling to compete at both the state and national competitions. This year’s PBL National Conference is held in Nashville, TN in June while Collegiate DECA is held in Washington, DC in April. Students are given the opportunity to compete against the top business students in their major field and network with business professionals.

At the Collegiate DECA national conference Cara Nicole Gooch, junior marketing and management major, will end her term as National President. Thanks for your hard work and dedication while representing Missouri Southern during your term.

Good luck to all the students competing this spring!

International Club

This year the International Club is making new strides with its members. Dr. Campbell, associate professor of management and international business, became the new advisor beginning fall 2013. So far this year they have elected officers, held meetings, and discussed international affairs. The club began hosting their social events at different international family-owned restaurants they wanted to show support for the community.
Topics of the meeting include the impact of international affairs as well as current events.

CIS Club Awards Scholarship

At the last CIS Club meeting Jason McCall, a senior computer forensics major, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship. The scholarship was established by two recent graduates, Steven Cole and Alex Vassilev. The former is a local student who had served as CIS Club President and interned over a summer at eBay and began working full time upon his graduation.  Mr. Cole has since established working with a Silicon Valley startup. Mr. Vassilev was an international student from Bulgaria who went to work for Google upon graduating and is currently stationed at the Geneva, Switzerland office.

Congratulations to Jason and thank you to Mr. Cole and Mr. Vassilev for establishing the scholarship.

Get Connected with Internships

Get connected with the new Robert W. Plaster School of Business Internship Program. Internship programs are designed to give college students an opportunity to complement their formal education with career-related experience. The PSB wants students to have the opportunity to receive college credit while interning. Professors can now record the number of students participating and internship hours being logged. The program also serves as a connection between the community and the PSB.

In order to compete in today's professional environment, students often need more than just a college degree. The lengthening periods of formal education for growing numbers of young people have changed the work/education pattern. In addition, businesses are putting pressure on schools to better prepare students for the actual requirements of their first position. These factors have created an increasing demand from students and universities for more and better internship experiences. This experience also helps the participants to make more informed career choices which will result in higher job satisfaction, higher productivity, and to improve existing programs for the mutual benefit of all participants.  Internships should result in better placement of graduates, and a higher level of experience and professionalism.

As our professors continue to connect students with internships in their major field the PSB continues to broaden its network of businesses.

Please contact Dr. Terry Marion for further information about the Internship Program placement at marion-t@mssu.edu or 417-625-9507.

Travel to Italy with PSB

The Robert W. Plaster School of Business is leading students to Italy this summer with the help of Dr. Chris Moos and Dr. Nanette Philibert. The class Italy: Renaissance Roots of Commerce will travel abroad May 19 to June 1, 2014. Students will have the opportunity to connect with the culture and business industry of Italy.

During the Renaissance period Europe developed significantly in the area of business practices and professions. While this growth and development of the merchant class occurred to a large extent in Northern Italy, the most famous and richest area was Florence with the Medici family. Professions such as accounting, banking, and international trade were all advanced.

The agenda for the trip includes: three days in Venice, two days in Bologna, three days in Florence, and four days in Rome. Through the travel abroad trip students will also earn upper level credit hours towards their degree completion. 

Apply for the Undergraduate Research Competition

The Robert W. Plaster School of Business hosts the annual Undergraduate Research Competition at Missouri Southern. This competition provides students and advisors the opportunity to analyze a topic more in depth outside of a classroom setting. It is a collaboration to bring research opportunities to undergraduates while preparing students to continue their education with a master’s degree.

With guidance from a professor students will prepare either a pure research or an applied research paper. A pure research paper involves topics that increase the understanding of fundamental principles while the applied research paper benefits a specific business or organization. The Undergraduate Research Competition also provides scholarship money with over $2,000 in cash awards.

The application and requirements will be available at business.mssu.edu. Registration is due by January 31, 2014 and research papers must be submitted by April 18, 2014 to Dr. Schmidt.

For more information about this year’s competition visit business.mssu.edu or contact Dr. Tom Schmidt at schmidt-t@mssu.edu or 417-625-3544.

Student Spotlight

Jennifer Lee, Carthage, received the MSCPA Student of the Month for November. Each month the Missouri Society of CPAs selects an accounting major to be showcased on their website. Each student is awarded accounting resources, recognition and entry into the MSCPA of the Year contest.

Jennifer is an accounting major at Missouri Southern and is working towards graduating in May 2014. Her hard work, dedication and experiences contributed to this recognition. Jennifer has completed two internships with Jack Henry & Associates and Lozier Corporation and was elected the 2012-2013 Accounting Club President.

“She represents just how much can be accomplished with hard work, smarts, and determination,” says Dr. Smith, department head of accounting and finance.

While in school she has maintained her job as a bus driver for the Carthage School District. She also picked up two more majors in management and human resource management to achieve the 150-hour requirement for the CPA exam.

Jennifer will begin working for Leggett & Platt Incorporated in January. With her interest in accounting she hopes to work in internal accounting or management accounting.

SBTDC: Entrepreneurship Educational Opportunities in the Joplin Regional Area

The Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the Joplin Regional area.  During the last two years, numerous companies have re-opened their businesses, expanded their firms, or opened as new business ventures. 

In order to plan for economic development, the Joplin Regional Prosperity Initiative (JRPI) named the seven-county, three-state area, which is comprised of Barton, Jasper, and Newton in Missouri; Crawford, Cherokee, and Labette in Kansas; and Ottawa in Oklahoma, as the “Joplin Region.”

