Lead Story

Mays moves up in U.S. News & World Report “Best Business Programs”

Diane C. McDonald, September 13th, 2016

Mays Business School advanced in annual rankings by U.S. News & World Report of undergraduate business programs nationwide. It moved up two places — to 17th among public universities and 27th overall—in the “Best Business Programs” section of the magazine’s 2017 rankings released Tuesday (Sept.13).

In addition to moving up in national rankings, Mays is a leader among business schools in Texas—and no school in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) ranks higher, notes Mays Dean Eli Jones.

He says that in concert with the strengthening of Mays’ academic programs and related activities, creating a greater awareness of the school is a top priority. “We have many areas of distinction here at Mays, and we are determined to tell the world about them,” he points out. “We already have a strong foothold in Texas, and we are known nationally for our innovation and our impact. We are stepping up our efforts to play a transformational role in business research, education and practice.”

Mays’ peer assessment score – the measure the magazine uses to rank business schools – is at 3.6. The top peer assessment score possible is 5. U.S. News ranks undergraduate business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) based solely on surveys of business school deans and senior faculty. Participants were asked to rate the quality of programs with which they were familiar on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). The undergraduate business rankings are based solely on this peer survey. To learn more about the rankings and methodology, visit http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/business.

In its “Great Schools, Great Prices” category of universities, U.S. News cites Texas A&M University as one of the two top public universities nationally. It is first among public institutions in Texas in that assessment, which combines cost with quality of education.

The magazine’s annual rankings were announced Tuesday in advance of publication of its “Best Colleges” guidebook for 2017.

Julie Orzabal, director of the Executive MBA program at Mays, got the experience of a lifetime recently! Selected under the Navy’s Key Influencers program, Orzabal was able to fly as a backseat rider in the Blue Angel’s Jet Number 7 with Lt. Tyler Davies. She posed mid-air with the Executive MBA Class of 2018 Class Coin.

The Blue Angels celebrate their 70th anniversary this year and are in Houston Oct. 22-23 for the Wings Over Houston Airshow.


Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Staff, Texas A&M

30003351720_4583b600c2_oFew professionals can say they’ve been with the same company their entire career. But Gina Luna ’95, chairman of JPMorgan Chase in the Houston region, is an exception.

Luna has been with JPMorgan Chase since she graduated from Texas A&M in 1995. On her visit to Mays Business School, she had lunch with Business Honors students and shared how she has navigated such a large corporation for so many years. For more than 20 years, her willingness to plunge into new challenges and optimism about new relationships has guided her through positions in finance, recruiting, operations and marketing.

Luna leads the Middle Market Banking business and is active in recruiting, mentoring and leadership development within the organization. “I’ve held many challenging but rewarding roles at JPMorgan Chase,” Luna said, “Each one has taught me something new and has been a wonderful opportunity to build relationships.”

She believes the challenge is always worth it because of her coworkers. “Every day I get to work with such high-caliber, intelligent individuals.”

Her career with JPMorgan Chase started with a summer internship before her senior year of college. The next year she graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s of business administration degree with a double major in finance and management, and went to work full-time for JPMorgan Chase.

But Luna wouldn’t stay an analyst for long. Within a few years she was offered an opportunity to lead entry-level recruiting for the organization. “I had no experience in recruiting, but I remember it sounded like an interesting and unique opportunity.” Luna accepted the offer with enthusiasm and found that she really enjoyed building relationships with new recruits and colleagues across the Firm.

She later moved into a management role overseeing analysts and associates, many of whom she had recruited. Next she moved into leadership positions in investment banking and commercial banking. Prior to her current role, she was chief marketing officer for Chase Commercial Banking, for which she directed marketing and communications for the national commercial banking business.

When students asked how she was able to adapt to such diverse roles within the company, she said the key was to be open to what others might teach her. “I was often surrounded by people who had far more knowledge and experience than I did,” she said. “But I had to ask myself, ‘What can I learn from others in this situation?’”

Even in leadership, she prefers a consultative style. “I always try to involve others in the decision-making process. Even if the final decision is my responsibility, I value others’ contributions.”

Business Honors major Will Locke ’20 said he found the discussion extremely enjoyable. “I learned that crafting relationships in truly invaluable in the business world,” he said. “Not only do they provide you with meaningful friendships, they also provide excellent opportunities for advancement.”

Emily Clark ’20 said she was inspired to make some personal changes. “Going forward, I will make my values a priority and make an effort to develop relationships in school as well as my future career.”

