By Ashley Neese
December 6, 2022

UCO hosts future business leaders & top-talent faculty

Dean Jeremy Oller shares his priorities and goals for the UCO College of Business.
Dean Jeremy Oller has been a professor at the College of Business since 2005. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

The University of Central Oklahoma College of Business is an AACSB-accredited school, which is given to the top business schools in the world, with only 5% of schools achieving the recognition. These schools must pass rigorous quality standards evaluating their programs, faculty, student GPAs, post-graduation recruitment, and more. UCO achieved this status in 2017 and was reaccredited in 2022 with the help of Jeremy Oller.

Jeremy Oller, J.D., Ph.D., has served as the dean of the College of Business since June 2021 after serving as interim dean throughout the pandemic. He started as an adjunct professor in the business school in 2005 and served as chairperson of the Department of Economics for eight years. His vision for the college is to be the best in the state for business education. 

The program

The College of Business is one of five colleges at UCO and has 15 majors across six departments: economics, finance, accounting, information systems, operations management, and marketing. Specialty majors unique to UCO include human resource management, professional selling, legal studies, and insurance risk management.

“Our MBA program was recently rated as number one by the Journal Record, but we also have a Master’s in Science and Business Analytics. That’s a STEM-designated program,” said Oller. “We are really one of the first movers in that area, and it’s had amazing success.”

UCO’s MSBA Program, a Tier-3 SAS Academic Specialization, provides a theoretical understanding of data analysis for business decision-making. The small classes are taught by experienced faculty who provide a connection-building environment for quality, personalized instruction.

“We have outstanding faculty, and we have a lot of innovative programs that other schools nearby don’t have,” said Oller. “We have human resource management as one of our degree options and professional selling competing at one of the top levels in the country.” 

The UCO Sales Team recently competed in the International Collegiate Sales Competition and finished first in the role play division and third overall.

“I’m most proud of our Bronco Business Leaders, an innovative leadership program where students go through a two-year program,” said Oller. “They focus on leadership classes and developing leadership experiences with faculty members.”

Participants receive a tuition waiver, personalized executive coaching, self-assessments, and exposure to local corporate executives. Students are also paired up with community business mentors tied to their major or a career path they’re interested in. 

The dean

Before Oller was a professor and a dean, he was a student at the UCO School of Business.

“UCO was the ideal place for me because I could work a job. It had a commuter environment, so I was able to go to school, but my vision was always on law school,” said Oller. “I ended up getting a Ph.D. working at a company in Oklahoma City called C.H. Guernsey and Company when an old professor reached out to me from UCO and asked if I’d adjunct to class, and I fell in love with it.”

Dean Oller graduated from the UCO College of Business before he started his career as an economist. (Photo: Brent Fuchs)

Three years ago, the program transitioned from a dean who had been in the role for five years to an interim dean and then another dean who served for a year and a half before they began the search for another interim dean. 

“At that point, I had never had a vision of being a dean. I wore a hoodie and a pair of jeans to the meeting where they decided on the next transition,” said Oller. “The provost at the time had asked me, ‘Well, if we asked you, would you do it?'”

He agreed and became the new interim dean. When the permanent position was opened, Oller noticed the college environment had changed. It was more exciting and invigorating. The students were happier. He decided to take the permanent role and focused on creating a culture of “Fun. Focused. Forward.” 

“The fun is that we want people to have a good time and be part of this community. Focused means that we want to accomplish things. It’s about the impact and the difference you can make,” said Oller. “Then forward is about being innovative. We want to ensure we keep up with the latest trends and try new things.”

The future

Oller’s ultimate goal is for the UCO College of Business to be the premier provider of business education in the metro area. 

“I’m most excited about our faculty because the great innovations are coming from them. If we don’t have great faculty, we’re not going to get anywhere,” said Oller. “I think we have a great set of faculty that have been here a while, and our recruiting lately has been amazing. We continue to bring in new faculty that are innovative with their thoughts and ideas.” 

Oller hopes to build a program of not only fantastic teachers but true scholars. He looks for faculty members with a strong passion for teaching that blend their research and scholarly endeavors into the classroom to benefit students. 

“When we start talking about our analytics program, our new Master’s in finance, or even our Bronco Business Leaders, they’re the ones who make those programs special,” said Oller.

Through hiring and culture-building, Oller’s is creating a work-and-play environment where all students are welcome and receive the tools they need to be prepared for the business world.  

“We’re really looking for ways to connect and serve our business community. Partnerships, like the strategic partnership with Bob Mills for our Sales Team, are outstanding,” said Oller. “Sometimes it’s just making sure that our community has a place to speak to students or recruit them because I believe our students are going to be future business leaders.”

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About Ashley Neese

Ashley Neese currently serves as editor of Edmond Business and a freelancer specializing in overall communication strategy. She previously served as the communications and marketing manager at the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce, where she promoted chamber events, helped members gain exposure, and spearheaded the Edmond Young Professionals organization, as well as the Chamber’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

An Edmond native, Ashley graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2017 with a degree in Strategic Communications. In her free time, she enjoys brewing coffee and finding the best local eats.