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Brent Williams on What Sets Walton College Apart

2 min read

Brent D. Williams became dean of the Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville on Feb. 1. He had served as the interim dean since August, when the former dean, Matt Waller, transitioned back to faculty. Williams joined the Walton College faculty in 2011 and has chaired the Department of Supply Chain Management.

Williams has a doctorate in business administration from the UA.

What sets the Walton College apart from other business schools?

First, our name sets us apart. The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas is named for, in my opinion, one of the greatest entrepreneurs in history.  The story of Walmart is known throughout the world. Bearing the name of Sam Walton is an honor, and it gives us an advantage. Next, the Walton College is deeply connected to industry throughout Arkansas and beyond. Our industry partners join our faculty and staff in developing the next generation of Arkansas business leaders in many ways. They provide internships and full-time placement after graduation. Beyond that, they partner with our faculty on class projects and research projects. And it seems like almost every day, a business leader is on campus serving as a guest speaker or panelist.

What subjects are most in demand by students and do they match with what employers need?

The Walton College has almost 9,000 students enrolled this year. They have a variety of options when it comes to majors, minors and courses. As I mentioned, the Walton College is highly engaged with industry. This creates a feedback mechanism for our faculty and students to understand what employers are seeking from our graduates and interns. Our undergraduate students major in finance, marketing, supply chain management, accounting, information systems, innovation and entrepreneurship, economics and human resources. There is demand for graduates in all these areas. Further, our students can select relevant electives that provide them with knowledge and skills to advance their careers. Our graduate programs are also aligned to the needs of industry. The Walton College’s executive MBA program is a great example of this.

How do you plan to attract students to the Walton College with the enrollment cliff looming?

The Walton College has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. I believe our focus on providing business education that is highly relevant and as experiential as possible is key. Additionally, we are working to help students get internships while in college. These internships allow them to apply what they are learning and contribute to the success of the company for which they are working. Many of the world’s top companies recruit our students to. We have also expanded our experiential opportunities for students who want to be entrepreneurs at some point in their lives.

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