Lead Story

The hybrid at the helm

Stepping up to Mays’ future

deanjones

Eli Jones calls himself an “accidental dean”–and says most deans are “accidental” because academics rarely join the profession to be administrators. Academics are teachers, researchers and authors. One typically takes an administrative role as selfless service–a way to serve those he or she leads. As Aggies know, selfless service is one of the Aggie Core Values.

Early in Jones’ career, he finished an undergraduate degree in journalism at Texas A&M and pursued broadcast journalism. Later, he and his family returned to Texas A&M for a two-year MBA degree and Jones became a sales executive and sales manager at three Fortune 500 companies. Still, becoming a dean of a business school had not entered his mind.

However, there was a time in his corporate life when he thought back to something a Mays professor said to him–pursue a Ph.D. and become a professor. Back to school Jones and his family went, and four years later, Jones began his academic career–the path that would eventually lead to the dean’s office at Mays Business School.

Through a series of intentional decisions that led him back and forth between the corporate and academic worlds in an effort to continuously enhance his knowledge, skills and capabilities, the self-professed “hybrid” finds himself today at the helm of a leading business school–one that is on an upward trajectory and positioned to break into the ranks of the nation’s elite institutions.

“One might view Mays Business School as a highly talented, well-coached football team that has marched down the field to our opponents’ 20-yard line,” Jones said. “We have gotten where we are today through hard work, smart decisions and strong leadership. And we are poised to get into the end zone…to score a touchdown. But at this point in the game, our competitors have tightened their chinstraps, the playing field has shifted a little bit and the winds of change are swirling. In order to make that last push over the goal line, we will have to leverage the considerable strengths we’ve built to date. Just as important, we need to reimagine the roles that engagement, innovation and impact will play in the future of business education.”

The changing landscape of business and business education

Jones takes the helm of Mays at a time when companies are facing formidable challenges, such as technological advances, digitization of data, increasingly diverse and dispersed workforces and changing employee attitudes and expectations.

Business schools are pipelines to the corporate and entrepreneurial world – suppliers of new knowledge, young talent, and retooled managers and leaders. Thus, business schools are uniquely positioned to help businesses successfully navigate today’s turbulent environment.

Engagement, innovation and impact

While his professional background working in the corporate and academic sectors gives Jones unique perspectives and experiences to lead Mays at this time, he recognizes “At the end of the day, we need to actively engage our stakeholders; continuously innovate our research and programmatic efforts, and positively impact the students, companies and business and academic communities we serve,” he said.

Elevating engagement

Jones recognizes that the school cannot redefine innovation and impact in a vacuum, solely on its own terms. Rather, it must solicit the input of various constituencies–internal and external–to understand what innovation and impact mean to them. So this summer, he embarked on a “listening tour” traveling across Texas to engage key external stakeholder groups and give them a voice in the school’s larger strategic planning and visioning efforts.

The listening tour has included town hall meetings with students, faculty and staff as well as networking events with former students. In addition, Jones is conducting a series of small-group gatherings and one-on-one meetings with academic department heads, donors, corporate partners and recruiters, business clients and development council members. In each of these interactions, he is asking for opinions on a range of topics and questions, including “When you think of Mays Business School, what is the first thing that comes to mind?” as well as “Do we have the right mission, and how can we leverage the school’s mission to continuously improve as measured by innovation and impact?”

In January, Jones and his leadership team will begin discussing the stakeholder input and integrating key insights into the school’s formal strategic planning initiative. To help guide this overall effort, he has created a new position—interim director of innovation and strategic planning—and has asked Mary Lea McAnally to serve in this role.

Already, Jones has gleaned insights in some of the early meetings with stakeholders that will help shape the school’s plan going forward.

“We are writing the next chapter in the remarkable story that is Mays Business School, and I believe our opportunity to join the ranks of the nation’s truly elite business schools is now,” he said. “We will build on the momentum here, leverage the experience I gained from my two previous deanships, combine that knowledge with that of the amazing team of faculty and staff at Mays Business School, and generate the support needed to build to world-class status by fully engaging our Aggie network.

Increasing innovation

In addition to elevating stakeholder engagement, Mays’ world-class faculty is being enhanced by the addition of new faculty. This summer, Mays welcomed 11 new professors with degrees from other top institutions, including Duke, INSEAD, Stanford, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

“This group of scholars provides just the right influx of fresh perspectives, insights and experiences we need to complement our existing faculty,” Jones said. “They include seasoned professors, those in the middle of their careers and newly minted Ph.D.s who are just starting out on one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding careers imaginable. And they will pursue diverse research interests ranging from sales leadership and behavioral economics to corporate governance and information asymmetry.”

