Archive for the ‘Alumni’ Category

Why Internships Are Important: A Look Inside an Internship at Frito-Lay

By: Megan Rothermich

Kevia Jett-Ricketts is 30 years old and a returning learner, who works full time at E-Trailer while she is in school. Kevia is a student at UMSL’s College of Business Administration and is also part of the Pierre Laclede Honors College. She is a dear friend of mine and a great inspiration to many. Her unwavering work-ethic is what sets her apart from others and has gotten her to where she is today.

After a successful internship experience at Frito Lay, Kevia was offered a full-time position at the company, which she will start after her graduation in May 2018.

Q: How did you hear about the internship at Frito Lay?

A: I saw their table at the Career and Internship Fair at UMSL in the spring. The HR representative was sitting with free chips (who doesn’t love free chips!) and I approached the table, wondering why no one else had stopped by. Intrigued, I asked the HR representative why she hadn’t seen much traffic, and her response was, “I have free chips, I’m really not sure why people aren’t stopping by!”

We ended up sparking a conversation that I believed went well. The HR representative called me a week later to set up an interview.  

The day of the interview, I stopped to fill up my gas tank and ended up spilling some gasoline on my foot, which made me smell like gasoline for the rest of the day. I thought the interview went terrible, so feeling like I missed out on an amazing opportunity, I broke down and shed a few tears. I was certain I failed the interview. But 2 hours later I got an email from the HR representative. I remember the date, October 7th, because it was a big day for me. The email was asking me to go to Kansas City, MO for the second round of interviews!

Q: How did the interviews take place?

There were 3 30-minute round interviews. The first 30-minute interview was a 1-person interview, the next one was a 2-person interview, and lastly, another 1-person interview. All together 4 people interviewed me that day. I felt super pumped about this opportunity after the interviews, and I appreciated the amount of time and effort they put into interviewing people for internships.

The week after my second round of interviews, I opened my email and saw that I had received the official offer for the internship.

Q: Fast forward to your first day at the internship, what was that like?

A: For our first day, we were back in Kansas City for 3 days. We learned what our projects for the summer would be and learned how to use the tablets. After that we went and toured the plant in Topeka to see how chips are made. This is standard for all Frito Lay employees, as they want their employees to really understand the process.

Q: After you returned from Kansas City, what were your responsibilities during your internship?

A: Overall my project was to make sure that 16 stores we were assigned were tagged appropriately and stripped correctly. Basically, making sure every chip was in its correct spot.  I happened to be doing small format stores, which is mostly convenient stores, such as Casey’s.

Q: How did you close out the summer?

A: At the end, we got to go to Las Vegas and present what we did in front of Pepsi executives. The awesome part of the presentation in Vegas is that your presentation wouldn’t decipher whether you would get the job or not. You were evaluated by the people that worked close with you all summer so that there wasn’t too much pressure on the presentation. I ended up getting a verbal confirmation that I would get a full-time job offer before going to Vegas.  “You have a position with us” was all that my boss said, and I was ecstatic.

About a week after I returned from Vegas, I received a call from the HR representative with the actual verbal job offer and the starting salary.

Q: What are the takeaways from your internship at Frito Lay and what do you want other students to know about taking an internship?

A: My takeaway is that Frito Lay really cares about who they hire, and they care about making sure not only you are right for the company, but that the company is right for you. Internships are what you make of it. You should make the best of your experience. I was lucky enough to have a great mentor and she showed me what I would have to deal with daily if I decided to work for Frito-Lay. I also learned that time management is essential because the job is quite autonomous. Be proactive in your internships and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Lastly, I want to thank Lisa Fikki, the Internship Coordinator at UMSL, because without her I would have never known about the career fair and the amazing opportunities that came with it. It is important to take a chance with your internships even though you might not know what to expect, you can end up having a job lined up for you when you graduate. Take advantage of the things you have available to you at UMSL, you won’t regret it.


New Business Building Brings Fresh Opportunities To Campus

By Andrea Siecinski

The “In Your Business” Podcast recently interviewed some faculty of UMSL about the past, present and future plans of the Anheuser Busch Hall. The hall opened in August of 2017 and is the first building to be used only for the the College of Business. Brendan Goodwin and Tom Fitzgibbons sat down with Dean Charles Hoffman, who is the Dean of the College of Business Administration; Dr. Thomas Eyssell, the Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies; and Stan Freerks, who is one of the donors of the new hall, to discuss the Anheuser Busch building. 

The building has been in the works for many years. Dean Hoffman said, “This dream started in 2004. So, it’s been quite a long time in the planning stage.” When referencing how long it took to raise funds the dean said, “Efforts began in 2009… As soon as we raised ten million dollars we got the state to match that ten million dollars.”

This new building has great technology and features. There is arrangeable seating that can be customizable for each class type. It has electronic equipment that is up-to-date. There is an executive education classroom that is two-stories tall and a trade room for the finance students. The building has the prospect of bringing in new students and increasing enrollment. According to Dean Hoffman, statistics have shown that new buildings bring in more students. The building also brings awareness to the College of BusinessStan Freerks, a donor to the hall, is an UMSL alum. He said, “The success of UMSL and its graduates correlates directly with the future success of our region,” when asked about his donation and thoughts about UMSL. Being a graduate of UMSL, he feels that this building will only emphasize the great assets of the College of Business.

