A group of University of Mississippi business students and staff took a career trek to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in February to give the students an opportunity to explore and network with companies and potential employers in the area.
Twenty-eight students were accompanied by members of the School of Business Administration’s Career Prep, Business Connect and development teams. The students were selected based on their submitted resumes and applications, which included academic achievements and campus involvement.
The trek’s goal was to provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse of industry trends, work culture and employer recruitment needs.
“The students were such great ambassadors of Ole Miss, and we are so impressed with what they were able to accomplish on this trek,” said Wesley Dickens, assistant director of experiential education for the business school. “Although the primary purpose of the trip was career exploration, several students ended up with interviews for career and internship opportunities.”
The trek began with an opening dinner at Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth, hosted by Jennifer Baker, Ole Miss alumna and regional vice president of sales and marketing with Aimbridge Hospitality. Baker, who received her bachelor's degree in international business in 1999, encouraged students to be adaptable, build relationships and remain open in their career steps.
“I loved being able to play a role in the new career trek program through the School of Business,” she said. “The insight the students get to see while visiting corporations and talking to senior leaders is invaluable.
“I enjoyed meeting the students with so many diverse backgrounds and sharing my Ole Miss
story with them and opening their eyes to the abundance of opportunities within the hospitality
Tour stops with companies in the area included BNSF Railway, AT&T, CBRE, CoreLogic and Hillwood Development. The companies presented opportunities for all majors including finance, marketing, real estate, supply chain/logistics and management.
“Being a part of the Ole Miss School of Business career trek to DFW was an amazing experience,” said Abby Long, a junior from Tallahassee, Florida, majoring in marketing and communications strategy. “The visits to the businesses taught me about opportunities that never crossed my mind.”
Students learned about a variety of career and internship opportunities to help them confirm a career path.
“Our students received a generous welcome and high-quality professional insight from each employer,” said Tyler Meisenheimer, director of the Business Connect program.
“Companies provided facility tours, panel discussions that portrayed ‘a day in the life’ of the various positions they hire for, case studies, and overall unique and enriched presentations from entry-level to executive-level associates of each respective company.”
A key stop on the trip was a networking reception featuring UM Chancellor Glenn Boyce, business school Dean Ken Cyree, Ole Miss business school alumni and employers from around Dallas-Fort Worth. Donors who supported the reception were John Bunten, Paul Knowlton, Jimmy Grisham and Brooks Yates.
The university officials updated the crowd regarding recent accolades and recognition of the university and the School of Business Administration. The achievements of UM alumni were celebrated as top leaders in Texas and across the nation.
Additional funding for the trip was provided by Gayle and Dave Porter, who supported a luncheon for the students.
The next Business Connect reception is set for May 9 in Birmingham, Alabama, and the team hopes to visit other popular markets where Ole Miss students are interested in living and working after graduation.
Submitted by the UM School of Business