A group of high school juniors spent the past weekend attending “A Day at Mays” to learn more about their options as not only potential Mays Business School students, but also as prospective Texas A&M University students. Of a select group of students invited, 35 visited campus.

The overriding goal of the “A Day at Mays” program was to increase the number of students from under-represented groups who pursue degrees at Mays Business School. By doing so, Mays hopes to make a major contribution to the larger objective of ensuring a workplace that is not only diversified, but also staffed by highly skilled employees who are prepared to work in a global and multicultural environment.

Photo credit: Corey D. Stone ’13

The activities began on Friday, April 20, and extended through Saturday, April 21. A dinner on Friday provided the high school students to converse with other prospective students, family members, current students, and Mays faculty at the George Hotel in College Station. After dinner, prospective students paired up with current students in Business Student Council (BSC) and Multicultural Association of Business Students (MABS) and participated in a fun evening at Grand Central Station, where prospective students were able to build connections and ask questions about real “college” life at Texas A&M.

The next day, the students were able to take a walking tour of the Texas A&M campus and then moved to the Cocanougher Center to learn from Mays faculty and staff. Undergraduate recruiter Corey Stone shared with the students the application process for entrance into Texas A&M. He offered honest advice on earning college credit in high school and the requirements for the students to work for. “When in doubt, email me,” Stone said.

After Stone’s presentation, a panel of current PPA students shared their knowledge of their different track decisions and experiences on their internships. They described the opportunities given in public accounting and explained why they chose to do the PPA program, followed by a question-and-answer session for both parents and prospective students. Students were then given a brief overview of the PPA program by Casey Kyllonen, followed by brief overviews of the rest of the departments in Mays.

At the end of the day, prospective students attended an Opportunity Fair where students could ask questions about opportunities at Mays. This provided a convenient way for participants to learn one-on-one about their specific interests and options, after a packed weekend of group discussions and panels. 

The program was sponsored by the PPA program at Mays in conjunction with
PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Profession Program at Mays is an integrated program that allows participants to complete a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting and a master’s of science in one of five business disciplines in just five years.

– By Erin Cullers, PPA student

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, PPA, Students, Texas A&M

Third-year accounting doctoral student Jennifer Glenn has faced several obstacles in her life that have not only taught her how to be resilient, but have also shown her the power of perseverance.

Her inspiring fight against adversity led to her selection for the 2018 Community of Scholars Unsung Hero Award, an award created by the Texas A&M University Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) to recognize current graduate students who have faced and overcome difficult life experiences during their time at Texas A&M.

Glenn’s fight against adversity began in elementary school, when she developed a severe stutter. She was told by many of her teachers that she would never find a good job due to her inability to speak without stuttering. This did not set her back, however, because she still earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and her CPA license, despite her speech impediment. “I refuse to let anything stand in my way when it comes to accomplishing my goals,” Glenn said.

Years later, during her second year in the Ph.D. program at Texas A&M, Glenn learned that she needed brain surgery to remove a brain tumor that had been growing at an alarmingly fast rate and was feared to be cancer. Glenn had brain surgery six months before her comprehensive exam, which is required before a Ph.D. student can begin working on their dissertation. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Rapidly changing technology is causing many businesses to reevaluate the services they provide.  EY is no different. The multinational services firm, which is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms, is striving to be proactive in dealing with the challenges caused by technological advances and outsourcing while also finding ways to help its clients succeed in these evolving times. This introspection also is leading EY to identify the qualities and skills of the employees who will be needed in the future.

A number of EY executives addressed the effect of disruption on the business world in a March 22 presentation to Mays Business School students and faculty.  This presentation was part of Mays’ EY Day, which celebrated the corporation’s recognition as Mays’ 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year.

A positive take on disruption

Outsourcing and rapidly changing technology, including bots and automation, are creating a rapidly shifting business landscape.  “Disruption is everywhere and is influencing everything. For most people, disruption makes everybody uncomfortable because it’s the unknown,” said Anneliese Schumacher, EY’s Southwest Campus recruiting leader. “However, I believe disruption is going to be incredibly positive. You think about the different revolutions – economic, political, social – and they all started with some kind of disruption.”

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Companies need to continually look for different ways to engage employees in order to compete in today’s rapidly changing world. Multinational professional services firm EY, which was named Mays Business School’s 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year, uses a number of strategies to involve and retain employees and improve their performance.

As part of Mays’ EY Day on March 22, EY Southwest Talent Leader Allison Allen spoke to graduate students who are studying human resource management.  During her presentation, Allen described the importance of flexible scheduling, mentoring, sponsorships, and employee engagement to EY’s efforts.

