Cameron Insider: The Quarterly Newsletter for Cameron School of Business Alumni

Cameron Insider: The Quarterly Update for CSB Alumni

Cameron School faculty at Fudan UniversityMessage from the Dean - Cameron and UNCW Visit Asia

Greetings from the Cameron School of Business. We trust that you are prospering as we enter this holiday season.

Representatives from UNCW and the Cameron School of Business recently returned from a trip to China. Our travel itineraries included a number of visits to area universities (Fudan University, Shanghai International Studies University, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, and Hong Kong Baptist University) to establish exchange partnerships for our students. We believe that these opportunities will complement an already thriving exchange program in Europe. 

“Why China?” you might ask.

There is a Chinese folk tale about a frog who lived in a well. Having never left the well before, he believed it to be a paradise, preferring his small circle of sky to the unknown world outside. But as we all know, outside UNCW and North Carolina, a whole world awaits.

China is a global and economic power, and has quickly become of one of the most popular study abroad destinations because of its long history and exciting culture. Its development during the last 35 years is unprecedented in the world’s history. Consider these important facts:

  • The population of China is 1.37 billion - more than any other country in the world. 
  • China is the largest economy in the world ($19.5 trillion in 2015).
  • China is the world’s largest exporter, exporting $2.7 trillion in 2015.
  • China is the world’s third largest importer.
  • China is the world’s largest manufacturing nation. 

It was obvious during our visit that the Chinese middle class is growing, and with it, China’s economy may likely be driven more by economic consumption. This could dramatically affect the U.S. and U.S. businesses. Over the next decade, there will be billions more entering the middle class, and smart companies are already starting to cater to this market, betting on the thought that many newcomers to the Chinese middle class will be quick to spend disposable income. Can you imagine witnessing this evolution firsthand as you study abroad in China?

Virtually no business will be disconnected from China within two decades, and our students will be well-served by having opportunities to study in China and learn their business practices and culture. We look forward to nurturing these new and continuing relationships.

Rob Burrus

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Matt Khouri

Alumnus Matt Khouri's New Business Thrives in Outer Banks

Maryland native and 2012 Cameron School of Business alumnus Matt Khouri prefers flip flops and board shorts to the traditional business attire. Having spent every summer during his college career working in the Outer Banks, Khouri knew early on that he wanted to live and work there full-time. It wasn’t until his senior year, however, that he developed a plan that would not only allow him to work by the beach, but to build his own successful business there. 

In the fall of 2011, Khouri took an entrepreneurship course requiring him to develop a business plan. This plan started out as merely a class project, but it sparked the idea that evolved into Matt’s present-day company, The Outer Banks Boil Company.

The Outer Banks Boil Company is a family-owned and operated business providing the traditional “coastal boil” experience to vacationers of the northern Outer Banks. According to Khouri, the original business plan submission didn’t even earn an exceptional grade, but it did elicit conversation with his professor, Matthew Wood. Wood believed that the premise of the business was good, but the initial ideas for execution were going to require additional thought and planning. The seed had been planted, and the idea grew throughout the remainder of Khouri’s senior year. 

The four years following graduation were challenging, but with a great deal of trial and error combined with hard work, Matt brought his business plan to life. For the first several years, he worked multiple jobs around the clock. In addition to booking catering events out of his living room, he was working as a surf instructor as well as at a pizza shop, saving his money so that he could invest in his new business.

In his first summer season, Khouri catered 10 events. In year two, that number doubled, and in his third summer he catered nearly 60 events. By the winter of 2014, well before the beach season began, Matt was already booked for nearly 70 events. That summer, he completed 297 events headquartered from his own apartment. The time had clearly come to find a store front. 

In April of 2016, The Outer Banks Boil Company opened up a storefront location in Corolla, NC. With the help of Khouri’s mother, brother and a few close friends, The Outer Banks Boil Company hosted more than 650 traditional Carolina low-country boils on the beaches of Corolla and the four-wheel drive area of the northern Outer Banks. Additionally, they provided approximately 6,000 dinners through their new “pots to-go” service. 

Business is booming, and the testimonials on their website indicate a new family tradition for many seasonal vacation goers who prefer having the food come to them while they relax at the beach. However, Matt isn’t finished yet -  he has plans to continue to grow. 

“My hope is to fine-tune it at home and then branch out. Ideally, within 10 years, we will have a handful of locations specific to coastal communities along the east coast.” Perhaps, if we’re lucky, we will find The Outer Banks Boil Company in Wilmington someday soon.  

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Mary Katherine MarrCSB Student Lands Internship with American Ballet Theatre in NYC

When Mary Katherine Marr began her education in 2013, she never dreamed that she would be able to combine her lifelong passion for ballet with her business school education, but her internship at the American Ballet Theatre in New York City this past summer did just that. A junior with a marketing strategy concentration set to graduate in May of 2017, Mary Katherine came across the internship opportunity via American Ballet Theatre’s career page. It was the last day to apply for the position, and although she was apprehensive, she knew she had to go for it. Her ambition paid off, as she was one of the few non-fine arts majors accepted in the entire internship program!

