Millikin University - Decatur, IL
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In recent years, Millikin University's Master of Business Administration (MBA) cohort has ended the spring semester with a trip to China to study international business. This past May, as a culmination of the program, MBA candidates and faculty traveled abroad to a slightly different destination: Koblenz, Germany.

For the first time since 2005, MBA students spent a week in Germany visiting companies, taking cultural tours, and immersing in international business by studying at the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management.

A privately funded business school based in Vallendar and Düsseldorf, the Beisheim School of Management is a leading business school in Germany and is continuously ranked among the top business schools in Europe.

"We went back to Germany because they have a true economy with high wages and they're a good example of how to survive in the modern world," said Dr. Anthony Liberatore, director of Millikin's MBA Program.

During their visit to WHU, teams of Millikin MBA candidates were tasked with crafting a market-entry strategy for a premium watch company in either Western or Eastern Europe. The teams had to present their business plans in front of faculty members as part of their studies.



MBA graduate Christa Jordan, from Mt. Zion, Ill., said, "It was good to get their perspective after we made our presentation. Being able to work with a group, generate ideas, and present the ideas to the professors was a challenging project but a good learning process."

Prior to their case work, the students took part in several lectures at WHU, learning about marketing and luxury brands.

"The students were provided information on Europe's economic landscape as well as information on business development," said Dr. J. Mark Munoz, Millikin professor of international management. "They were given preliminary information to help them with their case work and to understand how to do business in Europe."

Tyler Braniff, a recent MBA graduate from Springfield, Ill., added, "WHU was a first-class institution. We had five days to put together a business plan, and it gave us an opportunity to really dig into the European market. Looking back, the trip provided many great hands-on experiences."




In addition to their studies at WHU, students and faculty had the opportunity to visit a number of companies, including Klöckner Pentaplast and Hack AG.

The Klöckner Pentaplast Group is among the world's largest suppliers of films for pharmaceutical, medical devices, food, electronics and general packaging. Hack AG manufactures bakery products and offers frozen bakery goods. Hack AG was founded in 1930 and is based in Kurtscheid, Germany.

"During their visit to Hack AG, the students were able to see how high-end food manufacturing in Europe is done," said Dr. Munoz. "The tour was unique because the students met the CEO of Hack AG, who happened to be very engaged throughout the process. He explained what the company was all about and what they hope to accomplish in the future."



When asked about the academic lessons during the immersion trip, Dr. Liberatore says, "One of the biggest lessons is that it opens up people's perspectives on international business. Throughout our MBA Program, students learn about business in the U.S. and how to create a business plan. The immersion trip is unique because it provides an international perspective. The students learn the concepts, but they also learn how to apply them through a case study."

Recent MBA graduate and Millikin Graduate Programs Coordinator, Marianne Taylor added, "The willingness of the companies to open up to us was amazing. In terms of the case study, WHU had high expectations of us, we learned a lot."

Click here to read more about the MBA trip to Germany in an article from the Herald & Review.

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) Baccalaureate/Graduate Degree Board of Commissioners has reaffirmed accreditation of the business programs at Millikin University.

Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only organization offering specialized business accreditation for all degree levels, from associate to baccalaureate to doctoral degree programs. ACBSP accreditation certifies that the teaching and learning processes within the business programs offered through the Tabor School of Business at Millikin University meet the rigorous educational standards established by ACBSP.

Millikin University was first accredited by ACBSP in 2005. Millikin University is required to go through the reaffirmation process every 10 years to maintain ACBSP accreditation.

"Millikin University has shown their commitment to teaching excellence and to the process of quality improvement by participating in the accreditation process," said ACBSP Chief Accreditation Officer Dr. Steve Parscale, who will present the Certificate of Reaffirmation of Accreditation at the 2015 ACBSP Conference in Philadelphia, Pa., on June 14.

"This reaffirmation of accreditation is evidence that Millikin University is committed to providing the highest quality business education for their students for the next 10 years, just as they have done for the last 10 years," said Parscale.

Dr. Susan Kruml, dean of the Tabor School of Business at Millikin University noted, "I continue to be impressed by the high quality faculty and staff at the Tabor School of Business. Working as a dedicated team, the experiences they create for undergraduate and graduate students are unmatched by any I've seen. The Tabor School of Business delivers cutting-edge competency-based programs and ACBSP affirms this."

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive university with a diverse student population of approximately 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students. A Millikin education features "Performance Learning," a unique learning approach offering students the chance to build the confidence to succeed before and after graduation. Millikin offers more than 50 majors in the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and Tabor School of Business, and is located on a 75-acre residential campus in Decatur, Ill. For more information, visit millikin.edu.

