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Cottrell Scholars engage with Cottrell MBA panel

James McCoy
Cottrell MBA student James McCoy speaks to the Cottrell Scholars.

The University of North Georgia's undergraduate Cottrell Scholars recently heard about recognizing and planning for the challenges and opportunities associated with starting a career in business from Cottrell Master of Business Administration (MBA) students.

The Cottrell Scholars program is designed to identify and develop the top-performing undergraduate students in the Mike Cottrell College of Business.

"The intent of the Cottrell Scholars program is to recognize our most successful students and enhance their educational experience at UNG by increasing the value of their education," said Dr. Maryna Murdock, director of the program. "This includes professional development, and opportunities for interaction with business professionals—such as this panel—allow the students to gain insights that create a clearer picture of the business world beyond the college walls."

Kelli Crickey, director of the Cottrell MBA program, said development of the mentoring relationship will continue.

"There was a great deal of discussion even after the program," Crickey said. "I sincerely appreciate our Cottrell MBA students taking time to engage with our Cottrell Scholars."

The Cottrell MBA panel
Left to right: Ben Burford, Jeremy Holt, Brad Wolf, James McCoy, and Sandra Sullivan.

The panel included five business professionals who are currently enrolled in UNG's Cottrell MBA program, who gave their insights and experiences on transferring from the life of a business student to that of a business professional. The presenters were Ben Burford of PolyPortables, LLC; Jeremy Holt of Grayling Industries; Brad Wolf of General Motors Co., James McCoy of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce; and Sandra Sullivan of UNG's Continuing Education photography certificate program.

"One of the most important things you can do in the early stages of your career is learn how to take criticism and use it for your improvement rather than to dwell on what you did to initiate that criticism," Wolf said.

Much of the panel addressed what the undergraduates could begin doing now to ensure a strong start when they step into the business world.

"Do your homework on which regions are growing and supporting new business and have expanding job markets," McCoy said. "Also, find something you can pursue for the passion of it rather than for the financial potential. When you do something passionately, others will reward you for it because you will be doing it with excellence."

Murdock said the panel was also an opportunity for the presenters to reflect back on their business paths and better articulate their goals for the future.

"We hope this event may be a pilot for similar meetings in the future that may be extended beyond the Cottrell Scholars, as the Mike Cottrell College of Business is committed to giving opportunities for professional development to all of its students," Murdock said.

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