Although Mary Katherine had never visited NYC, she embraced the challenge of a new environment and a city much different than her home town of Jacksonville, NC. Her internship was in the membership office of ABT’s Development Department , where she was responsible for assisting members and ensuring they have a positive experience with the organization. The position ensured that she touched many areas of the dance company, and she is particularly proud of one of her projects, whereshe researched different fundraising platforms and ideas to launch a social media fundraising campaign. Mary Katherine also got to experience a day at the offices of Pointe Magazine, which she had read as a young dancer. Here, she talked with the editors and learned more about the creative process and saw the inner-workings of an organization as complex as a major publication.

She is grateful for the opportunity to gain experience in membership and marketing in the fine arts and nonprofit sector, and feels that the position added to her competitive edge. As for her plans after graduation? “I hope to use the professional and personal skills that I developed this summer to enrich future organizations, as I am sure that they will be a great asset to my career journey.”

Read a first-hand account of her experience on our blog.

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Dr. Tracy Meyer at awards banquetMarketing Department Chair Tracy Meyer Wins Prestigious Awards

At the Pi Sigma Epsilon National Convention held in April 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Tracy Meyer (chair of the Cameron School of Business Marketing Department) received the Top Faculty Advisor Award. Members of the Delta Tau Chapter nominated Dr. Meyer for the award because of her enthusiastic commitment to helping the chapter excel in all endeavors.

PSE is a national, co-ed marketing and management fraternity with more than 60 active chapters at universities across the United States. The UNCW Chapter of PSE, Delta Tau, is very active with over 70 student members. PSE is best known on campus for its efforts selling Cameron Gear - merchandise with the Cameron School of Business logo. This past year PSE also ran a community-wide wing tasting event known as Wing Fling with 12 local restaurants participating. In January 2017, PSE in conjunction with Phi Mu Sorority, is planning its next large-scale event, a dance marathon to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network.

The governing body of PSE also nominated Dr. Meyer for the Professional Fraternity Association Faculty Award of Excellence. According to the PFA website, “PFE represents over 100,000 undergraduate and graduate students in over 1,000 campuses across the nation.” In August 2016, Dr. Meyer attended the Annual PFA Conference in Baton Rouge, Louisiana to accept the award. Congratulations, Dr. Meyer!

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Professional MBA Learning Alliance team

Professional MBA Learning Alliance: 2016 Boyd Robinson Most Value Added Award Winners

The Cameron School of Business has a long and established practice of involving students in active-based learning where students conduct projects for local, regional, national and global organizations. This practice was strengthened 14 years ago when the Learning Alliance project was integrated into CSB’s Professional MBA program. 

The Learning Alliance consists of a Professional MBA student team, a local or regional small- to medium-size firm, a Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) counselor and an MBA faculty member. The SBTDC counselors assist in the selection of clients for the alliance, and work with teams over the course of four to six months during the completion of the selected projects. 

The objective is to expose MBA student teams to the realities and complexities of business operations and to provide the client firm with assistance in conducting relevant and contemporary business analyses on the firm’s industry and business processes. This year, for their efforts in focusing on building awareness and re-branding mulch products for Green Recycling Solutions, the professional MBA team of Caitlin Mabe, Allen Martin, Corey Penrod, Clem Seifert and Robert Wright was awarded the Boyd Robison Most Value Added Award for the greatest value added to their client.

Green Recycling Solutions, a recycling facility that specializes in handling construction and demolition debris, was interested in developing sales channels for a new environmentally friendly mulch made from recycled material.

“Because this was a new product, it was unique and required tactics to increase consumer awareness,” explained team member Corey Penrod. The team analyzed the industry, researched potential customers and competitors, investigated environmental impacts, developed marketing strategies, and offered insight to new customers in the form of educational promotional videos and a newly designed web presence. 

The project gave the team an opportunity to showcase skills and experiences from various backgrounds including business, chemistry, real estate, film studies and information technologies, and the alliance proved to be beneficial for everyone involved.

John Maides, owner of Green Recycling Solutions, certainly considered the experience to be positive. “I got the chance to work with some outstanding people who grasped the issues quickly and returned a product to me that was far better than my expectations. If I had the chance to do this over again, I would definitely do it. This was a huge success for the students and for myself.” 

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2016 Outlook Conference panelAnnual Economic Outlook Conference

This year’s Economic Outlook Conference took place on Thursday, Oct. 6 in the Burney Center. With about 350 people in attendance despite impending Hurricane Matthew, Drs. Tom Simpson and Adam Jones shared their national and regional economic forecasts with the Wilmington community.

Dr. Simpson reported that that while growth in the national expansion has been slow in comparison to previous expansions, it is not completely unexpected, as slow productivity growth and changing demographics are dampening growth in potential output. Simpson said that consumption will continue to be a workhorse of the economy, and the drag from low levels of business fixed investment should lessen over the coming year, providing a lift to growth at the national level.

Dr. Jones explained that the growing labor force will continue to strengthen our region.

“The elevated levels of job openings and increasing consumer spending in the southeast North Carolina region should be strong enough to continue to bring the region’s unemployment rate below the national rate,” Jones wrote in the forecast.

The conference also featured a panel discussion with Jack Barto, CEO and President, New Hanover Regional Medical Center,; and Stephan Kutzer, Ph.D., CEO of Alcami, on ‘The Business of Healthcare.’ Main topics of discussion included changing payment and infrastructure of the retail healthcare environment toward a more price-driven model. In addition, both panelists discussed the need for continued growth to help facilitate the attraction of talent through increased opportunities for members of dual-income households.

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