Lead Story

Halliburton President Jeff Miller ’88 emphasizes value of engagement

Be careful what you wish for and grateful for what you receive, Jeff Miller, president and chief health, safety and environment officer of Halliburton, said during a recent talk at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.
“If I had gotten what I thought I wanted, I would have been terribly short-changed,” he said of his career and personal life. “I have received even more than I had envisioned I would.” He also passed along advice he received from his grandfather: Always shine your shoes, have a good haircut, be on time and have a pen and a piece of paper on hand to capture important words from others. He also advised writing down your goals so you can remind yourself of them. …Read more

_Q4A0149-43The 6th annual Theory + Practice in Marketing (TPM) conference joined together more than 85 academic experts and industry practitioners from eight different countries at Mays CityCentre in Houston. It was hosted by at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

During the three-day event, 45 research papers were presented in rapid succession. Following only 20 minutes of content overview, scholars received feedback about their topic’s relevancy and potential for application in a business setting from academic peers and industry executives.

According to conference co-founder Don Lehmann of Columbia Business School, TPM began in 2010 to nudge marketing research to “pay more attention to what was going on in the industry.”

Additionally, the conference’s initial title included the word “method.” But by replacing it with “practice,” the founders hoped to shift traditional academic focus on methodology instead to explore how scholarly research can improve business efficiencies, understanding of consumer behavior, and much more. TPM uniquely positions the implications of research, not the analytic process or data set, as the hero of the story.

Sunil Gupta, also a TPM co-founder, encouraged the group to consider three questions – the same criteria his home institution Harvard Business School uses in tenure promotion – when delving into research:

1. What problem are you trying to solve?
2. Why should anyone care?
3. What do you have to say that no one else has said before?

First-year Mays Ph.D. candidate Unnati Narang presented, “Do Mobile Apps Influence Shopper Behavior? Evidence from Omnichannel Retailing,” built on the Center for Retailing Studies’ research partnership with GameStop.

Narang and co-author Venky Shankar, Mays Coleman Chair and Professor of Marketing, concluded that app usage does increase both the frequency and monetary value of purchases. Surprisingly, it also increases return rates, so further research may explore that discovery.

_Q4A0522-169Each of the papers submitted were split into groups based on content and themes including: marketing leadership and relevance; brand management; display advertising; mobile, shopping, and gaming; social effects and online communities; digital marketing; among others.

“The 2016 TPM conference was a huge success, raising Mays Business School’s visibility and enhancing the marketing group’s reputation,” said Shankar, who was co-chair of the conference. “It also positively showcased our first class facilities in Houston’s CityCentre.”

Participants rated the research presentations as most stimulating and the industry speakers and discussants as most insightful. “Terrific” and “fantastic” were some of the adjectives used by participants’ feedback surveys.

Throughout the remainder of the conference, industry executives – dubbed “practitioners” in academic circles – participated as:

• Business discussants, providing critiques pulled from their professional experiences
• Panelists, highlighting the need to bridge academia and practice
• Keynotes, explaining the relevance of these topics and importance for large scale partnerships

The group included Craig Ceccanti, co-founder and CEO of Pinot’s Palette; Anita Seghal, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Houston Astros; Mike Francis ’06, strategy director at Halliburton; and Bruce Pool, president and managing director of Aggreko Rental Solutions.

Many of these participants are connected to Mays as undergraduate, Executive MBA graduates or as frequent classroom guest speakers.

Also represented were Galen Walters, founder and CEO of Go Think! Retail; Michael Albrecht, CDO and senior vice president of Albrecht AdVisors (formerly CDO and senio vice president for Love Advertising); Girish Sardeshapande, principal at the Dialog Group; Pablo Azar, senior vice president of PNC Financial Services Group; Jessica Lawson ’08, marketing director for Ignite Restaurant Group; and Rajendra Srivastava, dean of the Indian Business School.

Tim Krause, principal at TDKrause Consulting (former chief marketing officer of Alcatel-Lucent, leading IP networking, ultra-broadband access, and cloud technology specialist), served as the dinner keynote on Thursday, emphasizing that “collaboration begins by creating a network of innovation.”

He also stressed the importance of building a team of individuals who are able to contribute different perspectives. They should examine different parts of the issue – what he calls an “outside in approach.” If you give marketers the tools to succeed, he said, businesses can get ahead.

