Cal Poly AMA Chapter Tours Industry Firms

AMA members on the rooftop at AdobeCal Poly American Marketing Association (AMA) board member Michaela Iunker describes the club’s industry tour hosted during fall quarter.

On Friday, Oct. 28, a bus transported sleepy and eager AMA members to San Francisco to tour McKesson and Adobe while having lunch at Zynga in between. We were led by marketing lecturer and AMA Faculty Advisor Lisa Simon. On our journey to San Francisco, AMA members brainstormed questions to ask the speaker panel at McKesson. Upon arrival, all members were dressed to impress and ready to connect with the panel. Our group included many underclassmen and first-time freshman who were taking their first visits to major employers.

AMA members at McKessonWe received a tour in McKesson’s “Vision Room,” which displays all the products they create, all with messages on how much they affect, not only their cutovers, but also the medical industry. After the small tour, it was time to meet with the panel, which included Jeff Stalcup, VP of corporate marketing; Andy Burtis, senior VP of corporate marketing and communications; Stasia Lord, VP of brand for McKeson Corporate; Chi Nguyen, VP of health system marketing for the U.S. pharmaceutical business; Dara Shulman, senior director of marketing for the McKesson Specialty Health business; Rohit Parbhakar, director of digital marketing strategy for McKesson Corporate; and David Bone, director of enterprise employee communications for McKesson Corporate. The AMA members could easily see what it was like to work for a big organization like McKesson and if they felt like the culture fit their style.

Going on a corporate tour is more than having the opportunity to see really cool companies, but it’s a chance for members to see if working in those kind of environments would truly make them happy after graduation.

After the members finished with the panel, we hoped on the bus to have lunch at Zynga. I was a totally different style than McKesson, and it was a great opportunity to see a different style of company culture. We were also fed breakfast for lunch, which was fun for the AMA members.

Once we had a lunch and explored the company we were quickly whisked away to Adobe. Adobe was more creative-based and had a very friendly laid-back atmosphere. Members could really see the difference to what it would be like to work for a company versus a creative brand like Adobe. The really nice thing about Adobe was that the company employs a lot of Cal Poly alumni, so we got a chance to have a panel with them to learn more about the company and ask questions.

Cal Poly AMA would like to say a huge thank you to McKesson, Zynga and Adobe for hosting our group and supporting the success of Cal Poly marketing students.

Hear about the impact of the visit from a few AMA members who took the tour:

“Going on the corporate tour was an amazing experience because I got to see how diverse companies are within the same area. Being a first-year just starting to explore my opportunities in business, it was very beneficial to see how different companies operate, treat their work environment, and provide for the public. It gave me a better idea of what to expect in the professional world depending on what type of industry I choose to go in. The biggest thing that I learned from the corporate tour was that no matter what your specific background is, there are always opportunities to excel within a business, as long as you crave that success.” — Daniel Gonzalez

“It was extremely beneficial to hear a panel of around 10 Cal Poly Alumni discuss their experience and give tips & tricks to us, as they were in our positions only a few years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed bonding with other members of AMA and meeting new people as well, and I would recommend a corporate tour through AMA to anyone! I am thankful for this wonderful experience and hope that I have the opportunity to attend another tour in the future!” — Elena DeAngelis

“I really enjoyed going on the corporate tour this quarter. It was really cool to see so many different industries in one day. Going on this tour has especially sparked my interest in the healthcare industry and perhaps even McKesson. What I love about the corporate tours is that you get to see a side of the company that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see at a career fair or through a company’s website. At McKesson, you could really see the passion that people had for making a difference in other people’s lives, something that resonates with me. Overall the tour was a great way to get to know new members in a smaller setting as well as learn about what different industries have to offer.” — Casey Li

AMA members at Adobe“The corporate tour experience was wonderful. Before I went on this tour, I had never been to a successful corporate office or had the behind the scenes look that I received after this experience. I had never considered working at Adobe before the tour, but after it seems like a job that is very appealing to me. It helped me learn about opportunities and careers I’d enjoy that had never occurred to me before. It was great to get to hear from the panel at McKesson, they gave a lot of great advice that will stick with me for a long time.” — Rachel Yenofsky

