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June 2, 2014 (Jackson) - Top executives are mentoring students from Belhaven University’s School of Business through its new Executive in Residence program. This once in a lifetime experience gives each student access to some of the most influential business leaders in Mississippi.

Belhaven hosted five business executives over the spring semester at Belhaven: Sam Lane, Senior Vice President of First Commercial Bank; Earl Blankenship, Chairman and CEO of Mercury Investment Management; Emmerson Daily, Founder of Daily Equipment Corporation; Melanie Dowell, Senior Vice President of Morgan Stanley and Lee Lampton, Chief Operating Officer of Ergon.

“These top executives are playing a major role in the education of our students and it is very rewarding for them to see a students’ countenance light-up when they learn something new,” said Jeff Rickels, Assistant to the President. “I believe that our students are catching a vision for success in the marketplace with the quality of people that have been brought in through this program.”

The mentorship executives spent five hours during the semester and shared advice from their own experiences, gave lectures as well as tips, trends and ways to succeed. Dr. Chip Mason, Dean of the School of Business, “After talking with these highly successful business executives, the students were more excited about pursuing careers in business.“

Some students were inspired to start their own businesses as a result of positive feedback from the executives during the annual Belhaven Business Plan Competition. Much like NBC’s television show, Shark Tank, students presented their ideas and business plans to faculty along with executives Lane and Blankenship who served as guest judges. Both visiting executives were so impressed with the winning team’s plan, which featured an international chain of donut shops, they believed that with some small revisions it could be the blueprint for a successful business.

This partnership is especially helpful to faculty members in the Belhaven School of Business. According to Dr. Mason, students step into today’s business marketplace with “vast social and technological change,” and those challenges need mentorship beyond the traditional faculty and student interactions. Dr. Mason adds, “Belhaven faculty can also benefit from an executive with current experience to ensure that their curriculum effectively meets the needs of today’s employers.”

The Executive in Residence program also gave students the unique opportunity to discuss morals and ethics in the workplace. “We believe it is important for our students at Belhaven to not only be successful, but to be young men and women of character, competent and committed to living out their faith in the workplace,” adds Rickels.