Tyson Foods hires three MIS students on first trip to UALR

Tyson Foods LogoFollowing their first visit to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus, recruiters from Tyson Foods Inc. hired three College of Business students studying management information systems.

Tyson, with headquarters in Springdale, Ark., is one of the world’s largest processors and marketers of chicken, beef, and pork, the second-largest food production company in the Fortune 500 and a member of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

UALR senior Francesca Salcido of Cabot will join Tyson following graduation this month. Seniors Amy Jo Hall of Louisville, Ky., and Nia Gregory of Collierville, Tenn., have secured positions with the company following their graduation in May 2014.

To have a major company from northwest Arkansas hire students in advance of graduation dates is fortunate, according to Dr. Jane Wayland, Stephen Harrow Smith Dean of the College of Business.

These three students, however, are among the 15 members of the COB Power Team that developed 700 Windows 8/Windows Phone 8 apps in six weeks this past summer, she said.

The students demonstrated high productivity, creativity, and understanding of the business marketplace, which earned $6,500 for the new department of business information systems and a top place for the UALR College of Business among other campuses nationally, according to Wayland.

Tyson is also creating a customized summer 2014 internship for a fourth member of the Power Team, junior Alec Crow.

“We are so proud of our students. These job offers are due to their accomplishments in and out of the classroom,” Wayland said.

Wayland first visited Tyson on behalf of COB students with Vernard Henley, director of recruitment and outreach for the George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology.

Shannon Gwinn, director of COB Student Services, followed up on the contacts established after that visit. She said hosting Tyson at UALR provided an outstanding opportunity, not only for the students, but also for the company representatives who were looking to fill positions in their northwest Arkansas headquarters.

“We’re excited because in the future there will be additional opportunities open up across many disciplines – accounting, finance, and other majors,” Gwinn said.

Tyson’s Vice President for Information Systems and Manufacturing Lyle Nicholson said the company was intrigued by the working relationship between the IT disciplines at the College of Business and College of Engineering and Information Technology.

“That’s a benefit for us. We need both,” he said. “I was amazed, quite honestly.”

Nicholson recruits specifically for corporate headquarters in northwest Arkansas, looking for cultural and ethnic diversity as well as intellectual strengths among the region’s students.

He observed that while Tyson is a big company, it operates in small teams and new hires are ‘buddied up’ or paired with experienced personnel from the beginning. Tyson typically promotes from within, giving young employees many opportunities for advancement according to Nicholson.

He added that people come to Tyson and stay a long time. Many have family in the area.

Hall, who will analyze big data for Tyson as a program/business analyst, said she was hopeful after making it to the second round of interviews with the company.

“This is absolutely thrilling! I’ve never had the luxury to plan this far ahead,” she said.

The UALR College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International and recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top undergraduate schools of business.

For more information about the Department of Business Information Systems at UALR, visit http://ualr.edu/bis/.

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