University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Sparking the Change with Diversity and Representation: Nicola Bryan Student Spotlight

Nicola Bryan
April 02, 2022  |  By Allie Mertensotto

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Businesses benefit from the broad spectrum of perspectives that come from individuals with various backgrounds. In marketing, it all trickles down to the client, especially in terms of retaining and attracting more clients. Research has shown that employees feel more satisfied in a diverse work environment. Not only does it drive higher performance due to equality in the workplace motivating employees to achieve their best, it also allows them to feel more comfortable and confident in their abilities. This leads to an increase in performance and also encourages creative innovation. It helps bring a wholistic approach to solving day-to-day business problems. 

Nicola Bryan (MBA ’23) is passionate about advocating for diversity in advertising and marketing. 

“Diversity is necessary in the business world because it leads to increased innovation, growth, and new ideas,” Bryan said. “It’s important for people of different races, ethnicities, backgrounds, perspectives, and opinions to work together. When there is a lack of diversity, in any environment, it leads to groupthink and stagnation.” 

According to Bryan, the advertising and marketing industries are lacking when it comes to diversity. 

“The industry still primarily consists of white employees when U.S. demographics are expected to shift dramatically,” she said. “In fact, the Census projects that the U.S. will become minority white by 2045, which means that people of color are key to shaping the future. The advertising and marketing industries are highly influential. Therefore, they need diverse insight and campaigns with real representation. People of color have a lot to offer in terms of knowledge, talent and creativity.” 

Bryan chose the Walton MBA program for the unique networking opportunities and an education that would prepare her for success in the marketing industry. She found Dr. Jeff Murray’s marketing course to be especially influential. 

“I loved his psychological/sociological approach to marketing, especially as someone who studied psychology in undergrad,” Bryan said. “But I also loved that he stressed the importance of storytelling in marketing. It makes me think about the fact that more people of color need to be given the chance to tell their stories and share their perspectives in marketing.”

Bryan was recently awarded the Benjamin Franklin Lever Tuition Fellowship award,  a competitive award given to students who reflect the university’s commitment to academics and diversity. She has also secured an internship at Paradox Retail, where she hopes to gain valuable project management and digital marketing skills as a marketing coordinator.

Post Author:

Allie MertensottoAllie Mertensotto is currently in her third semester working towards her Marketing and Retail MBA degree. She is the Graduate Assistant for the Walton MBA Programs Marketing & Communications office. She recently graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2021 from the Walton College of Business with a degree in Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Some of her recent roles including interning for Saatchi & Saatchi X, a shopper agency, on the Account Leadership team and for The Harvest Group, an omni-channel agency, on the grocery team.

Walton College

Walton College of Business

Since its founding at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Sam M. Walton College of Business has grown to become the state's premier college of business – as well as a nationally competitive business school. Learn more...

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