MSSU-ONMU Memorandum of Understanding

JOPLIN, MO (SNS) - A Memorandum of Understanding between Missouri Southern State University and the Odessa National Maritime University (Odessa, Ukraine) was signed on Wednesday, Jan.16. The signing took  place in the office of Missouri Southern President Dr. Bruce W. Speck.

The MOU results from Missouri Southern's participation in an International Business competition (Ukraine National 'International Logistics' competition)  in April 2012 that took place in Odessa.  The MSSU team took first in the Case Analysis section of the competition. "This Memorandum is the first step so that MSSU and ONMU can work together in areas such as student exchange, faculty exchange, joint research and other collaborative efforts," said Dr. J. Chris Moos, Marketing & Finance department head.

Dr. Moos said Odessa National Maritime University  has two areas that match well with MSSU: The school has a Management program that fits with MSSU's Management program and it teaches International Transportation, Logistics and Port Management which fits well with Southern's International Business program. ONMU is a versatile educational institution which prepares experts of all educational-qualifying levels for full maintenance of personnel requirements for maritime and inland waterways administration.

It was established in 1930 as the Odessa Institute of Water Transport Engineers. The University was awarded national status by the Decree of the President of Ukraine in 2002 in consideration of its national and international significance and activities. The university is a member of the European Association of Universities and the Southeast European Association of Transport Researches (SEATREF). ONMU has prepared staff for maritime fleets of foreign countries since 1950. In that time more than 1,350 experts have been trained for 72 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Undergraduate Research Competition is a Success

The 2013 Plaster School of Business Undergraduate Research Competition announced the top three winners at the Business Award Ceremony on May 2, 2013. Dr. Tom Schmidt, professor of marketing, at the Plaster School of Business coordinated the competition. Dr. Schmidt says, “The research competition was very successful for the first time and we look forward to next year’s competition.”

With 11 applicants the research competition committee was able to narrow down the competitors to the top three finalists. Once selected the finalists presented their papers to a panel of judges that then choose the winner.

Top Three Finalists:

First Place: Holly Loncarich, sophomore International Business & Environmental Health from Fairview, MO “Exporting Natural Gas: Economic, Social and Environmental Factors of Marketing Domestically Produced Natural Gas to Foreign Countries”

Second Place: Jade Harner, sophomore accounting major from Monett “The Relationship between Reading Habits and Academic Performance in Business Students”

Third Place: Elesha Pledger, senior Human Resource Management from Joplin “China, Global Economic Leader: Priming for the Future”

The competition provides students with the opportunity to pursue a passion in research, develop research skills, and improve writing techniques. While students prepare for the competition faculty is encouraged to get involved with the research and advise the students through the process. The event was sponsored by Arvest Bank and rewarded $950 in prize money to the competitors. Applications for next year’s competition will be available Fall 2013 and papers will be due Spring 2014. Refer to business.mssu.edu for more information next year. 

MSSU Offers Masters of Accountancy

Missouri Department of Higher Education staff has reviewed the proposal submitted on behalf of Missouri Southern State University to offer Master of Accountancy, Traditional and Accelerated (MAcc). The Coordinating Board for Higher Education provisionally approved this proposal at its meetings April 4, 2013, in Jefferson City, Missouri, which was originally submitted for the February 7, 2013 meeting.

As the Robert W. Plaster School of Business continues to grow a new day dawns at MSSU!

Strategic Management course meets the Real World

Nine students in Missouri Southern’s MM 452 Strategic Management class applied their education to real-world situations. The students with the assistance of their professor, Stu Dunlop, coordinated with two companies to research different business opportunities.

Leggett & Platt, Incorporated

Dave DeSonier, Sr VP Strategy and Investor Relations, assigned the students with the objective to research potential acquisitions that would benefit Leggett & Platt, Inc. Through their research students learned important business decision making skills and eventually chose a single acquisition. The students later presented their final conclusion to the Corporate Board of Directors.

Wal-Mart Corporate

For Mike Moore, Executive VP and President of Wal-Mart Central, the students undertook the task of evaluating the developing trend of big-box stores in 2025. During their research they evaluated the current structure and researched trends of the consumer. They even provided Wal-Mart with an impact assessment. After presenting their finding to Mr. Moore and five other executives they received project feedback.