One of the new additions is Assistant Professor of Marketing Cexun “Jeffery” Cai, who comes to Mays from Wharton. Of his decision to join Texas A&M, Cai said, “No other place promises the combination of dynamic, productive and helpful colleagues; engaged students who are eager to push their limits; a warm and friendly environment made up of people with a deep sense of values; and the opportunity to contribute to a highly reputable institution that is on the frontier of knowledge discovery and dissemination.”

In addition to recruiting new faculty, Mays plans to develop innovative educational programs to meet the evolving needs of today’s students, corporate partners and the market. The new Master of Science in Business (MS Business) is one example of the kind of innovation to which Jones is referring. Scheduled to welcome its first class of students fall 2016, the MS Business is an intensive 11-month program designed to help non-business majors compete more effectively for jobs in the global marketplace. The program will provide students with core business knowledge, solid quantitative skills and a basic understanding of best practices in leadership—with emphases on experiential learning, teamwork and career preparation. Students will apply to the MS Business during their senior year, and the program will enable undergraduate students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. No prior job experience is required for admission.

Jon Jasperson, academic director for the program, says it will showcase some of the latest innovations in higher education. “We plan to build a challenging, innovative learning environment for the MS Business students that incorporates education best practices into the classroom,” he said. “The concentrated, block delivery schedule for the courses combined with role play, simulations and flipped classroom active learning techniques will provide better engagement for students in the learning process.”

High-impact learning

For many years, Mays faculty have challenged students to apply what they learn in class to solve problems in a variety of real-world contexts—from consulting engagements and capstone projects to internships and study-abroad programs. The school’s undergraduate Business Honors and Business Fellows programs along with the Freshman Business Initiative offer a range of active learning experiences, including visits to corporations, guest speakers on campus, community service activities, and regional and national trips. Mays’ Full-Time, Professional and Executive MBA programs all feature a consulting or capstone project in which students work with actual businesses as well as some kind of travel-study component—either overseas or through the school’s Washington, D.C. Campus.

Case competitions and other business skills challenges have provided another fertile field of high-impact leaning for students. By testing business knowledge and problem-solving skills in a range of areas—from tax, entrepreneurship and ethics to fashion and retail—these activities force teams of students to merge theory and practice while dealing with the same kind of time, resource, and knowledge constraints they will face on the job after they graduate.

In recent years, Mays departments, centers and programs have expanded the number of competitions they host. Newer events such as the Wall Street Journal Challenge for undergraduates, hosted this year by Mays, have joined longstanding activities such as the MBA Venture Challenge and the Ideas Challenge, which is open to all students. Students are also participating in more external competitions, ranging from National Retail Federation Student Challenge to Deloitte’s FanTAXtic tax case competition and the National MBA Case Competition in Ethical Leadership. In 2013, a team of Mays Full-Time MBA students (composed of Janette Barnard, Matt Johnson, Lloyd McGuire and Robyn Peters) won the case competition in ethical leadership. Peters remarked on the impact of the learning experience: “Given less than 24 hours to dissect the case, craft recommendations and develop a flawless presentation, this competition was a test of critical problem solving and prioritization. Experiences like this are what really prepare us for our roles as future professional leaders.”

Mays will continue to participate in these and other experiential learning activities to ensure that its students are ready and able to put their hard-earned knowledge into action.

Impact on business

Corporate partnerships play a vital role in many of the high-impact learning experiences enjoyed by Mays’ students, as organizations help underwrite competitions or host students for consulting engagements or capstone projects. By forging new partnerships with industry, as well as deepening relationships with existing partners, Jones is confident the school can also boost its impact on business.

Mays’ Professional Selling Initiative (PSI) is one example of a new program that provides a platform for creating innovative, mutually beneficial partnerships with industry. Its existence, in fact, is born out of the school’s ongoing dialogue with corporate partners and a careful assessment of marketplace forces and trends. In recent years, the Department of Marketing has witnessed significantly increased demand from firms looking to hire graduates for professional selling jobs—in both consumer and business-to-business settings. After examining sales initiatives at other universities across the nation and talking to a number of the school’s current recruiters, the department launched the Professional Selling Initiative to meet a range of student, faculty and employer needs.

The initiative will provide enhanced educational offerings for students, including a Certificate in Sales along with a Professional Selling and Sales Management career track. Faculty will enjoy increased research opportunities along with more role-play rooms supported by state-of-the-art technology. Corporate partners will gain greater access to Mays’ top sales students through a variety of recruiting activities, social events and guest-speaking opportunities.

Perhaps most importantly, through more frequent interaction and closer collaboration, Mays and its corporate partners will be able to explore new opportunities to develop custom programming and conduct applied research that is tailored to the unique business needs and objectives of different partners.

