Rob McEver: An Engineer Impacting Walton College’s Marketing Students

photo of Rob McEver
July 10 , 2024  |  By Meghan Perry

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Rob McEver, a lecturer in the Department of Marketing at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, has brought a wealth of industry experience to his students. With a distinguished career that includes roles as vice president of regional sales at Landis+Gyr and director of marketing at Schlumberger, Rob's transition from engineering to a sales lecturer is both inspiring and instructive.

McEver's enthusiasm for teaching and mentoring is palpable. "I am really passionate about my students. I seek to serve them as a coach and mentor with the goal of helping them be successful in life," he shares. His teaching philosophy emphasizes creating a relaxed, open and enjoyable environment where students are comfortable expressing their thoughts and engaging in dialogue. "I try to teach with enthusiasm and treat my students with empathy, respect and kindness," he adds. He likes to employ a dynamic approach to learning, incorporating questions, discussions, case studies, role plays and contests to keep the classroom environment vibrant and interactive.

A standout aspect of McEver's teaching is the Walton Sales Competition, one of the largest internal sales contests among business schools in the nation. This competition immerses students in real-life sales call scenarios, judged by experienced business professionals. "It gets them out of their comfort zone, which is where real learning takes place," McEver explains. He fondly recalls a memorable experience with two students who initially wanted to withdraw from the competition. "I used a little tough love and said no. I reassured them of the value they would gain from participating and that I would support them as their coach. Those two students went on to win the competition and stated it was one of the most valuable learning experiences of their college career," he proudly recounts.

McEver ensures his curriculum is always relevant to current industry trends and real-world scenarios. "One of the strengths of Walton College is the interaction with the business community. I involve business professionals as speakers and use real-life case studies provided by them as part of the course content," he notes. He stresses the importance of practicing sales in an honorable, ethical and valuable manner, encapsulated in the idea of "helping people solve problems."

Guest speakers from various companies also present career opportunities in sales, helping to forge connections between students and potential employers. McEver adds, “I seek to be a channel to facilitate connections between great students looking for jobs and great companies looking to hire aspiring sales professionals.” He advises students to seek out companies that offer opportunities for learning, development, skill expansion and advancement.

Reflecting on his extensive industry career, McEver attributes his long tenures at Schlumberger and Landis+Gyr (a little over 23 years and 13 years, respectively) to the companies' dedication to providing multiple career paths and growth opportunities. "I started my career as an engineer with Schlumberger, which required engineers to have a borderless career by changing work locations and job roles about every two years. This was my springboard into the business world and enabled a long career in business — over 40 years," he says.  

Looking ahead, McEver sees tremendous value in sales education for students. "Sales skills are valuable no matter what your profession. The sales process is a highly practical process of communication and problem-solving. Sales skills are in high demand by employers," he observes. He is consistently surprised by the number of companies that come to the University of Arkansas to recruit students for sales jobs and notes that many students change their perception of selling as a career choice after taking his classes. 

Outside his lecturing duties, McEver enjoys spending quality time with his family. He and his wife have been married for 36 years and have lived in Fayetteville for 23 years. They have three sons, three daughters-in-law, one granddaughter and a dog. All his sons graduated from the University of Arkansas, with two of them from Walton College. A dedicated Razorback fan, McEver attends most home football, basketball and baseball games. 

“Every day I walk up The Hill and ask myself, “How did I get here?” I am thankful that Walton College values business experience and has provided me with an opportunity to share some of my experience with students,” McEver says. 

What’s clear is Rob McEver's dedication to his students. His innovative teaching approach and extensive industry experience make him a valued member of the Walton College faculty. His passion for sales and business education continues to inspire and prepare students for successful careers. “Engineering professional to business school instructor is an uncommon path,” he admits. The path less taken has clearly paid off for McEver.

Meghan PerryMeghan Perry is the marketing and communications specialist for the Sam M. Walton College of Business. She facilitates press releases, digital content and dean communications to promote the work of the students, faculty and staff (always with a cup of coffee or two in hand).

In addition to working in higher education, Meghan has built a career writing and copy editing, specializing government technology, B2B and LinkedIn. She believes in the healing nature of the arts and most recently helped edit the poetry book Plant People, An Anthology of Environmental Artists Vol. 3. In her free time, you can find Meghan enjoying nature walks, burning every batch of muffins she attempts to bake and watching a medieval history documentary.