ACBSP's mission is to promote continuous improvement and recognize excellence in the accreditation of business education programs around the world. ACBSP is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as a specialized accreditation agency for business education. ACBSP currently has 1,233 member campuses, 195 of which are located outside of the U.S., of those campuses, 923 have achieved accreditation and more than 210 are in candidacy for accreditation. For more information on ACBSP, visit acbsp.org.

Millikin University students practiced various selling techniques throughout the spring semester as part of a business course entitled "Personal Selling."

To practice their selling skills leading up to a semester-end project, teams of students were tasked with selling small items each week, such as theatre tickets and pens, in order to gain greater confidence approaching and interacting with people.

After eight weeks of selling, the students raised $1,530.50. The funds were donated to a charity selected by the highest performing sales team: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The highest performing sales team included: Alex Kidd, a senior commercial music/music business major from Decatur, Ill.; John Doyle, a senior accounting major from Naperville, Ill.; and Jakob Bliss, a junior marketing major from Kirkwood, Mo.

The students also had the opportunity to sell Caterpillar products to a group of employees from Caterpillar Inc. at the end of the semester.

Click here to read more about the work of the Millikin students in an article from the Herald & Review.

Millikin University business students have partnered with the Riverton School District to create a volunteer program.

The program pairs adults in the community with the school district in an effort to improve learning experiences for the students.

Millikin students presented their plans to the superintendent and building principals at the Riverton School District office on May 7.

Click here to view a story from WICS-TV about the volunteer program.


Millikin University students were recognized for their efforts at the 2015 Information Systems (IS) Project and Case Competition held April 10-12 at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. Two teams of four Millikin IS students competed against 14 teams for the best real-world IS project, project presentation, and best IS case analysis.

Millikin earned 2nd place in the IS Case Competition and 3rd place for Best Project Presentation.

During the project presentations, one team of Millikin students presented their client project from last semester's database development course. As part of the project, the students delivered a working database application for BabyTALK to track donor activity. Based in Decatur, Ill., BabyTALK is a community family support agency, which provides the framework to guide parent educators in nurturing school readiness and optimal child development by supporting infants and toddlers and their parents. The Millikin database team earned 3rd place honors for their presentation.

The database team included the following students: Kenneth Albin, a senior finance major from Danville, Ill., Kort Branscome, a junior information systems major from Greenville, Ill., Heather Nigh, a junior accounting major from Thomasboro, Ill., and Taylor Wilson, a junior information systems major from Decatur, Ill.

"IS departments have been doing client projects for years – it's the best way for students to gain experience," said RJ Podeschi, Millikin assistant professor of information systems. "But there's something we do at Millikin that is fundamentally different, and I have to think it's the level of coaching and mentoring that we do as faculty. Our students connect the dots to what they're doing and they understand why they're doing it." 



The second team of Millikin students presented their client project from their analysis and web development courses. The students developed a dynamic, data-driven Millikin University organizational chart to be implemented in the myMillikin intranet system in 2015. The project was a collaborative effort between the students and Millikin University's Human Resources and Information Technology (IT) Departments.

The organizational chart team included the following students: Peyton Munch, a junior accounting major from Loves Park, Ill., Taylor Sanders, a senior information systems major from Marshall, Ill., Alex Tueth, a senior accounting major from Decatur, Ill., and Kameron Wilkins, a senior entrepreneurship major from Iuka, Ill.

Students were evaluated by a panel of five judges who all work as IT professionals or IT consultants in industry.

"After all the hard work we put in last semester, it was very satisfying to present the organizational chart project," said Taylor Sanders. "To represent Millikin and to show top level executives from multiple companies and other schools our work was a great experience."



During the case analysis competition, all teams were provided a case to analyze and provide a solution for, and then present their solutions to a panel of judges. Millikin's organizational chart team received 2nd place honors for their work during the competition.

Taylor Wilson added, "It was great to be able to get in front of a panel of professionals and receive feedback. The competition allowed us to see what it was like to present a real solution to a company's problem, and we did a great job of thoroughly answering all the questions from the panel and thinking on our feet."

The Information Systems Project and Case Competition serves as a venue for students to showcase projects that were completed earlier in their undergraduate careers as well as to utilize skills previously learned by solving a case study. This year's competition also gave students the opportunity to interact and network with individuals from several companies. Other institutions that participated in the competition included the University of Southern Indiana, Purdue University-Calumet, University of Toledo, University of Akron and Marietta College.