“The professionals at McKesson had great advice regarding what to look for in a career. One of the panelists mentioned the analogy of picking a career like you would pick professors for classes in college. When we’re choosing classes, we always try to pick the best professors based on quality, whether we’ll actually learn something from the class, and if it will be a good overall experience. Deciding on a job position should be done in the same way. Rather than choosing a job based on simply the job description, the professionals at McKesson emphasized the importance of choosing a position that forces us to be better and more innovative than we were before. Overall, I had a great experience on the tour and am endlessly thankful for the opportunities and connections I’ve gained through AMA.” — Marisa

“As a freshman, I enjoyed seeing what different opportunities and experiences lie ahead for me in terms of my education at Cal Poly, and my experience in certain fields in the workforce. What really impressed me in all three of these companies was the amount of Cal Poly graduates they hire, along with their high praises of the preparedness of Cal Poly alums. During these tours, I was quite pleased to see how business and marketing could be applied to such a variety of fields, from healthcare to mobile games to software, and many more.” — Tali Pilip

Top 5 Reasons to Apply to the Orfalea College of Business


High school seniors around the nation are beginning to contemplate where they want to attend college. So why, they may ask, should they choose Orfalea College of Business in San Luis Obispo? While Orfalea has been ranked among the nation’s best business schools, the college is more than just a number. If you’re considering earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration, economics or industrial technology and packaging on the West coast, consider these top five reasons to apply to Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business:

#5 Comprehensive Student Support
From acceptance through graduation, Orfalea’s Student Services offer comprehensive support to strengthen personal, academic, and career success. Students have direct — and free — access to Peer Advising to help with academic progress, Peer Mentoring to help students grow personally, Tutoring in tough classes, leadership opportunities, and career-readiness advising to help students build confidence throughout the hiring process. The college’s Student Services Center also provides quarterly workshops on professional skills, networking events with alumni, and campus-wide resources for you to constantly stay connected. The college’s support network and peer advising model is credited with boosting graduation rates by 10 percent; now 87 percent of Orfalea students graduate within five years — the highest rate at Cal Poly.

#4 Endless Opportunities For Studying Abroad
Orfalea students have an expansive list of options available to them to embrace an international perspective on business. With more than 200 programs in 75 countries, and with options to go abroad for spring break up to a year long, Orfalea students have the opportunity to globalize their college experience and adapt to new cultures. Business, econ and industrial technology/packaging students also have exclusive access to Orfalea International Business Tours: trips led by faculty to business hubs that immerse students in the region’s economic atmosphere in places like Vietnam, China, Cuba, Costa Rica and New Zealand. These tours last 10-14 days over academic breaks, making them a great option for students who don’t have time to study abroad. Worried about financing your study abroad experience? Orfalea’s got you covered. With the Orfalea Travel Grant, students often receive financial support from the college to travel.

#3 Personalized Experience With Expert Faculty
Orfalea College of Business students have direct access to seasoned faculty who have years of experience in their industry. Cal Poly’s student-faculty ratio is 19:1, with 15.6 percent of classes having fewer than 20 students and 71.35 percent having 20-49 students. Unlike many large universities where student interact with a teacher’s assistants only, Orfalea students have the opportunity to know their professors on a personal level, where they can ask questions, participate in discussions, or even contribute to their research. This is excellent outside the classroom, as well, as students benefit from the professor’s industry connections and insights on where their disciplines are headed.

#2 High Return On Investment
College isn’t cheap, and many potential students are concerned about cost of tuition and potential debt. However, students at Orfalea know that their education comes at a relatively low cost compared to UC or private schools. Orfalea grads also see an excellent return on investment, meaning you’ll earn back the money invested in tuition quickly after graduation. That’s why Bloomberg Businessweek ranked Orfalea No. 5 in the nation for ROI among undergraduate business schools in 2014. And according to, the average in-state Orfalea graduate’s 20-year lifetime earnings are 18 times larger than the total cost of four-year tuition. Moreover, Orfalea students are in high demand with employers following their education. In fact, 90.6% of undergraduates at Orfalea are employed at graduation, and many of those students already have their jobs set into place at the beginning of their senior years. Many of Orfalea’s programs, like accounting and information systems, boast 100 percent placement rates and substantial salaries for all graduating seniors.