Looking ahead

As Jones looks to the future, he is humbled by the opportunity to lead his alma mater into a new era, mindful of the challenges that lie ahead and exhilarated by the opportunities they present.

“Moving into the ranks of the very best business schools is going to require everyone at Mays to step up their game,” he said. “We have to create new knowledge that is relevant and useful to companies. We need to offer unique education programs that prepare students to make valuable contributions to their employers from day one on the job. And we must develop leaders who are as focused on serving their organizations and transforming their communities as they are on maximizing shareholder wealth. There is no more important or rewarding work than this.”

Mays Business School MBA program has been recognized as a “Top Tier” MBA in North America by CEO Magazine’s Global Ranking 2016, published by the International Graduate Forum (IGF).  Mays Executive MBA program has been listed under the Tier One ranking for Executive MBA programs globally. The CEO Magazine Global MBA Rankings are compiled based upon key performance indicators considered to be of interest and value to potential students: the learning environment, class sizes, tuition fees, faculty, delivery methods, international diversity, gender make-up and more. The objective of the rankings is to identify schools that marry exceptional quality with great return on investment.

The Mays MBA program was previously recognized by Bloomberg Businessweek, US News and World Report, and Forbes as a Top 10 public program in the country.    The Executive MBA has been consistently recognized by Financial Times among the very best EMBA programs nationally and globally.

The complete CEO Magazine Global MBA Rankings 2016 can be viewed in the latest edition of CEO Magazine or online on the magazine’s new website http://goo.gl/l0LM4I

The Mays Executive MBA is offered at CityCentre in Houston, while the Full-Time MBA is based on the main Texas A&M University campus in College Station.

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

A group of MBA students in the Texas A&M Mays Business School got some realistic training in crisis leadership and team-building during a “Leadership Challenge” exercise at Disaster City® on Jan. 22.

MaysMBAjan2016_249

“This is useful training,” said Shannon Deer, director of the Full-Time MBA Program at Mays. “It gives the students the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and be challenged outside of an academic setting.”

The exercise is designed to teach leadership and communication skills, crisis management and teamwork.

In the aftermath of a mock tornado, the students must work together in teams to search for and rescue “victims” from a collapsed building, a train derailment and more. They also face other challenges, such as moving a large piece of concrete from a roadway, which can only be accomplished by working as a team.

“Every station has a new team leader, so the students have to learn to follow as well as lead,” said management Associate Professor Michael Wesson. “It’s a great day for them to become more aware of their strengths and areas they need to work on.”

They must also answer questions during a mock press conference about the disaster. This applies to situations where managers must deliver bad news as well as communicate under stress, said Executive Professor John Krajicek.

The simulated disaster exercise is overseen by experienced instructors with the Texas A&M EngiMaysMBAjan2016_269neering Extension Service (TEEX) and faculty from Mays Business School.

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Every semester Mays students enrolled in International Management class (MGMT/IBUS 452) gain real-life global experience without leaving the country. Daria Panina, a faculty member in the Department of Management, is a member of X-Culture – a global collaboration project that includes professors from 107 universities from 43 countries. Last semester more than 3,000 students taught by these professors participated in X-Culture.

As a part of X-Culture, all students enrolled in Panina’s class are randomly assigned into global virtual teams, usually consisting of up to seven students from different countries. The teams are required to provide a business solution toslack-imgs an actual company that partners with X-Culture. Students work on a semester-long project by learning the market analysis and global strategy development as well as the best practices of working with people from different cultural backgrounds. Students have a semester to do their research, and work with their counterparts across the globe to write up a business plan for their company. All students who participated in X-Culture and completed their projects receive an X-Culture Global Collaboration Experience certificates. Best teams receive Best Team awards and money prizes, as well as internship and job offers, and sales commissions from the companies they worked for. The best students and groups have an opportunity to participate in the annual X-Culture symposium sponsored by one of the partner companies (which in the past included Mercedes-Benz, The Home Depot and Louis Vuitton, among others). At the symposium, students meet their team members in person, and get an opportunity to interact with the partner company representatives and X-Culture participants from around the world.

X-Culture project is very demanding. Students who work in global virtual teams face many challenges. They have to deal with time differences between countries, learn how to work with people from different cultures, and manage the copanina photonsequences of motivation issues that arise as a part of virtual project. Yet, participants in X-Culture agree that the project improves their cultural intelligence, international and virtual collaboration competencies, global self-efficacy, and increases their interest in cross-cultural relations. Students that participated in X-Culture have mentioned that the experience was highly valuable and rewarding. It not only allowed them to learn international management and gain global experience, it also
helped many of them in their job search. Students that mentioned X-Culture in their job interviews agreed that this was a project that made them stand out in from the rest and helped them land their jobs.