There is second phase in the works for the Anheuser Busch building. The funds are almost where they need them to be and it will take about two years to build. The plan will have an open air atrium, more state of the art classrooms, and faculty offices. The College of Business will all be located in one area because of phase 2.

The Anheuser Busch building has brought a new feeling of inspiration in the College of Business at UMSL. Those involved in the college are excited to see how building will positively affect the college and campus as a whole.


Strasbourg, France IMBA Program Fall 2016

By: Hayley Alexander

Studying abroad in Strasbourg, France was an opportunity I had always dreamed of and it surpassed my expectations. I spent five months in the capital of Europe that bordered two countries; Switzerland and Germany. With only a 30-minute train ride into another country, it was easy to travel throughout Europe. The university I studied at was EM Strasbourg School of Business. Each class challenged me on an international level and I was able to gain real insight into each culture. My favorite part about studying abroad was the people. Working in groups with students from all over the world allowed me to learn how each culture operates in the business world.

Since classes at the university were irregular, it allowed international students studying abroad to travel. After marking friends with students from Spain, Argentina, Hungary, China, Hong Kong, and more, we all visited Paris, Frankfurt, London, Budapest, and Basel. Each city was beautiful in its own way; the Eiffel tower in Paris, the Rhine River in Frankfurt, Buckingham Palace in London, the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest, and the beautiful mountains in Basel. Each place was unique in its own way. What I loved most about Europe was the architecture. Unlike the states that has become extremely modern, the Europeans have kept the older, rich architecture that dates back to hundreds of years ago.

Experiencing culture diversity is an essential part in International Business. However, I can’t write this blog without mentioning the amazing food. Although I could hardly pronounce anything on each Menu, my French friends made me try every “French Dish” available. I now miss my fresh baguettes and cappuccino’s every morning.

I am extremely thankful for this opportunity that has taught me so much about international business and myself. The UMSL IMBA program allows you to connect and network with peers from around the world. I am confident that this experience will help my future career. If you have the opportunity to travel abroad, DO IT! Don’t wait! It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and will change your life forever.



UMSL Alumnus Shares His Experience

We recently caught up with UMSL alumnus Spenser Schmitt (‘14) about his experience at UMSL. Spenser, like many UMSL students first attended community college before transferring. Find out what Spenser has to say about his experience with the university and why he would recommend UMSL!

  1. Why did you choose UMSL?

Initially, I looked into a couple of schools in the area and realized that UMSL had a great professors and faculty. I also felt that UMSL had a variety of hands-on experiences and was a great value. I felt this was a good choice for me to attend school in the St. Louis area.

  1. Why would you recommend UMSL?

I would highly recommend UMSL because the professors are really passionate and many have experience in the industries they are teaching in. UMSL also has a beautiful campus, which is a nice perk.

  1. What advice would you give to current or future UMSL students?

I would say to get involved with any extracurricular activities the school has to offer. Absorb the whole college experience and treat it as your job. I think this will really help you to take advantage of everything that UMSL has to offer. It will also help to you be more prepared once you graduate.

I would also recommend using your senior year to ramp up your career and grow your network. Be prepared to work in a team setting, especially on things like senior project. Learn your strengths and practice good teamwork, this will come in handy in your future career. Also, try to note business acumen, it’s important to know how to handle etiquette in the business world.

  1. What do you wish you had done during your time at UMSL that you did not?

I actually didn’t do any internships during college, UMSL can connect you with some good internships and I wish I had done a couple. I think this would have given me some invaluable experience and helped me to better know what I wanted to do after graduation.

I also wish I had gotten more involved. UMSL has a lot of clubs and organizations that you can learn from but I was working a lot and didn’t get as involved as I would have liked. I would have liked have learned more from an entrepreneurial standpoint. I currently work for a startup, so that could be useful.

spenser_schmittAbout Spenser: I currently head the marketing and sales for a small business and technology solutions provider called ProgresSum. I am most passionate about giving people the ability to achieve their goals, both in their professional and personal lives. UMSL was actually a big propionate in giving me the confidence and drive to do so.

Catching up with UMSL Business Alum, Orvin Kimbrough




by: Elizabeth Snowden,
MBA Candidate 2016

Orvin Kimbrough is a hot St. Louis success story. One of our own – whose passion and ambition forged a path from humble beginnings to President and CEO of the United Way of Greater St. Louis. Under Orvin’s leadership, the United Way of Greater St. Louis continues to positively impact the local community through individual and educational initiatives, and a network of partnerships.

Orvin KimbroughOrvin Kimbrough

Last month for Black History Month, we reached out to Orvin to get to know him a little better, explore how his MBA from UMSL played a role in his business success, get a feeling for who inspires him, and gain some insight as to what black history means to this hometown leader.

(UMSL Business): Please give us a little background on where you are from, your family and your upbringing.

(Orvin Kimbrough): I was born in East St. Louis. I spent my formative years in North St. Louis. My wife and I have been married for nearly 17 years; we have two children and currently live in St. Louis County (Wildwood).