Let’s take a look at the some demographical statistics for the Joplin Region and the need for access to educational opportunities in entrepreneurial training.  One of the largest contributors to the success of any firm is the expertise of their management.  Without appropriate knowledge and experience, managers will not be able to lead profitable firms to expand in our diverse and competitive economy.  Without educational opportunities, employees will not be able to operate at a level that ensures high levels of customer satisfaction and the resulting profitability.

Why is entrepreneurship so important to the Joplin Region?  According to U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009 there were 5.8 million employer firms in the U.S.  Companies with less than 20 workers made up 89.7 percent of these businesses.  Firms with fewer than 500 workers accounted for 99.7 percent of employer firms. When you add in the 22.1 millionnon-employer firms, the share of U.S. businesses with less than 500 workers increased to 99.9 percent and firms with less than 20 workers increased to 97.8 percent.  According to the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, small firms accounted for 65 percent (or 9.8 million) of the 15 million net new jobs created between 1993 and 2009.

When you consider that most of the jobs created in the U.S. economy come from small businesses, it is of concern that the level of self-employment has seen a downward trend. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of incorporated self-employed in the U.S. fell from 5.78 million in 2008 to 5.12 million in 2011, and was at 5.34 million in April 2013.  In addition, the amount of unincorporated self-employed people declined from 10.59 million in 2006 to 9.42 million in 2013. 

According to the 2012 Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity (Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation), entrepreneurial activity rates decreased in all regions of the United States between 1996 and 2012.  Entrepreneurial rates were highest in the West and lowest in the Midwest.     

The U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 Survey of Business Owners indicated that the majority of small business owners tend to be well-educated; 50.8 percent of owners who responded to the survey had a college degree. Now let’s examine the educational level in the Joplin Region.

The following information provides an analysis of the level of education that has been obtained by people residing in the Joplin Region and compares it to national trends.  On a national basis, 34.9% of people residing in the U.S. who are 25 years of age and older in 2009 had earned an Associate degree or higher, with 27.5% having earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher.  In comparison, those individuals who were 25 years of age and older in the Joplin Region who had obtained an Associate degree or higher in 2009 were as follows: Barton County – 19.3%; Jasper County – 23.9%; Newton County – 26.8%; Cherokee County – 21%; Crawford County – 32.8%; Labette County – 26.6%; and Ottawa County – 22.5%. 

Let’s analyze other demographic data for the Joplin Region. The U.S. median household income in 2012 was $50,157.  The households within the Joplin Region had median household incomes that were about 70 to 77% of the national median household income. The data indicates that the median value of residents owner-occupied homes were about 34% - 57% of the national median value of owner-occupied housing units.  However, only 66.1% of people in the U.S. are home owners, whereas, a much higher percentage of individuals residing in the Joplin Region own their homes. 

The availability of income will affect how much money people have to spend on educational opportunities.  The following data provides a comparison of household budget expenditures of people in the Joplin Region and the United States. The average amount spent on education in the United States for each household was $1,385 during 2011.  Compare this with the Joplin Region where the average spent on education per household in 2011 was as follows: Barton County – $751; Jasper County – $920; Newton County – $870; Cherokee County – $751; Crawford County – $915; Labette County – $863; and Ottawa County – $776. Educational costs in the Joplin Region may be lower than the U.S. average; however, educational spending per household in the Joplin Region needs to increase.

These statistics were compiled from ESRI Business Analyst 2013, an application that applies GIS geocoding technology to demographic, consumer spending, and business data. ESRI monitors state and federal trends by utilizing current data from a variety of sources including the U.S. Bureau of the Census Current Population Survey (CPS), U.S. Bureau of Labor, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), House Price Index (HPI), Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), and Info USA in making demographic and business data forecasts.

What can we in the Joplin Region do to improve the economy in our area?  We can actively work to improve entrepreneurship educational opportunities.  For example, at Missouri Southern State University, the Plaster School of Business is now offering a new Professional Credential in Entrepreneurship that could be attained after the completion of five Entrepreneurship Certificates: (1) Entrepreneurial Planning Certificate, (2) Entrepreneurial Finance Certificate, (3) Entrepreneurial Accounting Certificate, (4) Entrepreneurial Management Certificate; and the (5) Entrepreneurial Marketing Certificate. This certificate will assist individuals with launching and successfully operating a new business venture. These courses may be earned via credit or noncredit basis.  These courses are offered via the Internet to serve a diverse business community located worldwide.

Another area of assistance that is available to the business community in Southwest Missouri is the services provided by the Missouri Southern State University Small Business & Technology Development Center.  The MSSU SBTDC has access to a wealth of demographic and business statistics which are very useful in analyzing entrepreneurial business trends and making informed business decisions.  The MSSU SBTDC provides existing and start-up small businesses in Jasper, Newton, Barton, Vernon, McDonald, Cedar, Dade, and Lawrence counties with confidential consulting.  The MSSU SBTDC has provided marketing, management, finance, and computer software training for owners, managers and employees of area businesses and industries since 1987.  The SBTDC strives to be responsive and flexible in meeting the educational needs of the business community.  For additional information about the Missouri Southern SBTDC, please call (417) 625-3128 or access our website at www.mssutraining.com. 

By Karen Bradshaw, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Missouri Southern State University