An all-star transition from football to finance for Dooley

Grant Dooley SAU BusinessAs a receiver for the Muleriders, Grant Dooley could not catch a break from injuries. But his performances in Southern Arkansas University’s College of Business have caught the attention of executives at Wal-Mart Corporate.

Dooley, senior from DeQueen, landed a competitive internship at Wal-Mart’s Corporate Headquarters in the summer of 2013. And he did so well as an intern, he earned a coveted spot in Wal-Mart’s Merchandising Leadership Program (MLP).

Dooley gives credit to his parents, Mary and Jay Dooley, for introducing him to the business environment. They own the DeQueen Ford Chrysler dealership, and he remembers always respecting their “entrepreneurial spirits.”

“By owning their own business, they controled their own destiny,” said Dooley. “If you’re in the College of Business at SAU, you’re not limited. When you get your business degree, you can do anything you want with it.”

After walking in SAU’s Spring Commencement Friday, May 9, 2014, Dooley will be moving to Rogers, Ark., and starting this 18-month MLP program that will prepare him to be a planning analyst for Wal-Mart Corp.

Joel Parrish, SAU alum and product development director at Wal-Mart, introduced Dooley to the benefits and opportunities of the Wal-Mart internship program. Parrish, the 2014 Distinguished Young Alum at SAU, is not unlike other successful College of Business alumni in that he often returns to campus to visit with current business students.

Dooley said that he sent in his resume for the internship program, and was accepted after talking with the recruiter and making it through four rounds of interviews.

“I was put in Product Development, which was awesome because I learned so many things,” said Dooley.

His manager became his mentor for the summer, until she had to go on medical leave.

“I had to take the lead some projects, so it ended up being a great opportunity for me. I got to work with suppliers from several different countries and got to see the lifecycle of products going from the idea to putting them on the shelf,” he said.

He even had an idea for his primary internship project that was estimated to save the corporation millions of dollars in packaging. In the end, he said the SAU College of Business was crucial in his internship successes.

“I didn’t feel intimidated one bit by anyone, whether they were from an Ivy League school or a Big Ten school, there was no one that intimidated me with their level of education. That really speaks volumes for the education we get here at the SAU College of Business,” said Dooley.

Grant Dooley - WalGreen's Superhero Showdown 1For his senior year, Dooley incorporated some of the leadership and creativity skills he gained from his corporate experiences at Wal-Mart. He headed up a community involvement project for Enactus, the Walgreen’s Superhero Showdown, in which dozens of area children learned the value of healthy living. Dooley was able to secure funding for the initiative. He even got to use his own active lifestyle take on the role of the superhero to lead the kids through the activities and obstacle course while avoiding the temptations of the evil junk-food villains.

The Walgreen’s Superhero Showdown was incorporated into Encatus’ national competition presentation. The group had a strong finish at nationals, making it to the top 40 among the hundreds of schools competing.

Dooley was a part of the team that presented to corporate executives who served as guest judges. One executive happened to be from Wal-Mart, and was impressed with Dooley.

“The [Wal-Mart] recruiter told me the executive called him and said, ‘SAU has this guy, Grant Dooley, and I think we should hire him,’” said Dooley, recalling that he and the recruiter laughed because Dooley had already been hired.

Dooley came to SAU on a football scholarship and played for three years as a receiver. After a broken leg and three other knee injuries, he decided to focus his attention on academics and his finance degree program. He was inducted into the College of Business’ honor society, Beta Gamma Sigma, and served on the Business Student Advisory Council and the Business Student Investment Advisory Council.

Students who possess an “entrepreneurial spirit” like Dooley will be interested in the new Entrepreneurship major and minor programs to start Fall 2014 at SAU’s College of Business. Also kicking off in the fall is the Supply Chain Management track of the College of Business’ popular MBA program, which can be completed online, on campus, or a through a hybrid of the two.

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