Corporate engagement

Allen, who leads a 48-member HR team at the global services company, stressed that the company’s business agenda and people agenda need to be the same thing. “You always need people to drive your business agenda so you need to think like a business person. You need to make sure that human resources is always at the table so that you know what the business agenda is and are able to drive it through your people.”

She is a strong advocate for always communicating the reasons for business decisions to employees. “We often tell people what to do, but we don’t always tell them why it is important,” she said.

Allen noted that the Southwest Region has taken this approach one step further through actively seeking employee feedback and engagement. “When we are developing our HR strategy, we’re going to co-develop it with the people who work for this company and they’re going to help us implement it and we’re going to collaborate,” she said. “The insight that I’ve gotten from that has been mind-blowing in terms of the humility of thinking what I and the HR team would have done on our own if we had not partnered with our clients.”

She credits this level of employee engagement with EY’s Southwest Region consistently having higher employee satisfaction ratings than the company’s other North and South America regions.

Helping employees find balance

One of EY’s primary strategies to energize and retain its workforce is through offering a flexible work schedule. “With the advent of the iPhone and all these devices where you’re always connected, the days when people’s personal and professional lives are starkly different are gone,” said Allen, who has 18 years of experience in HR. “If you don’t allow people to do what they love to do and do it in a way that’s comfortable to them, you’re not going to be able retain them.”

Allen, who was named EY’s 2017 Working Mother of the Year, has personally experienced the benefits of workplace flexibility. “One of the things that really channels me and gives me the focus to work really, really hard is the flexibility that EY gives me to be with my family,” she said. “One of the things that I’ve found in myself and seen in our firm is that when people have the ability to do what they love personally – whether it’s running a marathon, raising children, or volunteering in the community – and you give them the opportunity to do that activity fully, they are so thankful, appreciative, and renewed that they do a much better job day-to-day.”

An empowering culture

Allen also believes that successful organizations offer a sense of belonging and pride for its staff. She pointed to one of her own defining experiences: a college internship at Southwest Airlines. “(I appreciated the opportunity) to work for a company that is similar to Texas A&M in the fact that there is tremendous pride in working there and an incredibly strong culture built on a sense of belonging,” she said. “You are looking at how that culture and sense of belonging empowers people to do the very best job they can do every day. I saw the power of that and what it can do for people.”

She noted that EY is building a culture that not only encourages a sense of belonging, but also provides employees with new professional challenges. “People in the future are going to go to a job based on the experiences they’re going to get; they’re not getting bored because they are challenged and being inspired,” Allen said.

Allen believes that mentors and sponsors are critical in helping employees, especially women and minorities, reach their potential. “A mentor is like a counselor who is giving you career insight and guidance. They are there to help you move through different stages in your career and help you achieve what you want to achieve,” she said. “A sponsor is in a position of influence and is willing to use that influence or their political capital on your behalf.”

She believes that companies need to place more emphasis on engaging sponsors to help employees. “You can give somebody all the great advice, insight and tutelage possible, but if you don’t give them the opportunity to implement that information, then a lot of those lessons are for naught,” she said, adding that sponsors also often can see the person’s talent and identify new opportunities before the employee does. “Sponsors know your worth when you don’t know it.”

A bright future for HR

Allen is optimistic about the future role that corporate human resources can play in making employees’ lives more meaningful. “If we take out some of the mundane day-to-day things that people do, whether that’s data entry or some of the routine things that a software program can do, that actually gives humans the opportunity to do what they were born to do, which is to connect,” she said. “We have that opportunity now more than ever before in the history of the world. What could happen? It’s an incredible opportunity but we will need HR to help guide that level of interaction, to help people rise to the occasion, and to create jobs that we haven’t heard about or thought about.”

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

As part of the celebrations honoring EY as Mays Business School’s 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year, business honors students met with a roundtable of professionals in various roles and offices around the country.

The professionals in the conversation included:

  • Randy Cain ’82, Vice Chair, Region Managing Partner
  • Christy Baumann ’95, Partner
  • Andy Beakey ’84, Tax Partner
  • Bill Guess ’88, Dallas Audit Partner
  • Anneliese Schumacher, Regional Leader, Southwest Campus
  • Dana Lane, America’s Tax Campus Recruiting Leader
  • Ellen Glazerman, Executive Director, EY Foundation

Students quickly discovered, however, that this was to be a very interactive discussion, with the professionals from EY turning the tables – seeking advice and opinions from the students on their knowledge of changing technology and what they see and hear in the business world today. The team members remarked that they hold the opinions and mindsets of the young in high regard.

