Southern Miss Business October Newsletter

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Each year, we host an in-person event called Experience Business Casually. With over 300 attendees annually, the event allows students to learn essential skills from professionals, faculty, staff, and their peers. We are unable to host this event as we usually do but that will not stop us from delivering this valuable information! That is why we have started Experience Business Virtually, a video series that tackles all of the important topics young professionals need to know, from social media etiquette to professional travel. Check out our first two episodes and subscribe to our YouTube Channel to never miss a Southern Miss Business video!

Boardman Distinguished 2020 Alumni of the Year

Joseph Saoud, Alumnus of the Year

Chris Spence, Young Alumnus of the Year

Professional core Competencies Adopted

"Career Readiness is the attainment and demonstration of requisite competencies that broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace." - National Association of Colleges and Employers

In addition to the above definition of career readiness, the National Association of Colleges and Employers has identified eight competencies (illustrated above) associated with career readiness based on extensive research among employers. We are dedicated to developing the professional skills of our business students and that is why we will begin focusing on these competencies both in and out of the classroom so our students are “career ready” upon graduation. They will have the technical knowledge of their field as well as the key skills necessary to transition from student to professional. The above icons will be used both in the College of Business and Economic Development and across various other academic and non-academic university departments. The icons will help students identify the specific competencies that will be developed through participation in events, class assignments, and other programs.

Contact Amy Yeend, Assistant Dean for Professional Development and Career Success, at Amy.Yeend@usm.edu for more information.

Business Faculty Research Success

Join us in celebrating the successes of our business faculty! The following faculty have had papers accepted or published in the past several months:

  • Marco Wolf, Associate Professor of Marketing, had a paper accepted for publication in Psychology & Marketing
  • Kristina Harrison, Assistant Professor of Marketing, had a paper accepted in Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice
  • Joanne Cao, Assistant Professor of Marketing, had one paper published in Journal of Business Research and one in Journal of Service Management
  • Curtis Matherne, Associate Professor of Management, had one paper published in International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research
  • Chao Meng, Assistant Professor of Marketing, had one paper published in Journal of the Operational Research Society and one in IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management

Faculty Features

The faculty of the College of Business and Economic Development are frequently sought out by members of the media and community to share their expertise. Here’s two recent examples of our faculty helping to share their knowledge and advice with the general public through the media.

Dr. Steven Stelk, Assistant Teaching Professor of Finance, was featured in WalletHub's piece about credit cards for people with no credit.

Dr. John Miller, Professor of Sport Management, spoke with a writer for the GW Hatchet, which is an independent, student-run newspaper at the George Washington University, on maintaining academic integrity while facilitating online courses.

Business Student Research Success

Current MBA student, Lacey Wallace, will present her manuscript entitled, “A Side of Thrift or Luxury? Exploring Cultural Orientations and Value Perceptions in Airbnb,” at the 26th Annual Graduate Education & Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism in Houston, Texas in January 2021. Through the mentorship of her advisor, Dr. Joanne T. Cao (left), Wallace first identified an interest conducting research as an undergraduate Honors scholar at Southern Miss. She continued her work with Dr. Cao over the summer as an independent study while in the MBA program to further investigate the impact of cultural values in sharing economy services, such as Airbnb. Wallace would also like to thank Dr. Jamye Foster (right) and Dr. Wei Wang for their guidance on her research project as well. Additionally, the data collection was supported by the Drapeau Center for Undergraduate Research Eagle SPUR Grant that Wallace was a recipient of last year.


Business students Shelby Gunsch, Willa (Caitlin) Sumrall, and Emily Toranto recently passed the Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA). CHIA tests the student's understanding of terminology, formulas and metrics used by the hotel and lodging industry. Additionally, students must know how to analyze various types of hotel and market-level data, and how to make data-driven decisions based upon that analysis. This certification is offered in partnership with STR, the global source for benchmarking and forecasting data.

MSSM Student completing practicum at tennis academy in New York City

Mikhail Esipov, Master of Science in Sport Management graduate, is completing his practicum at John McEnroe Tennis Academy in New York City. Mikhail serves as the Program Coordinator for the junior tennis programs.

Mikhail, originally from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, was ranked in the top 15 nationally in all ages groups as a junior, and was a member of the national team. While attended Southern Miss, he won the “Country Club Birmingham Invitational”, as well as the “Battle On the Bayou” tournament.

“The most exciting part of my job is that I get to learn how to lead a session. I organize groups, follow a lesson plan, and keep track of each student's performance. Every day at work, I notice important things that I need to pay attention to such as communication with clients, keeping a safe environment for the students, and providing the best experience for the clients. All of that gives me valuable experience and I hope to use it in my future career. Also, I had an opportunity to be on the court with John McEnroe himself.”

Financial Speaker Series

The Financial Management Association (FMA) hosted its first virtual installation of the financial speaker series this month. Speakers included Rajesh Chandrasekaran, Corporate Controller with Stratas Foods and Ryan Ferrara, Financial Analyst with Stratas Foods. During their presentation, they shared their education and career paths, the effects of COVID-19 on their industry, and answered student questions in an open Q&A session. Attendees got an invaluable peek into the speakers' current jobs, the path they took to get there, and some great tips on being a good colleague. The event drew 58 attendees!

Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education

The Center for Economic and Entrepreneurship Education at The University of Southern Mississippi will host Arrive 2020, a virtual summit on high school entrepreneurship, on Tuesday, November 17 during Global Entrepreneurship Week. This event kicks off the 14th annual series of the university’s statewide Southern Entrepreneurship Program (SEP). Last year’s event drew over 500 high school students and educators from across Mississippi.

Casey Combest, host of the “Made in Mississippi” podcast and founder of Blue Sky Studios, will keynote the event. In addition to sharing his own startup story, Casey will provide insights gained from hosting entrepreneurs around the state on his podcast and will host a question and answer session with students. Special guests include Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson and Assistant Secretary of State Wade Hinton.

An annual student Innovation Challenge serves as the focal point of Arrive. This year’s challenge introduces students to the concept of economic pull factors and encourages them to think of feasible business ideas to fill retail gaps or leverage existing strengths within their counties. High school student teams can submit their proposals for the Innovation Challenge until November 13. Interested teachers can find more information or register for Arrive 2020 at The Southern Entrepreneurship Program’s website www.theSEP.org.


Congratulations to Dr. Banu Bas, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Dr. John Miller, Professor of Sport Management, and Dr. Wei Wang, Assistant Professor of Hospitality and Tourism Management, on their completion of the requirements to become ACUE Credentialed Educators.