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BIG Pitch Award Competition Offers $10,000 to Collegiate Innovator

Ocean Exchange and Georgia Southern University College of Business Administration announce the 2017 BIG Pitch Award Competition for $10,000. They invite undergraduate and graduate student innovators with solutions in the field of sustainability to apply. The BIG Pitch Award is in its third year. Prior winners were from Stanford University and the University of Illinois-Urban/Champaign.

Dr. Allen Amason, Dean of the College of Business Administration, commented, “Georgia Southern is excited once again to sponsor the Big Pitch Competition, in partnership with the Ocean Exchange. The innovations we’ve seen and the solutions we’ve been able to support have been brilliant in concept and revolutionary in application. We truly believe this is an opportunity for bright, young innovators to change the world for the better.”

Eight finalists will be selected in early September by a multi-disciplinary team of business and technical leaders. The finalists will be invited to present at Ocean Exchange in Savannah, GA October 8th at the Ocean Exchange event which runs October 8-10, 2017 at the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center.

Ocean Exchange is a 501c3 with the sole mission to help advance the adoption of solutions in the field of sustainability, focusing on startup companies with working prototypes. Watch for upcoming announcement of 2017 Ocean Exchange Awards Competition for early stage companies. Key sponsors are Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, Gulfstream, Savannah Economic Development Authority, Southern Company, Georgia Ports Authority, Bunge, and Oceaneering.

Find out more about the BIG Pitch competition rules and deadlines at

Source: Ocean Exchange

Alumnus Luke Bryan to perform at Super Bowl LI

Luke Bryan (MGMT, ’99), Georgia Southern alumnus and award-winning country music artist, has been selected to perform the national anthem at the 51st Super Bowl, making him the first male performer to sing the anthem in 10 years and the first country artist to perform it since 2010.

Now one of the most popular stars in country music, the Leesburg, Georgia, native was perfecting his talents in front of audiences in Statesboro establishments as a student at Georgia Southern. While pursuing a degree in business management, the Sigma Chi fraternity brother wrote music and played with his band on weekends.

Bryan has come a long way from his time in Statesboro and at Georgia Southern, where he also met his wife, Caroline Boyer. He has achieved numerous awards including Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association and twice by the Academy of Country Music. Since the release of his first hit single “All My Friends Say,” he has celebrated seven No. 1 singles, several platinum and gold singles and a platinum album for his newest record “Kill the Lights.” In 2014, he achieved the best touring year of his career with 1.7 million fans attending his concerts, and in early 2015, he played his first-ever shows in Europe.

Bryan is also known for his generosity, having provided proceeds to Georgia Southern for scholarships from his past Farm Tour stops in the Statesboro area. Most recently, he has announced he will team up with fellow Eagle Cole Swindell and Georgia-native Phillip Phillips to perform a benefit concert for those in South Georgia affected by the recent storms.

At Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5, Bryan will join the ranks of country performers like the Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks and Faith Hill who have all sung the national anthem at past Super Bowls.
Georgia Southern alumni and students are accomplishing amazing things! Don’t miss Luke Bryan’s performance on Sunday, Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Georgia Southern team wins first place at NRF Foundation Competition

William (Keller) Campbell, Kathleen Gruben, KPMG Consultant Ali Wampler, Kelsey Wertz, Alexis Montaño and Jeffrey Licciardello walk the red carpet at the NRF Foundation GALA in New York City.

William (Keller) Campbell, Kathleen Gruben, KPMG Consultant Ali Wampler, Kelsey Wertz, Alexis Montaño and Jeffrey Licciardello walk the red carpet at the NRF Foundation GALA in New York City.

A team of Georgia Southern students received first place for the 2017 Student Challenge, a business case competition for National Retail Federation (NRF) Student Association members to demonstrate their creativity and business acumen to retail executives, sponsored by KPMG. The finalists attended the NRF Foundation GALA in New York City, where the top team was announced Jan. 15.

Jeffrey Licciardello, senior public relations major with a marketing minor, Kelsey Wertz, senior marketing and logistics major, William (Keller) Campbell, junior marketing and logistics major, and Alexis Montaño, junior marketing major with a management minor, worked together on the competition to create a 20-page pitch presentation, a mock website and a 90-second pitch video to convince STORY CEO and Founder, Rachel Shechtman, to bring their story to life through one of these themes: Travel, Sensory or Made in America. The proposal was created to provide an experience for the customer through selected merchandise, marketing approach, social media campaigns and curated events.