The X-Culture project is tightly linked with the contents of the material studied in MGMT 452. Different parts of the project are discussed in lectures and class activities. Additionally, as a part of the preparation for the project, students taking the class read and discuss academic research on global teams’ management and leadership at the beginning of the semester.

For several semesters, Panina has received the Best Instructor Award based on the peer review of 116 performance indicators for theoretical training of her students, evaluating their group projects and support in organizing and managing the X-Culture project.

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Below are some of the comments by the students who participated in X-Culture last semester:

  • X-Culture was a premier global learning experience. While it was frustrating at times, I believe that the experiences I gained were priceless. – Abby Franks
  • Panina prepared us very well for the X-Culture project. She prepared us for the inevitable challenges and guided us through the entire process. It was a frustrating project, but gave me an invaluable experience to grow as a student, person, and young professional. – Molly Kurth
  • My X-Culture experience was very enlightening. I was given the opportunity to find out what it’s like to work with people on an international scale, and what going global truly means. – Jessica Perkins
  • My team got to create a business plan for a coffee company in Italy to expand into foreign markets. I worked with students from Peru, India, Latvia and China. While the language barrier could be difficult at times, it was fun to actually work with students around the world. – Katherine Stokes-Lindley
  • I really enjoyed X-Culture project. Having the opportunity to work with REAL people from all walks of life was incredibly interesting. Not only that, but also providing a REAL company advice on where to expand was great opportunity to not only put into practice knowledge from MGMT 452, but also use other information that I’ve learned from many of my classes I’ve taken at Mays. – Matthew Ullrich
  • X-Culture was an interesting experience. It was not always easy communicating across different time zones and cultures, but it gave us an opportunity that would be impossible to be replicated unless you were truly on an international team. I would not trade this new skillset for anything. – Reeve Nettles

 

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

university_logosThere is more to philanthropy than oversized checks, and a group of Mays Business School students are the first at Texas A&M University to learn first-hand about the steps leading up to donations. The new course on Strategic Philanthropy – the first at an SEC school – will allow students to allocate $50,000 in grant money to nonprofit organizations. First, they will spend weeks learning about the organizations vying for funds, then make presentations to their classmates to guide the allocation decisions. The students will send out requests for proposals (RFPs), conduct site visits and write grant proposals.

Course instructor Kyle Gammenthaler ’11, a senior academic advisor at Mays, said the course’s benefits are twofold – the students will learn about nonprofits and some local organizations will receive additional funds. “The students who have gone through the process will be comfortable sitting at a table in any board room or serving in leadership positions where they have to research projects and allocate funds,” he said. “That will give them a leg up, because no matter what you do, what role you have, you are going to encounter nonprofit organizations. Without that understanding, at worst you’re a neutral third-party observer. At best, you understand the unique rules and processes of the nonprofit world.”

Gammenthaler comes from the world of nonprofits, having worked at United Way of Brazos Valley before joining Mays. He advises two student organizations related to nonprofit consulting.

In the inaugural semester, 21 students will take 3-credit-hour upper-level elective. The first recipients will be local organizations – roughly the same coverage area as United Way of the Brazos Valley. The students will hear from guest speakers throughout the semester. They also will be asked to write a statement about their own philanthropy, then work in teams to conduct their due diligence in order to advocate on behalf of the chosen organizations.

The $50,000 grant was from Once Upon a Time Foundation, which has provided more than $4 million to build philanthropy education at 17 universities across the United States, including Baylor University, Harvard, Northwestern, Stanford, TCU, Tulane, UCLA, Chicago, Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, University of Virginia and Vanderbilt.

Texas A&M’s program is unique because it is offered through the business school. Gammenthaler hopes to expand it campuswide within the next few years.

The core values of Texas A&M are infused in the class, Gammenthaler said.

  • Excellence: This course sets the bar high as students make funding decisions on actual nonprofit organizations. A thorough decision making process will allow for students to reach towards the fullest potential.
  • Respect: There are multiple opportunities for varying opinions to arise in this course. Students are expected to maintain a high culture of respect as they discuss and debate with each other. Also, the highest level of respect should be afforded to the community organizations throughout their various interactions.
  • Leadership: Students are expected to carry these philanthropic ideals into their professional careers and their lives. My hope is that their experiences afford them the opportunity to be in a position at some point to “lead the charge” in strategically impacting their communities.

Pat Dunne, who leads the Philanthropy Lab experiential philanthropy education initiative as president of the Once Upon A Time Foundation, said he finds it interesting to see how differently the 15 campuses present the materials – including philosophy, social policy, economics and sociology departments. “A neat thing about philanthropy is that it is relevant to multiple disciplines, and we have had success with good professors and strong partners regardless of department,” he said. “And I think introducing it at the undergraduate level is a good place to start it.”

