Lead Story

Mays steps up to impact the world

Kelli R. Levey, June 30th, 2016

The reach of Mays Business School throughout the world, and the world’s reach into the students, faculty and staff of Mays, is almost too vast to be measured. Mays is influencing and shaping the areas of cancer research, entrepreneurship, economic measurements and trail-blazing technologies. Within Mays, we are reimagining the roles that engagement, innovation and impact will play in the future of business education, while discovering Mays’ distinctive traits that we want to amplify. Here are just a few examples.

FROM THE OUTSIDE, LOOKING IN

The Aggie core value of selfless service is personified by two petroleum engineers who invest in Aggies’ futures through their business, WildHorse Resources in Houston. Anthony Bahr ’91 and Jay Graham ’92 have invested $12 million to help students of Mays and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering. Launching in fall 2016, the Petroleum Ventures Program (PVP) is a certificate program that will give engineering students additional background in finance and give finance students additional knowledge of the oil and gas industry.

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Anthony Bahr ’91 & Jay Graham ’92, WildHorse Resources

Business schools worldwide are exploring how to create value for society in areas that stretch the boundaries of the ways they have traditionally defined themselves. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which accredits business schools, requires them to show educational, commercial and social impacts, as well as intellectual contributions. The AACSB vision serves as a framework for business schools to create value for society. Mays kicked off a Strategic Planning Initiative in January with an off-site retreat among the college’s leaders, then moved to Town Hall meetings open to all faculty and staff. This spring, a new vision statement was unveiled with four themes that define Mays’ distinctive traits (see page 2).

…Read more

Sixteen veteran entrepreneurs from across several states spent hours last week studying and learning the ins and outs of launching their new business endeavors through Texas A&M University’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV) program. After presenting their business plans to their peers and esteemed mentors, the participants each went home excited to begin their personal and professional passions, taking along with them the wisdom, advice and much-appreciated guidance shared with them over the eight-day residency.

In its ninth year to be hosted by Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), the 2016 EBV program once again served veterans with a military service-linked disability who have started or are interested in starting their own business. The national EBV program was launched in 2007 by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, and in 2008, added Texas A&M University to a consortium that now includes 10 additional universities across the nation. Each university in the consortia makes a strong commitment to support this nation’s veterans and help to guide them down the path of starting and maintaining a successful business venture.

At Texas A&M, the EBV week is filled with expert lectures, one-on-one mentoring from volunteer entrepreneurs, access to tremendous resources, a lot of food and a full dose of the Spirit of Aggieland. …Read more

Categories: Centers, Departments, Management, Mays Business, Programs, Texas A&M

Dwight Garey ’67 has joined the Commercial Banking Program at Mays Business School as executive director. He will lead the program, which provides well-trained talent to the banking industry while introducing Texas A&M University students to outstanding career opportunities. The program combines academics and industry exposure, and every student enrolls in a summer internship.

Garey is an executive professor in the Department of Finance at Mays. He will teach banking-related courses in Commercial Credit, Enterprise Risk Management, and Sales of Financial Products and Services. In addition, as executive director, Dwight will promote the mission of the Commercial Banking Program with a focus on increasing enrollments and revenue generation.

He was involved in the formation of the Commercial Banking Program. From the beginning, he served on the Executive Council of the Banking Advisory Board, and was head of the program’s Bank Membership Committee. …Read more

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Finance, Mays Business, News, Staff, Texas A&M

Within Mays Business School at Texas A&M University resides the highly-ranked Master of Real Estate Program—a degree that comes with a nearly perfect 100 percent job placement record, access to industry leaders and automatic induction into the Aggie Real Estate Network, an alumni group that provides graduates with professional development opportunities.

The graduate program allows students to explore a variety of concentrations within the industry while gaining the fundamental knowledge of commercial real estate.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas A&M, Cydney C. Donnell ’81 was able to succeed in an industry she loves. Now, as director of real estate programs and an executive professor within the Department of Finance, Donnell has witnessed firsthand the booming success of the master’s program.

“Thirty-five years ago when I was a graduate, real estate in Texas was headed into a major oversupply. However, I entered the industry at a time when leaders wanted to prove that commercial real estate could be run ethically and professionally,” said Donnell. “I am so proud of the transformation of our industry and I want our students to become the new leaders of the revitalized real estate world.”

Donnell’s enthusiasm for the Master of Real Estate Program goes beyond words and sentiment. Recently, she gave $1 million to the Texas A&M Foundation to support the program’s teaching, research, service and professional development activities, with $750,000 earmarked for matching funds. She will double the value of future donations of $25,000 or more from the Cydney C. Donnell ’81 Faculty Fellowship.

