Cameron School of Business

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

Cameron Insider: The Quarterly Update for CSB Alumni

In This Issue (May 2017):

Dean Robert BurrusMessage from the Dean 

Dear Alumni:

Cameron is on the move!  Even as we close out the 2016-17 academic year and reflect on our accomplishments, we are also putting finishing touches on new and exciting programs.

We had a great year! We started fall 2016 with three new faculty members and three new staff members. Five of Cameron’s current faculty members were promoted, and 11 faculty members received summer research grants for summer 2017. After four years of declining faculty numbers, I am happy to report that Cameron is now on the upswing.

In January 2017, the inaugural class for Cameron’s new Online Executive Master of Business Administration program began their journey. It is a 48-credit-hour program, which offers the convenience of online courses with invaluable face-to-face residencies on our beautiful campus and abroad at our international partner schools.

Cameron continues to provide a general business administration degree program through our Onslow Extension Program. Beginning in fall 2017, we will offer a concentration in human resources. This is a great opportunity for military-affiliated students as well as their spouses.

Cameron’s PSE team took first place as the “Top Marketing Project – Not for Profit” for DubThon at this year’s PSE National Convention! Two members of the team were finalists in the “Pro Sell-A-Thon” and Cameron’s team received the “Top Alumni Advisor” award.

Several of Cameron’s faculty have published in top journals, including Cetin Ciner publishing in Energy Economics; Pete Schuhmann publishing in Journal of Environmental Management; Jessica Magnus publishing in the Journal of Management and Allison Evans publishing in the Journal of Accountancy. Tom Janicki and Jeff Cummings received the best paper at the Information Systems and Computing Academic Professionals conference.

No business education is complete without engagement with business professionals, alumni, top organizations, etc. We hosted numerous successful events this year, including our Annual Outlook Conference with over 300 in attendance (in light of an impending storm); Business Week 2017, with more than 190 guest speakers (of whom 95 were alumni); and WITX with 515 participants. The Swain Center hosted the 29th Annual International Mentoring Association conference. Our faculty members are co-editors of respected journals in their fields and are chairs for conferences.

May’s commencement celebrated 478 undergraduates and 42 graduates receiving their diplomas – up by 5.69 percent over last spring. We were pleased to have Don Godwin provide the commencement speech, partner of GodwinBowman & Martinez, a law firm located in Dallas ( He received his undergraduate degree from Wilmington College before going on to get his M.S.A. degree from Memphis State and his J.D. degree at SMU. His clients include Haliburton Company; Bank of America; Dallas Cowboys & Jerry Jones Sr.; ExxonMobil; FMC Technologies Inc.; Haggar Clothing Company; and Texaco.

None of this, however, is possible without the generous support of our donors, partners and alumni!  If you wish to be part of this excitement and give: Thanking you in advance…

Rob Burrus

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WITX 2017Annual Wilmington Information Technology eXchange

On April 10, the Cameron School of Business and the Computer Science department in the College of Arts and Science held the 14th annual Wilmington Information Technology eXchange (WITX). The conference was held in the Computer and Information Systems Building on UNCW’s campus and had a record number of attendees totaling 515. WITX is the largest IT event held in southeastern North Carolina, and brings together industry professionals, students and faculty to share ideas. This year’s theme revolved around cyber-crime and security with five Learning eXchange sessions dedicated to this topic. In addition to a very large student, community and faculty presence at the event, a number of local industry experts were involved as both exhibitors and presenters including professionals from tekMountain, CastleBranch, IBM, SecureWorks, nCino, Cape Fear Community College, Cape Fear Women In Technology and Sage Island.

Numerous area business sponsors helped to make this event possible, including the event’s premier sponsors, CastleBranch and tekMountain. Through their generous support, this year’s conference had live social media feeds available during the event. This was the fifth year that CastleBranch and tekMountain were the key sponsors and contributors to the success of this event. Additionally, student exhibitors were judged by members of the community and prizes were made possible by Bobbie Miller of Intracoastal Real Estate.

Each year the event is hosted by the Information Systems/Information Technology Advisory Board for the Management Information Systems and Computer Information Technology concentrations. Tom Janicki, professor of information systems, has served as event chair since WITX’s inception 14 years ago.

“I look at this event as a way for the university and the community to come together professionally. The event exposes students to IT professionals, and industry professionals get to see UNCW student research,” he said.

To read more about the events and happenings from this year’s WITX Conference, visit

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Dallas Fed Challenge Participants 2017CSB Seniors Travel to Dallas for Economic Scholars Program

On March 31, CSB students traveled across the country to the Lone Star State to participate in the Economic Scholars Program at the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.

The Economic Scholars Program is a nationally competitive conference focused on undergraduate research; an impressive seven UNCW students’ papers were accepted in a conference where only approximately half are accepted. These papers acted as CSB students’ Honors research projects with topics ranging from Brexit to student charitable giving.

For these CSB seniors, presenting their research at the Dallas Fed was the culmination of hard work over the course of the year – they met every Friday morning at 8 a.m. with faculty advisors Adam Jones, Danny Soques and Ethan Watson.

