According to newly released rankings from Financial Times, the MBA program at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School is on the rise in the nation and the world. In 2009, the program is listed at 11th in the nation for public institutions. When ranked against all U.S. schools, it is tied for 1st place in placement and ranked 2nd in the value for money category.

“We are very pleased with our upward movement in the rankings, as it is an indication of the strength of our program, faculty, and students,” said Kelli Kilpatrick, director of the MBA program. “Our students benefit from the small program size, the top-quality faculty, and a first-rate career management team at A&M. As we continue to attract outstanding students and provide them the very best experience possible, we will continue to receive recognition as one of the top public MBA programs in the world.”

Of the 56 U.S. programs listed in this year’s ranking, the Texas A&M program is ranked 29th, up from 31st last year. Among public schools, the program has gained three places in the past year, moving from 14th to 11th.

For the second consecutive year, the Texas A&M MBA program is at the top of the list for public schools when ranked by placement alone: 98 percent of recent alumni reported employment within three months of graduation. For all U.S. schools ranked, both public and private, A&M tied for first with Georgetown University in this category. The national average for employment after three months for the schools ranked was 89.5 percent.

In other indicators to the MBA program’s success, Texas A&M came in 2nd only to the University of Pittsburgh among all schools in the U.S. in the “value for money” category.

Texas A&M’s position globally has also improved, moving from last year’s 61st ranking to the 57th spot this year. One hundred schools were listed in the 2009 rankings from the London-based business daily newspaper.

To determine the rankings the Financial Times uses alumni surveys focusing on salary and job placement as indicators of program quality, as well as the international reach of the business school and the research capabilities of the faculty.

The Texas A&M MBA program curriculum emphasizes core business principles along with strategic thinking, business communications, teamwork, ethics, character and leadership.

For a complete listing of these rankings and further information, please visit the Financial Times website at http://rankings.ft.com/businessschoolrankings/global-mba-rankings/.

About Mays Business School

Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. The full-time MBA program is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 26%. Currently there are 159 MBA students in their intensive 16-month program.

Categories: Programs

One of Texas A&M University’s core values is “selfless service.” Selfless service is often viewed as that which is performed without any expectation of result or award for the person performing it. From a simpler standpoint, selfless service means making one’s community, state, country, or world a better place.  At Mays, our faculty provides our students with an education and classroom experience second to none. However, in many cases, lessons our students practice outside of the classroom will remain with them longer, and make their impact on the world far greater, than anything done in our classrooms.

This month’s issue of Mays Business Online highlights the “spirit of service” that our Mays family demonstrates on a daily basis. From shipping care packages to soldiers in Iraq, to corresponding with others facing difficult circumstances, to providing toys to disadvantaged children at Christmas, our faculty, staff, and students not only illustrate Texas A&M’s core value, they epitomize it! Our recently developed sophomore-level class focusing on integrated worklife competencies challenges our students to identify a need for a local organization and develop a strategy to meet that need. The result? $48,000 worth of value provided by our students to local organizations in the fall semester.

The goal of any business school is to graduate future leaders who will make a difference in the world and influence the lives of others. Through their own actions, and their own initiatives, our students are already doing this.

I hope your holiday was restful and that 2009 is off to a great start for each of you. Please continue to stay in touch and please contact me if your travels bring you back to campus.

Jerry R. Strawser ’83
Dean, Mays Business School

Categories: Deanspeak

It’s another day at work for the American hero. He awakens to the sound of bombs outside his door, wondering if he’ll ever return to the family that he left months ago. As he tries to comfort the trembling Iraqi children seeking refuge from the turmoil, he thinks about the little things from his past that he misses so much, things often taken for granted until they’re gone. Evening comes, and it’s time for mail call. He receives a package, a basket filled with Cheez-Its, granola bars, candy, wool socks, a t-shirt showing appreciation for protecting the freedoms of so many individuals, and a letter of support. He is encouraged, ready to continue the fight, his hunger for home satiated for a little bit longer.

Mays Business Student Council members assembled and shipped nearly 100 gift baskets to troops overseas.
Mays Business Student Council members assembled and shipped nearly 100 gift baskets to troops overseas.

This kind of encouragement is exactly what members of the Business Student Council at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School had in mind when collecting items for care packages to send to soldiers in Iraq. After shipping seventy packages overseas, the council continued their project, sending a total of nearly one hundred packages to troops stationed abroad.

“We knew we had to do something for these people who fight each day for the freedoms we enjoy,” said BSC President Michael Kurt ’09. “By distributing these gift baskets, we can show our support for the things these soldiers are sacrificing, while giving them a few small things to remind them of home,” he added.