Cain put it best when he stated, “young people are driving the experiences the corporate world is talking about. It doesn’t matter the service line, they are all being disrupted.” This disruption comes from changing technology and a future that is going to be “fascinating” to watch, Cain continued. The team believes wholeheartedly that Texas A&M University and Mays Business School is making the right investments in learning experiences to prepare their students for that future.

Baumann commented that “change is often and forward,” and wanted to know what things the students were going to focus on and stretch themselves to do in preparation for that change. She added that “culture is the reason behind the longevity” at EY, and that a good company culture is key in adapting to change.

Schumacher affirmed the rest of her team members’ sentiments when she stated “it almost doesn’t matter which technologies you learn,” adding that students need to “get more comfortable with technology in general, because technology is a big enabler” in today’s society.

The team ended the roundtable discussion by providing the students with a vote of confidence and showcasing exactly why the partnership with Mays Business School is such a big deal for EY. They love to hire Aggies. “All of the skills and responsibilities you learn in organizations during your time in college are beyond valuable,” Glazerman said. The team agreed that the organizational experience at A&M is something that sets Aggie students apart from other universities.

Categories: Accounting, Dean Eli Jones, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School recognized global leader EY as its 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year during a day-long celebration on March 22. Corporate executives participated in an official award ceremony. They also gave presentations and led roundtable discussions with Mays undergraduate and graduate students on topics ranging from creating an engaged corporate culture, supporting employees, disruptive technology, and the professional of the future.

The Corporate Partner of the Year award honors EY’s 35-year relationship with Mays. “Some people think this award is about the money, but it’s not,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones ’82. “It’s because of EY’s significant investment of time, energy, and ideas in our school. Just having the EY brand associated with the Mays brand means a lot worldwide.”

A meaningful corporate partnership

EY has contributed $5 million to the school and recently made a $2 million commitment to name the Department of Accounting.  “EY has been the largest donor to the accounting program and one of the largest to the college,” said Jim Benjamin, the head of Mays’ Department of Accounting.

In addition, EY leaders have been active on numerous Mays advisory boards and provided feedback on curriculum and course content. The multinational professional services firm also has hired hundreds of Aggies for internships and full- time positions after graduation. “Part of the success of our program is attracting great students,” Benjamin said. “Great students are interested in programs where there are great outcomes – where there are internships, jobs and great career opportunities. Corporate partnerships like the one we have with EY have made that happen.”

A pipeline for the next generation of transformational leaders

In turn, EY executives value the characteristics that Aggies bring to the table. “When Aggies come to work with us, they are well-trained, which you’d expect,” Randy Cain ’82, EY’s vice chair and region managing partner. “But they also are transformational leaders. They are people with a work ethic that is second to none. Our purpose is to build a better working world and I often say that I cannot find a place that better matches that then Texas A&M. It’s been a wonderful 35-year journey and one that will continue forever. It is also a partnership that is very important to us.”

 

 

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

Mays Business School announces its 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year EY, one of the leading employers of Mays graduates. In particular, graduates from the PPA program at Mays have moved into leadership positions in EY.

To celebrate, March 22 will be EY Corporate Day in Mays Business School as part of the Mays Connection program, which celebrates the school’s partnerships with businesses and former students.

Mays will host a presentation of the award in the lobby of the Wehner Building, as well as speakers and visits to classrooms by various EY employees. A presentation of the award will be 11-11:30 in the Wehner Atrium.

From 9:30-10:45 a.m., Allison Allen, Southwest Talent Leader at EY and “Working Mother of the Year” from Working Mother magazine, will speak in Wehner 187. From 1 to 2 p.m. in Wehner 190, Annaliese Schumacher, EY’s Southwest Campus Recruiting Leader, will present “Professional of the Future,” which will highlight how students will need to adapt to the changes in the workplace.

EY is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, England. EY is one of the largest professional services firms in the world and is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms.

It is one of Texas A&M’s top employers, hiring hundreds of graduates each year in multiple disciplines.

“When selecting this year’s honoree, EY came quickly to mind because of their reciprocal partnership with the school,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones. “Not only do they provide financial support and devote their time to our students, they also groom our graduates for management positions. It is a cycle of success.”

One of those graduates, Randy Cain ’82, has held a variety of leadership roles throughout the course of 30+ years with EY. He is Vice Chair and Southwest Region Managing Partner for EY, responsible for the firm’s practice across nine states with more than 4,000 people in 14 offices. Previously, he served as the Southwest Region Tax Managing Partner and San Antonio Office Managing Partner.

Other Mays graduates in leadership positions at EY leaders plan to visit on March 22, including Partner Christy Baumann ’95 and Tax Partner Andy Beakey ’84.