"From a faculty standpoint, we sit in the audience and hold our breaths nervously as the students step out into the unknown of a presentation followed by a critical discussant and then audience questions," Dr. Jones explains.

Tabitha Knott, who graduated earlier this month, titled her research, Blame it on the Alcohol (Policies of your Neighbors): Diffusion of Local Option Alcohol Policies Across Texas Counties.

"The conference and the trip overall were both a lot more fun than I anticipated," she said. "Getting to hear about the type of research that undergrads all over the country are conducting was amazing. Going to this conference was a good introduction to what life will be like as an actual economist in the 'real world' outside of UNCW."

"The most rewarding part is seeing the students relax, smile and grow following the presentation as they begin to realize they can manage a major project and actually experience being the expert in the room," Dr. Jones said.

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Students from FIN 445 - 2017Dr. Sackley's Favorite Class

I imagine that most instructors who have taught for a while have occasionally been told by a student, “Your class was my favorite during my college career.” It is difficult for an instructor to not appreciate that statement – even if the comment has been somewhat exaggerated. But FIN 440 is my favorite class to have taught during more than a third of a century of teaching. This is the class in which students manage the Seahawk Investment Management, LLC equity portfolio, currently valued at approximately $1.6 million. Enrollment in the course is competitive; past academic achievement plays a role in selection, but a perceived willingness to work diligently is also important.

In the beginning of the semester the instructor is “in charge” and prepares students to value securities and to consider portfolio management strategies. The mid-term exam is a take-home exam requiring students to spend 20–25 hours researching investment topics that were not discussed in class. This seems to emulate the “tests” that future employers will demand. Employees will be expected to conduct analysis and render opinions on topics for which the employee may or may not have been trained. Post-mid-term, my students realize that they are now in charge of setting the tasks and deadlines and organizing committees to complete the work.

The culminating event for the class is for students to present their analysis of individual equities and portfolio composition to our external advisory board. This is conducted during a three-hour presentation in which board members question student decisions. I cannot say that students are never “caught” with having ignored a portion of the analysis that board members considered pertinent, but my favorite part of the class is hearing students stand up to intense questioning while defending their positions –all the time operating as a cohesive team.

FIN 440 – Portfolio Design and Management – is the quintessential applied learning course. After illustrating the “how” of equity analysis, it reminds students that expectations after college are likely to be more demanding than experienced in class. Students learn that any competitive advantage they have needs to be earned and maintained through hard work. Much of that work might be considered boring, such as reading annual reports or listening to earnings calls. Students learn that their teammates will support them – at least as long as there is a perception that everyone is pulling their own weight.

The performance of students during the final presentation is typically very impressive. It serves as a good reminder to instructors – and to future employers – that properly motivated people often rise to the occasion by accepting responsibility and offering stellar results.

Speaking of results, our annualized portfolio returns are slightly less than that of the S&P 500. However, I add in the students’ defense that so are the results from 93 percent of actively-managed, large-cap, value-oriented portfolio managers during the six years that our portfolio has been in existence. Our $1.6 million portfolio has also distributed more than $250,000 to support various programs in the Cameron School of Business.

It is a rare privilege for an instructor to view how his/her students are likely to perform when they embark on their professional endeavors, but FIN 440 offers that privilege. The course is an extremely time-intensive responsibility for students and instructor alike. It is my favorite course to teach, and over the years, it has been nice to hear from many Cameron students that it has been a favorite of theirs as well.

-- Dr. Bill Sackley, Department of Economics & Finance

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Candace Guido '08 '12MCameron School/MSCSIS Program Alumna Creates 'Art' at nCino

Candace Guido '08, '12M is an artist. Instead of using a paintbrush to create a masterpiece, she works with code to create computer software.

"Software development is really an art form," she said. "When you’re writing code, you pick the most elegant and efficient way to do it. You’re creating something when you are coding, and that sense of creation is exciting. You feel like you own it."

Becoming a software developer was something Guido stumbled upon as an undergraduate at UNCW. She took a webpage design class and discovered she was quite good at it. "It came easily to me, so I decided to pursue it,” she said. “I think I lucked out because it is such a great career to be in."

Today, Guido is a lead software developer at Wilmington-based nCino, a worldwide leader in cloud banking. She works with a team of four developers to build operating systems for banks.

"It's a very fast-paced environment," she said. "We’re constantly looking to improve. It’s exciting and very cutting-edge."

Guido credits UNCW for providing her with the foundation that led to a successful career. She earned her bachelor’s degree in management information systems and accounting from Cameron School of Business and her Master of Science in Computer Science and Information Systems from UNCW.

"My education opened doors for me to obtain a job as a developer. Hard work and a desire to continue learning helped me grow," Guido said. "My life has been forever changed by the thoughtful and passionate professors at UNCW and I will always be thankful for everything they have taught me over the years. I would not be where I am today without the quality guidance of the professors at UNCW."

-- Venita Jenkins, Office of University Relations

If you’re interested in learning more about the MSCSIS degree, visit our website – the application deadline for fall 2017 is June 1!

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