At Mays Business School, the spirit of service doesn’t just appear in December; it is a year-round emphasis. Students learn to help others and give back to the community in and out of the classroom.

Cards, Cans, and Toys

Keith Swim, clinical assistant professor of management at Mays, is just one faculty member that encourages his students to get involved in service projects throughout the school year. With the help of his students, Swim continues to celebrate the success of his three favorite charities and their impact on the community.

The first project, Swim’s Card Program, invites students to send thoughtful notes to those facing difficult times. The recipient’s name is added to a card list by students, friends, and family members, and Swim’s students handle the rest, sending cards to hurting people in an effort to lift their spirits. The program began when one of Swim’s closest friends was diagnosed with breast cancer, and her son asked Swim’s students to send her cards and letters of encouragement. The students answered the call, sending so many cards that the postman had to deliver them in wheelbarrows. The students’ involvement had a great impact, as the woman continues her fight today, appreciative of the concern of a group of complete strangers.

“It only works because of the kids. It’s not me, it’s them,” said Swim. “Helping these people wouldn’t be possible without their willingness to get involved.”

Additionally, Swim heads up a food drive each fall for the Brazos Valley Food Bank. Beginning in October, students donate non-perishable items and deliver them to the food bank, often by the truckload.

Mays professor Keith Swim encourages his students to participate in a number of service activities, such as his annual Christmas toy drive benefiting children in the Brazos Valley.
Mays professor Keith Swim encourages his students to participate in a number of service activities, such as his annual Christmas toy drive benefiting children in the Brazos Valley.

The largest project taken on by Swim’s students, as well as a number of faculty, staff members, and student organizations, is the Christmas Toy Drive. Benefiting infants to teenagers in need throughout the Brazos Valley, Swim partners with Child Protective Services (CPS) each year to obtain Christmas wish lists from disadvantaged kids. “They’ve gotten to where they depend on us to make these children’s holiday season brighter,” said Swim. CPS delivers a list for each child containing the top three items they would like to receive as gifts each year and it’s up to the students to make their wishes come true. For big-ticket items like iPods and Playstations, contributors donate gift cards to stores such as Target and Wal-Mart to fund the purchases.

The project doesn’t stop there—Swim also recruits student volunteers to wrap and distribute the presents. In the past, the toy drive has also provided truckloads of bicycles for these children in need. The students show their dedication throughout the entire project, some even volunteering to camp out all night and brave the whirlwind of shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving to find items at the best sale prices.

Swim added that when given the opportunity to serve, most of his students jump at the chance without a second thought, understanding the importance of giving back to the community. “There’s so much negativity associated with college students, and they often get a bad rap from people in town. These kinds of projects show the community that there are a lot of good kids out there that want to make a difference in this town,” he said.

The impact of Swim’s Christmas Toy Drive is felt throughout the Brazos Valley. Linda Harris, office manager at CPS, sees the joy that comes from the Aggie students’ involvement. She retired from the job last August, but she says she decided to return in October for the sole purpose of working with Swim on the yearly toy drive. “I just couldn’t give it up. This program brings so much happiness to the children, and we look forward to it every year,” Harris said. “We have so many children that need things, and these students help fulfill those needs. The work that Swim and his students do is just amazing.”

Community involvement enters the classroom

Lessons of service are not emphasized in Swim’s classroom alone, as many Mays students begin their b-school education focusing on the best ways to impact the Bryan/College Station community. In the business 289 class, integrated worklife competencies, a mid-semester service project enables students to become involved with the community while learning to work in a team. Roemer Visser, clinical assistant professor in the Undergraduate Special Programs Office, leads a section of the undergrad class, which takes on a service focus in the second half of each semester. The course presents students with the challenge of identifying a need in a local agency and then determining the best strategy to meet that need.

Students in the Business 289 course develop teamwork skills while working with community groups like the Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center.
Students in the Business 289 course develop teamwork skills while working with community groups like the Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center.

“The service aspect of the course really has potential to impact the students, and some get such great intrinsic value out of it when they realize their impact on the agency that they continue to work with the organization in future semesters. It’s not just about a grade for these students,” said Visser. The 52 students in the fall 289 course raised a total of $48,000 in donations and volunteer hours, a testament to the dedication of the class to the B/CS community.

When Trey Ward ’11 and his group, Team A-MAYS-ING, began their project, they wanted to get involved with an organization that would let them interact with people. Ward and his teammates chose to work with CAMP FOR ALL, a camp for children and adults with disabilities. “We felt that by actually working with children and parents, we would see how our work was affecting other people and making a difference, as opposed to relying on only donations to see the impact of our work,” Ward said.

