More than 130 students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration learned from leaders in accounting, finance and business at An Evening of Executive Insights on Feb. 5 at Memorial Stadium. The event featured a series of three panel sessions and a networking reception with alumni, CBA advisory board members and business partners.
“This was a unique opportunity for our students to learn more about their respective fields from leaders in accounting and finance and from CEOs running large organizations,” said Dr. Kathleen Farrell, chair of the Department of Finance and State Farm Professor of Finance. “The event was inspired by discussions with the CBA Finance Advisory Board about how they wanted to give back to our college community.We collaborated with both the School of Accountancy and the CBA Dean’s Advisory Board to add depth to the program.”
Students learned about the wide array of opportunities in finance with the Main Street vs. Wall Street panel. Panelists were: Bayard Closser, president, Vertical Capital; Ryan Mendlik, co-founder, Ironvine Capital Partners; Tim Neumann, managing director, J.P. Morgan Asset Management; and Lee Stuart, chief executive officer, NBC Bancshares, LLC.
Students interested in accounting careers interacted with professionals from both public and private accounting sectors. Panelists included: Ralph Castner, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Cabela’s; Amy Ryan, partner, Deloitte & Touche, LLP; Tony Urban, national leader, state and local tax practice, McGladrey; Michele Walker, partner, Ernst & Young, LLP; and Carrie Weber, vice president of audit services, Ameritas.
Following the first session, students heard from top executives in the CEO panel, which was moderated by Dr. Donde Plowman, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business Administration. Panelists included: John Gehring, chief financial officer, ConAgra; Rob Mitchell, managing partner, Deloitte & Touche, LLP; Jeff Noordhoek, chief executive officer, Nelnet; and Jim Pillen, founder and owner, Pillen Family Farms, Inc.
Panelists shared with students both the excitement and difficulties of being a leader in a large organization. They also took questions from the audience to explain first-hand how each one got to where they are today.
The evening concluded with a networking reception where students could explore topics from the panel discussions and career opportunities one-one-one with the business professionals.
“The College of Business Administration gives us great opportunities like this event to Start Something,” said Ryan Evers, sophomore finance major from Papillion, Nebraska. “With some of the best business leaders in attendance, it gave us the chance to ask questions and take away valuable advice we can apply in our own careers.”