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Aggie 100 honors fastest-growing Aggie-owned or operated businesses

Kelli Levey Reynolds, October 28th, 2017

The fastest-growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses were recognized Friday night at the 13th Annual Aggie 100 at a dinner hosted by the Texas A&M Mays Business School’s McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. Members of the exclusive club were honored by about 700 attendees at a dinner at the Hall of Champions at Texas A&M University’s Kyle Field.

The company with the highest growth was Lonquist Field Services (Canada), which reported a growth of 223.287 percent. It is owned by Richard R. Lonquist ’87, Roy W. Duff ’85 and Robert S. Crews ’90.

The complete Aggie 100 list may be found at www.aggie100.com.

To be considered for the Aggie 100, companies (corporations, partnerships, sole proprietorships) must operate in a manner consistent with the Aggie Code of Honor and in keeping with the values and image of Texas A&M University, and must meet specific criteria.

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The Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) at Mays Business School welcomed new CRS board member and partner Jeff Mooney to campus on November 15. Mooney serves as Divisional Vice President for Dollar General, overseeing 1,800 stores in Texas and Oklahoma.

Speaking to students in three marketing classes and the Student Retailing Association, Mooney highlighted Dollar General’s rapid expansion, impressive shareholder returns, and humble company culture.

Dollar General is ranked #128 on Fortune 500, with 127,000 employees in over 14,000 stores across the U.S. Mooney’s territory alone recorded sales exceeding $2 billion. Dollar General has more stores nation-wide than any retailer outside of the food industry. In an era of store closure, Dollar General accounts for 80 percent of net new store openings in the U.S. since 2008.

Because of this growth and strong brand, Mooney stated “We cannot hire enough talent, we have to grow it.” Texas A&M is the first university to partner with the Nashville based retailer to launch an accelerated district manager career program. Recent graduates would start as store managers and progress to district supervisors with responsibility for 18 stores averaging $30 million in sales within two years.

To take care of its customers, Dollar General takes care of its employees. “The customer experience will never be better than the employee experience,” Mooney explained. Dollar General’s friendly employees are willing to make things more efficient for the customer. According to Mooney, it is easier to teach skills than to teach others how to connect with people.

Mooney also emphasized Dollar General’s culture of serving others. The company understands its customers, who are largely value-conscious consumers living paycheck to paycheck. Many rely on government assistance. He pointed out that delivering on the promise to serve others is crucial.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

The world of 3D printing is no longer an unattainable dream; 3D printers have been set up in Startup Aggieland, a facility operated by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School. These 3D printers can be used by any students who want to print out their neat new ideas, but as a 3D model and not just as a 2D image.

Charles Hinton, I-Corps Director and Startup Aggieland veteran, is facilitating the startup process for these new 3D printers. As a Texas A&M graduate, Hinton understands the importance of students expressing their ideas in creative ways. According to Hinton, these printers will serve as the beginning of the development of a makerspace in Startup Aggieland, where students and faculty can come to design, experiment, and learn.

These 3D printers will give students the opportunity to build a touchable “first look” at the ideas and gadgets they have created in their head or on paper. This is an incredible feat for students who are looking to become entrepreneurs or students who just want to know if their idea could have any commercial value.

Users of the printer must first generate a model of the product they want to manufacture, which they can do on a 3D modeling software called Solid Works that can be acquired for free from the university. The students then bring their design to Startup Aggieland, where a different software will slice and convert the design to a printable format. The 3D printer can then get to work by adding layer upon layer of raw material fed into the printer to create a final product. …Read more

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, I-Corps, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Startup Aggieland, Students, Texas A&M

Giving Tuesday – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – has become an international day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. The movement, which started in 2012, kicks off the charitable giving season.

Occurring this year on Nov. 28, Giving Tuesday is held annually after the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support.

The movement has gained in popularity over the last five years and points to recent shifts in philanthropy for both individuals and nonprofit organizations. Promoted as the hashtag #GivingTuesday for purposes of activism on social media, nonprofit organizations around the country will be making appeals for supporters to contribute to their causes.