One experience in particular that made the project worthwhile for Ward was working with a weekend-long getaway that brings together families affected by cancer. Ward coordinated softball games for the children at the camp and had the opportunity to speak with a few of the parents. One dad thanked him for his involvement with the organization, explaining that his daughter, a cancer patient, had not stopped smiling since she had been there. “That is when I realized that we were really making a difference,” Ward said.

A Business 289 student paints a mural as part of a fundraiser for Voices for Children.
A Business 289 student paints a mural as part of a fundraiser for Voices for Children.

Ward’s classmate Kirsten Lande ’11 and her team, The Untouchables, hoped to do something unique for the assignment. Not wanting to work with a well-known agency, they chose Voices for Children, which specializes in finding adoptive families for homeless and abandoned children. Lande’s group raised almost $3,000 worth of cash and in-kind donations for the organization by painting houses in Bryan and soliciting donations for welcome home baskets for adopted children.

Lande and teammates presented the baskets at the National Adoption Day Ceremony on November 14 to help a number of families celebrate their newly adopted family members. “To know that we touched the lives of seven children gives such a great sense of satisfaction. These children, who were once lost and alone, are now blessed with a permanent home—something they will be able to look back on in a few years and really be able to appreciate,” said Lande.

Whether it’s the gift of a toy or of time, Mays students prove the impact of the college population on the Bryan/College Station area. “It’s really easy to get caught up in school and work and being a student,” said Leslie Reitmeyer ’11, whose group worked with the Brazos Valley Rehabilitation Center helping disabled children experience horses (hippotherapy). “But it’s important to be involved and realize the importance of giving back to the community, and the fact that a lot of what we do would not be possible without its support.”

Categories: Featured Stories, Students

Nearly 200 people were in attendance as Mays Business School at Texas A&M University recognized five individuals for their careers of merit and lives of service at its annual Outstanding Alumni Awards dinner.

The awards were presented to Paul Kruse ’77, Alan Roberts ’78, Daniel Sparks ’89, and Robyn Roberts ’89, at a banquet at the Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas on November 13.

Ernest Wehner ’41, the namesake of the building where Mays is housed, was also recognized with this award, posthumously. Accepting on his behalf were daughters Molly (Wehner) Marks “82 and Diane (Wehner) Weigle.

“The Outstanding Alumni Award is the highest honor Mays bestows upon its graduates,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser, who presided at the event. Strawser pointed out that of the thousands of successful Mays alumni, only 54 have been chosen as recipients of this award in the 17 years that it has been given. “That tells you what an honor this is,” said Strawser. Recipients were chosen on the basis of their personal and professional success in life, as well as their contributions to the greater good.

“It is obvious that [the honorees’] success in the business world has not come at the expense of family and friends,” said Strawser, recognizing the many friends, family members and coworkers of the honorees that were present at the event. Previous years’ recipients, officials from Texas A&M and Mays, and a number of current Mays students—the outstanding alumni of the future—also attended.

The students were especially welcome, as Strawser mentioned that it was important for them to see examples of Mays alumni making a difference in the world. “Tonight you have role models of people that have done well, but you also have role models of people that have done right,” he said, emphasizing to students that the honorees lives are a testament to the fact that you don’t need to sacrifice integrity for success.

The honorees’ careers ranged from ice cream making to pipeline construction to accountancy, but each had something in common: a dedication to improving their communities and Texas A&M.

Paul W. Kruse “77

“I received an excellent education at A&M. But for that education, I would not be where I am today.”

Paul Kruse '77
Kruse

Though Paul Kruse grew up around the Blue Bell creamery where his grandfather, father, and uncle all had leadership roles, his initial career plans did not include joining the family business. He graduated magna cum laude from A&M in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, then went on to Baylor University School of Law. Kruse had his own private law practice in Brenham, Texas for several years before he was elected to serve on the board of directors at Blue Bell in 1983.

In 1986, Kruse became General Counsel of Blue Bell. In 1991, he was named vice president, and eventually chief executive officer and president in 2004.  Since he joined the Company, Blue Bell has expanded outside the state of Texas and has the current distinction of being the 3rd best selling ice cream in the nation, with sales in 17 southern states.

Kruse is a past chairman of the International Ice Cream Association, and has had previous leadership roles at Trinity Medical Center, the Blinn College Foundation and Dairy Products Institute of Texas. He is a member and past president of the Brenham Rotary Club and is a trustee of the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation and the Ron Stone Foundation. In 2006, Kruse received the Soaring Eagle Award from the International Dairy Foods Association, and was inducted into the Dairy Products Institute of Texas Hall of Fame the following year.