Krause challenged the academic researchers and Ph.D. students to:

1. Focus on real problems.
2. Don’t get distracted with noise.
3. Break your network. The new networks you form ad hoc will be the one that is worth it in the long run.
4. Stop finding solutions to problems that don’t exist.

“Given the long-time reputation of Mays as one of the strongest departments in the world for substantive marketing strategy research, it was a real thrill for us to get to host TPM 2016 with its focus on rigor and relevance,” said Mark Houston, head of the Department of Marketing at Mays.

“Tim [Krause] did a great job by tasking conference participants to focus their research on solving problems that matter. Overall, TPM had a big impact on the attendees. Their presentations have me excited to see the quality of research papers that will be published as a result.”

The best of the papers presented at the 2016 Theory + Practice in Marketing conference will be published in the Journal of Marketing Research, a premier marketing journal.

Also announced by TPM co-founder, Bernd Schmitt (Columbia School of Business), was the international expansion of the conference. TPM Asia is planned for June 2016 in Seoul, Korea.

For more information about the Theory + Practice in Marketing conference, visit theorypractice.org.

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

Humanitarian organizations need the help of the technology and operations management discipline, Luk Van Wassenhove said recently at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School.

He is the Henry Ford Chaired Professor of Manufacturing at INSEAD and academic director of the INSEAD Humanitarian Research Group, and his current
research focus is on closed-loop supply chains and disaster management – a relatively new research area in the discipline of operations management.


Van Wassenhove is a leading management thinker and educator on supply chains – systems of organizations, people, activities and resources involved in moving a product or service from a supplier to a customer. He said his research in adapting supply chains to developing countries has been eye-opening. “To me, research is about pushing the boundaries of your discipline,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, nobody was doing work on humanitarian operations. Now it is my hobby – supply chain management within the context of humanitarian disasters.”

Mays Dean Eli Jones invited Van Wassenhove as part of the 2016 Dean’s Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series at Mays C a forum that presents distinguished scholars from an array of business disciplines.

Van Wassenhove publishes regularly in Management Science, Production and Operations Management and many other journals as well as in management journals such as Harvard Business Review and California Management Review. He has written at least a dozen books, including Humanitarian Logistics, has published more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has worked on problems in industrial engineering (production-inventory control, transportation and warehousing). He is also the author of 78 teaching cases, many of which have won best case awards.

“I thought I knew everything about closed-loop supply chains, but after meeting with humanitarian operations, I realized I don’t know much at all.”

Van Wassenhove’s education on the topic came by immersion in 2000, when he was called by the supply chain manager of Red Cross International to go observe operations in Geneva. “I quickly realized there are a lot of challenging, interesting and fascinating problems there,” he said. “It is intriguing to me, and it is very important work. But make no mistake – this is not about doing good, it’s about developing a better closed-loop supply chain. It’s about survival.”

The military and businesses have the resources – people and money – to respond to disasters, while humanitarian agencies don’t. He said the problem is an ideal scenario for supply chain – the act of matching demand with supply. But first things first: “How can you set up a supply chain if you don’t know the demand or the supply?”

Van Wassenhove said about 95 percent of his work is applicable for real companies, rather than theoretical. In addition to the Red Cross, Van Wassenhove has worked with the United Nations, the World Food Program, UNICEF, Oxfam International and World Vision International.  

Humanitarian organizations have been working in rural areas and are not familiar with working in urban areas, he said. Of the world’s 1 billion undernourished people, he said, about half live in cities. By 2030, that number will reach 75 percent.

One of the greatest challenges after a disaster is when donations arrive from outside the area. When things are donated, the inventory is perishable, so is often wasted. “If you really want to do good after an earthquake or flood, give money, not stuff,” he explained. “The relief workers know how to get what is needed.”

Another hurdle is the influx of pledges that often don’t convert into “real money,” he said, or they take a long time to arrive. The critical time for funds is within the first 72 hours.


Categories: Mays Business, News, Research Notes, Texas A&M

The late Professor Emeritus Herbert G. Thompson, Jr. was a beloved educator at Texas A&M who made tremendous contributions to Mays Business School. Now his legacy will live on in two Mays marketing faculty members who are the first-time recipients of the award named in his honor.

The 2016 recipients of the Herb Thompson Teaching Award in Marketing are marketing Professor Stephen McDaniel and Lecturer Leslie Seipp.

The award was established to provide an annual teaching award to marketing faculty, recognizing their extraordinary accomplishments in teaching effectiveness, innovation, curriculum development and student service.