#1 Learn By Doing
At Orfalea College of Business, the Learn by Doing motto drives coursework to include hands-on experience that gives students the opportunity to gain practical skills and confidence. For example, finance students can participate in the Student Managed Portfolio Project, where they can manage nearly half a million dollars of Cal Poly Corporation funds within the stock market. Entrepreneurship students have the chance to collaborate with engineers to develop and launch a brand new product through the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Accounting students gain experience in the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, helping locals resolve significant tax burdens with the IRS and Franchise Tax Board. The Learn by Doing motto not only helps students gain firsthand experience, but it also gives Orfalea students a leg-up when applying for jobs. Industries value graduates who can bring technical expertise and know-how to the job before they’ve even started, and Orfalea prepares students to stand out and to add value at their companies on Day One.

Cal Poly’s undergraduate applications are open Oct. 1- Nov. 30. Remember, Cal Poly requires you to apply to a specific major, so take this time to explore the Orfalea College of Business academic programs via our website: The college features majors in business administration, economics and industrial technology and packaging. The college offers specific concentrations within those majors, as well as minors, to complement your education.

While you’re at it, get to know Cal Poly’s selection criteria, the admissions timelines and details on the CSU Apply website.

Looking to get to know campus even better? Come to San Luis Obispo for a tour of the Orfalea College of Business. You’ll get to know one of America’s happiest cities and hear specifics about the college from one of our knowledgeable student leaders.

Apply now via CSU Apply before the deadline closes:


Cal Poly Orfalea College of Business Honors Outstanding Students and Faculty

Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business honored its 2015-16 outstanding students and faculty at the college’s annual Senior Awards Ceremony on May 13.

Accounting senior Nicole Mogg, from Moorpark, Calif., received the Academic Excellence and Delta Sigma Pi Award for maintaining a 3.94 GPA, the highest of any graduating senior in the college. Mogg was also named the Accounting Area’s Outstanding Graduating Senior. She was among eight Orfalea College of Business seniors who received scholastic achievement awards for holding a GPA above 3.85. While at Cal Poly, Mogg studied abroad in London, earned the Moss Adams Accounting Student Scholarship, tutored accounting classmates, served on Cal Poly’s Inter Housing Council, and was a member of the Cal Poly Accounting Club. She has been accepted into the University of Michigan’s M.S. Accounting program and plans to work at Grant Thornton.

The Women in Business club received the college’s Club of the Year Award. The organization was founded in 2015 by business administration students Hannah Poplack, Shelby Sly, Megan Johnson, Kayla Lake, Jessie Goodrum and Courtney Jacobson. With the vision of becoming one of the nation’s first organizations dedicated to the empowerment of female leaders across campus, the club quickly grew to more than 200 members from a variety of majors. Women in Business also launched the Women’s Business Leadership Academy, a certificate program that includes professionalism workshops, executive roundtables, mentorship opportunities from leading alumni, and industry tours. The club also hosted nearly 500 students at its first Defining Her Future Conference, featuring keynote speaker Blake Irving CEO of GoDaddy.

Lecturers Sharon Dobson and Sisi Pouraghabagher received Distinguished Teacher of the Year awards, an honor determined by student votes. Dobson has taught core courses in the Orfalea College of Business’ Accounting, Finance and Marketing areas since 2003. She is known for her efforts to support students success in ways that go beyond academics. Dobson has personally helped many students connect to internship and job opportunities and advised student clubs and campus organizations on financial stability.

Pouraghabagher, an alumna of the Orfalea College of Business, teaches accounting courses. She joined the college as a faculty member in 2015 after more than 20 of professional experience, including working as a CPA at Deloitte and leading global, publicly-traded financial service organizations in Southern California. In the classroom, Pouraghabagher’s students know her as a teacher who pushes students to their highest potential while weaving in real business application into her curriculum. She also is an active mentor in the Executive Partner Program at Cal Poly, and advises students on career readiness and professional success.

Economics Professor Jason Lepore won the Emeritus Faculty of the Year Award after being nominated by his colleagues. He is an advocate for career readiness among his students, encouraging internships for underclassmen and framing economic concepts into real-world scenarios. Lepore has also helped Cal Poly Athletics attract new student athletes by sharing a professor’s perspective with recruits and their families. He also takes extra time to mentor student athletes from all majors. Lepore often travels with the Economics Society to conferences and speaking engagements to enrich the student experience.