Alan B. Roberts ’78

“As my mom used to say, hard work doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s just good for you.”

Alan B. Roberts '78
Roberts

Following his graduation with a BBA in accounting in 1978, Alan Roberts worked for a CPA firm in Victoria, Texas before launching his own company. He started Pumpco, Inc. in 1981 to provide oilfield pump repair and lease services with little more than personal integrity, a truck, faith, and the willingness to work as long and hard as was necessary to become regarded as a top contractor.

In 1985, Roberts had the good fortune to meet fellow Aggie accounting major Robyn Meyer ’89 at an Aggie football game. When they married a few years later, Alan not only took on a life partner, but a business partner as well, as Robyn became a co-owner of the company and the corporate treasurer.

Over the years, Pumpco, Inc. has flourished, as evidenced by the growth in the size and sophistication of its equipment and the number of employees. Both the territory it covers and services it provides have expanded. In 2007, Pumpco, Inc. was named to the Aggie 100, the list of the top 100 fastest growing Aggie-owned-or-operated businesses. Recently, the Roberts sold the company to MasTec, Inc. of Coral Gables, Florida.

Roberts has served as chairman of the board of trustees of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Giddings. He is a member of the Breakfast Lions Club in Giddings and continues to serve as treasurer of the St. Mark’s Medical Center Foundation in nearby La Grange.

Daniel L. Sparks “89

“There’s going to be great opportunity when we get through all of this [financial turmoil]…what a great time to learn.”

Daniel L. Sparks '89
Sparks

Though he lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, Dan Sparks ’89 and his family can often be spotted around College Station, especially during football and basketball seasons. As dedicated maroon and white enthusiasts, Sparks and his family make the trip to Aggieland frequently.

Sparks graduated in 1989 with degrees in finance and accounting. Later that year he started working at Goldman Sachs, where he would build a career for nearly two decades. He has held a variety of positions at that company, with responsibilities usually focused around commercial and residential loans. He moved up the management ranks internally, building a reputation for sound business sense. Sparks left Goldman Sachs in June of 2008 to pursue other business opportunities.

Sparks has been a guest lecturer in the classroom, as well as a member of the finance department advisory board. He is an active supporter of the 12th Man Foundation and serves on its board of trustees.

Robyn Meyer Roberts ’89

“For me and my family, being an Aggie is a way of life. And the Aggie way of life is to serve.”

Robin Meyer Roberts '89
Roberts

Robyn Roberts ’89 didn’t have to go far from home to find success. A Giddings resident all her life, Roberts left her hometown for an Aggie education, just 50 miles away in 1985. It was that year that she met her husband, Alan “78, at an Aggie football game.

Roberts graduated in 1989 with her degree in accounting and went to work for Browning-Ferris Industries as a controller in their San Antonio office. A marriage proposal brought her back to Giddings, where she became co-owner of the company her husband founded, Pumpco, Inc. She has served in the capacity of corporate treasurer for the company for many years. Recently, the company was sold to MasTec Inc., but remains under the Roberts’ leadership.

Giving back to the community is very important to Roberts, who has served as congregational treasurer of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Giddings and on the School Board of Immanuel Lutheran School. She is a member of the New Horizon Lions Club in Giddings and serves as board treasurer of St. Mark’s Medical Center in La Grange. Recently, she was invited to join the board of regents at Concordia Lutheran University in Austin, Texas.

Ernest L. Wehner ’41 (1920-1991)

“In Houston, he was know as a business man who would never cut a corner, much like the Aggie band he was a part of.” – Molly (Wehner) Marks “82

Ernest L. Wehner '41
Wehner

A native of Del Rio, Texas, Ernest L. “Pete” Wehner ’41 enrolled at A&M in the fall of 1937. He was a member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Band and served as Band Commander his senior year. He had the distinction of being a Military Honor Graduate of the class of 1941 when he graduated with a degree in agricultural administration. At that time the university did not offer a degree in business, but Wehner took all the accounting classes that were offered and was able to compile enough hours to sit for the CPA exam.

Shortly after graduating, Wehner was called to serve his country in WWII. He fought bravely with the United States Army Field Artillery on the European front, eventually attaining the rank of major.

Wehner began a successful career in accounting when he returned home. He spent the majority of his career with the Houston office of Arthur Andersen and Co. where he worked for 33 years until his early retirement in 1979. During those years, Wehner was given progressive managerial responsibilities eventually becoming a senior partner. He also spent seven years on the firm’s international board of directors.

