Buiter reflects on years at BJU before stepping down

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Buiter reflects on years at BJU before stepping down

Dr Pepper grew three times more quickly than Pepsi and Coke while Buiter was the company's CFO.
Photo: Jordyn Britton

Reflecting on his years at Bob Jones University as he prepares to step down as dean of the School of Business at the end of the semester, Mike Buiter praises God for guiding him throughout his life.

Buiter will continue to teach two business classes each semester as a parttime professor.

“If we walk away with an attitude of worship in our hearts as we reflect on [my life], then the right thing has happened,” he said.

EXPERIENCES AT BJU

Since Buiter became dean in 2012, the School of Business has added and developed new course offerings, such as the paralegal program.

However, Buiter considers his greatest legacy as dean to be the creation of several associations for business students, including organizations focusing on investing, accounting and entrepreneurship.

Looking back, Buiter realizes that God began preparing him for his current job when he attended BJU because of the recommendations of his pastor and some members of his youth group.

The University was significantly different from the public high school he had attended. “I was actually around other Christian people that love Jesus Christ, and I flourished in the environment,” Buiter said.

LIFE ON WALL STREET

For his first job after college, Buiter worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the largest U.S. accounting firms. He then applied to work at Dr Pepper but was told he didn’t have enough relevant experience. Once Buiter supplemented his resume with two years of work in international accounting, the soft drink company hired him.

After six years of working at the company, Buiter was named the chief financial officer of Dr Pepper.

“It helped me learn how Wall Street thinks,” he said. “I lived on Wall Street. I worked with investment bankers who are … the best and brightest minds in the business world.”

Buiter said his experience working at Dr Pepper prepared him for his work at BJU, including a capstone class he currently teaches for accounting majors. “Financial Statement Analysis ties directly to Wall Street, and if you’ve been there and you’ve done that, it helps you teach that,” he said.

Even as he worked elsewhere, Buiter knew he wanted to return to BJU to teach. “I felt that—even though I was growing in my career at Dr Pepper and other places—that God would someday call me to come to Bob Jones University,” he said. “And it wasn’t so much a matter of what; it was a matter of when God’s going to call me.”

After Buiter worked at Dr Pepper for nearly two decades, that time came. “There was a time when Dr. Bob Jones III called me up on the phone and said, ‘Mike, we would like you to consider coming to work here at Bob Jones University,’ and I said, ‘Dr. Bob, … my wife and I prayed about that last night.’ And he about dropped the telephone,” Buiter said.

Three days after earning a master’s degree in business administration from Duke University, he began teaching accounting at BJU in 1995.

Buiter offers one key piece of advice for students based on his experiences.

“If you are walking in an intimate, daily walk with Christ and you’re growing in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s amazing how many other things fall into place,” he said.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Buiter plans to use the time he will gain from stepping down to focus on a few business enterprises. He also plans to continue investing in students’ lives by eating lunch with every freshman business student.

Although the future is uncertain, Buiter trusts that God will continue guiding him. “I can see how God has specifically led me through each phase in my life, and that is the same confidence I have moving forward,” he said. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”