Feedback from some 1,300 students indicates they appreciate the personal reflection aspect of the course. Many call it “transformational,” and several have changed career paths after completing it. “There is an intrinsic joy in giving back, but giving responsibly is not easy,” he said. “This course provides a framework for that process that we hope will benefit our students in both their personal and professional lives.”

The nonprofits that participate also benefit from the partnership in more ways than financially, Dunne said – in terms of volunteers, advocates and insight into why they didn’t get chosen for funding. “It’s a classic win-win-win,” he said. “The students, universities and nonprofits all benefit. That’s broader impact than most classes can claim.”

IMG_0218 yes

 

 

 

 

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

Several Mays programs placed well in the 2016 Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking Financial Markets.

  • MS in Marketing ranked 3rd in the worldeduniversal
  • MS in Accounting ranked 3rd
  • MS in Management Information Systems ranked 6th
  • MS in Finance & Trading, Risk & Investments Program (TRIP) ranked 7th
  • MS in Human Resource Management ranked 9th
  • MS in Management ranked 12th
  • MS in Real Estate ranked 13th
  • MBA in Finance ranked 23rd

For more details, go to http://www.best-masters.com

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

By Claire Clayton ’17, Business Honors and finance

Claire 01

It has always been a dream of mine to study abroad in Europe. Before I even knew I would be an Aggie, I had the summer of 2015 flagged as my “summer abroad.” The anticipation of five weeks spent halfway around the world in a foreign country, learning a new culture and looking at life from a fresh perspective made my decision to apply for a study abroad program a simple one. In exploring the various programs available through the Mays Center for International Business Studies office, I saw that my options were unlimited. After hearing the incredible stories of a student who had previously been on the trip, I eventually decided that Strasbourg, France, was my dream study abroad destination.

Looking back on my five weeks in France and the experiences I was fortunate to have there, I can truly say that my perspective and values were changed by my time spent abroad. This trip gave me my own little Aggie family to make memories with, the opportunity of a lifetime to travel to five countries in five weeks and to see the world from someone else’s perspective. Memories of canyoning in Switzerland, watching the Eiffel Tower light up at night, riding a gondola in Italy and visiting Neuschwanstein castle in Germany will remain treasured moments that I know years from now I will share with my children with the same excitement I felt the day those memories were made. In five weeks, I checked off countless “bucket list” items and was able to finally see the places that I had dreamed of seeing since I was a kid.

My time in Strasbourg did more than just provide me with a photo book stuffed full of precious memories, it changed me as a person. Initially, the idea of traveling throughout Europe on my own intimidated me. All of that changed when I landed in France and saw my home for the next five weeks. Living life alongside the French, I gained a confidence I had never known in who I am and in what I value. I adopted the French mindset of slowing down and taking the time to savor each moment of the day rather than rush through life from one thing to the next. I sought out local residents in France and other travelers we encountered on our weekend trips to hear their life stories and was surprised to find that, while our upbringings were very different, our outlooks and values were very much the same. Through the classes I took while studying at the École de Management Strasbourg, I came to understand the magnitude of significance each event taking place within the European Union has on the United States. I gained insight on various countries’ perspectives on current issues like Greece’s financial standing and the migration crisis, and what I learned ultimately enabled me to better understand the attitudes and personalities of people living within those respective countries.

Moving forward and applying what I have learned from my time abroad, I have come to realize the full value of my international experience. In recruiting for an internship this past semester, I was surprised by how inquisitive my interviewers were about my time in Strasbourg and about what I learned while I was there. One of my interviewers had even studied abroad himself in Strasbourg, France, and together, we reminisced on our favorite foods and landmarks in the city. I found that people, in general, appreciate and value someone who has proven themselves to be open to the culture and ideas of people from another country. It demonstrates that you, as a person and an employee, can look beyond your own set ways to consider how another person may choose to live their lives though it may be very different from how you live yours.

Claire 02

 

 

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

Stepping up to Mays’ future

deanjones

Eli Jones calls himself an “accidental dean”–and says most deans are “accidental” because academics rarely join the profession to be administrators. Academics are teachers, researchers and authors. One typically takes an administrative role as selfless service–a way to serve those he or she leads. As Aggies know, selfless service is one of the Aggie Core Values.

Early in Jones’ career, he finished an undergraduate degree in journalism at Texas A&M and pursued broadcast journalism. Later, he and his family returned to Texas A&M for a two-year MBA degree and Jones became a sales executive and sales manager at three Fortune 500 companies. Still, becoming a dean of a business school had not entered his mind.

However, there was a time in his corporate life when he thought back to something a Mays professor said to him–pursue a Ph.D. and become a professor. Back to school Jones and his family went, and four years later, Jones began his academic career–the path that would eventually lead to the dean’s office at Mays Business School.