Wehner was a member of the A&M Chancellor’s Century Council, the President’s Council, the Board of Visitors of Texas A&M University at Galveston, and the investment advisory committee of the Texas A&M University System. He was also the president of the board of trustees of the Texas A&M Foundation for one year.

Wehner and his wife, Jo Alice, gave back to Texas A&M in many ways, including a President’s Endowed Scholarship, a 12th Man Foundation Permanently Endowed Scholarship, and Diamond Century Club support of the Association of Former Students. In 1976, Wehner was named a Distinguished Alumnus, Texas A&M University’s highest honor.

For more information

To see a list of previous Mays Outstanding Alumni Award recipients, click here.

Categories: Featured Stories, Former Students

At the stroke of midnight, we stopped our game of Skip-Bo to toast the New Year. It was a quiet celebration, and certainly one I will never forget. As I sat silently with my fellow Aggies, I could not help but think of the images of displaced families, burning homes and machete-armed mobs that we had seen earlier that night.

Texas A&M graduate Rebekah Norwood '06 (at far left) has traveled to Kenya three times to provide relief for some of the country's homeless children.
Texas A&M graduate Rebekah Norwood ’06 (at far left) has traveled to Kenya three times to provide relief for some of the country’s homeless children.

We arrived in Kenya just two days before the 2007 presidential election. People were speculating foul play as the numbers for President Mwai Kibaki suddenly soared with only a few hours left in the election. Political tensions grew hourly, and by the time Kibaki was finally announced victor over Raila Odinga, ethnic violence erupted as political parties took their anger to the streets.

This was my third trip to Kenya, and I was leading a group of five other students from Aggies for Christ (AFC) to work with a ministry 30 kilometers east of Nairobi called Made in the Streets. The organization works to rehabilitate street children that live in the slums surrounding Nairobi, taking them to a farm where they educate them, feed them and most importantly, provide the stability and unconditional love that every child craves. Completely discarded by society, nearly 60,000 street children make their homes in piles of trash, finding comfort in glue fumes, which they sniff to ease their hunger pains. If Kenya had a social ladder, these children would not reach the bottom rung.

For the last several years, students from AFC have spent their semester breaks working with Made in the Streets, and the street children have come to love Aggies and look forward to their arrival. According to local missionaries, the Aggies are different than other Nairobi missionary groups: They will “go anywhere and do anything—no matter how dirty or difficult the work.”

Titus, seen here while still living on the streets, was one of the many children addicted to sniffing glue that Norwood worked with.
Titus, seen here while still living on the streets, was one of the many children addicted to sniffing glue that Norwood worked with.

Titus, a wonderfully mischievous boy, was orphaned at the age of seven and forced to live on the streets. He once spit in my face when I refused him money for glue, but then cried in my lap 10 minutes later when I offered him a plate of food. Meeting Titus for the first time, in the midst of sewage and decaying waste, was like learning to breathe again. As if I had held my breath my entire life until that very moment. For two long summers we tried fruitlessly to get Titus off the streets, and finally, this time back, I was ecstatic to see that he was finally in the rehabilitation program and off drugs.

Working with kids like Titus has become my life’s passion. Which is why, even as two congressmen, the State Department, a specialized evacuation company and our parents frantically worked to get us out of the country, I still could not picture myself anywhere else in the world. Exactly one week after the violence began we were evacuated to Tanzania on a chartered bush plane. As we flew toward the border, Mount Kilimanjaro on the horizon, I felt a mix of sadness and relief that we were finally getting out. My life has not been the same since my first trip to those slums. There is something about Kenya and all the Tituses of the world that make this work undeniably worthwhile. I go because, like other Aggies, I am called to selfless service. Such service is part of who I am and who God has called me to be; attending Texas A&M has only further ingrained this idea within me.

So when people ask me if we were scared or upset that we had to cut our mission trip short, I only pull out a picture of a young boy and say, “Let me tell you about Titus…”

• • • • •

To learn more about Aggies For Christ or Made in the Streets, go to http://www.aggiesforchrist.org or http://www.made-in-the-streets.org.

This article was reprinted with permission from Spirit magazine, a publication of the Texas A&M Foundation for alumni, donors and other A&M supporters. The Texas A&M Foundation, a private nonprofit organization with on-campus headquarters, solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance A&M’s capability to be among the best universities. Its current multiyear initiative, Operation Spirit and Mind&#8480, aims to raise $300 million in scholarships. For more information about the foundation, see http://giving.tamu.edu.

Categories: Perspectives