Cydney FoundationAs a former member of the Texas A&M Foundation Investment Advisory Committee, Donnell has worked with the Foundation before. However, this time, she was able to ensure the future of the Master of Real Estate program within Mays and establish a lifelong legacy at Texas A&M.Two other graduates from Texas A&M—Preston Young ’02 and Malcolm Stewart ’73—are also supporting the program with major gifts.

Young, a regional managing partner for Stream Realty Partners, committed $100,000, while Stewart, chief operating officer at Camden Property Trust, established a fund with an additional $100,000 toward the program. Both gifts will be matched with a $100,000 gift from the Cydney C. Donnell ’81 Faculty Fellowship.

Originating 45 years ago in the agricultural economics department, the program has grown in size, recognition and popularity. Since then, it has migrated to the Department of Finance at Mays Business School, developed a diverse course structure, and formed an advisory board of real estate professionals.

Graduates go to work in a variety of careers, from real estate development to lending and capital markets. All leave with enhanced knowledge of finance, real estate law, economics, market analysis and negotiation.

“If Mays wants to excel and provide the best education for our students, we have to offer more: specialized degrees, program enhancements and affordable tuition,” said Donnell. “These funds allow us to enhance a student’s educational opportunities by bringing industry leaders into the classroom, sending students to attend industry events or allowing them to participate in competitions.

What everyone should understand when donating to Texas A&M University is that all funding ultimately helps bring a top-notch educational experience to our students at an affordable cost. My Texas A&M education prepared me for success in the real estate market and I hope to bring the same opportunity to these young people in our program.”

By Ashley Wagner ‘18

Categories: Alumni, Departments, Donors Corner, Mays Business, News, Real Estate, Texas A&M

More than 80 veterans with disabilities will converge on the Texas A&M, UCLA, and Syracuse University campuses in July to leverage the valued skills gained from military service and learn the basics of business ownership during the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV).

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) and nine other EBV consortium schools across the country deliver the EBV Program to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities, who desire to develop the skills and tools needed to launch and maintain successful businesses. Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration, corporate partners and donors allows participants to attend the EBV program cost-free.

Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, and Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management will both run their respective EBV programs July 16 through July 23. UCLA’s Anderson School of Management is holding its EBV program from July 9 – 17, 2016.

UntitledEBV is a three-phase program, beginning with a three-week online instructor-led course where participants shape business plans and learn business language. During the second phase, participants will complete an intensive eight-day residency at each university, learning the ‘nuts and bolts’ of business ownership from established entrepreneurs and educators. Following the residency, EBV graduates will receive access to a year-long support and mentorship program through EBV Technical Assistance – managed by the IVMF.

The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School has proudly hosted more than 190 veterans in the program since its launch. In a format somewhat similar to the bootcamp they know, EBV @ Texas A&M is an intense and rigorous program that forces its participants to carefully scrutinize their business concepts and complete a series of training modules designed by Texas A&M faculty to help them plan for a successful and profitable venture.

CNVE also engages a wide variety of successful entrepreneurs from throughout the community and state to mentor each student throughout the program. Through its fundraising and volunteer coordination efforts, CNVE proudly conducts its annual EBV program at no cost to its veteran participants, offering them a unique and valuable educational experience and providing their businesses a competitive advantage that many would pay substantially to receive. All EBV program expenses, textbooks, access to resources, and transportation/lodging/meal expenses are covered entirely by individual, corporate, and University sponsors.

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The participants in EBV @ Texas A&M strive to follow in the successful footsteps of their preceding graduates, like Lt. Col (ret.) Boris Robinson (Round Rock, TX), owner of T3 MultiSports. Robinson proudly leverages his EBV training, along with leadership skills he gleaned from 26 years of military service, to provide personal development and coaching services that promote fitness, healthy lifestyles and camaraderie through triathlon training for young athletes.

Shortly after graduating from EBV in 2014, T3 MultiSports was recognized with the Entrepreneurial Veteran award at the Texas Governor’s Small Business Forum. Another notable success story belongs to Abraham Negron (Spring, TX), whose company, Fidelis Solutions, aims to transform the Career Placement Services model to place more veterans and military spouses into the workplace. In less than one year since graduation in 2015, Fidelis has secured job placement partnerships with more than 17 major employers throughout the Houston area.“EBV has produced more than 1,313 graduates since 2007, of whom 68% have launched a new venture after completing the EBV program,” said Tina Kapral, Senior Director of Education and Training at IVMF. “The IVMF at Syracuse University is excited to work with UCLA and Texas A&M again to support our nation’s veterans and help them create and maintain their own small businesses.”

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Celebrating its 10-year anniversary this July, the EBV program was launched at Syracuse’s Whitman School of Management in 2007. Since the original class, the IVMF has expanded the EBV Program to ten universities throughout the U.S. In addition to Syracuse University, UCLA, and Texas A&M University, the EBV Program is also offered at the following universities:

  • College of Business at Florida State University
  • Krannert School of Management at Purdue University
  • School of Business at the University of Connecticut (UCONN)
  • J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University (LSU)
  • School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University
  • Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University
  • Trulaske College of Business at the University of Missouri

For more information, please visit http://mays.tamu.edu/center-for-new-ventures-and-entrepreneurship/about-ebv-at-texas-am/.

Categories: Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Lorraine Eden, a management professor at Mays Business School, is the first-time recipient of the Woman of the Year award from the Women in the Academy of International Business (WAIB). The WAIB executive board unanimously chose Eden for the award and presented it to her at the annual Academy of International Busienss (AIB) meeting in New Orleans in June.

The Woman of the Year Award recognizes a female WAIB scholar for her service to WAIB, to the AIB and for high-quality research in an international business discipline. 

The WAIB is a special-interest group within the AIB that promotes networking among members and supports global female talent through discussion and research. Eden founded the organization in 2001 at the annual AIB meeting in Sydney, Australia. The special-interest group has since grown to having over 800 members worldwide.

“I am honored and humbled to receive this award,” Eden said. “You could knock me over with a feather when I found out about it! I’m not sure I have done anything to deserve this, but I am delighted to have been selected.”

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Amanda Bullough, President of WAIB (right), presents the first Woman of the Year award to Lorraine Eden.

Eden has been an active member of the AIB for many years. She held the position of track chair at the 1998 Vienna meetings, AIB Vice President from 2000-2002 and Program Chair of the 2002 Puerto Rico meetings on Geography and International Business. She was elected a Fellow of the AIB in 2004 and has served on several Fellows committees. She also served as chair for the 2010-11 AIB presidential committee. In 2012 she received the AIB President’s Award for her contributions to AIB and the field of international business.  

“We are all quite excited about presenting this award to you,” Amanda Bullough, president of WAIB, told Eden at the conference. “We all admire what you’ve done for women in the AIB over the years. I for one am certain that many junior and mid-career women scholars look up to you.”

This award comes just after Eden’s appointment as president to the AIB board. She will serve as as president-elect for the 2016-17 year, president from 2017-18 and past president from 2018 to 2019. 

At Mays Business School, Eden holds the Gina and Anthony Bahr ’91 Professorship in Business in the Department of Management. She teaches courses on Transfer Pricing, Multinational Enterprises and the Economics of International Business.

 

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Researchers work to revolutionize how health care institutions clean surfaces

“Technology boot camp” is how Virender Sharma, a professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Public Health, describes his experience at Innovation Corps (I-Corps), a National Science Foundation (NSF) program that helps scientists bring their discoveries out the laboratory and toward the commercial market.

“One thing I discovered during this process is that the science is only 20 percent of it,” Sharma said. “The other 80 percent is just business—how you sell it, how you make deals.”

Sharma’s work using ferrate ions—which are iron ions that have lost four or more of their electrons—as a disinfectant has been shown to be extremely successful in the lab, and he was starting to wonder if it was time to make a commercial product.

“I think Dr. Sharma was disappointed when he found out that I wasn’t a consultant who would tell him if his technology has value,” said Chuck Hinton, director of NSF I-Corps at Texas A&M, which is part of Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship. “He was going to have to figure that out for himself, and that is the key of this program.”

Although other Texas A&M Health Science Center researchers have participated in regional I-Corps programs, Sharma and his team are the first to participate in a national cohort. The other members of the team were Jashanpreet Singh, a postdoctoral fellow in Sharma’s lab who served as the entrepreneurial lead on the project, and Chetan Jinadatha, an assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine and chief of infectious diseases at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System in Temple.

Jinadatha’s work focuses on infections acquired in hospitals and other health care settings, which sicken 722,000 people and kill about 75,000 per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Examples of this type of infection include Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile. “Between 40 and 50 percent of such infections are related to improper cleaning of surfaces,” Jinadatha said.

Current disinfectants are effective at cleaning surfaces but have an off-putting odor and can cause damage to hospital equipment and materials and irritation of eyes and skin. “You also have to read the directions carefully,” Jinadatha said. “They have to be sprayed on a surface, left to sit for a period of time, and then wiped off, or they do not disinfect properly.”

The team completed more than 110 in-person interviews in five weeks with stakeholders and potential customers, including hospital environmental services workers (housekeepers), infection control practitioners, physicians and hospital administrators.

“One great thing we learned is that so many fellow Aggies want to help you,” Sharma said. “They were ready to meet with us, and I was really surprised about how nice everyone was and generous with their time and opinions.” Through this extensive interview process, the team was able to learn what issues people were having with existing cleaning products and what a new product would have to do in order to make their lives or jobs easier.

“This program is invaluable for helping faculty members evaluate the market opportunity and customer need for their technology,” Hinton said.

In this case, Sharma and the rest of the team found that because busy people tend not to have time to spray a disinfectant and let it sit for several minutes, the infectious pathogens aren’t being destroyed, and they go on to infect the next patient.

“I was surprised that there is a real problem with these disinfectants in hospitals,” Sharma said. “They’re often not being properly used, and so they’re not working.”

Ferrate doesn’t have these limitations. Sharma has recently patented his liquid ferrate technology, which solved the inherent issues related to stability of ferrate in solution form, and now needs to be tested for its commercial viability as a surface disinfectant for health care facilities. The team sees the next step as the creation of a spray disinfectant of the ferrate solution.

“There is interest in the product, but we need more data before we can start a small business or collaborate within existing companies to commercialize the product,” Sharma said. The team’s next step is to apply for an Accelerating Innovation Research (AIR) grant that will allow them to further develop their research.

“I’m even more committed to ferrate than I was before,” Sharma added.

Singh was awarded best entrepreneurial lead and the most improved. “That’s really a big deal,” Hinton said. “I’m really extremely proud of this team. They went in prepared and worked hard and ended up being the best one there.”

By Christina B. Sumners, Texas A&M Health Science Center

Categories: Featured Stories, I-Corps, Mays Business, News, Programs, Staff, Texas A&M

The inaugural class of Mays Business School’s Master of Science in Business program that starts July 6 brings together 41 students from a wide range of disciplines.

The curriculum provides knowledge in a wide array of disciplines, such as accounting, finance, management, information systems, international business, and entrepreneurship. Students entering the 11-month program must have bachelor’s degrees from a field other than business and less than 18 months of work experience after completing their undergraduate degrees.

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The inaugural class of the MS Business program

“We are venturing into the unknown and trusting we’ll deliver something fantastic for you,” academic director ’Jon Jasperson said during an opening reception for the program. “We have had so much fun planning to bring this to fruition. I think it’s going to be amazing.”

…Read more

Categories: Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

The reach of Mays Business School throughout the world, and the world’s reach into the students, faculty and staff of Mays, is almost too vast to be measured. Mays is influencing and shaping the areas of cancer research, entrepreneurship, economic measurements and trail-blazing technologies. Within Mays, we are reimagining the roles that engagement, innovation and impact will play in the future of business education, while discovering Mays’ distinctive traits that we want to amplify. Here are just a few examples.

FROM THE OUTSIDE, LOOKING IN

The Aggie core value of selfless service is personified by two petroleum engineers who invest in Aggies’ futures through their business, WildHorse Resources in Houston. Anthony Bahr ’91 and Jay Graham ’92 have invested $12 million to help students of Mays and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering. Launching in fall 2016, the Petroleum Ventures Program (PVP) is a certificate program that will give engineering students additional background in finance and give finance students additional knowledge of the oil and gas industry.

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Anthony Bahr ’91 & Jay Graham ’92, WildHorse Resources

Business schools worldwide are exploring how to create value for society in areas that stretch the boundaries of the ways they have traditionally defined themselves. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which accredits business schools, requires them to show educational, commercial and social impacts, as well as intellectual contributions. The AACSB vision serves as a framework for business schools to create value for society. Mays kicked off a Strategic Planning Initiative in January with an off-site retreat among the college’s leaders, then moved to Town Hall meetings open to all faculty and staff. This spring, a new vision statement was unveiled with four themes that define Mays’ distinctive traits (see page 2).

…Read more

Categories: Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

lynx with nooodles

Startup Aggieland client Lynx Toys has announced a licensing deal with Swimways, the world’s number one pool toy company. Lynx Cofounders Madison Jones, Jared Knowles and Matt Kinsel, former students at Texas A&M University are Young Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at Startup Aggieland, powered by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE). The three entrepreneurs have helped out around Startup Aggieland while continuing to work on their venture.

For the past few months, they also have traveled out-of-state for several meetings with prospective manufacturers and distributors. Ultimately, Lynx opted to license Lynx Toys to Swimways, which has products in nearly 50,000 retail stores nationwide, including Walmart, Target and Toys R Us. Swimways will manufacture, retail and develop the Lynx product line for distribution to major retailers by 2017.

“We were so impressed with the professionalism and creativity of the Lynx Toys team that we knew we had to license their product from them. The fact that they came to us with a major sporting goods retailer already on board really sealed the deal. We look forward to working with Team Lynx for many years to come,” said Monica Jones, vice president of marketing, Swimways Corporation.

Swimways is a leader in the outdoor recreational category with offices in Hong Kong, Virginia Beach and Tarbooro, NC. The privately-owned company has an exclusive partnership with Disney and Marvel to feature classic characters. Swimways was also named “Vendor of the Year” by Toys R Us and Target.

“We owe so much to the leaders of CNVE and Startup Aggieland, as well as our mentors Shelly Brenckman, T. Getterman, Burl Haigwood, Kelli Hollinger, Justin Burgdorff, Russell White and Harlie Frost,” said Matt Kinsel of Lynx Toys. “The guidance we received and relationships we made as students at Texas A&M have proven invaluable to our journey as entrepreneurs. We are honored to partner with such a successful and reputable company as Swimways, and we look forward to watching the growth of Lynx Toys.”

From kiosk to commercialization

Less than a year ago, Lynx occupied a free retail space in Post Oak Mall – generating national headlines for participating in a pilot collaboration between CBL Management in Waco, Mays Center for Retailing Studies and Startup Aggieland. The “UPC” or University/Post Oak Mall Collaboratory gave Team Lynx an opportunity to validate their market at a free kiosk last summer that became a popular attraction for young children who played while their parents shopped.

Lynx is a subsidiary of Defy Matter, a limited liability company launched last year by Kinsel, Knowles and Jones with the goal of commercializing patented technologies. Defy Matter currently owns two patented products: Lynx and MultiRag.

“Through our IP commercialization company, Defy Matter, we will continue to help inventors bring products to market,” added  Knowles. “We have several projects in the pipeline, and we look forward to evaluating more in the near future.”

CNVE Executive Director Richard Lester and recently retired Academy Sports + Outdoors CEO Rodney Faldyn facilitated introductions to Swimways for Lynx Toys. Faldyn was a frequent speaker last year in Lester’s graduate management classes and at Startup Living Learning Community’s MGMT 289 class for freshmen.

“I am excited to see the innovation and future success of the Lynx Toys brand come to market as they enter into a licensing agreement with Swimways,” Faldyn said. “The agreement will allow access to a vast array of retail to get the product to market quicker and into the hands of families for some family fun.”

lynx box

Professor Don Lewis, assistant director of Startup Aggieland, has had a strong influence on the young founders through his business advice and by making sure they participated in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that supported them by representing the business accelerator and CNVE. He provided them with speaking opportunities on campus, as well as at meetings of the Federation of A&M Mothers Clubs and A&M Clubs statewide. Professor Lewis allowed the team to remain in their office after graduation.

Retired Supercuts Southwest CFO T. Getterman has served as an advisory CPA for Lynx and has been instrumental in getting the team’s financial reporting in order. Lynx Toys’ Lead Mentor is Startup Aggieland Marketing Coordinator Shelly Brenckman, who brought the team together in summer 2014 and arranged funding for their company’s patents, travel and EIR appointments. The team also was coached in 2014-2015 by former mentors Burl Haigwood and Justin Burgdorff; and assisted by Kelli Hollinger, executive director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School.

Hollinger and David Wesson, founding chairman of Aggie Angel Network, made it possible for the three Lynx founders to travel to and participate in the National Retail Federation Conference in Seattle. Financial investments from Russell White, Harlie Frost and David Heath greatly contributed to the team’s success.

“We’ve been in the loop and trying to provide a little guidance and assistance all along. The guys did a great job and they learned a lot,” said White. “Harlie and I are glad the experiment was so successful for A&M, provided such a wonderful opportunity for the students and gave Startup Aggieland a great story to tell its’ stakeholders and prospective students.”

Other important advisers include Chris Westfall, official pitch coach for Startup Aggieland; and Startup Aggieland Associate Chris Valletta, an Aggie 100 member and Cofounder of Mission Athlete Care. Aggie IP Attorney Kevin Klughart with the Law Firm of Carstens & Cahoon and Bryan Bulte of Seed Sumo.

In all, 15 of Startup Aggieland’s mentors worked with Defy Matter over the course of two years to help the cofounders with their two patented products – Lynx Toys and MultiRag. Lynx Toys will be sold in 214 Academy Sports + Outdoors stores by summer 2017. MultiRag is ready to go into production.

“This has set us on a path we are very excited about,” noted Madison Jones, inventor of MultiRag and several other inventions that Defy Matter is working on from their office in Startup Aggieland. “None of this would be possible without the advice and encouragement we received through Startup Aggieland.”

Categories: Mays Business, News, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M

Mays Business School hosted an inaugural visit to Texas A&M University of distinguished faculty from The University of Havana in Cuba. After meeting with Mays Professor Don Lewis, assistant director of Startup Aggieland, and with Professor Richard Lester, executive director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), through Mays’ Center for International Business Studies, faculty were invited by CNVE to visit Lewis and Lester this summer in Aggieland. Lewis and Lester met the faculty in January while leading Texas A&M’s first study abroad trip to Cuba.
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Three professors from The University of Havana accepted CNVE’s offer, including Anicia Garcia Alvarez, Jose Luis Perello Cabrera and Humberto Blanco Rosales. Alvarez and Rosales are expert economists, while Cabrera is a tourism expert. The cadre arrived in Texas from New York on May 31, but not without challenges as airplanes were late or diverted to different airports and required last-minute, late pickups.

During their first day on campus, Lewis introduced his Cuban guests to representatives with the Association of Former Students (AFS). The AFS provided a tour of campus, including visits to the George Bush Presidential Library, Kyle Field and Memorial Student Center. On the second day, Cuban faculty toured Mays Business School with management faculty members, including Department Head Wendy Boswell and Professor David Flint. Katy Lane with the Center for International Business Studies also joined the tour.

“This inaugural visit by faculty from The University of Havana is the start of a new global collaboration for Texas A&M with a country that has been closed off to Americans for a half-century,” explained Lewis. “The opportunities for both universities are endless and exciting. We look forward to sharing research and innovations with the Cubans and helping each other through joint initiatives.”

Former AFS Chair Jorge Bermudez, a retired Citibank executive and Cuban-born immigrant to the U.S., hosted Cuban faculty on a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank. Lewis’ students from his 2015 study abroad class and Startup Aggieland joined the visiting faculty membesr in Downtown Historic Bryan for the monthly “First Friday” event. AFS President-Elect Phil Miner, founder of The Miner Corporation in San Antonio, hosted the visitors on a tour of NASA and the Port of Houston – then attended an Astros game at Reliant Stadium.

The Cuban faculty members toured the Engineering Innovation Center on June 6 with engineering faculty Magda Lagoudas and Rodney Boehm, then enjoyed dinner at Christopher’s. The next day, they visited the College of Architecture, where Dean Jorge Vanegas hosted a tour of the Live Lab and Viz Arts programs, in addition to the BIM Cave. Faculty later visited the Corps of Cadets Museum and Miramont Country Club, then celebrated new faculty friends from architecture and Mays at Sodolack’s Original Steakhouse, where Rosales was surprised with a “Texas-sized” steak that hung over the serving platter.

On June 9, the day before the end of their 11-day visit, visiting faculty delivered presentations on tourism and the economy in Cuba for a classroom of Texas A&M University faculty, students and former students after a breakfast at Startup Aggieland. Upon their return to Cuba, Cabrera wrote Lewis a note:
“Dear Don. I want to thank all (for) their attention and efforts on the days we were there, where we learned the ways to achieve greater development. The days we stayed, were exploited to the maximum, at least for me. Convey my thanks to all (who) shared their time and chores: Shelly, Abby, Phil, Richard; and others. It is painful for us not to correspond with the same attention. At least for now…see you soon!”

Lewis will return to Havana in January 2017 with another group of students from Texas A&M for a two-week immersion experience in Cuban culture and entrepreneurship. Students will stay mostly in hostels. For more information about the trip, email Lewis at dlewis@mays.tamu.edu or go to http://mays.tamu.edu/center-for-international-business-studies/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2015/03/Cuba-Winter-2017.pdf

Read a past student participant’s blog here: mays.tamu.edu/cuba/

Categories: Centers, Departments, Faculty, Mays Business, News, Programs, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M