Students Involved:

Evan Baker, finance

Nathan Eddy, marketing/management

Billy Eigenmann, marketing/management

Andrew Frost, marketing

Jenny Hosp, international business

Lauren Liggett, marketing

Curtis Shields, accounting

Noelle Terry, accounting

Ryan Prisock, finance

This course provided top seniors of the business school the opportunity to work on real world projects. It gave the students tangible experience and a chance to apply their educational knowledge while allowing the Plaster School of Business to establish relationships with local companies.

MSSU SBTDC Aids in Transforming Area Businesses

In late January 2013, two local Joplin businesses received Excellence in Business Awards at the Annual BDP Conference. The theme for this year’s conference was “Transforming Missouri Business.” The recipients of the award have transformed their businesses: Dewey Sheets, owner of Furniture Rescue, and Karalee Laney, owner of Joplin 3D4D Imaging Center, LLC. These businesses were two of 22 winners throughout the state of Missouri.

Furniture Rescue

Furniture Rescue was founded in 2002 as a furniture retailer. Kenneth Surbrugg and Karen Bradshaw, business development specialists, and Lisa Robinson, director of the MSSU SBTDC, helped Sheets with more effective marketing suggestions, writing a business plan, financial projections and loans. After a few lean years, Sheets grew his clientele and has a portfolio filled with unique furniture restoration jobs. The SBTDC also worked with Sheets to analyze financial records, deposit credit card payments and use QuickBooks to the firm’s best advantage.

Then the May 2011 tornado hit Joplin and the destroyed the company’s building. Sheets salvaged what he could and put equipment in storage in a warehouse on Fourth Street. Then the warehouse burned. Ironically, the business experienced a windfall from the tornado. After moving, settling in and purchasing replacement equipment, the business was overwhelmed with customers looking to get furniture restored in the aftermath of the storm.

Sheets was able to obtain a loan and, today, Furniture Rescue owns its building, staffed by six employees, and revenue has grown from zero to nearly $250,000 in 2011. Furniture Rescue’s slogan is “Saving furniture one piece at a time” because, Sheets says, furniture often carries immense emotional value. “When a loved one dies and the only thing they [the family] have left is a chair their dad sat in behind his desk for twenty years, it’s priceless,” said Sheets.

Joplin 3D4D Imaging Center, LLC

Laney perceived a gap in affordable diagnostic medical ultrasound exams and baby gender scans. With 32 years of experience in the medical field doing x-ray, CT exams, and ultrasound exams, Laney had the expertise to start her own company. She had heard so many requests from expectant parents for three-dimensional ultrasounds that she approached the MSSU SBTDC about starting her own business.

With the assistance of Lisa Robinson, director, and Karen Bradshaw, business development specialist at the MSSU SBTDC, Laney opened Joplin 3D4D Imaging in early 2010. Robinson helped her analyze start-up costs, write a business plan and make cash flow projections, resulting in an SBA-guaranteed loan. Bradshaw helped Laney with researching her market, marketing strategies, and promotional literature.

During her first year of operation, Laney’s sales were negligible, but her hard work and diligence had paid off. Sales revenue increased to $45,000 in 2011. Laney has had to overcome huge obstacles. The deadly 2011 tornado that tore through Joplin also destroyed Laney’s home. She was buried in the rubble for 45 agonizing minutes. She had broken ribs and lacerations but was back at work after just a few days’ rest. It took several months to completely recover from her injuries.

Laney has since relocated her business to the Gryphon Building on South Main Street in Joplin, a far more traveled location that’s resulted in climbing sales. Her expertise draws clients who travel from all over the four state area. Laney reciprocates. “I don’t know how I would have succeeded without the help of Lisa and Karen,” she says. “They are so helpful and informative about all aspects of business.”

With the assistance of the MSSU SBTDC both of these companies have been able to transform their businesses.

The MSSU SBTDC would like to thank the SBTDC state office in Columbia, Missouri for telling the stories of these two local clients. This article included excerpts from the stories written for the Annual BDP Conference and press releases.