For a complete list of Orfalea College of Business award winners, visit

A Q&A with Chelsea Kidwell

Advisor Chelsea Kidwell with a studentCareer Readiness Advisor Chelsea Kidwell joined the Orfalea College of Business in the summer of 2015 as part of the college’s major initiatives to bolster career resources specific to business students. Over the past few months, she’s partnered with Orfalea Student Services, Cal Poly’s Career Services and major recruiters who hire Orfalea students to support students facing a demanding hiring process. Listen to her unique perspective on students today and how the college is evolving to help each student feel truly career ready.

Q: Since you joined the college this summer, what have you noticed about Orfalea College of Business students?
A: Orfalea students are quick learners, hardworking and driven. Recruiters are always impressed by their “can do” attitudes and their ability to dive in and do the job. Our students are truly open to learning and want to make a positive impact on the company they are working for. I think that’s what makes recruiters so excited to hire from our college.

Q: Dean Scott Dawson has made career readiness a major priority in the college. What does career readiness mean to you?
A: I define career readiness as acquiring applicable skills and experiences during college that will propel you into your career, and honing the ability to effectively communicate the value those experiences in both written and verbal formats. That could include leadership roles, internships and work experience. Recruiters always tell me that if a student can clearly articulate their skills and experience — if they can actually talk to someone — they are more likely to get hired. Once a student has that down, they will be ready to embark on their career.

Q: What new resources is Orfalea offering students to prepare them for the transition?
A: In fall 2015, we launched a new, interactive course called BUS 206: Business Professionalism and Career Readiness I, which focuses on topics such as resume building, interviewing, networking skills and career exploration. It provides a space for students to practice skills needed in the hiring process and gather feedback. In 2016, we will be introducing BUS 306: Business Professionalism and Career Readiness II, which will dive even further into career advancement and industry exploration. These classes were designed to help students secure internship opportunities and confidently transition into their careers.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to a student preparing for the workforce?
A: Use this time at Cal Poly to intentionally build out your resume. Gain experience in areas where you might be less confident by joining a club, sitting on a committee, taking on multiple internships, and making a positive impact in your community. You want to show an employer that you are well-rounded and can balance your school work with extracurricular activities. Put yourself out there — use every resource and networking opportunity on and off campus to communicate your goals and develop connections that could help you meet your career goals.

Q: What big challenges are students facing in the hiring process today?
A: Today’s hiring process is extremely competitive, and recruiting at Cal Poly is no different. As such, it’s no longer enough to be exceptionally bright and driven. Students have to figure out what their unique strengths are in order to sell themselves in interviews and at networking events. This might not be the most intuitive thing for students, but I think it’s one of the key components that leads to a student’s ultimate success in a highly competitive market.

Q: How is the Orfalea College of Business adapting for the hiring process underclassmen will face in years to come?
A: We have quite a few things in the works. Some of our bigger projects include creating more opportunities for employers to get face time with students directly through the college. We feel that this is beneficial to our employers as well as to our students. We are also beginning to bolster our career and internship web resources to better serve students, employers and alumni. The goal is to add additional layers of programming and support so that all students have intentional training in this area. We want career readiness to be an essential part of their college experience from day one at Cal Poly so that they are ultimately successful in their careers.

To contact Chelsea regarding recruiting at Cal Poly or supporting students’ career readiness, email

Cal Poly, the Orfalea College of Business Ranked Highly by U.S. News and World Report

Ranked by US News
Cal Poly and the Orfalea College of Business received high marks from U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of top universities. Cal Poly has kept its streak alive for 23 years as the best public-master’s university in the West. The Orfalea College of Business was also ranked among nation’s top undergraduate business schools. This is the first time the college has been ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

In the rankings released in August 2015, the university also tied for 10th in the magazine’s overall list of the West’s best universities, which includes 116 public and private institutions in 15 states.

“We are humbled by the recognition of this prestigious ranking,” said Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “It is always gratifying to see Cal Poly honored for our singular Learn by Doing approach to education.”

Cal Poly picked up a number of other college-level and university-wide accolades. The university’s engineering program, was again ranked seventh-best master’s and bachelor’s program in the nation, and the civil engineering and mechanical engineering programs were ranked third in the nation.

Cal Poly was also ranked 10th best veteran-friendly university among Western universities — a listing that shows military vets and active-duty service members which top-ranked schools offer benefits that can help them make pursuing a college education more affordable.

The U.S. News rankings are available at