Marketing Department Head Mark Houston said McDaniel exemplifies the spirit of the award through his consistent effort over many years to nurture student learning both inside and outside the classroom.

“It is hard to think of a faculty member that spends more time outside of the classroom serving, mentoring and creating opportunities for our students,” Houston said. “From developing relationships with companies for hands-on consulting projects for our MS students to organizing life-changing study-abroad experiences for our undergraduates, Steve gives 100 percent of his self to our marketing students.”

Inside and out of the classroom, Seipp’s impact has extended to teaching eight marketing courses, creating new courses and pioneering the conversion of existing courses into online courses and developing four new undergraduate career tracks and serving as an advisor for the track in Consulting.

Houston also lauded Seipp’s focus on rigor and excellence. “She goes above and beyond her duties as a lecturer as she regularly coaches students, writes letters of recommendation and serves the department and college in many ways that impact our students,” he said.

The recipients were both presented a plaque and a cash award at a marketing department faculty meeting in May.

Herb Thompson winners 2016

Stephen McDaniel, Paul Busch (selection committee chair) and Leslie Seipp

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


SureshTexas A&M marketing Professor Suresh Ramanathan has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Asian Consumer Insights, giving him the opportunity to expand his research on one of the fastest-growing consumer segments in the world.

The Singapore-based institute is dedicated to helping international brands respond to the needs of Asian consumers by bridging the gap between academic theory and practice. This two-year fellowship will give Ramanathan access to research grants and open doors for industry collaborations and case studies on Asian consumers.

Ramanathan, whose research has focused on the dynamics of affective and motivational processes in judgments and choice, said the fellowship will provide him a unique opportunity to delve more deeply in studying perceptual cues and consumer decisions.

“Asian consumers respond differently to visual and numerical cues compared to their Western counterparts, which could have major implications for brand strategy,” he explained. “The ACI provides me access to resources and high-quality facilities that I could use for studying these research questions.”

He plans to bring the case studies back to the classroom at Mays, where he teaches Consumer Behavior and Marketing Management in the MBA and Professional MBA programs as well as the MS Marketing program.

“I am really looking forward to working closely with faculty associated with the ACI,” he said. “I hope to set up opportunities for doctoral students to also work on similar projects.”

Categories: Faculty, Mays Business, News, Research Notes, Texas A&M

Texas A&M University’s Committee of Senior Business Administrators (CSBA) presents two Best in Business Staff awards annually – one to an individual staff member and one to a team of two or more people. It is rare for one college to receive both, but Mays Business School accomplished it this year.

Patty Tatro, business administrator I in the Center for Executive Development (CED), and Kyra Gunn, business coordinator I in the Office of the Dean, received the team award. Sabrina Saladino, academic business administrator II in the department of management, received the individual award.


Kyra Gunn and Patty Tatro (center).

The awards recognize and reward superior service by Texas A&M support staff members in business-related positions. Recipients are those who have made distinguished contributions to Texas A&M and regularly exemplify outstanding service, a commitment to excellence, leadership, innovation, initiative, and support for quality of work life.

The three recipients’ work contributions and accomplishments have extended beyond their administrative responsibilities, according to their nominators. Tatro and Gunn have worked together to spearhead the revamping of fiscal reporting processes for the CED. During her 25 years of service at Mays, Saladino pursued and received a master’s degree in management, a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies and certification in mediation conflict resolution. In addition, she has taught three undergraduate courses for the department and served as the inaugural chair of the Mays Staff Council.

Saladino said receiving the award was humbling. “I love Texas A&M, Mays Business School and the management department, and I am proud of the career that I aspire to,” she said afterward. “There is no doubt in my mind that this is the best place to work. To be recognized for your commitment to outstanding service as well as being considered an example of excellence, leadership, innovation, initiative and support for the quality of work life at Texas A&M encompasses all I believe in.”

The recipients were given engraved plaques and awards checks at the Business Award Ceremony on May 23 at the CSBA workshop.


Sabrina Saladino (third from left).

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

MAY 23, 2016
Day 3: 13.5 miles

We got to sleep in today!!! Well only to 7 and I still woke up at 6 because I went to bed at 10.

After laying in bed for bit, I got up, packed everything up and headed downstairs for breakfast. Chase and I then made sure everyone was on the right way and followed everyone from behind. I ended up walking with Brit, and we talked about traveling and some of the favorite places he’s been. We ended up stopping pretty shortly after we started because everyone wanted to take their jackets off. I followed the pack and took mine off, but was freezing until second breakfast.

