Barton International Group gives students the opportunity to work for local businesses in Wichita


Courtesy of Barton International Group

Barton International Group

College is for opportunities, experiences, friendships and gaining knowledge in the classroom. Many students strive to make professional relationships, jobs and partnerships before they even graduate. The Barton International Group is here to help those students.

The Barton International Group (BIG), a student-led consulting firm that provides students opportunities to work with clients like Koch industries and Qdoba, has been at Wichita State since 2008.

Tyler Stice, the business development director said that they work with a diverse selection of businesses.

“We do anything from feasibility studies, which is determining if a new product or service is going to be viable and generate money for the owners,” Stice said. “We do smaller projects, like preparing marketing materials such as brochures, marketing plans,  and helping people manage their social media.”

They also focus on market research— if a client wants more information about a certain market, the group can research that for them and provide them with all the information they need.  

The group has 22 members in four different departments, including the faculty advisor Kate Kung-McIntyre. BIG has an organizational structure with different positions held by students, from executive officers to general associates, and runs as much like a normal business as possible.

Bailey Adkins, the CEO, works closely as a team with the vice president, and is responsible for outward communication while the vice president is in charge of internal communication. He has the final sign off on proposals and statements of work with businesses to make sure everything is good to go and works with the vice president to run meetings or schedule individual meetings with members.  

They are in charge of providing a sense of direction for where the group is headed in the future and planning and executing long-term goals.  They also ensure the success of each individual in BIG.

“Personally, I have been in BIG for a little over three years and the leadership skills that I have been able to develop have been really important … The networking skills that I developed increased my communication skills,” Adkins said. “It really helped me with how to conduct myself in a professional manner publicly and how to talk with strangers.”

Stice said that the businesses development department is in charge of getting things started.  They attend networking events, generate the leads and assign them to teams who work together on the proposal and finish the project.  His department also sets strategies for how to become better as an organization, such as switching from Google Drive to Microsoft Sharepoint.

“My weekly tasks are usually designing the agenda for our weekly meetings and I am also in charge of appointing the project team and project leads to go with each project,” Stice said.

Stice said that BIG has given him the opportunity for corporate leadership experience and setting corporate goals.  Being able to lead teams of employees, projects, and managing client and corporate relations is leadership experience he wouldn’t get in a classroom.

Truc Nguyen, marketing director of BIG said she is responsible for facilitating and coordinating both digital and physical marketing efforts, including social media, content making,  and networking events with a team of four people.  

She is also part of a pro-bono project for a local business in Wichita that meets every Wednesday 7-9 p.m and attends general meetings on Sundays 5-9 p.m.

“BIG has definitely helped me a lot in gaining professional experience that allows me to take initiative that makes me stand out to employers … I’m learning a lot from my classes, but I believe in hands-on experience and applying those theories and concepts from my classes to the projects we do,” Nguyen said. “It has given me a push and I’ve gained a lot of experience working with data, being able to work with actual numbers.”

Adkins said that BIG is one of or maybe the only organization on campus that works for real-world companies that is not directly funded by that group’s home university.  The group does not receive any financial support from the university; the group depends on the charitable contributions from the projects that they do for companies. They also get money from the formal dean Doug and Janie Hensler endowment funds.

“The charitable contributions that we generate are all used to pay for things like our website, marketing tools, events, and traveling,” Adkins said. “We are completely non-profit and it all goes full circle that everyone can benefit from.”

Instead of earning a salary for their work in the organization, the charitable contributions generated from their work with businesses is used to travel internationally and domestically.  In 2019, the group went to China and a majority of the trip was paid for with stipend points from members. 

“On the trips, we tour businesses while we are there and get a wider perspective of how different businesses operate in different environments,” Stice said.

Adkins said that when COVID-19 started, they were in the middle of a project but were able to complete it easily virtually.  He said that even though they haven’t been able to travel, they can now bring in guest speakers every week and get the same learning experience.

If students are interested in joining, they can find an application on their website at  Annual recruitment for BIG starts in the fall semester and any student from any major can join.

“We really believe that having a diverse group of students from different fields will provide a lot of value to BIG,” Adkins said. “We want graphic design, art, engineering students, everyone we can because it provides more perspective and more avenues of finding solutions to problems.”