Through a series of intentional decisions that led him back and forth between the corporate and academic worlds in an effort to continuously enhance his knowledge, skills and capabilities, the self-professed “hybrid” finds himself today at the helm of a leading business school–one that is on an upward trajectory and positioned to break into the ranks of the nation’s elite institutions.

“One might view Mays Business School as a highly talented, well-coached football team that has marched down the field to our opponents’ 20-yard line,” Jones said. “We have gotten where we are today through hard work, smart decisions and strong leadership. And we are poised to get into the end zone…to score a touchdown. But at this point in the game, our competitors have tightened their chinstraps, the playing field has shifted a little bit and the winds of change are swirling. In order to make that last push over the goal line, we will have to leverage the considerable strengths we’ve built to date. Just as important, we need to reimagine the roles that engagement, innovation and impact will play in the future of business education.”

The changing landscape of business and business education

Jones takes the helm of Mays at a time when companies are facing formidable challenges, such as technological advances, digitization of data, increasingly diverse and dispersed workforces and changing employee attitudes and expectations.

Business schools are pipelines to the corporate and entrepreneurial world – suppliers of new knowledge, young talent, and retooled managers and leaders. Thus, business schools are uniquely positioned to help businesses successfully navigate today’s turbulent environment.

Engagement, innovation and impact

While his professional background working in the corporate and academic sectors gives Jones unique perspectives and experiences to lead Mays at this time, he recognizes “At the end of the day, we need to actively engage our stakeholders; continuously innovate our research and programmatic efforts, and positively impact the students, companies and business and academic communities we serve,” he said.

Elevating engagement

Jones recognizes that the school cannot redefine innovation and impact in a vacuum, solely on its own terms. Rather, it must solicit the input of various constituencies–internal and external–to understand what innovation and impact mean to them. So this summer, he embarked on a “listening tour” traveling across Texas to engage key external stakeholder groups and give them a voice in the school’s larger strategic planning and visioning efforts.

The listening tour has included town hall meetings with students, faculty and staff as well as networking events with former students. In addition, Jones is conducting a series of small-group gatherings and one-on-one meetings with academic department heads, donors, corporate partners and recruiters, business clients and development council members. In each of these interactions, he is asking for opinions on a range of topics and questions, including “When you think of Mays Business School, what is the first thing that comes to mind?” as well as “Do we have the right mission, and how can we leverage the school’s mission to continuously improve as measured by innovation and impact?”

In January, Jones and his leadership team will begin discussing the stakeholder input and integrating key insights into the school’s formal strategic planning initiative. To help guide this overall effort, he has created a new position—interim director of innovation and strategic planning—and has asked Mary Lea McAnally to serve in this role.

Already, Jones has gleaned insights in some of the early meetings with stakeholders that will help shape the school’s plan going forward.

“We are writing the next chapter in the remarkable story that is Mays Business School, and I believe our opportunity to join the ranks of the nation’s truly elite business schools is now,” he said. “We will build on the momentum here, leverage the experience I gained from my two previous deanships, combine that knowledge with that of the amazing team of faculty and staff at Mays Business School, and generate the support needed to build to world-class status by fully engaging our Aggie network.

Increasing innovation

In addition to elevating stakeholder engagement, Mays’ world-class faculty is being enhanced by the addition of new faculty. This summer, Mays welcomed 11 new professors with degrees from other top institutions, including Duke, INSEAD, Stanford, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

“This group of scholars provides just the right influx of fresh perspectives, insights and experiences we need to complement our existing faculty,” Jones said. “They include seasoned professors, those in the middle of their careers and newly minted Ph.D.s who are just starting out on one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding careers imaginable. And they will pursue diverse research interests ranging from sales leadership and behavioral economics to corporate governance and information asymmetry.”

One of the new additions is Assistant Professor of Marketing Cexun “Jeffery” Cai, who comes to Mays from Wharton. Of his decision to join Texas A&M, Cai said, “No other place promises the combination of dynamic, productive and helpful colleagues; engaged students who are eager to push their limits; a warm and friendly environment made up of people with a deep sense of values; and the opportunity to contribute to a highly reputable institution that is on the frontier of knowledge discovery and dissemination.”

In addition to recruiting new faculty, Mays plans to develop innovative educational programs to meet the evolving needs of today’s students, corporate partners and the market. The new Master of Science in Business (MS Business) is one example of the kind of innovation to which Jones is referring. Scheduled to welcome its first class of students fall 2016, the MS Business is an intensive 11-month program designed to help non-business majors compete more effectively for jobs in the global marketplace. The program will provide students with core business knowledge, solid quantitative skills and a basic understanding of best practices in leadership—with emphases on experiential learning, teamwork and career preparation. Students will apply to the MS Business during their senior year, and the program will enable undergraduate students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. No prior job experience is required for admission.