Kathleen Gruben, Ph.D., faculty advisor to the team, associate professor of marketing and director of the Center for Retail Studies at Georgia Southern, worked with the students every step of the way, including accompanying them to the GALA.

“The team of four was a dream team,” said Gruben. “They met every two weeks from the first week in May to the first week of classes. Then they worked together twice a week until the original submission. Throughout the process, the team took all criticism as positive and adapted accordingly. They addressed every minute criticism the judges gave. They were bound and determined they would win.”

Georgia Southern’s team was one of three teams to make it to the final round along with the University of North Texas and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“Being on stage was absolutely nerve wracking,” said Licciardello. “Throughout the conference, we really got along with the other teams, so I knew I would be excited no matter who won — deep down in my gut I was anxious to hear the results. The competition was tough and the other teams had concepts that had their strong points. However, when Mark Larson from KPMG said the words ‘Georgia Southern,’ I was absolutely blown away by emotions and pride.”

“This project has been our baby since May,” added Wertz. “We worked extremely hard on it, always editing, revising and bringing new ideas to the table to make it better. Standing on stage and hearing our names called was so rewarding and gave proof that all of our hard work has paid off.”

Each student will receive a $5,000 scholarship along with having had the opportunity to present in front of nearly 780 retail CEOs and senior executives, industry insiders, celebrities and students and faculty from 80 other universities.

“Being able to show all of those celebrities and retail executives that the University from Statesboro could not only compete, but win, made working tirelessly throughout summer, fall semester and Christmas Break completely worth it,” said Licciardello. “I’ve never been more proud to be an Eagle.”

Georgia Southern University, a public Carnegie Doctoral/Research University founded in 1906, offers more than 125 degree programs serving 20,674 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. Georgia Southern is recognized for its student-centered and hands-on approach to education. Visit

“To sit in a huge auditorium with hundreds of attendees, unexpectedly hear the Georgia Southern fight song, followed by “my” team entering the stage was overwhelming,” said/continued/added Gruben. “Tears rolled down my cheeks. They made a flawless presentation.”

Georgia Southern College of Business Faculty Recognized

alan-mackelprang-1-2017-smAlan Mackelprang, Ph.D., associate professor of operations management and director of the Ph.D. program in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Georgia Southern, was announced as the 2016 winner of the Carol J. Latta Memorial Decision Sciences Institute (DSI) Emerging Leadership Award for Outstanding Early Career Scholarship during the closing banquet of the 2016 DSI Annual Meeting.

DSI’s Annual Meeting draws about 1,500 participants involved in decision sciences, especially in application areas such as supply chains, operations and information systems. The Latta Award criteria include excellence in research, teaching and service to DSI.

Additionally, Mackelprang, and Jerry Burke, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, were recognized along with former Georgia Southern faculty members, Ed Bernardes (West Virginia) and Chris Welter (Xavier), for the Best Theory-Driven Empirical Research Paper. With more than 400 full-paper submissions to compete against, this was one of only four best paper awards given during the Meeting.

Georgia Southern Online Business Programs Recognized for Excellence in Latest U.S. News & World Report Rankings

eonlinembaThe Georgia Southern College of Business graduate programs have been recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report for the best online programs among colleges and universities for 2017.

Three of the College’s online graduate programs were ranked in the top 50 of their respected ranking list, to include the online Masters of Business Administration (MBA) program and the online graduate business programs (non-MBA), which includes the online master of accounting (WebMacc) program and the Master of Science in applied economics (MSAE). The 2017 Best Online Graduate Business Programs rankings assess master’s-level business degree programs that are not MBA programs.

The online MBA at Georgia Southern, tied with five other universities, ranked 36th out of nearly 200 ranked programs on the 2017 Best Online MBA Programs list. Additionally, online graduate business programs (non-MBA), WebMAcc and MSAE, came in at 45th out of more than 100 schools included in the list.

U.S. News publishes numerical ranks for only the top three-fourths of each ranking category, and selects factors to assess each program in the categories of student engagement, admissions selectivity, peer reputation, faculty credentials and training, and student services and technology.