Giving Tuesday provides nonprofits with an opportunities to attract new sponsors, donors, and volunteers, according to Kyle Gammenthaler, Coordinator of Social Impact Initiatives and instructor of the Strategic Philanthropy course at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. For nonprofit organizations looking to maximize their donations and support Gammenthaler offers the following tips:

  1. Tell your story: People are naturally drawn to stories and examples of impact. Do not simply rely on the generosity of people, but make a compelling case for why your organization is making a strategic difference in this world. Telling the community how many meals you distributed is one thing. However, it would be more advantageous to tell a story about “John Doe” and how his interactions with your organization not only filled his stomach but helped give him tools to improve his overall well-being.
  2. Develop a strategy that cultivates online and one-time givers: Year-end and online gifts can be the beginning of a long-term relationship. Figuring out a way to engage these givers is paramount to an organization’s long-term viability.
  3. Keep it simple: Make it easy for people to give. In our fast-paced world, it shouldn’t take more than one or two clicks on a website for someone to give. Make the process to give obvious, simple, and quick.
  4. Mind your manners: Follow up with givers, no matter the size, to appreciate the gift. Thank you goes a long way in developing long-term relationships with donors.
  5. It’s not all about the money: Of course, nonprofits need funds to operate, but so many people have skills, knowledge, and abilities that can drastically impact your organization and your beneficiaries. Find ways to engage and appreciate the individuals that give the “gift” of time or service.

Giving Tuesday also provides an opportunity for individuals to consider their own personal giving goals, especially in light of the ease of submitting donations online. As a result of the support of the movement by technology companies, individuals will receive a number of these appeals via their social media feeds and other digital channels. Gammenthaler offers the following tips to help individuals navigate through the many appeals:

  1. Your gift matters: Every single dollar has impact. Philanthropy and giving is not retained for only the high-end givers. Each individual and family should consider their own capacity to give and develop a strategy accordingly.
  2. Be selective: If you are having trouble determining where to give, then start locally. Look in your community to see what organizations align with your values and beliefs.  Expand this search as necessary, but find a couple organizations that you want to support and dive in.
  3. Be informed: Ask questions. Try to understand what the organization is doing to solve its mission. An informed gift is vastly more powerful than an uninformed gift. Move beyond what you “think you know” about an organization and go straight to the source.
  4. Consider your motivations: Are you giving out of obligation? A sense of duty? It feels good? You’ve been affected by the particular organization? Tax deduction? Whatever the motivation, take a look at “why” you give. Understanding your motivations may help you make more strategic decisions about your giving.

In response to recent shifts in philanthropy, Gammenthaler is also helping train the next business leaders in his new strategic philanthropy course at Mays Business School. Strategic philanthropy is heavily oriented towards the sustainable, responsible, and measurable ways in which nonprofits address and solve problems in local, national, and global communities. The Strategic Philanthropy course provides opportunities for students to practice strategic giving as a group while also developing a personal approach to philanthropy to carry forward into their personal and professional lives.

Read a related article on the award of $100,000 to nonprofits by students in the Mays Business School Strategic Philanthropy Course.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Alex CabanasFinding passion in leading and growing a company that makes a profound difference in the lives of employees, guests, owners, industry partners, and the community, Alex Cabanas ’98 exemplifies what it means to be a Mays Transformational Leader.

Cabanas graduated from Texas A&M University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in finance, and went on to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School. He currently serves as the CEO of global hospitality company Benchmark. To Cabanas, speaking to business honors students at Mays Business School was “a huge privilege.”

Cabanas kicked his session off by emphasizing the main theme he was discussing, that “it all starts with culture.” Cabanas said that “everything we do is about culture. Culture eats strategy for breakfast; culture is a lot of things to a lot of people.” Culture drives how his company behaves and what motivates them.

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

The new Mays Innovation Research Center has an inaugural director: Mays Business School professor Korok Ray, who conceptualized the center as a place to discover how and when innovation occurs, then transfer that knowledge to Texas A&M University students.

Ray, an associate professor of accounting, will lead the center to provide research support to existing and new faculty members across the Texas A&M campus. It will bridge the research at Mays with that occurring in engineering, business, liberal arts, and other academic disciplines. The center will also fund Ph.D. fellowships and undergraduate research opportunities, and award prizes for outstanding research that advances the center’s mission.

Ray’s research interests are performance measurement, compensation, corporate governance, and cost allocation. He has taught accounting at Texas A&M University, the University of Chicago and Georgetown University, and earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He also served as the senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House from 2007 to 2009.