"It was a great experience and I think the students represented Millikin exceedingly well," said Ed Weber, Millikin assistant professor of information systems. "The students also recognized the opportunity of the learning experience above and beyond just the competition."

Millikin University alumnus Kevin Mathews '91 has visited the Big Blue campus on a number of occasions to speak with students and faculty. However, during a visit on April 9, Mathews did more than just share his success story with a group of students. Mathews engaged in Performance Learning activities during a microbusiness course led by Julie Shields, Millikin instructor of entrepreneurship.

The course was part of a day that recognized Mathews for exemplifying the best in entrepreneurial thought and action. Mathews, founder and chief executive officer of GenOx Transportation, Inc., was awarded the Tabor School of Business Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award. The award was presented to Mathews during an evening ceremony at the Decatur Country Club on April 9. 

While addressing Millikin students, Mathews said, "It's important to remember that 90 percent of customers will tell you what you want to hear, and 10 percent will tell you what you need to hear. With my trucking business, it's important to develop good relationships with customers."

Mathews started GenOx Transportation, Inc. in La Porte, Texas, in 2001. Building on the lifetime experience of his father in the industrial gas industry, Mathews set out to design a business model for GenOx that would enable it to become a market leader in the transportation of liquid nitrogen gas and other frozen industrial gases. 



Operating in one of the smallest niches within the tank truck industry, Mathews' company is investing more than $5 million a year on new equipment in anticipation of increased customer demand in 2015. This past year, GenOx generated $62 million in revenue, up from $1.2 million in revenue when the company launched in 2001.

When asked about launching a business venture, Mathews said, "It's important to keep moving forward and not be fearful. Don't let the effects of fear hold you back as an entrepreneur. There's a lot to learn when running a business and plenty of multitasking."

Mathews received his Bachelor of Science in Economics from Millikin University in 1991 after earning his associate degree from Richland Community College. While at Millikin, Mathews was a member of the Millikin Marketing Association and Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity. 



Following graduation from Millikin, Mathews worked for Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) and Matlack Systems, Inc. before becoming regional manager of Cryogenic Transportation, Inc., a company headquartered in Omaha, Neb.

"When you're a business owner, it takes time to learn and it's important to not take on too much," said Mathews. "Know your business and know yourself, and constant successes will help build momentum for your business."

Dr. Susan Kruml, dean of the Tabor School of Business said, "In a previous visit to Millikin, Kevin was captivating and the students enjoyed hearing his story. I think the key to his success is his value system, and the way he treats his customers and employees."

Additionally, Lisa Mathews, chief financial officer of GenOx and Kevin's wife, spoke with Millikin students and faculty during a women's luncheon held in Richards Treat University Center. She shared aspects of her successful career in a question-and-answer format. 



Dr. Kruml added, "Kevin's a great example of someone who has seized opportunity, created opportunity, and done so in a way that is extremely ethical. In terms of the award, the Tabor School of Business looked at alumni who were successful and were great role models. We believed that there was not a better example of a successful entrepreneur than Kevin."
Millikin University students have been volunteering to help community members prepare and file federal and state tax forms at the Decatur Public Library.

The students are providing the service as part of the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.

According to Dr. Michael Brown, Millikin associate professor of accounting, the program has helped over 800 people this year, and has provided practical work experiences for the students.

Click here to read an article from the Herald & Review recapping the work of the Millikin students.
Millikin University's Tabor School of Business offers opportunities for undergrads to engage in research projects and interact with real clients. Senior students benefited from those opportunities during Millikin's first Business Strategic Plan Competition held on March 30.

As part of the competition, two teams of students presented business strategies aimed to help local-based companies. Students from Millikin University's MBA cohort and Tabor School of Business Faculty members were on hand to judge the competition and provide feedback.

The first team included: Catherine Hixson, a business management major from Monticello, Ill., Cody Rios, a business management major from Bristol, Ill., Mariana Weber, a marketing major from Manchester, Mo., and Tiffany Couri, an accounting major from Decatur, Ill. The group presented a business strategy plan for a local newspaper company with aspirations of expanding its readership to additional cities in central Illinois.

The group provided details on the current trends of the newspaper industry, including online readership and digital advertising.

"I think experiences like this in which we are not just learning from a text book, but actually using the Millikin model of Performance Learning are extremely beneficial," said Mariana Weber. "To work with a local-based company, allows for us as students, to explore all aspects of business."

The team also developed a website and mobile site to help give their client an overview of digital advertising opportunities, and show the importance of online interaction.