Jon Jasperson, academic director for the program, says it will showcase some of the latest innovations in higher education. “We plan to build a challenging, innovative learning environment for the MS Business students that incorporates education best practices into the classroom,” he said. “The concentrated, block delivery schedule for the courses combined with role play, simulations and flipped classroom active learning techniques will provide better engagement for students in the learning process.”

High-impact learning

For many years, Mays faculty have challenged students to apply what they learn in class to solve problems in a variety of real-world contexts—from consulting engagements and capstone projects to internships and study-abroad programs. The school’s undergraduate Business Honors and Business Fellows programs along with the Freshman Business Initiative offer a range of active learning experiences, including visits to corporations, guest speakers on campus, community service activities, and regional and national trips. Mays’ Full-Time, Professional and Executive MBA programs all feature a consulting or capstone project in which students work with actual businesses as well as some kind of travel-study component—either overseas or through the school’s Washington, D.C. Campus.

Case competitions and other business skills challenges have provided another fertile field of high-impact leaning for students. By testing business knowledge and problem-solving skills in a range of areas—from tax, entrepreneurship and ethics to fashion and retail—these activities force teams of students to merge theory and practice while dealing with the same kind of time, resource, and knowledge constraints they will face on the job after they graduate.

In recent years, Mays departments, centers and programs have expanded the number of competitions they host. Newer events such as the Wall Street Journal Challenge for undergraduates, hosted this year by Mays, have joined longstanding activities such as the MBA Venture Challenge and the Ideas Challenge, which is open to all students. Students are also participating in more external competitions, ranging from National Retail Federation Student Challenge to Deloitte’s FanTAXtic tax case competition and the National MBA Case Competition in Ethical Leadership. In 2013, a team of Mays Full-Time MBA students (composed of Janette Barnard, Matt Johnson, Lloyd McGuire and Robyn Peters) won the case competition in ethical leadership. Peters remarked on the impact of the learning experience: “Given less than 24 hours to dissect the case, craft recommendations and develop a flawless presentation, this competition was a test of critical problem solving and prioritization. Experiences like this are what really prepare us for our roles as future professional leaders.”

Mays will continue to participate in these and other experiential learning activities to ensure that its students are ready and able to put their hard-earned knowledge into action.

Impact on business

Corporate partnerships play a vital role in many of the high-impact learning experiences enjoyed by Mays’ students, as organizations help underwrite competitions or host students for consulting engagements or capstone projects. By forging new partnerships with industry, as well as deepening relationships with existing partners, Jones is confident the school can also boost its impact on business.

Mays’ Professional Selling Initiative (PSI) is one example of a new program that provides a platform for creating innovative, mutually beneficial partnerships with industry. Its existence, in fact, is born out of the school’s ongoing dialogue with corporate partners and a careful assessment of marketplace forces and trends. In recent years, the Department of Marketing has witnessed significantly increased demand from firms looking to hire graduates for professional selling jobs—in both consumer and business-to-business settings. After examining sales initiatives at other universities across the nation and talking to a number of the school’s current recruiters, the department launched the Professional Selling Initiative to meet a range of student, faculty and employer needs.

The initiative will provide enhanced educational offerings for students, including a Certificate in Sales along with a Professional Selling and Sales Management career track. Faculty will enjoy increased research opportunities along with more role-play rooms supported by state-of-the-art technology. Corporate partners will gain greater access to Mays’ top sales students through a variety of recruiting activities, social events and guest-speaking opportunities.

Perhaps most importantly, through more frequent interaction and closer collaboration, Mays and its corporate partners will be able to explore new opportunities to develop custom programming and conduct applied research that is tailored to the unique business needs and objectives of different partners.

Looking ahead

As Jones looks to the future, he is humbled by the opportunity to lead his alma mater into a new era, mindful of the challenges that lie ahead and exhilarated by the opportunities they present.

“Moving into the ranks of the very best business schools is going to require everyone at Mays to step up their game,” he said. “We have to create new knowledge that is relevant and useful to companies. We need to offer unique education programs that prepare students to make valuable contributions to their employers from day one on the job. And we must develop leaders who are as focused on serving their organizations and transforming their communities as they are on maximizing shareholder wealth. There is no more important or rewarding work than this.”

Categories: Alumni, Faculty, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Staff, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Welcome Dean Eli Jones back to Mays, get to know new management Department Head Wendy Boswell and catch up on the latest at Mays Business School in the new @Mays Magazine. It is available online, and soon will be in magazine racks throughout the Wehner Building.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Texas A&M University students presented their original solutions for judges to some of the world’s most pressing social and economic challenges in early November, when Mays Business School hosted its first Sustainable Solutions to Social Problems Case Competition.