Finally we stopped and I had the chance to put my jacket back on but by then decided it was not worth it because the sun was coming up. The next part of our trek was off the road, which was an interesting change of scenery from our normal more “natury” paths.

After turning on to a normal path, we stumbled on to this old, abounded, graffitied building. While trying to figure out a way to get into it, Nathan jumps up, grabs the ledge and pulls himself in. A few minutes later, the rest of us found a path up to the top. Once inside the abandoned bulging, we saw some incredible views. We hung out there for a while, and then looked at our watches and realized we had been stopped for 49 minutes. We headed back on our way.

Through the walking, our group got split up and I ended up spending the rest of the day with Reid and Chase. Chase told some long, drawn-out jokes that were pretty terrible and Reid and I both told a riddle to pass the time.

Reid, Chase, and I finished our the last fiveish miles and met up with Joel and Nick who had been waiting for 1 1/2 hours. We checked I tot the hostel and then went searching for food.

We found this incredible gelato place where I got a slice of pizza and half coffee/half stratachello (?) ice cream. And boy I was happy.

We walked around a bit, explorers the cool town of Pamplona then headed back to get ready for team meeting. Chase and I led our second team meeting, during which our word of the day was “alpenglow”. Meaning: the sunrise or sunset at the top of the mountain.

Afterward we all split off for dinner, where I got more pizza. It was warm, and food and I was hungry and cold. So I was very satisfied.

Now we are back and low of wifi (the reason behind the short post and no photos tonight).

BIRTHDAY SHOUT-OUT: Happy Birthday Dad!!! I love you and wish you were here.

Thank you Jesus for easy walks, funny stories, spotted cows, gelato, no blisters (knock on wood), and my dad.

buen Camino,


By Mattie Bitting

* This is one of occasional posts about the Mays Camino de Santiago 2016. Follow their journey on the Facebook page.

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

The 2016 Raymond Ideas Challenge saw an impressive array of student ideas, as usual. The winner were announced at an award reception May 4.

The annual competition challenges students of all majors and classifications to dream up and pitch their “big idea” for a great product or service. Members of the business world and academia judge the submissions and the top 40 entries are named finalists. Finalists then present their ideas to a panel of business professionals.

By participating in the challenge, students have the opportunity to network with judges, develop business concepts and improve their writing and presentation skills.

The top awards went to:

    • First place ($3,000): Commercializing Low Earth Orbit with a Turnkey CubeSat Product Trent Tate, Dakotah Karrer, Vince Rodriguez and David Smith
    • Second place ($2,000): ReGrub Ryan Woolsey and Blake Harvey
    • Third place ($1,000): Motley Tool McCalley Cunningham and Dayana Hansley

The prizes for Best Video Pitches were awarded to:

    • First place ($1,000): IceMe Shravan Shetty, Aakash Jain, Yeshwanth Ja and Rishub Mishra
    • Second place ($500): Pool Reilly Mickelson, Mauricio Degregori and Colin Brady
    • Third place ($250): GiftHer Allison Kornher

The following teams were Honorable Mentions ($500):

    • WireSpare Blake Harvey
    • BAT-MoBIKE Service Center Pradeep Subramanian Srinivasan,
    • Quick Clip Reminder Shelby Polasek and Vanessa Galindo
    • DeHydraTect – Dehydration Detection Pacifier Magy Avedissian, Nga Tang, Grace Fletcher, Scott Herting and Jose Wippold

Learn more about the results of previous Ideas Challenges competitions. 26835627415_c52b03439b_o

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

BENEFACTOR Preston Young

Preston Young ’02 enjoys coming back to visit his alma mater and the master’s in real estate students at Mays Business School who will soon be going out in the field, managing and building properties. He said he learns from the students as much as he teaches them.

“Wealth isn’t just a measure of someone’s money and the freedom it can often provide.  More importantly, it is the freedom of controlling one’s own time,” he said. “I feel compelled to share my time and my experience with the students.”

Young said there is a bit of a “pay it forward” aspect to his visits to Mays. “I tell them things I wish I had heard at that age, and it’s a two-way street,” he said. “Their questions give me insight, and they are so bright and inquisitive.”

Young has committed a $100,000 gift to support the program at Mays.

“It is easy to have a big propensity to give back to this great university.   You start to think about the longevity of the gift, and you really feel you’re making an impact on the future,” he said. “When I meet a fellow Aggie, so many good things surface. I feel it’s almost incumbent upon me to give back.”

Young received a bachelor’s degree in finance from Texas A&M University and was a member of the Corps of Cadets and Ross Volunteer Company. Now he is a member of the Aggie Real Estate Network.

Young is regional managing partner for Stream Realty, which was recognized by the Aggie 100 for several years as one of the 100 fastest-growing Aggie-owned or operated companies. He leads the Houston office and jointly spearheads the firm’s strategic initiatives across its entire platform. In addition, he oversees the firm’s initiatives concerning asset management, acquisition and development activities for its principal and strategic clients.

Before joining Stream, Young served in the capital markets division at Trammell Crow Company. He is a member of the board of trustees for the Free Enterprise Institute and serves on the board of directors for the Business Ethics Forum and John Paul II Foundation for Life and Family. In addition, he is involved in a number of other civic and charitable organizations including the 12th Man Foundation’s Champions Council, the Austin Institute, Catholic Charities of Houston and Western Academy.

Preston Young in classroom

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

Adam Sinn doesn’t want finances to be the reason talented students don’t apply to or attend Mays Business School.

Adam Sinn donor

The 38-year-old commodities trader and member of Texas A&M University’s Class of 2000 has pledged $1 million to the Texas A&M Foundation to support scholarships for Mays Business School students, to encourage high school graduates from Dorado, Puerto Rico—where he now lives—and from Hoopeston, Ill.—his small hometown—to become Aggies.

“If you’re from Hoopeston or Dorado, you’d likely never think of applying to Texas A&M because you wouldn’t think you could afford it,” Sinn explained. “But knowing there’s a scholarship available can change that student’s mind. It can make being an Aggie a reality.”

Sinn’s brother became the family’s first college graduate, and Sinn hoped to follow in his footsteps to Notre Dame. When he wasn’t admitted, he accepted a scholarship and financial aid to Southern Methodist University (SMU). After a friend transferred from SMU to Texas A&M, Sinn visited the campus and was immediately taken. “The first time I walked across campus I remember thinking, ‘I want to be an Aggie.’”

He transferred, found a job bussing tables at Kona Ranch, and spent his final two undergraduate years studying finance. Looking back, if he could do his college experience all over again, he would have come to Texas A&M as a freshman. “My brother always told me that if I couldn’t proudly tell someone where I graduated from, then I was at the wrong school,” Sinn said. “Lucky for me, I’m proud to have graduated from A&M.”

Sinn’s career began in accounting and eventually led him to energy trading. In 2009, after Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy and Sinn lost his job, he took the biggest risk of his career and applied for membership on an exchange to begin trading his own life savings. The bet paid off. Later, business incentives led him to Puerto Rico, where his company Aspire Commodities, LP now employs five electricity and natural gas traders.

Sinn is living proof that significant giving isn’t just for the over-40 crowd. He has previously generously donated to A&M athletics. This Mays Business School scholarship, named for Sinn, is endowed, meaning the principal will be invested by the Texas A&M Foundation. Income from the endowment will support scholarships for four students each year forever.

“Luck and circumstance has had a lot to do with my career success, but I attribute much of that luck to the Aggie network,” he said. “You shouldn’t ever forget where you came from, so I’m going to be proud when someone from Hoopeston or Dorado receives one of these scholarships and joins the Aggie Network.”

This article was originally published by the Texas A&M Foundation.

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

KPMG Spring 2016

The 2nd Annual KPMG Fraud Case Competition Final Round was held May 3 at Mays Business School. The three teams competing in the Final Round had advanced from the Preliminary Round held there the prior week.

Final Round judging was facilitated by Nic D’Ambrosio, director, and Kelsey Brooks from the Houston office of KPMG’s U.S .Forensic Advisory Practice.

The Final Round participants included:

Darby Adamson                     Lauren Beurlot                                   William Chambers

Brent Garcia                           Jena Hemann                                     Robert Demarest

Aaron Mendoza                     Sydney Hunemuller                           Kyle Francis

Andre Thomas                      Natalie Lyon                                       Kyle Hamilton

Maci Watson                          Zidan Wang

The first-place team members are, left to right, Kyle Hamilton, William Chambers, KPMG Director Nic D’Ambrosio, KPMG representative Kelsey Brooks, Robert Demarest and Kyle Francis.

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