Weber added, "Whether it's developing a website or looking at the logistics of the business, this allows us to be creatively comprehensive and ready for our careers with the confidence that we have done similar things and can succeed. It was definitely rewarding to present to many faculty who have worked with us from freshman to senior year, and show them our growth, both as business professionals and as individuals."

The second team included: Ashley Knierim, a finance major from Decatur, Ill., Ellie Ehrat, an accounting major from Shobonier, Ill., Erin Baltazar, a marketing major form Naperville, Ill., Nicole Economou, a marketing major from Hanover Park, Ill., and Rachel Franz, a marketing major from Plainfield, Ill. The second team presented a business plan for a local information technology (IT) service and repair company.

The team emphasized the importance of marketing campaigns to help drive client growth, and to promote the two types of service the company offers: break/fix and managed service.

"Working with a local-based computer company was an eye-opening experience," said Ellie Ehrat. "In the professional world, you have to learn about companies that might not be your exact expertise. You can take the knowledge of business that you do have and be able to develop a strategic business plan."

Rachel Franz added, "Working with our client to prepare for the strategic plan competition was challenging, but gave us a real taste of conducting business meetings and creating high-quality proposals that create real, lasting results. The skills my team and I developed will carry on directly to our future career paths, and allow us to become the successful professionals we know we can be."

The presentations were the culmination of Millikin's Business Strategy senior capstone course, led by Dr. J. Mark Munoz, Millikin professor of international management. Both teams earned $500 awards for their efforts.

"The Business Strategy course is different because of the consulting aspect, involvement of mentors and the competitive context. The course provided the opportunity for Millikin University and the students to be actively engaged with the local community," said Dr. Munoz. "I believe that the strategic plans, if implemented, can help the companies. Seeing the students gain confidence during their presentations, especially in front of an MBA class, was very exciting."

Millikin University's Tabor School of Business has announced a new addition to its Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program offerings with the launch of a Fast-Track MBA. Tabor's Fast-Track MBA degree program is a 12-month, full-time, day program designed for students who want to gain executive-level business knowledge and critical thinking skills. The program is now enrolling for the Fall 2015 semester.

The Fast-Track MBA program will show ambitious young graduates how to stand out in the marketplace by opening doors and creating important networking opportunities. The program includes executive lectures from Fortune 500 companies, and opportunities to learn from experienced C-suite executives in the classroom. The program is open to business and non-business students who have earned a bachelor's degree.

"We are very excited to offer this new Fast-Track MBA program at Millikin University," said Dr. Anthony Liberatore, Millikin director of MBA. "The program positions students for success through pillars of courses linked together to set a solid foundation and build analytical capabilities."

The pillars of courses within the accelerated program include:

Accounting & Finance
The Accounting & Finance pillar provides the high-level knowledge and range of skills needed to meet the challenges of today's complex global business. Subjects of study include Financial Accounting for Managers & Executives, Concepts for Financial Decisions, Case Studies in Finance, and Stock & Financial Markets.

Management & Leadership
The Management & Leadership pillar takes students through the tools and techniques for managing people, processes, and projects. Emphasis will be placed on practical skills including the use of lean and six-sigma techniques.

Marketing & Strategy
Used for positioning an enterprise relative to competition and customers, the Marketing & Strategy pillar covers Digital Media Marketing, Marketing Strategy & Analysis, and Globalization.

"The faculty in Millikin's Tabor School of Business are always looking for ways to improve the outstanding opportunities they offer students who want to prepare for successful careers in the world of business," said Millikin Provost Dr. Jeffery Aper. "The new Fast-Track MBA program is one of the new developments that builds on the success and excellence of the long-standing Executive MBA program. This new version of the MBA program allows students to complete the degree at a faster pace but maintains all of the rigor and quality of the original program. It's one more way in which Millikin is opening doors to help people achieve their full potential as professionals and as human beings who want to live lives of meaning and value."

The application deadline for the Fast-Track MBA program is April 15, 2015. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. or international institution. Prospective students may complete the application for admission at millikin.edu/apply.

Tuition for the program is $750 per credit hour. Financial aid is available. On-campus housing is also available for all students.

For more information on the Fast-Track MBA program, visit millikin.edu/mba, or contact the Millikin MBA program at 217.424.3503 or via e-mail at mba@millikin.edu.

Millikin University is a private, comprehensive university with a diverse student population of approximately 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students. A Millikin education features "Performance Learning," a unique learning approach offering students the chance to build the confidence to succeed before and after graduation. Millikin offers more than 50 majors in the College of Fine Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Professional Studies and Tabor School of Business, and is located on a 75-acre residential campus in Decatur, Ill. Last year, 99 percent of Millikin graduates gained employment or admission into professional/graduate school within six months of graduation. More information is available at millikin.edu.