UB: Please tell us about your job and why it matters.

OK: I work for United Way of Greater St. Louis. I have worked for the organization since January of 2007, and I have been President and CEO since July of 2013. My job entails working with partners to create the conditions for people to live better lives. What this means is focusing on ensuring that we have a systematic and strategic approach to generating resources, managing resources and investing resources. My business matters because it is about helping people who have a philanthropic inclination [to] focus their efforts to help people who need support to realize their full potential.

UB: From which university did you receive your undergraduate degree, and what degree was it?

OK: I attended the University of Missouri — Columbia for undergraduate and my first graduate degree. I earned a Bachelor and Masters of Social Work. I earned a Master of Business Administration from University of Missouri — St. Louis, and I earned a Master of Arts in Theology from Aquinas Institute in St. Louis.

UB: How many people in your immediate family have attended college and how do you feel about that?

OK: Both my wife and I have earned advanced degrees and it’s an awesome thing…because we both grew up poor. We are one example of the power of education to change the course of life.

UB: What reasons made you decide to pursue an MBA at UMSL?


  • I love public education. I am the product of public high school.
  • The University of Missouri — St. Louis was value priced and had a reputation for quality. It was appropriately challenging and if I could make it through UMSL’s program, I could make it anywhere.

UB: What did you enjoy about your education at UMSL?

OK: Most people don’t know that I actually started my college experience at UMSL during the summer of 1994. I had to take a math and English class to qualify for admittance into Mizzou. That summer, I learned what it was like to be a college student. I spent a lot of time on campus studying with other students. Years later, going back to the university for graduate school was a treat. I enjoyed engaging with the other MBA students through team-based projects. You really got a real world feel for how you get things done in business.

UB: In what particular ways do you feel UMSL prepared you to be a successful businessman?

OK: The fact that I earned a Master of Business Administration from an accredited business school qualified me in an intensively competitive environment. The rigor of UMSL helped to shape me into a well rounded leader, who can think about strategy, management, leadership, people, results and finance in a measured way.

UB: What made you want to pursue your current industry, what do you like about your job, and of what personal career accomplishments are you particularly proud?

OK: I think my industry chose me. I had a challenged life growing up, and I think that narrative was partially to prepare me to lead in the nonprofit sector. I love that I get to see the best of people in my job — whether it is people who have a desire to help others, or people who are trying to change their lives by taking advantage of opportunities to improve.

I am probably most proud that my former boss, Gary Dollar, championed my potential, and that the board of United Way took a chance and offered me the top job in one of the most successful organizations on the planet when I was 38 years old. I am proud of the fact that I didn’t squander the opportunity, and I have been encouraged by my many mentors to stretch my leadership, and not be content with just getting by. I am super proud of how this region consistently responds when we are challenged…I am grateful that I get to champion the best of our region.

UB: Who were the people you looked up to growing up, and why did you admire/respect them?

OK: I admired the Program Director at the Monsanto YMCA, Mr. Robinson. The Monsanto Y is located in North St. Louis. Mr. Robinson at one point served as a supervisor at a group home in which I lived. He always encouraged us youngsters, and he allowed us to enter the Y free of charge.

I admired Mr. Trice who had a deadly three point shot – he too was a house parent at one of my residential facilities. I respected them both more than anything because they were real…and wanted the best for us kids.

I admired Louise Reeves and Lawson Calhoun – because they took a chance on me and helped me secure $600 that I needed to take remediation during the summer at UMSL. I admire all of the giants of the Civil Rights era, and the giants pushing for better educational conditions for our young people today.

UB: Who do you currently admire as a leader in the African American community and why?

OK: There are so many, I can’t do this justice. I admire Larry Thomas, Michael Holmes and Dave Steward because they look at the world through the lens of their faith and are focused on being excellent in everything they do. I admire Charmaine Chapman –because of her endurance and legend.

Group Photo

From left: Larry Thomas, Partner at Edward Jones; Michael Holmes, President at Rx Outreach; David Steward, Chairman and Co-Founder of World Wide Technology, Inc.; and Charmaine Chapman, former President and CEO of the United Way of Greater St. Louis.

I spend more time with Booker T and W.E.B. because I believe they each possessed some truth about what it would take for African Americans to be successful in America.

UB: Have you personally experienced any racial stereotypes during your career?   How can African Americans and non-African Americans confront/eliminate these stereotypes?

OK: Yes, I believe that bias exists, but that is no excuse to stop pushing. I believe in the course of my life, I’ve experienced bias because of my age — meaning, people have discounted my contribution because I have generally been younger in all of my circles.

I also believe that it is harder to take instruction from an African American male because it is so uncommon that black men are in positions of leadership. I think the only way to confront it is to keep showing up and keep being excellent.

UB: What do you think when you hear “Black History Month,” and what does Black History Month mean to you, personally?

OK: Every day is black history for me.

UB: What advice can you offer African Americans in St. Louis or UMSL who want to pursue successful careers in business?

OK: Be passionate about helping people solve problems. If you are focused on solving problems you will never be unemployed.

Thank you so much for your time and contribution!!!