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Departments, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Finance, Management, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

After seeing how much their daughter Grace learned in a new “Strategic Philanthropy” course at Mays Business School, Wil and Jennifer VanLoh donated money to fund the next two courses. A portion of their $140,000 gift to Mays through the Texas A&M Foundation will provide grants for students to distribute to local nonprofits through the course, while remaining funds will help cover operating costs.


Philanthropy is a way of life for the VanLoh family – from left, Grace, Mary, Wil, Jennifer and Sarah.

The course that debuted last spring gives undergraduate students at Mays first-hand experience in the world of nonprofit work. In the first program of its kind to be offered at an SEC school and the first at a business school, students get the chance to learn about various facets of philanthropy, hear from philanthropic leaders and experience the grant-making process from a foundation’s perspective.

Wil VanLoh, founder and CEO of Quantum Energy Partners, said his family routinely holds meetings to make philanthropic decisions for their family foundation. “My wife and I are intentional about including our kids in our decisions,” he said. “We think being good stewards of the resources we are given is a big responsibility, and something we don’t think a lot of people take seriously enough.

“We believe modeling generosity for our kids is one of the greatest gifts we can give them as it helps them understand that one is more blessed to give than to receive. We get tremendous joy out of giving and we want them to experience that at a young age to set the tone for the rest of their life.”

VanLoh said he was impressed with the course, which he said should be offered across the university – and not just at the business school. “This is an all-around great set of skills for these students, and it benefits the community they live in while they’re attending college, so it has a significant ripple effect,” he said. …Read more

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

preview-upload_card-16186_088Keeping the focus on the patients is the best strategy for succeeding in the healthcare industry, and person-to-person interaction is a powerful tool in any industry, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard ’84 said recently at Mays Business School. Broussard shared life stories and advice with more than 400 students and community members on Sept. 29. [Watch the full video of his presentation.]

“At the end of the day, people are motivated by people, not by technology,” he said. “Someone who has walked that path before is more influential than either or a nurse or a doctor.” Also, those working in health care are more motivated when they are working with patients than when they are removed from interacting with them, he said.

Broussard, a Texas A&M University graduate in finance and accounting, has a wide range of executive leadership experience in publicly traded and private organizations. He started his career as a consultant at Arthur Anderson, then was treasurer and CFO of various public companies and CEO of U.S. Oncology before joining Humana. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

trifusiondevicesTriFusion Devices, the winner of the 2016 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC), the world’s richest and largest student startup competition, was invited to ring the opening bell Monday at the NASDAQ Stock Market in New York City. Cofounders Blake Teipel and Brandon Sweeney participated in the morning ceremony, along with representatives from RBPC and Texas A&M University, including Philippe Hercot, executive professor and director of Aggies on Wall Street at Mays Business School.

TriFusion Devices was the first Texas A&M team to win the Rice competition, the world’s largest student-centered business plan competition. The team received checks totalling nearly $400,000.  

The team illustrates a collaboration between several colleges at Texas A&M, and it bolsters the arena of health care – a priority at Texas A&M and at Mays. “So many faculty and staff members invested in these young people. The team’s success is a beautiful example of collaborating across the university and beyond,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones. “It aligns nicely with our primary mission of advancing the world’s prosperity by developing such areas as entrepreneurship and health care.”

Their project was based on breakthrough additive manufacturing products and services aimed at simplifying and expediting the process of manufacturing custom prosthetic devices. The team applies a revolutionary, patent-pending process that fuses together 3D printed parts to next-generation biomedical devices. The result is a durable, lightweight, custom-fit prosthetic device created within 48 hours, saving time, labor, and materials by eliminating the residual limb plaster-casting process and the current need for test-fit sockets.

TriFusion Devices got their start through Startup Aggieland, a globally recognized, award-winning business incubator and accelerator program at Texas A&M. Through the mentorship and experience provided by Startup Aggieland and other university initiatives, such as the National Science Foundation I-Corps program, TriFusion’s founders were able to incubate their ideas and prepare for the commercial world. In addition to the Rice University Business Plan Competition, TriFusion Devices has received several other top honors, including winning the 2016 Baylor New Venture Competition, the Raymond Ideas Challenge at Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, and the SEC Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition.

Don Lewis, the team’s mentor and coach at Startup Aggieland, said the team has a promising future. “Be on the lookout for this company,” he said. “They are a team to watch because of what they do. They’ve created a revolutionary way to 3D print plastics that are extremely durable and strong, and they are crafting them into very useful objects, like the prosthetics.”

The students plan to open a manufacturing production facility within the next few months in the Bryan-College Station area, Lewis said. Britton Eastburn, a Mays Business School MD/MBA student who was on the team at the time of the victory, has resumed medical school.  