Ray said he has experienced strong support for the concept. “Dean (Eli) Jones, The Texas A&M Foundation, and our donors have been outstanding in their support of this vision from the beginning,” he said. “I’m thrilled and honored to lead this center into new and uncharted territory, as the conversation on innovation unfolds both on our campus and nationally.  The center will engage students in research, support faculty, and pursue opportunities unique to Texas A&M, with its special combination of first-tier research and first-class values.”

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Innovation Research Center, News, Research, Texas A&M

Store brands, often called “own brands,” have certainly come into their own. Some retailers, like Trader Joe’s, almost exclusively sell private label products. Overall, this category of manufactured goods represents about 20 percent of all products sold at grocery, drug chain, and mass merchant stores. Yielding a higher margin compared to national brands, like Tide or Doritos, the industry is poised only to grow and offer lesser-known, but highly successful, career paths.

In November, seven Texas A&M University students became the first Aggies to attend the Private Label Trade Show and University Outreach program in Chicago. The event attracts 2,800 booths exhibitors from 70 countries with over 5,000 buyers and visitors’ eager to discover innovative new products catering to modern consumer taste pallets, from organic spices, gourmet baked cheeses, to mango Sriracha beef jerky. Some of the attendees included companies partnered with the Center for Retailing Studies in Mays Business School.

Supply chain major and M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar Allison McGraw ’18 said, “I loved this experience! The opportunity to shadow a supplier on day one and then a retailer on day two allowed me to build a more complete understanding of the grocery business.” McGraw will intern next summer with PepsiCo/Frito Lay.

Mentor companies included Hormel Foods, Wegmans, H-E-B, Walmart, Whole Foods, Eurocan Pet Products, and 45 others. Fifty students from nine universities participated in the University Outreach program hosted and generously underwritten by the Private Label Manufacturer’s Association.

Packaging and design expert Deborah Ginsburg, founder of Stategia Design, coached Aggie entrepreneur McCalley Cunningham ’18 about the branding of her End Hunger granola bites. While many of the trade show’s snack products emphasized nutrition, Ginsburg recommended that Cunningham more prominently articulate the product’s social good – to feed a hungry child with each purchase. “Packaging must communicate ingredients and allergens, but it should also showcase the maker’s inspiration and brand promise,” Ginsburg explained.

Former JCPenney intern and marketing major Alexandra Marks ’18 shadowed T.Marzetti, a maker of salad dressings, dips, and croutons. Her mentor, Tom Ewing, Director, Retail Channel Business, demonstrated how to make quick connections with expo attendees, generate leads, and strategize post-event communication. Marks said, “I’ve participated in classroom sales role-play activities,” she said. “Seeing a manufacturer pitch for business and interact with existing clients in the fast-pace environment of the trade show taught me that a proper business deal should have both parties feeling good, which means much of the trade show has to do with maintaining positive relationships.” The next day, Marks shadowed Whole Foods Market buyer Lauren Winstead, who Marks credited with providing “an excellent example of how to be kind and professional while also being direct about retailer requirements when talking to exhibitors.”

Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University, said, “All of the national brand retailers who partner with Mays’ Center for Retailing Studies have robust private label businesses. However, these career paths may not be well-known by students. By partnering with PLMA, CRS can promote jobs in product development, sales, and packaging design, while building new corporate contacts.” She concluded, “Retailers are innovators in all areas of business from accounting to real estate to IT. Attending this trade show opened another opportunity for Aggies.”

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

The Mays Full-Time MBA Program at Mays Business School was the #1 SEC school, 7th among public schools, and 22nd overall in the “Best full-time MBA programs” rankings by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The three-semester Mays Full-Time MBA program focuses on high-impact experiences, with an emphasis on leadership and self-awareness, supported by strong academics.

The rankings of the 85 full-time U.S. MBA programs were based on data for the class that graduated in December 2016 and from feedback from students who graduated between 2009 and 2011. Former students ranked the Mays program favorably – 15th out of 85 programs ranked.

Increases in the employer survey, starting salary, and job placement categories indicate improved outcomes for Mays students in the employer area. These improvements align with the program’s increased attention to executive problem-solving and functional area knowledge. In the Mays MBA program, students gain a holistic experience targeting their professional development and job preparedness through the functional area-specific Career Accelerator Program (CAPs).

The CAPs also align with the program’s new functional area-specific tracks for each student to specialize in during the duration of their MBA experience. The tracks include finance, marketing, data analytics, supply chain and operations, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.  Each track serves to help students take a deeper dive into a functional area in order to bridge their coursework to their post-MBA career. The courses that the students take are incorporated into their 18-month MBA curriculum, which does not require a fourth semester to complete. CAPs and the associated tracks are especially helpful for career switchers creating a narrative about transitioning their prior experience, foundational course knowledge, and functional area learning into a new career.

Arvind Mahajan, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays, said he was pleased with the program’s standing among the Top 25 “in an incredibly competitive market.” He added: “We try to imbue the foundational values of Texas A&M University into our programs – values like excellence and integrity and respect – to enhance our development of transformational leaders.”

In other recent rankings, the Mays Full-Time MBA program ranked 7th  among U.S. public (20thoverall) in the Forbes “Best Business Schools” ranking, and 31st nationally and 12th among public in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate Schools” ranking. Texas A&M also has the most graduates serving as CEOs in the top 100 Fortune 500 companies, according to a Fortune magazine study.

The print issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, available Friday, will highlight the top 30 full‐time U.S. MBA programs.

 

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

Rankings featured in Entrepreneur magazine

Mays Business School at Texas A&M University offers one of the best programs for students aspiring to launch their own businesses, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company named the school #18 on its list of “Top 25 Graduate Schools for Entrepreneurship of 2018.”

Mays broke into the top 20 among graduate programs this year after ranking 21st last year in that category and 20th among undergraduate programs. The Princeton Review’s lists of top schools for entrepreneurship education for 2018 was posted on Nov. 14. Texas A&M is one of 12 public schools on the list.

Entrepreneurship is one of the top areas of focus for Mays. “We strive to make it as easy as possible for students to launch their ideas,” said Richard Lester, executive director of the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays. “We draw from our supporters, alumni, and faculty and staff to provide business start-up acceleration, competitive opportunities, work experiences, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community and across the world.”

The McFerrin Center serves more than 3,000 students and more than 1,000 former students through 27 programs. It aims to enhance entrepreneurial student education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty, and alumni.

The Princeton Review tallied its lists of top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate schools based on a survey it conducted from June through August 2017. Out of more than 300 schools offering entrepreneurship studies that The Princeton Review surveyed, 38 institutions’ undergraduate and/or graduate programs made the roster of top schools for 2018.

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Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Rankings, Texas A&M

App acts as social media address book

Mays Business School’s focus on the entrepreneurial mindset is personified in the success of Mays marketing senior Dylan Secrest ’17, the CEO and creator of SyncLink.

Dylan SecrestSyncLink is a new iPhone application that allows users to consolidate friends on all social media platforms, as well as store other forms of contact information, in one place. His vision was to “simplify the way the world connects, and essentially create a social media address book.”

Once a user has downloaded the app and created an account, he can sync social media profiles onto the SyncLink account and share it with the world. From there, the user can connect with other SyncLink users on social media with the click of a button.

Secrest has released the app locally, and has garnered more than 400 users, and has plans to expand further.

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Categories: Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Startup Aggieland, Students, Texas A&M

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School reflects the values of excellence revered by its namesake – Artie McFerrin, a long-time supporter of Texas A&M University and the name behind the $10 million gift that secured the center’s future.

An intimate group that included Artie McFerrin’s wife Dorothy, their daughter Jennifer, and a gathering of family, friends and university leaders attended a recent reception to celebrate the official naming of the center. The event at the Founders Club at Kyle Field served as a tribute to Artie McFerrin, and a thank-you to his family, who have supported Texas A&M for years.

Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Jr. ’65 (2016 photo)

“If you strive for success, if you dream of venturing into the unknown and emerging smarter and stronger, if you want to grow yourself so you can grow others, you not only have a place to go, but also a name forever attached to it,” Tyson Voelkel, president of the Texas A&M Foundation, said at the event.

The center, which serves more than 3,000 students and more than 1,000 former students through 27 programs, is an international leader in entrepreneurial education. It aims to enhance entrepreneurial student education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and alumni. With the support of a volunteer network, corporate supporters, faculty, and staff, the McFerrin Center has been able to provide business start-up acceleration, competitive opportunities, work experiences, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community and across the world.

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Categories: Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Selfless service, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M