They are the bridge between the academic and business worlds. They are allies, mentors, even cheerleaders – offering students that important nudge of reassurance. They are evangelists for their respective programs within the Harbert College of Business, and help connect their programs and its students to industry.
They are called Program Champions and can play an important role in the career choices of students. Their duties are to:
- Mentor/coach students in the development and understanding of their intern and career aspirations
- Design and deliver major-specific professional development courses that build on previous college-wide courses and prepare students for their intern and job search processes
- Implement an employer-development model to promote student-employer engagement
“Program Champions play a vital part of the Harbert College of Business student experience,” said Norman Godwin, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. “They are instrumental in building relationships with industry partners and recruiters who might hire our students, and they help prepare our students to take advantage of the resulting opportunities.”
The Harbert College of Business kicked off the fall semester with six Program Champions. They are:
- Frank Oprandy (Graduate Programs): Oprandy is the Director of Graduate Career Services who was
a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. A 15-year veteran of the corporate world,
Oprandy received his MBA from Auburn in 2002.
- Jillian Miles (Management): Miles, who received her MBA from Auburn in 2015, most recently worked with the
Harbert College of Business and Auburn Research and Technology Foundation on the inaugural
Tiger Cage entrepreneurship competition. She developed event programming, recruited
and managed competitors.
- Mandy Harrelson (Finance): Harrelson worked as an instructor in finance since 2007 before taking the Program
Champion role. The former financial representative for Northwestern Mutual Financial
Network, Harrelson earned a masters in finance from Auburn in 2004.
- Emory Serviss (Marketing): An accomplished digital strategist and marketing professional, Serviss has more
than 20 years of experience in a variety of industries. He earned his MBA at the University
of Alabama-Birmingham in 1996. He has also worked as an adjunct instructor teaching
marketing on the Internet since 2014.
- Marcia Gibson (Supply Chain Management): Gibson has been Coordinator of the Supply Chain Management Professional Experience
Program since 2012, having previously worked as a career coach and specialist at Auburn,
Georgia Southern and Tennessee. She received an MA in Counseling and Higher Education
Administration from Eastern Michigan in 1988.
- Colby Lakas (Accounting): Lakas has been the Assistant Director of Graduate Programs within the School of Accountancy since 2012, serving as the college’s Beta Alpha Psi faculty advisor. Before coming to Auburn, she worked at Deloitte as an auditor, campus recruiter and campus recruiting manager. She received her Master of Accountancy degree from Auburn in 2005.