By Emily Lohec | Staff Writer
Brett Biggs, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Walmart, spoke about the company’s dedication to bettering the lives of their customers and the environment as part of Baylor Career Center’s Executive Speaker Series.
Biggs and his team work together for Walmart’s Enterprise Solutions that focus on financial functions as well as Global Business Services. Biggs said he is determined to provide customers with a cost-effective shopping experience that is devoted to everyday low prices.
Biggs joined the Walmart family over 20 years ago and has been CFO for four years. Over his time working with the company, Biggs said that he has seen Walmart go from a small family-owned business to a $125 billion revenue company internationally. Biggs said he is determined to show the world the kind of company Walmart is, as well as could be in the future with its projected growth forward.
“The things we have that no one else has is our culture and physical assets,” Biggs said. “The ability to combine the stores and with what we’re doing in e-commerce and technology is something no other company in the world can really do.”
Biggs said that over the last five to 10 years, Walmart has changed the name of the game and has attracted attention from companies such as Amazon, as well as begun to work with big name technology brands like Google and Microsoft.
With company advancements comes financial growth, and Biggs is the man on the job to organize, plan and collaborate with other financial advisers and team members. Biggs said that saving is a key aspect to running a successful company, and that without knowledge as to where to save and budget future investments, Walmart would not be financially stable or successful in the long run.
After an audience member asked how Walmart plans to develop and invest in sustainable products in the future, Biggs said that he sees Walmart as a company that seeks leadership initiative when it comes to positive change.
“What’s going on with climate change and any kind of disaster that happens around the world… there is pressure for the business to grow,” Biggs said. “We were the first ones in New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina with a huge Emergency Operations Center.”
Biggs said that Walmart created a sustainability program back in 2005 as a first step to making a difference for the environment. The program has continued to grow, leading to major environmental improvements around the globe.
“We just committed to taking a billion metric tons of carbon emissions out of the environment over the next several years,” Biggs said. “80% of our waste in our stores does not go to a landfill anymore and we’re at 25% renewable energy across the globe, which is really high when you think about how new renewable energy is.”
Biggs said that above all, he has centered his work around two core values— wanting the best for customers and the environment.
Baylor grad Anne Kronlokken has worked as an intern for Walmart’s Accounting and Finance Development Program, AFDP, for a little over a year and said she has found her own values in what the company stands for.
“I wanted to work for something I believe in and work with people that I enjoy and care about what they are doing,” Kronlokken said. “After I interviewed I thought, ‘These people really care about what they’re doing and were so selfless to take time out of their day to talk with just a Baylor student.’”
Kronolokken said that AFDP is a 24-month internship that provides hands on learning within four different departments at Walmart. For each department, interns spend six months working with the team, executives and senior directors to grasp a better understanding of what that section does for Walmart, how it developed new ideas and how the products and services benefit the customer in the end.
“It has been way better than I could have hoped for,” Kronlokken said. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the relationships I’ve made, the work I’ve been able to do and the things I’ve learned and love doing that I may have never been able to do without AFDP.”
Biggs said that students should value and appreciate the hard work, accomplishments and experiences they’ve had while at Baylor, and use these all as opportunities for growth.
“With the way you’re being taught and the values you’re being taught, you will come out with a great education,” Biggs said. “What we’re doing from a technology standpoint and by having one of the biggest physical footprints in the world, by the way we put it together, no one beats Walmart long-term and we’d love to have you.”