Team_PicShannon Deer, senior lecturer in the Department of Accounting, who was coordinator for the competition, called the first year a success.

“Our teams demonstrated an aptitude for critical thinking skills and problem-solving applied to some of the world’s biggest challenges, such as waste, hunger, malnutrition, inhibited food distribution, childhood poverty, inaccessibility to electricity, the refugee crisis, unfair labor practices and unproductive agriculture practices,” she said.


The competition was the culmination of the newest Applied Business competencies course Business Solutions to Social Problems (BUSN 302). In this discussion-oriented course, students explored social problems of their choice and developed appropriate sustainable solutions.

Each team comprised students from different disciplines from around Texas A&M, including at least one student from Mays. The students spent the semester preparing presentations for a panel of judges that included Kyle Gammenthaler of Mays, and Chris Field and Gretchen Nickson of Mercy Project, a non-profit organization.  

First place was awarded to Team Entomon, which included Mays marketing major Garrett Hayslip ’17, Landry Tucker ’16 of Allied Health and Sloane Ansell ’16, a bioenvironmental sciences major. The team won $5,000 to fund their solution, “Entomon,” a stackable insect farm made from a 55-gallon food barrel.

The purpose of Entomon is to feed people and their livestock,” said Hayslip, who managed the team’s digital media. He and his team members hope to help people around the world efficiently and inexpensively raise insects, especially where insects are an integral part of the local diets – which encompasses 116 countries.

He explained the reason the team chose the 55-gallon food-grade barrel: You can find them ubiquitously throughout the world; they’re cheap (some companies even donate their surplus); they are tough and practically weather-proof; and last but definitely not least, they make for a great stackable insect farm.”

Since the case competition concluded, Team Entomon has been working to improve their product and eventually put it in the hands of people that need it most. “Right now, we are using our friends as beta users to uncover potential problems that others may face.”  He added, “Yes, that’s right, other Texas A&M students are farming bugs, too.”

The runner-up team was Tengo, which included finance major Philip Wang ’16, economics major Rosalyn Kamp ’16, computer science major Kaveet Laxmidas ’18 and Allen McDonald ’15, who is studying public administration at the The Bush School of Government and Public Service. Tengo is a texting service for Costa Rican farmers that directly connects buyers and sellers at market prices, avoiding the exploitation common among distributors there.

Other presentations included a solar light for areas lacking electricity; a mobile phone app to allow consumers to search products for an ethical supply chain before purchase; improved recycling on West Campus; wider distribution of fresh produce across A&M campus; an app to improve childhood literacy in America; and methods to increase agricultural productivity in Costa Rica through the distribution of coffee and use of innovative greenhouse technology to control rainfall.

“The case competition was incredibly inspiring, and I am so proud of what our students are doing,” Deer said.

Several teams plan to pilot their solutions internationally this winter or summer in several countries, including Costa Rica and Uganda.

 

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

With more than 25 years of experience in the energy industry, Philip Choyce ’89 has he22629283294_dd347a8002_kld a variety of different positions as his career progressed. While speaking with a group of Business Honors students at Mays Business School, he encouraged them to learn how to adapt as
their goals and careers evolve. Choyce is the senior vice president and chief financial officer of Independence Contract Drilling, an integrated onshore drilling services provider, which he cofounded in 2011.

Before joining Independence Contract Drilling, he held positions at Grant
Prideco, Fulbright & Jaworski and Ernst & Young.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University and a law degree from the University of Texas School of Law.

He said the connections he made at his first places of employment,are still benefitting him today. “Maintaining professionalism throughout the duration of your employment and afterwards is a very important skill,” he said. “Your network of connections is everything.”

Ryan Patrick ’16, a Business Honors and finance major, said Choyce recommended to the students that they select a job right out of college where they can learn the most under the right mentors. “He told us that the first five years of our career lay building blocks for the next 20,” Patrick said.

Choyce shared personal stories with the students that explained the importance of hard work. “The first 10 years of your career will be the hardest, but they will also be the most important,” he said.

He encouraged students to honestly evaluate their skill sets. “It’s okay not to be the best at something,” he said. “If that is the case, find someone else who is—and learn from them.”

Chris Weisberg ’18, a Business Honors major, said he appreciated how Choyce spoke of his experiences. “He said even when one isn’t sure of what they particularly want to do in life, doors of opportunity will open and it is important to take these opportunities in order to gain experience and wisdom,” he said. “Eventually, that experience and wisdom will open up even more opportunities.”

In closing, Choyce referenced sports to explain how he has used his skill set to fill a variety of different roles throughout his career. “A company’s success is based off of team work,” he said. “You can’t always play quarterback. Sometimes you need to sit back, because the team needs a wide receiver.”

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