Ready to graduate, business honors student leaves parting gift

Topic: Miller College of Business

December 7, 2016

Eli Parks and Jennifer Bott

Eli Parks (left), a senior from Kendallville, Indiana, is creating a video that will provide guidance on networking to future students. Parks will graduate during Fall Commencement on Dec. 17. He recently presented the video to Jennifer Bott, dean of the Miller College of Business.

Ball State University senior Eli Parks will receive his bachelor’s degree Dec. 17 at Fall Commencement, and before he graduates, he will leave a road map to success that will benefit students years from now.

The 21-year-old accounting and finance dual major from Kendallville, Indiana, is wrapping up a 20-minute video, “Defining Effective Networking.” Aimed at undergraduates, the video examines the importance of networking at job fairs and includes the results of a survey of recruiters and hiring managers.

The project is part of a senior thesis as a Miller Scholar, which is a program that financially supports and academically challenges top students.

“Over the years, being a Miller Scholar opened doors to professional development and other networking opportunities, allowing me to meet many top leaders in my field,” Parks said. “The program is very tough and is like no other.”

Also an Emens Scholarship recipient, Parks’ Ball State experience has been an intense 3 ½ years of accelerated and enriched courses coupled with an internship. He got through it all with the personal guidance and coaching from faculty members.

That is why he wanted to give back.

“We put Eli out in front because he is an excellent representative for the college and the university. He is the perfect example of what hard work, determination and intelligence can do.”

— Jennifer Bott
dean of
Miller College of Business

“Networking is critical to any career but particularly important for accounting majors,” said Parks, who is coordinating video production with fellow senior Alex Getz, who expects to graduate in 2017. “There is so much that a student should know as they go through an undergraduate career, and what to say and do during job fairs is critical.

“We tend to focus on the elevator speech. We are focusing on how a student works that into a conversation to make them memorable to the recruiter. Our video also will give tips on other skills recruiters would like to see students develop.”

The video should have a long-lasting effect after Parks has graduated. It will play a key role in preparing the next generation of accountants from Ball State, says accounting professor James Duncan.

“Eli has a keen interest in exploring many opportunities and subjects which broaden his educational experience,” Duncan said. “I predict his magnetic personality, his love of people, his interest in learning and his solid work ethic will allow him to become a successful professional and alumnus of Ball State.”

The video project is the perfect capstone for Parks, who was an Undergraduate Fellow for the 2015-16 academic year, said Dean Jennifer Bott.

“As our Undergraduate Fellow, he was the first contact with Miller College for many prospective students and their families,” she said. “We put Eli out in front because he is an excellent representative for the college and the university. He is the perfect example of what hard work, determination and intelligence can do.”

With one accounting internship under his belt and two others lined up for 2017, Parks plans to return to campus next fall to begin working on a master’s degree in accounting.

Parks will join more than 1,150 students for Fall Commencement. on Dec. 17 in Worthen Arena The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.

The speaker for the event will be former U.S. ambassador and retired Army general Karl W. Eikenberry, who will receive an honorary doctorate of laws. Eikenberry is the Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow, director of the U.S.-Asia Security Initiative and faculty member at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.

From May 2009 to July 2011, Eikenberry served as the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, where he led the civilian surge directed by President Barack Obama to reverse insurgent momentum and set the conditions for transition to full Afghan sovereignty. Before his appointment as chief of mission in Kabul, Eikenberry had a 35-year career in the Army, retiring in April 2009 with the rank of lieutenant general.

Along with being an alumnus of Ball State, his mother, Mary Drucilla Eikenberry, was a graduate of the Ball State Class of 1945 (then the Ball State Teachers College).

Fall CommencementFall Commencement

More than 1,150 students will graduate on Dec. 17. The commencement ceremony begins at 10 a.m., with lineup starting at 9 a.m. in Worthen Arena. The event will also be livestreamed online. Former U.S. ambassador and retired Army general Karl W. Eikenberry will be the speaker.

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