Judging from the number of students crowding the halls of the Wehner Building, it must be time for the bi-annual Business Career Fair. Sponsored by the Business Student Council, the fair provided recruiting and networking opportunities between students and recruiters.

While the event did encourage career networking, the impact of the current economic downturn could be felt. “Most of the companies I talked to told me to come back next semester,” says Ben Scoggin, a senior finance major. “I can tell a definite difference in the recruiting process from last year. It’s still strong, but since the economy is somewhat down right now, businesses are a lot less likely to hire.”

It’s true that this year’s fair did have slightly fewer companies in attendance. Adam Hankins, Business Student Council vice president of Career Fair and senior accounting major, says the number of businesses represented dropped to 140 this fall, compared to last year’s 160-plus. Five to 10 companies also cancelled after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Yet the fair still proved to be a success giving students opportunities to network with potential employers. It drew students from other A&M departments and colleges as well as from surrounding universities.

Students shouldn’t get discouraged recruiters say. Companies haven’t stopped hiring, it simply comes down to who wants the job more. “We’re just looking for personable, goal-oriented students. Their major often means far less to employers than their personal qualities and credentials,” explains one recruiter from Wells Fargo. “If students really want a job, they should just remember to be assertive. When you have this many students with a limited number of businesses, only the extremely aggressive candidates will survive.”

Categories: Departments, Programs, Students

Consider this: Your employer gives you a year off from your normal job responsibilities. Would you volunteer to become a hospital patient?

That’s just what Distinguished Professor of Marketing Leonard Berry is planning to do. For his sabbatical, he’ll be spending five months as a visiting scientist at the famous Mayo Clinic. For part of that time, he’ll go undercover as a “mystery patient,” to assess the quality of healthcare services provided there.

“In many ways, healthcare is America’s most important industry,” says Berry who holds the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership. “Healthcare expenditures devour a big chunk of our nation’s GDP, and the level of health services impacts the quality of life of each of us.

Berry approached Mayo Clinic more than a year and a half ago with a proposal to conduct on-site research into their delivery of healthcare. He will study Mayo’s operations at the original clinic in Rochester, Minn., and at a second clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I thought studying the clinic would be a true growth experience for me, while offering the chance to make a real contribution to the industry,” he explains.

When Berry first arrives at the clinic, before anyone on the staff gets to know him, he’ll pose for two days as a real patient with a fictitious disease. Later, he’ll observe and interview patients, physicians and nurses.

Research at the Mayo Clinic will form a pilot for a larger empirical study on healthcare service quality, which Berry will conduct after he returns from his faculty development leave. “Of course, one of my goals is to share what I learn at the Mayo Clinic with Texas A&M’s medical school and the local medical community,” he says.

Categories: Departments, Faculty

The Mays College Fellows Program, a professional program for junior business students, is helping children in the Brazos Valley learn to read. Through their second annual golf tournament, held Sept. 24 at the Pebble Creek Country Club, the Fellows raised money for the Helping One Student To Succeed (HOSTS) program, a project sponsored by the Bryan Independent School District.

For the past two years, the Fellows have supported a charitable organization through their Project Make a Difference program, says Sarah Gillespie, a junior accounting major and Fellows member. “We find a global issue and try to act on that locally,” she says.

With the help of corporations — such as the Big 5 accounting firms, Enron, Grant Thornton and Northwestern Mutual — who sponsor the golf tournament, the Fellows hope to raise approximately $4,000 for the HOSTS program.

The funds will help purchase new books for the program. The Fellows are also trying to work out a deal with Apple to purchase computers with the remaining funds, adds Gillespie.

“The best thing about the tournament and raising money for HOSTS is that we have the opportunity to be role models for the children,” says Gillespie. “It takes away the focus on our business careers and gives us the chance to see how fortunate we are to be getting a college education. We hope to encourage younger kids and help them see the importance of education.”

Categories: Departments, Programs, Students

Dr. Albert Cannella wants to develop the entrepreneurial spirit among students at Texas A&M University, and as director of the college’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), he’s in a prime position to do just that.

This fall, the center, which is part of the Department of Management, is sponsoring a Business Idea Competition. Open to all Texas A&M students, the competition aims to encourage students to think outside the box.

While many business schools host business plan competitions, Cannella believes the Business Idea Competition is more conducive for busy students. And, by opening it to the entire Texas A&M student body, students in other colleges can put their ideas to the test.

“A business idea competition would permit students to develop their business ideas without the intensive time and effort required by a business plan competition,” says Cannella. “A lot of business schools host business plan competitions, which are aimed mainly at advanced undergraduates and MBA students. I wanted to modify these ideas into a contest that regular students from across the university could enter.”

A panel of Mays faculty members and business executives will select the top 50 entries. From there, they will pick the best 20 entries, which will each receive a $1,000 prize. The deadline for entries is Feb. 1, 2002.

By working with corporate sponsors, such as Microsoft, Accenture and Neutral Posture Ergonomics, the center is also offering seminars to help students think through the process. Topics will include finding and developing a business idea; identifying customers and analyzing their needs; and analyzing competition and competitors.

Through projects such as the Business Idea Competition, the CNVE continues to reach out to the campus and business communities. Ultimately, Cannella says this will provide students greater opportunities and exposure.