First-year business undergraduates in Millikin University's Tabor School of Business were given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas during the 2014 Freshman Business Plan Competition. The competition was held during Millikin's Celebrations of Scholarship on April 25 in ADM-Scovill Hall. The business plan competition is the culmination of Millikin's Introduction to Business course.

The course is designed to provide first-year undergrads with a basic understanding of business. The course covers the personal and professional development of various business functions concluding with a team-designed written business plan. The business plan outlines a proposal to operate an enterprise of their choice.

The first business presentation of the competition was called EnerGym, a gym that will incorporate revolutionary "green" technology, as well as provide an organic dietary alternative for its members. By joining EnerGym, an individual will become part of a greater good that will not only improve their personal health, but the health of the environment as well. The business was created by students Emilee Gerk, a mathematics actuarial science major from Tinley Park, Ill., and Jake Kotopka, an accounting major from Bolingbrook, Ill.

The second business featured in the competition was called Sporganics. Sporganics is a restaurant focused on a sports-minded population with the sensitivity for healthy foods and lifestyle. The presentation was led by students LeRyan Wolfe, a sociology major from Chicago, Ill., Frank Jones, a marketing major from Bartlett, Tenn., and Jocelyn Hernandez, an international business major from Des Plaines, Ill.

The third business presentation of the competition was called Ivory Bridal Boutique, a wedding dress rental, retail and online store designed to make searching for a wedding dress fashionable, affordable, and painless. The presentation was made by students Kiara Smail, an accounting major from Mt. Zion, Ill., and Katie Massey, a business major from Decatur, Ill.

Ivory Bridal Boutique was chosen the winner of the 2014 Freshman Business Plan Competition. As a result of the votes, the team receives scholarships to travel abroad on a Tabor international immersion trip. The trip will provide an opportunity for the students to learn about and experience international business.

"We were very surprised to have won the competition, but felt honored," said Kiara Smail. "All three of the presentations were so well-thought-out and everyone worked so hard on them all year. We really had to focus on trying to get the message we wanted Ivory to convey across to the audience. Rather than just focusing on small ideas it was all about the big picture."

Katie Massey added, "Having spent so much time on such a big project last semester through our Introduction to Business course, it was a great honor to have won the competition. With academic success like this so early in my career at Millikin, I can only hope that I will continue to have opportunities to achieve more."

When asked about the learning experience of creating a business, Kiara Smail says, "This experience really opened my eyes to all of the possibilities and opportunities that are available on campus. I've learned to take advantage of opportunities that are presented to me, as a student, through campus activities, and to put extra effort into something I'm passionate about."

2014 Business Creation Competition Winners

The 2014 Business Creation Competition showcases student ideas and concepts for a business. Students compete individually or as a team for cash prizes and seed funding based on the quality, creativity, and innovation of their business.

Students prepare a business model and presentation for a panel of judges made up of outside business professionals. Judges considered the following in their selection process:

- Creativity/Innovation of business idea/concept/model
- Validation of why the business idea will work

The Millikin University Tabor School of Business is pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Business Creation Competition.

Mathletics - $1,500
Rachael Coyle, a sophomore entrepreneurship major from Amboy, Ill.

Mathletics is a math-tutoring service/club that will help bring a deeper level of understanding and appreciation for the world of mathematics. It will teach hands-on math skills to its students, training them on how mathematics relates to real-life situations and training them into veritable "mathletes."

Prairie Avenue Soap Company - $900
Anthony Lester, a senior marketing major from Hillsdale, Ill.

A lye-free bar soap company.

Looper 314 - $500
Matthew Hamrick, a senior information systems major from Glenarm, Ill.

The Looper 314 is a guitar looping pedal that utilizes a raspberry pi microcomputer.

BrightBerry - $100
Sasha Roberts, a senior information systems major from Decatur, Ill.

BrightBerry is a light therapy box intended for the treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The competition judging panel included Prescott Paulin, international research consultant at 300 Below Inc., Ray Fields, owner of Papa Murphy's Take 'N' Bake, and Bridget Hogan, attorney with Samuels, Miller, Schroeder, Jackson & Sly, LLP.

Some winners may be invited to apply for additional funds as well as a space in Millikin's student business incubator, The Hub. A variety of businesses have been presented in past competitions including recording companies, theatre companies, a micro-investment firm, a graphic design company, restaurants, a software development company, and more.

For more information about the annual Freshman Business Plan and Business Creation Competitions, visit millikin.edu/tabor.
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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL