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Texas A&M University launches entrepreneurial program for petroleum industry

Bahr and Graham photo

Anthony Bahr (left) and Jay Graham funded the Petroleum Ventures Program.

The business and engineering colleges at Texas A&M University are partnering in a new entrepreneurial training program to better prepare undergraduate and graduate students interested in the oil and gas industry.

The Petroleum Ventures Program (PVP) is a certificate program funded by a $12 million gift by Anthony Bahr and Jay Graham, business partners in Houston-based WildHorse Resources Management Company. Both Bahr and Graham graduated from Texas A&M with petroleum engineering degrees: Bahr in 1991 and Graham in 1992. The partners’ gift stemmed from Bahr and Graham’s personal experience in identifying the industry importance and student benefit of providing business experience to engineering students, as well as the market value of graduating finance students with a specialization in the oil and gas industry.

“Thanks to the generosity and foresight of Mr. Bahr and Mr. Graham, Texas A&M has a magnificent opportunity to have an even more prominent role in providing intellectually transformative learning experiences that are so vital to our state and nation,” said Texas A&M University President Michael Young. “The entrepreneurial emphasis for the program reflects their expectation of excellence and their success – success to which they attribute in part to what they learned here at Texas A&M. It is very fitting that this bold new venture takes advantage of the strengths of both our engineering and business programs, offering an interdisciplinary experience that will well serve our students, presenting them with a competitive advantage among their peers as they enter the workforce.”

This academic collaboration between Mays Business School and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering will foster teamwork among petroleum engineering students and students in the Department of Finance at Mays. Students will take courses and work together on projects, and a Petroleum Business Impact Lab will be established.

The first classes for the PVP Certificate Program will be offered in Fall 2016. …Read more

Mays Business School at Texas A&M University won second place at a Seeking Alpha national stock pitch competition in New York City in March, coming out ahead of teams from Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown and the University of Texas at Austin.

Seeking Alpha Stock Pitch-2Along with teams from 14 other universities, Mays Business School finance majors Joshua Kim ’17, Blake Shirk ’16 and Brandon Shirk ’16 and graduate student Thomason Waldo ’14 submitted their stock pitch to a panel of expert judges, which included editors from Seeking Alpha, Goldman Sachs equity research analysts and hedge funds professionals.

The Texas A&M students’ pitch analyzed Stamps.com, Inc. “The judges and contestants were openly impressed with the quality of presentations from the Texas teams,” Kim said.

Seeking Alpha is a crowd-sourced website for financial markets and also partners with universities around the world to bring stock pitch competitions to college campuses.

Categories: Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Good Bull Advertising, an agency team of 20 students from the advanced advertising class at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, took 3rd place in the district-level National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC).

Hosted by the American Advertising Association, NSAC provides more than 2,000 college students with real-world experience in advertising campaign development. Each team developed a professional-quality plan book and pitched their ideas to a panel of advertising experts.

The Mays team, led by marketing Professor Lisa Troy, began working with their corporate client Snapple last summer. The students then spent months performing in-depth research to gain insights on their client. This semester, they focused on building a fully integrated marketing campaign and perfecting their presentation.

IMG_3486Good Bull Advertising’s campaign revolved around the slogan, “Stuff Happens.” “Digital and print ads were created to communicate the campaign’s message and support various promotional tactics that included “a ‘Start Stuff’ New Year’s Resolution activity, ‘Make Stuff Happen’ recycling events and ‘Celebrate Stuff’ promotions recognizing Snapple’s 45th anniversary,” explained Troy. They also created a website, retail display and six-pack carrier, and designed a socil media campaign for the product.

The team placed 3rd at the competition in Lubbock April 15-17.

Marketing major and account executive for the team Julia Gaas commented that the group’s professionalism and business acumen gave them a unique advantage. “Our campaign was grounded by numbers, business strategy and research more so than most other campaigns,” she said.

The team members are:

Ashlyn Beckmann
Holly Boyles
Cassidy Caddenhead
Julia Gaas
Marissita Garcia
Michelle Griffith
Pablo Haddad
Victoria Henson
Kati Hewitt
Bailey Lee

Oren Mandelbaum
Angela Mats
Megan Milstead
Alyssa Osterhaut
Angelica Perez
Leah Rheinlander
Zachary Rother
Catherine Scalf
Dejanay Tippens

Categories: Marketing, Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M

At the first “Teaching Courageously” event, hosted by Mays Business School’s Academy of Learning and Teaching (MALT), eight faculty members from Mays Business School spent 20 minutes experimenting with new methods of teaching.

Held over three sessions throughout the day, the event drew 60 people from around Mays to participate and give feedback to the courageous faculty members. “I believe that ‘Teaching Courageously’ reflects the spirit of MALT, which is to enhance the culture of teaching and learning and provide a space for each of us to experiment with new ideas,” said MALT Coordinator Kris Muir, a lecturer at Mays.

IMG_5731With the expressiveness of a Ted Talk speaker, accounting Professor Karen Farmer dove right into the day’s assignment for her simulated class of three students. She drew a diagram on the makeshift “whiteboard” – a sheet of paper on the wall behind her – and gave her “students” a framework for reading an article she gave them: consider the “Good, the Bad, and the Bottom Line.” The students read silently to themselves, making notes on their own diagrams. Then Farmer invited to students to discuss their personal takeaways.

“This is a variation of an assignment I’ve done before in class,” Farmer said, who has been teaching ACCT 329 “Cost Management and Analysis” for eight years at Mays. Before, she had simply read the article aloud for the class, she said, like telling a story. But she wanted to find a way to better engage her classroom of 160 students. “Storytelling is an effective way to get students’ attention. With a discussion, I can still use storytelling, but in a large setting without having to be the primary storyteller. This way, students can tell their own stories.”


As they enjoyed refreshments, the faculty members received feedback from their simulated classrooms, comprised of an assortment of faculty, staff and students. Accounting major Corey Smith ’17, a student in Farmer’s 329 course, participated in the discussion and said he liked the new way Farmer presented the material.“Changing the style of the class is helpful to get students to ‘check in’ to the learning process,” Smith said.

“My job is one part teaching material and nine parts getting students to care,” Farmer said. “Some students think this kind of activity isn’t relevant to the class. But this is a way that I can add value to my course. Material is much more than tests. In fact, my subject – cost management and analysis – has a lot of real world applicability.

Management major Sharrissa Stratton ’17 said she had no idea what to expect when attending the Teaching Courageously event. “But as I left I felt refreshed as I was reminded of why I am here at Mays Business School. I was reminded that though exams are very important, learning from the professors’ stories, passions and ideas could be one of the greatest connections between a student and professor.”

For Farmer, enriching her curriculum with “Teaching Courageously” is all a part of her larger mission as an educator. “Why are we teachers? Because we want to give back,” she said. “We’re trying to mold the business leaders and managers of tomorrow.”

2016-04-12 13.11.31

Categories: Faculty, Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M

Forty students from across the Texas A&M University campus convened at Startup Aggieland April 15 to experience a high-impact, fast-paced entrepreneurial experience over a 72-hour period.

3 Day Startup, hosted by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, connects student entrepreneurs with mentors. It challenges students to work in diverse teams of students from various majors, classifications and backgrounds. Budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas on Friday, hoping to be chosen by the other participants as one of six teams to participate in the weekend event. From the 22 pitches, six were chosen for the three-day adventure.

26432293002_5460a3e264_zThe teams formed on that Friday afternoon to work on business models, customer validation and prototypes of their infant businesses. On that Friday evening they researched their idea through the night, hoping to understand their concept and their customers. With the Lean Canvas business model as their guide, they focused on the problems, solutions, key metrics and competitive advantages.

Team leader Austin Thompson ’19 said he found the Lean Canvas model helpful in developing the idea. I felt as though it really made us not only evaluate the design, but go into depth as to why our idea was going to be successful.”

To help with student business ideas, mentors from the local community came to give feedback, input and pivot points to teams. Mentors included business professionals, attorneys specializing in intellectual property and Texas A&M faculty and staff. 3DS team leader Hannah Cartwright ’19, said, “I learned so much from the mentors at 3DS. They were all so willing to help and guide us in the right direction. I value all of their advice so much.”

On Saturday the teams went out into the field to discover what potential customers thought about their idea. Thompson led a startup that ventured to create the best coffee maker on the market. He says, “At first I felt very awkward walking up to random people and asking them about their coffee-drinking habits. Most people were very happy to help, however, which made me more comfortable with the process.”

Overall, 3 Day Startup gets students to be creative, start something new and dig deep into their entrepreneurial roots.

The weekend culminated in a showcase of the six startups, in which they each gave a 15-minute pitch to six pro panelists. The pro panelists consisted of businessmen, entrepreneurs and startup enthusiast from the surrounding area. Startups ranged from integrated home audio solutions to a healthy sweets company offering cookie dough balls for consumers with a desire to eat a healthy, all-natural sweet snack.

There isn’t any monetary prize involved. The winners have earned the opportunity to work with mentors in the business world to further advance their ideas.


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

As Lemonade Day approaches, members of Startup Aggieland are embracing the opportunity to give back to the youth of this community and the mission of Lemonade Day. Students in Startup Aggieland – Texas A&M University’s business accelerator, managed by Assistant Director Don Lewis with the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Mays Business School – are helping local children prepare for the seventh annual Lemonade Day in Bryan-College Station, set for May 1.
In 2007, Lemonade Day founder Michael Hothouse had a vision to empower youth and teach them about business in a way they could understand – a lemonade stand. While running their own stand, the foremost objective of this program is to demonstrate the value of setting goals, developing a plan and giving back to the community as young entrepreneurs.
Lemonade 2-2As a part of the BrightMinds Foundation in College Station, this event has had success in bringing the community together and spreading the mission and spirit of Lemonade Day. For every child who participates in the event, there is a mentor to support and encourage them through their experience.
Freshman mentors from the Startup Living Learning Community (Startup LLC) were given the opportunity to assist the Boys & Girls Club during Lemonade Day. These students live on campus in the “Dormcubator” and explore entrepreneurship in a Management 289 course taught by Mays Lecturer Shelly Brenckman, who is marketing coordinator at Startup Aggieland. Brenckman’s students act as a support team to encourage grade-school children during Lemonade Day and spend time teaching them about entrepreneurship leading up to the event.
Startup member Clare Fuller, a freshman, commented on the experience thus far and said, “I’m very excited to work with the children and help them understand the value of becoming an entrepreneur.”
Lemonade Day is inspiring not only the minds of youth, but also everyone who is involved with it. Startup freshman Maris Moreno said that, “Lemonade Day will be one of the most rewarding experiences for me through Startup Aggieland thus far. Just working with the kids showed me how much potential they have and how much we can really push them to achieve their entrepreneurial goals.”
Students from Startup Aggieland and Entrepreneurship Society, both powered by CNVE, began their four-part mentorship training in March in preparation for the big day on May 1.“The group we are working with is known as the ‘torch club,’ and it consists of a select group of students that have exhibited leadership, good behavior and outstanding potential,” Moreno said.
Lemonade Day 2016 2According to Startup Aggieland student worker Tara Schickedanz, one of the students involved in the mentoring program, “Volunteering for Lemonade Day taught me a lot about how our society is striving to make our world a better place. It encourages children to be entrepreneurs and I was given the chance to help make that happen.”
In addition to the students’ involvement with the Boys & Girls Club mentor program, Startup Aggieland has also invested their efforts throughout multiple events leading up to Lemonade Day. One of these events includes backpacking stuffing. For every child who registers, there has been a volunteer who puts together a backpack full of resources for the big day. These resources included a 14-lesson Entrepreneur Workbook that teaches the kids all about creating budgets, customer relations, repaying investors and more.

  • By Rachel Bush ’17

Categories: Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

What started as a celebration at the Texas A&M Foundation to express appreciation to Phillips 66 for a $500,000 donation soon transitioned to a tribute to the company’s generosity and ties to Texas A&M University.

Brian Bishop, the development officer for Mays Business School, surprised Judith Vincent, general auditor of Phillips 66, during the luncheon, saying he wanted to express the college’s appreciation for all the company has done. He gave her a plaque designating Phillips 66 as Mays’ 2016 Corporate Sponsor of the Year.

Phillips 66 awardVincent has been instrumental in coordinating the company’s gifts to Mays, which have helped fund annual trips to Africa for several Regents’ Scholars.“Your willingness to listen and engage with our students made the recognition for P66 very easy,” Bishop said.“We look forward to working with you and your team for many years to come.”

The clear glass plaque reads: “Mays Business School is proud of the corporate partners who invest in the academic and professional development of our students. These generous contributions allow us to accomplish our mission of creating knowledge and develop ethical leaders for a global society.”

Vincent said she was touched by the unexpected award. “We are extremely proud of what we have accomplished together in a short four years,” she said. “Our partnership works because of aligned values and shared objectives, but our partnership thrives because of the amazing people at Mays and the Foundation that I get to work with. The administrators and faculty I work with are committed, passionate and care deeply about the success of the students. I could not ask for better collaborators. Again, we deeply appreciate the recognition.”

Before the luncheon, Sonya Reed, senior vice president of human resources at Phillips 66, spoke of how impressed she has been with Texas A&M since joining Phillips 66 and moving to Houston 10 months ago. “A&M is a special place – and one that people are clearly passionate about,” she said, noting how her observations fuel her fascination with the culture of organizations – their inner life, character and behavior. “In my experience, you can quickly figure out what a particular culture encourages or discourages, and whether there’s a common sense of purpose. We know that culture determines the level of trust in an organization as well as its overall health and vitality. From colleagues I’ve learned that A&M has a strong, distinct, values-based culture.”

Reed said the partnership between Texas A&M and Phillips 66 has been far-reaching. “Currently, 271 Aggie graduates are working in a range of engineering and business positions at our company – including the CEO,” she said. “And Texas A&M is the company’s top resource for interns and new hires for our university recruitment efforts.”

One of those partnerships is the SHIELD Scholars Program, which currently has 24 Aggies enrolled. It awards $3,500 scholarships to full-time students who are recruited by Phillips 66 and who demonstrate leadership abilities, involvement in student and professional organizations and an interest in a career in the energy industry. In addition to financial support, SHIELD Scholars participate in enrichment activities such as career development, leadership seminars, lecture series, community service and visits to Phillips 66 locations. Texas A&M is one of 10 universities participating in the program.

Partners in discovering the world

In another partnership, Phillips 66 helps Mays send 15 college sophomores each summer on a two-week expedition in Africa. The students are all Regents’ Scholars – first-generation college students. “For a few of them, this trip was their first time on an airplane and outside the U.S.,” she said. “For many, it was their first opportunity to explore a new part of the world and learn about its many cultures. And for all of them, it presented challenges that advanced their maturity. The bond between A&M and Phillips 66 keeps getting stronger.”

Tyson Voelkel, president of the Texas A&M Foundation, said he has been impressed by the company’s focus on values and its generosity with Texas A&M students. “I don’t call it a gift, I call it an investment in our university and our students.”

Henry Musoma, a lecturer at Mays, accompanies the students to his homeland of Africa each summer. He described a correlation between Phillips 66’s dedication to the students and his favorite quote: “You can count the number of seeds in an orange, but you can never count the number of oranges in a seed.”

“Their company culture is grand in that it is sowing in a universal field,” he said. “Phillips 66 sponsors our programs because it is the right thing to do. Their sponsorship is matched by their active participation in our programs. They are fueling a renewed sense of purpose, passion and power in our student population.”

_P66 Judith

Judith Vincent

Categories: Donors Corner, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

TriFusion devices teamTexas A&M Today

A student team from Texas A&M University won the grand prize at the Rice Business Plan Competition for their startup company TriFusion Devices, which has developed customizable, 3D-printed prosthetic leg devices. The Aggies collected four checks totaling nearly $400,000; it was the first time a Texas A&M team has ever won the competition.

TriFusion Devices consists of two Ph.D. engineering students, co-founders Blake Teipel and Brandon Sweeney, and Mays Business School MD/MBA student Britton Eastburn, who later joined the team.

The Rice Business Plan Competition is the largest student-centered business plan competition in the world; over $1.69 million in prize money was awarded to 42 companies this past weekend. The companies represented schools from across the U.S. and around the globe, including the University of Michigan and Carnegie Mellon University, which took second and third place, respectively.

The TriFusion team was actively involved in many of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) endeavors, including the Raymond Ideas Challenge having won twice, Silicon Valley Bank Trek, NSF Innovation Corps and significant mentoring through Professor Don Lewis and his team at Startup Aggieland.

“TriFusion is a great example of a team that leveraged the significant resources in the Texas A&M University entrepreneurship ecosystem. All of our team could not be prouder of what this great group of talented Aggie students has accomplished,” says Richard Lester, executive director of the CNVE.

The list of competitors is at http://www.ricebusinessplancompetition.com/42-competitors.html

Categories: Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

26306682772_a2af879357_kThe Mays Leadership Initiative Conference (LINC) started out as one student’s idea. Andres Bustos ’15 wanted to see Mays Business School welcome admitted high school seniors into the Mays family for an immersive weekend experience, before they ever stepped foot on campus for a New Student Conference or to move to Aggieland.

Bustos graduated last year and now works at Shell, but he attended the second annual conference and was honored for his contribution to Mays by having the event renamed BLINC – the Bustos Leadership Initiative Conference.

LINC brings to College Station students who are leaders in their high schools and communities—students who may or may not have decided to call Mays home for the next four years—to introduce them to much of what Mays and Texas A&M University have to offer. From interacting with leading faculty members to exploring our top-notch facilities and resources to engaging in hands-on learning opportunities, students experience Mays Business School’s seven core competencies in a unique environment that shows why Mays Business School students truly love their undergraduate experience and why top career recruiters from across the globe come to Mays to continually find the next generation of business leaders.
On April 8, Mays sent charter busses to Dallas, Houston and San Antonio to pick up 82 admitted students from across the state. LINC “delegates,” most of whom are first-generation college students, are able to attend the conference at no cost. The students brought sleeping bags and stayed in the dorm rooms of Texas A&M students for two nights.

The conference is organized and run by a group of student volunteers led by Eduardo Zaldivar and Prerna Kamnani. Mays staff members Corey Stone and Jeana Simpson assisted them. The students heard from faculty members Ben Welch and Mike Schaub and current students, and had the opportunity to participate in a case study activity facilitated by David Flint. In addition to learning about leadership from the speakers, they were treated to fun activities at Kyle Field and the Recreation Center.

The next conference will be in Spring 2017.

Categories: Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

With a legacy dating back 163 years, the King Ranch enjoys a reputation forged through the vision, hard work and loyalty of generations of family members and employees. Bill Gardiner ’76 believes maintaining the company’s iconic brand is critical to the ranch’s continued success in the face of economic and environmental challenges.

In a presentation to Mays Business School’s Business Honors students, the senior vice president and chief financial officer of King Ranch, Inc. said the company brand is built on the King family’s legacy and the ranch’s reputation and livestock as well as its famous logo. Gardiner, who received an accounting degree from Texas A&M University, said the company’s brand promise is to “share the unique history of uncompromising quality and integrity.”

However, Gardiner said care needs to be taken to maintain and extend a company’s brand. Gardiner, who has been with the company since 1996, noted that many individuals and businesses would like to use the King Ranch’s well-known logo on their products. “People want to be associated with something that is real and authentic,” he said, pointing to the company’s well-known collaboration with Ford Motor Company on the F150 King Ranch truck. However, King Ranch’s leaders also regularly protect their brand through taking appropriate legal action to stop unauthorized users.

A strong brand is not a given; a company also can easily destroy or ignore its brand, which causes the brand to drift away. Gardiner pointed to Buick, which lost its footing as one of the nation’s premier automobile companies after its heyday in the 1960s. He noted that the company is now spending millions of dollars to create advertising to revamp its brand to appeal to younger generations.

Understanding the value of sharing the King Ranch’s brand with new generations, the company embraces the opportunities inherent in social media. Two decades ago the King Ranch was primarily known by white men over the age of 50; now the company is active on Facebook, YouTube and Google+. “Social media has been a godsend to us,” Gardiner said, adding that a King Ranch video about its quarter horse business accumulated 150,000 views in eight hours after being uploaded to Facebook. The Houston native also noted that a picture of two bobcats snapped during a King Ranch wildlife tour had a strong reception on Facebook.

A private company with seven divisions

Now in its seventh generation of owners, the King Ranch, Inc. is a private company that is run like a public company with the exception of SEC filings. Gardiner describes King Ranch as “a land-based agriculture production resource management company.” The ranch was founded on the strength of its cattle business, but diversified into oil production in the mid-1930s. It then expanded into farming, followed by citrus farming in 1993. Its primary niche is livestock and crops. The company has seven core business areas: ranching and wildlife, Texas farming, Florida farming, citrus, retail, minerals and corporate activities, and owns properties in Texas and Florida. The diversity helps the company remain viable during off years caused by drought or other agricultural issues.

Business Honors major Frances Andrews ’19 said Gardiner’s most impactful statements came toward the end of his talk. “He told us that confidence is one of the most important qualities to have as you enter the business world. He said natural confidence is rare and people will want to work with you if you have this.”

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School placed 7th in the 2016 College Choice rankings.

Factors considered were cost of attendance (annual tuition), where each school falls in existing ra2016-Rankings-of-Master-of-Business-Administration-Programsnking data and each program’s reputation and track record in the business community. The data was gathered from U.S. News & World Report, individual school websites, The Economist, Bloomberg Business,PayScale.com and other public sources.

Find the full rankings here: http://www.collegechoice.net/rankings/top-mba-programs-2016/


Categories: Mays Business, News, Rankings, Texas A&M, Uncategorized