“The Mays College wants to develop and market graduates who are business-savvy, technically expert professionals,” Cannella says. “CNVE can help in that process by lighting the fires of the entrepreneurial spirit in our students.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Programs

Tim Chester
Lecturer, Information and Operations Management

-B.A. in Political Science from University of Texas at Tyler
-M.S. in Sociology from Texas A&M University
-Ph.D. in Sociology from Texas A&M University

A week in the life of Dr. Chester is constantly busy, to say the least. In addition to teaching business programming fundamentals, he is currently employed at A&M as a senior IT manager for application development. He is responsible for the design and implementation of the campus’ distributed applications. Dr. Chester also owns and operates his own consulting firm, E-Internet Studios, in College Station.

Outside the Classroom:
Armed with considerable experience and technological know-how, Dr. Chester is responsible for writing the Web code for students’ online class registration, which will substitute telephone registration for the spring 2002 semester.

Haiyang Li
Assistant Professor, Management

-B.A. in Economics, Renmin (People’s) University of China, 1991
-M.A. in Business Economics, Renmin (People’s) University of China, 1994
-Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Innovation, City University of Hong Kong, 1998

Before accepting tenure from Texas A&M, Dr. Li served as an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing & International Business at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. His specialization concentrates on product innovation and business strategies of new technology ventures. Dr. Li currently teaches strategic management.

Outside the classroom:
Originally from Bejing, China, Dr. Li brings academic, as well as athletic, skill to Texas A&M. When he’s not in the classroom, Dr. Li can most likely be found playing an intense game of soccer, badminton or basketball.

Christopher O.L.H. Porter
Assistant Professor, Management

-B.A. in Psychology, Morehouse College, 1994
-M.S. in Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, 1996
-Ph.D. in Business Administration, Michigan State University, 2001

A member of the Academy of Management and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Dr. Porter has interned with the Secret Service and has worked as a consultant for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency and the National Juvenile Detention Association. Dr. Porter teaches and conducts research on managing conflict and negotiations in organizations.

Outside the Classroom:
When he’s not teaching, researching or watching documentaries about the police force, Dr. Porter enjoys cooking, art and spending time with his son, Nicholas.

Christo Pirinsky
Assistant Professor, Finance

-B.S. in Statistics, the University of Sofia (Bulgaria)
-M.S. in Statistics, the University of Sofia (Bulgaria)
-Ph.D. in Finance, Ohio State University

With an impressive history of past teaching experience under his belt, including serving as an instructor at both Ohio State University and the University of Sofia, Dr. Pirinsky currently teaches investment analysis. Specializing in investments, he has published several articles and has been the recipient of several academic fellowships.

On Texas A&M:
“I really appreciate the strong traditions and well-renowned academia,” he says. “The atmosphere here at A&M is very unique because everything concentrates on the university. It’s easy to lose your identity at most large schools, but students here seem to know who they are.”

Michael Grimaila
Visiting Assistant Professor, Information & Operations Management

-B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1993
-M.S. in Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1995
-Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1999

A native of Bryan-College Station, Dr. Grimaila has interned and conducted research for Texas Instruments and served as a system manager and technician for Lightwave Transmission Systems Division. He has also lectured and conducted research for Texas A&M’s Department of Electrical Engineering. In recognition of his excellence in the classroom, Dr. Grimaila has been the recipient of the IEEE/HKN Outstanding Professor of the Year Award two years in a row.

Outside the classroom:
While working as a Texas A&M Mentor, University Faculty Senator, and principal investigator for the electrical engineering department, Dr. Grimaila still finds time to contribute to the community. He serves as an active member in the College Station Police Department Alumni Association, the Brazos County Citizen Sheriffs Alumni Association, and the Bryan Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association.

Joe Reising
Visiting Assistant Professor,

-B.S. in Economics, University of Minnesota, 1988
-M.S. in Economics, Iowa State University, 1990
-Ph.D. in Finance, Texas A&M University, 1995

After teaching at California State University-Fullerton for six years, Dr. Reising says he “saw the light” and accepted a visiting professorship with Texas A&M. He currently teaches managerial finance and specializes in corporate finance and financial institutions at markets.

Outside the classroom:
Though his research interests include compensation, turnover, and legal/regulatory structure, the only type of course Dr. Reising wants to see at the end of a long week of teaching is a golf course. He also enjoys working on computers and weightlifting.

Bill Richmond
Visiting Associate Professor, Information & Operations Management

-B.A., Cornell University
-Ph.D., Purdue University

After working in academia for a number of years at Rochester and George Mason Universities, Dr. Richmond took a sabbatical from teaching and entered the technology industry. Through exploring a variety of career paths, including providing consulting services for Perot Systems, SAIC, and a dot com company, he gained valuable insight that’s come in useful in the classroom. Now a visiting associate professor in information and operations management, Dr. Richmond teaches e-commerce.

Outside the classroom:
Self-described as “family-oriented,” Dr. Richmond enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and two daughters when the workday ends. While family is his top priority, Dr. Richmond enjoys gardening and is particularly interested in tropical flowers and palm trees.

Sancy Wu
Lecturer, Information & Operations Management

-B.A. in Literature, National Taiwan University
-M.S. in Computer Science, Texas A&M University

With an extensive background in technology, Professor Wu brings valuable experience to her management information systems class. She has been a senior IT manager at Texas A&M’s Computing and Information Systems for the past 12 years. Additionally, she has worked for the Texas Transportation Institute and Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

On Teaching:
“I feel I have something to contribute through my 20 plus years of experience in computers,” she says. “I can relate my real world experiences in my teaching, which can communicate more than a textbook could.”

Categories: Faculty