For more information about the events planned that day, contact Cindy Billington.

 

Categories: Accounting, Dean Eli Jones, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

For Andy York ’03, this year will bring together his past and his future – his alma mater is building a house in partnership with B/CS Habitat for Humanity, where he is executive director.

Thanks to his passion for both organizations, York has the opportunity to play a part in the collaboration of Mays Business School and B/CS Habitat for Humanity. The MaysBuilds project will unify undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff throughout all departments and programs in Mays.

York has always had a passion for giving back. “While in high school, I donated land that my grandmother had given me to Habitat for Humanity in Bryan,” York said. Three houses were built on the land he donated, and York started volunteering on the property. Eventually, this land turned into a subdivision called Miracle Place. In addition, while in college, York volunteered with his church on Habitat houses, and this really pushed his passion for the organization. That church – Christ United Methodist Church in College Station – is now building its ninth house.

York began at Texas A&M as a finance major, but was convinced by a professor to do the Professional Program for Accounting with a master’s in finance. He learned early on, however, that accounting was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. “I started thinking about what sort of job would really give me fulfillment, and I decided that I should put my talents to use to serve people rather than make money for investors,” York said. It was this mindset that led York to join the staff at B/CS Habitat as director of finance in 2013. He became executive director in 2016.

The partnership between Mays and B/CS Habitat for Humanity began when Marketing Professor Janet Parish joined the Habitat Board of Directors. York said that Parish, “said the right words at the right time to the right people,” which led to the creation of the partnership. Along with serving on the board, Parish also serves as the chair of the Community Outreach subcommittee. “Bringing those two roles together created an opportunity for Mays faculty, staff, and students to work together to serve the local community,” she said. “We are planning several events this spring that we hope will help us continue to spread our message and get others involved.” These events include the annual Habitat breakfast on Feb. 28, which numerous Mays faculty and staff members plan to attend, and the recent Business Student Council Mays Exchange, which donated a portion proceeds toward MaysBuilds for the first time.

Not only will this partnership positively affect York and the Habitat team, but it will also impact current Mays students as well. Working alongside Mays instructors and staff while raising funds and building homes will allow students to see their instructors outside of the classroom and share in a passion for serving others. This interaction will carry back into the classroom, creating an environment in which students are more likely to collaborate on other projects and shared interests.

“Mays provided a really well-rounded education to prepare me for leadership roles, such as the role I hold now,” York said. Now that Mays students can get involved with Habitat, many others will hopefully feel this same sense of preparation for their future.

Andy York (left) with Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat International, and Charles Coats, director of Homebuyer Services (also a Texas A&M University graduate).

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Texas A&M

Having learned what it means to find good culture during her time at Texas A&M University, Jana Ahlfinger Bell ’86 wanted to share with current students the insights she has gained in her career on her way to becoming the Executive Vice President and CFO of RMG Networks.

Bell, who received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M, also worked as the CFO of EF Johnson Technologies, Inc., as president and CEO of Simple Products Inc., and as the CEO, president, and director of @TRACK Communications, Inc. Bell recently visited with Mays business honors students as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker series, which recognizes business leaders in today’s society and gives them the opportunity to share their expertise with the Mays Community.

“Interviewing is important for both the employer and the potential employee,” Bell said, when she explained her wish for the students in the session – that when they go to their first job, they find a place that is interesting and get to work with great people.

“But how can one decipher what a company’s culture is like just based on the first initial interview?” one of the students asked. Bell responded: “You have to interview as if you’re already there, inside the company. See yourself there, and then you will ask more in-depth questions.”

Bell continued to highlight other ways to discover a company’s culture:

  • Think about yourself actually working there and what that would be like. Delve into their daily happenings to gain that understanding.
  • Pay attention to the tone at the top of the company, what is important to the leadership of the company, because it really matters.
  • Do your homework on the company and the industry to gain insight into the culture. A defense contractor, for example, has a different culture as compared with a media company, or a technology company, or a professional firm, or an oil & gas company.

Bell closed the discussion by telling the students, “I love what I am doing, and I have found that ethical center in what I do. I love being a mentor.”

Bell advised the students to “make the most of the opportunities presented to you during your time at Texas A&M like these speaker sessions.” Bell told the students she wishes she had the opportunities that the students have now to network with speakers like herself, and she encouraged them to take advantage of all of the networking opportunities provided to them during their time here.

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

Annie McGowan has been named the next Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, effective June 1.  She has been a Mays faculty member for 24 years, and has led the Professional Program in Accounting and served as Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion.

Accounting Professor Martha Loudder has served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs for 13 years. She will continue teaching at Mays, as she has done for 29 years.

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M