TriFusion Devices competed against more than 750 applicants  on 42 teams from the world’s top universities before 300 judges over a three-day period to emerge as the top startup company at RBPC.

“We are grateful for the support, guidance, and encouragement that we’ve received from the Texas A&M University and Rice University programs,” Teipel said. “The experience and coaching we have received as we’ve launched our venture have proven immensely valuable to our success.”


Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Health Care, I-Corps, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

sandi-pictureSandi Lampo, clinical associate professor of marketing at Mays Business School, was invited to be a panelist for the Pedagogy Project, a recently launched initiative at Texas A&M University.

The Pedagogy Project aims to improve student success and retention through implementation of motivating and engaging classroom instruction. It will include a series of lunch forums featuring faculty members who already exemplify pedagogy in their classrooms. Lampo will be among the five panelists at the first lunch forum “Focus on Large Classes” on Oct. 14 in Rudder 601.

Marketing department head Mark Houston called Lampo a role model of a professor who knows how to fully engage students. “Part of her success is due to how she structures her courses,” Houston said. “But a bigger part is the combination of care that she invests in the students as individuals along with her high expectations that encourage students to take ownership. Being selected for the Pedagogy Project panel for large classes is a real honor for Sandi and a testament to the respect that her students have for her. Her colleagues and I are really proud!”

Lampo has served at Mays for over 13 years, as a marketing lecturer from 2002 to 2008 and as a senior marketing lecturer from 2008 to 2013. She was marketing director for Christopher’s World Grille in Bryan from 2013 to 2015. She returned to Mays as a clinical associate professor of marketing in 2015.

Lampo has taught multiple courses in the Mays Department of Marketing, including Principles of Marketing, Marketing Research, Retail Concepts and Policies, Strategic Retailing, Advertising, Advanced Retail Case Competition and graduate-level Survey of Marketing. She received a bachelor’s degree in marketing at Mays in 1993, an MBA from SMU in 1995 and a Ph.D. in marketing from Mays in 2001.

Categories: Alumni, Faculty, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Mays Business School’s Full-Time MBA team, representing Texas A&M University, tied for first place with the University of Central Florida at the Prospanica Case Competition.

To fulfill its mission to empower Hispanic professionals, Prospanica hosts an annual conference and career expo attended by MBA students across the nation. The students’ hard work researching and compiling their solution were recognized at the Prospanica Gala in Houston at the end of the conference and career expo on Sept. 30.

The competition was hosted in partnership with PepsiCo. The students were tasked with helping PepsiCo leverage new and emerging technologies to drive consumer engagement, sales and improve operating efficiencies in global markets.


Teams from across the country were given the case in advance and prepared a written solution that was sent to the judges. The Texas A&M team was among the four finalists, selected from the written submission, to present during the conference and career expo. The other finalists were Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Houston. The finalists presented before a panel of judges from PepsiCo.  Team members from Mays were Arko Basu, Emily Klein, Alec Krance and Thomas Sovereign.

The Mays MBA program started several initiatives this year focused on problem solving. Mays students participated in two internal case competitions this year – one at the end of orientation and one focused on specific functional areas in mid-September. Through rigorous career management preparation, Mays MBAs have received 18+ hours of case training from MBACASE and will sit for a case certification exam at the end of October.

Program Director Shannon Deer said, “We are excited to see our students excelling in the problem solving, team work, presentation, and technical skills our faculty and staff work so hard to deliver. Our students had an excellent opportunity to represent Mays and themselves in front of many national employers and we are so proud they rose to the occasion as Aggies are known to do.”



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

Bret Kidd ’90 is guided by a firm commitment to his priorities: first faith, then family, friends and finally, fortune. In his recent conversation with Business Honors students at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, he shared how maintaining this order has ensured balance and purpose in everything he undertakes.

Kidd is president of Travelport Americas. His role encompasses strategic direction, financial results and operations of Travelport’s travel agency, travel management company (TMC) and regional online travel agency (OTA) customers throughout North America, the Caribbean and South America.

“I love travel and the travel industry,” Kidd said. “At Travelport, I get to travel a lot – I’ve already been to 13 countries in 2016. But I am also in the business of simplifying the travel process for the industry. Travelport centralizes key data and make it accessible to travel agencies big and small, both online or brick-and-mortar shops.”

Business Honors major Isabel Gonzalez ’18 was engaged by the discussion about global distribution systems like Travelport.  “I never knew that there are intermediaries between airlines and travel sites like Expedia,” she said.  

Several students asked how Kidd maintains a work-life balance.

“I’ve never missed a day of vacation,” Kidd admitted. “Taking time to unplug mentally and spend time with family is invaluable. Your company can continue to run without you.”

Kidd said he also builds walls around his weekends and disconnects from technology during time with people he cares about. He encouraged students: “Get involved in your church or your community and hold leadership positions. This gives you something else purposeful outside of your job and keeps you from the temptation to overwork.”

While an undergraduate at Texas A&M University, Kidd studied management and was a member of the Business Fellows program. He was also involved in the Wiley Lecture Series, which sparked his interest in politics and opened doors to begin his career working on Capitol Hill.

After graduating from Texas A&M, Kidd served as special assistant to U.S. Senator Phil Gramm, supporting Gramm in a variety of areas, including health care and fiscal/economic matters. His work brought him in touch with dignitaries like Margaret Thatcher, who once was visiting for a fund-raiser. “I even had a conversation in Russian with Mikhail Gorbachev,” Kidd joked of his one-word exchange with the former leader of USSR.
…Read more

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

The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) has recently been restructured. Don Lewis has been appointed as director of the Blackstone LaunchPad Initiative at Texas A&M University.

Chuck Hinton, who works with the NSF I-Corps program at Startup Aggieland, will assume many of the responsibilities of the assistant director of Startup Aggieland. He will also continue to serve the National Science Foundation’s Innovative Corps (I-Corps) program.

Earlier this year, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation expanded its campus entrepreneurship program to include Texas A&M University along with the University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas at Dallas. Established by the foundation’s three-year, $3 million grant, the partnership between the three institutions will introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and offer opportunities to the universities’ 130,000 students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system. The CNVE was tasked with leading the initiative across campus.

The goals of the initiative are to identify 10 percent of the student body and engage them in a meaningful way in the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus, from one-on-one mentoring to entrepreneurial-oriented events and more.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Management, Mays Business, News, Staff, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M


Ben Welch

To strengthen ties with its corporate partners in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, Texas A&M’s Mays Business School hosted more than 60 companies at AT&T Stadium – home of the Dallas Cowboys – on Sept. 23.

The focus of the reception and networking event was to explore opportunities with the Center for Executive Development (CED) at Mays.

Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young, Mays Dean Eli Jones and Mays Assistant Dean for Executive Education Ben Welch spoke of the importance of lifelong learning and how Mays Business School is stepping up to provide it.

The CED offers executive certificates in business essentials, energy, health care, construction and cyber data in programs at the College Station campus and on the sites of the clients around the world. The programs are geared toward individuals who are serving in managerial/leadership roles who would like to refine their higher-level business skills and those who are preparing to enter a management-level position.

Young said the high caliber and strong work ethic of Texas A&M students and faculty have affirmed his decision to come here 18 months ago. He called it a “unique and extraordinary institution,” where the work the faculty is doing is of global import. “They are going to teach you how to use the knowledge and how to work with others. The students come to this university wanting to be citizens of substance, and they’re working with faculty members who feel the same way.”

The event was part of an expanded outreach to Mays alumni and corporate partners. The guests were corporate leaders from the Dallas area, and Jones said the business school partners with corporate leaders. “You’re here because you’re curious and you want to take your organization to the next level,” he said. “We at Mays can help you do that.”

Mays recently set a vision to  “advance the world’s prosperity,” building on three Grand Challenges: Entrepreneurship, energy and healthcare. Faculty members with expertise in those areas were available at the Dallas event to visit with the guests about how Mays is addressing them.

In his keynote speech, Welch – who has led the CED since 1990 – described five things that will guarantee return on investment: Priorities, respect, integrity, determination and enthusiasm. He said it is essential that each person express his priorities to those around him.

He targeted his message to the executives in the room who are developing their employees. “We want you to come away with what is integral at Texas A&M, and that is these five characteristics,” he said. “We want you to look at partnering with Mays Business School for one day, five days or a series of classes.”

Welch described the Leading Champions Program, a new experiential learning program that will launch in April. Mays and the Texas A&M Athletics Department are partnering to give participants exclusive access to athletic staff, facilities and social events. Enrollment will be limited to 30 people, and a highlight of the event was a drawing in which Debbie Hinson from Accenture received a free enrollment to the program.

Nancy Cramer, who received a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1984 and is now president of Dallas-based Correct Course Consulting, said she enjoyed meeting with Mays leaders and learning about the school’s programs. “I look forward to renewing my relationships with the school and connecting with the students and faculty there,” she said.


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