(Draft 12-15-08) Arkansas Business Hall of Fame January 26, 2009 Special Insert for Arkansas
Business and Northwest Arkansas Business Journal
Additional Article #1
The Walton MBA Opens Doors to Opportunity
(PHOTO) (Cutline) The new Willard J. Walker Hall provides state-of-the-art facilities for
In this economy, it is always wise to become more employable by sharpening business skills and
knowledge. The Sam M. Walton College of Business offers three ways to do this: the Full-time
MBA, the Managerial MBA for working professionals, and the Executive MBA for professionals
working in China. All options offer multiple opportunities to develop leadership skills, network
with some of the brightest minds in the corporate world, and redefine a career path.
Melissa Maddox, a 2008 MBA graduate now working for General Mills, said, “What surprised
me the most about the Walton MBA was the high volume of employment and networking
opportunities — like speakers visiting campus and the Business Forecast Luncheon — in
addition to the regular campus recruiting activities.”
In consultation with corporate partners, the Walton College redesigned its MBA curriculum in
2006 to focus on an applied understanding of the retail and consumer-packaged goods industry
that provides a critical economic base in Northwest Arkansas. This program offers four career
tracks: retail marketing, supply chain management, entrepreneurship and innovation, and
financial management. Students choose the one that allows them to focus on their specific
While the curriculum is top notch, location is what sets the Walton MBA apart from other
programs. Through relationships with more than 300 of the Fortune 500 companies who have
offices in Northwest Arkansas, the Walton College can help MBA students land part-time jobs
and summer internships while in school. This kind of work experience, coupled with the MBA,
means great job opportunities for graduates.
Students in both the full-time and managerial programs can take part in Walton College-
sponsored study abroad trips. Destinations have included India, Brazil and China. Students have
toured some of the world’s largest companies and met with corporate decision-makers. The short
time frame — approximately 10 days — allows working professionals to see international
business up close.
Steve Fortner, associate category management manager at Unilever, said, “The most valuable
part of my MBA program was the ‘Doing Business in China’ study abroad program in Beijing
and Shanghai, China. It was my first time to travel overseas, and to mix business with culture
was mind-blowing. It really opened my eyes to globalization and emerging markets around the
To expand its global footprint, the Walton College signed an agreement with Tongji University
in Shanghai, China, in 2007, to launch an executive MBA. Beginning its second group of
students in February 2009, the program also focuses on retailing, consumer products and
logistics. Classes are made up of managers who work for U.S.-based consumer products
companies, logistics service providers and other companies doing business in China.
The 16-month program, conducted in English, meets nine times in Shanghai and twice at the
University of Arkansas, where students visit Wal-Mart headquarters. While in Arkansas, students
also hear presentations from supplier executives and Walton College professors. In addition,
some of the courses will be taught online. Students also complete a capstone project that will
save or earn their respective companies more than $250,000.
The Walton MBA has taken advantage of its close relationships with Northwest Arkansas
businesses to create three innovative programs that will help its students discover a new world of
opportunity for their careers ─ in Arkansas and around the world.
For more information on the Walton MBA, go to: gsb.uark.edu/mba