The new Mays Innovation Research Center has an inaugural director: Mays Business School professor Korok Ray, who conceptualized the center as a place to discover how and when innovation occurs, then transfer that knowledge to Texas A&M University students.

Ray, an associate professor of accounting, will lead the center to provide research support to existing and new faculty members across the Texas A&M campus. It will bridge the research at Mays with that occurring in engineering, business, liberal arts, and other academic disciplines. The center will also fund Ph.D. fellowships and undergraduate research opportunities, and award prizes for outstanding research that advances the center’s mission.

Ray’s research interests are performance measurement, compensation, corporate governance, and cost allocation. He has taught accounting at Texas A&M University, the University of Chicago and Georgetown University, and earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He also served as the senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House from 2007 to 2009.

Ray said he has experienced strong support for the concept. “Dean (Eli) Jones, The Texas A&M Foundation, and our donors have been outstanding in their support of this vision from the beginning,” he said. “I’m thrilled and honored to lead this center into new and uncharted territory, as the conversation on innovation unfolds both on our campus and nationally.  The center will engage students in research, support faculty, and pursue opportunities unique to Texas A&M, with its special combination of first-tier research and first-class values.”

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Innovation Research Center, News, Research, Texas A&M

A firm believer in giving back, Alan Mitchell ’85 recently visited with Mays Business Honors students as part of the Mays 2017 Transformational Leader Speaker Series to provide them with not only career advice, but also advice on school and life.

“Be comfortable hearing your own voice in a room of people,” is guidance he would offer to junior members of his team. “If you don’t speak up early in a discussion, people will think of you as being irrelevant,” he added.

Additionally, while recalling how he evaluated opportunities presented during his first job out of college with KPMG, he said “If there is opportunity out there, take it, even if it presents challenges. You will always grow and expand and it will generally make you a more important part of your company and make you make you worldlier.”

Mitchell retired from investment banking in 2017 after a 23-year career at Wells Fargo Securities and Citigroup. He left Wells Fargo as the head of the telecom investment banking within the Technology, Media, and Telecom group. Mitchell earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M and his MBA in finance and international business from Columbia Business School, where he graduated with honors.

The students found value in Mitchell sharing his story of advancing himself by going back to business school to pursue his MBA after being in the workforce for seven years. For him, his MBA was a game changer because of the influence it carried. It also taught him that “you need to like what you’re doing in your specific career.”

Mitchell’s talk then turned to the topic of “building the resume of your life,” which starts with college and continues with everything a person does thereafter. He emphasized that students need to “make sure every subsequent step on one’s resume is additive to their prior experiences and makes them more interesting and unique.”

Business Honors student Payton Fanning ’20 said Mitchell cautioned that the ability to have relevant experiences diminishes with each passing day. “He encouraged us to make every one of our actions meaningful, and to make sure every job/opportunity we seize is something we will be proud to see on our resume,” Fanning said.

As the students continued to ask questions about resumes, Mitchell said their resumes should “demonstrate a desire for experience,” and showcase a level of commitment to their undertakings. Mitchell advised the students to set goals for pursuing their next opportunities. He said a good rule of thumb is three to five years at a job before you re-evaluate where you are with each job.

Mitchell closed with his last piece of advice when he stated, “Remember, first choices in life won’t be your last choices in life. Identify and reach for every opportunity presented to you, as it can be life-changing.”

The impact of his words was felt by all of the students attending. “I left with a gratitude for Aggies like Alan Mitchell who seek to provide opportunities to younger Aggies in high-profile fields,” said Adam Warnke ’17, a Business Honors & Accounting-PPA student.

 

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

By Texas A&M Foundation

The Texas A&M Foundation has received two lead gifts totaling $4 million in a $10 million fundraising campaign to name the Department of Accounting in honor of James J. Benjamin in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. David Baggett, a 1981 graduate of the university with a degree in accounting, and his wife Denise have committed $2 million to the campaign. Ernst & Young has also committed a gift of the same amount. Both gifts will be endowed to support the needs of the department and to ensure its future growth.

The idea to name the Department of Accounting resulted after discussions between Mays Business School, David Baggett and Ernst & Young partner, T. Randall “Randy” Cain, a 1982 graduate from the accounting program and a Texas A&M Foundation trustee. James Benjamin was presented as a worthwhile namesake for the department because of his decades-long commitment to students. The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents recently approved the naming of the James J. Benjamin Department of Accounting.

“The Department of Accounting at Texas A&M is one of the leading accounting programs in the United States, largely due to Dr. Jim Benjamin’s leadership over 35 years as department head,” said Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “In recognition of his extraordinary leadership and selfless service, former students David Baggett ’81 and Randy Cain ’82 have co-led the fundraising effort to name the department in honor of Dr. Benjamin. This funding will help sustain efforts in the department to maintain its national prominence in accounting research and teaching.”

The campaign to name the Department of Accounting is intended to enhance the visibility of the department and provide young people in the field additional opportunities to explore the accounting profession. In addition, the endowment will allow the department to recruit outstanding faculty, develop international opportunities for students to learn global accounting practices, and support high-impact educational programs, such as the Professional Program and the Energy Accounting Program.

Benjamin is the Deloitte Foundation Leadership Professor and head of the accounting department. He joined the faculty at Texas A&M in 1974 and has served as department head since 1982. After attaining his undergraduate degree and CPA license, he received his M.B.A. and DBA degrees from Indiana University. He previously served as the Ph.D. coordinator for Mays Business School and director of the school’s honors program.

“Over the past almost four decades, Jim Benjamin has been a driving force in the transformation of our business school,” said David Baggett. “When I came to Texas A&M in 1979, we were known largely as an engineering and agricultural school.” Today, some 38 years later, the Mays Business School undergraduate accounting program is consistently recognized in the top 10 among public universities, while the bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. programs made Public Accounting Report’s top 10 list for 2017.

“With Jim’s personality, business savvy and leadership skills, he would have been very successful in the corporate world,” added Baggett. “Fortunately for me and thousands of other accounting and business graduates, Jim dedicated himself to our success.”

“We are excited to be part of this effort to name the accounting department after Dr. Jim Benjamin and know the resulting endowment will serve future students for decades to come,” said Denise Baggett.

Half of the Baggetts’ contribution to the accounting program campaign will create a matching gift fund to encourage other donors to contribute to the cause.

“At Ernst & Young we are a purpose-driven organization focused on building a better working world,” said Cain. “When I think of Texas A&M, I can’t think of a better place to invest when we’re trying to live our purpose. Students come out with a set of instilled values, and this marries up with the EY purpose. You have to give credit to Jim Benjamin, who has been an extraordinary visionary in the world of accounting education.”

In addition to the two lead gifts to the campaign, Mays Business School has also received commitments from KPMG LLP, Deloitte, Karen Pape ’80, Karen and Rodney Faldyn ’88, Becky ’76 and Monty Davis ’77, Lina and Kenny Lawson, Marian ’82 and Willie Langston ’81, Wanda and Lou Paletta ’78, and Kay ’02 and Jerry Cox ’72, Tracy and Randy Hale ’85, and Mark Kelly ’79. Combined, these pledges, along with other commitments, total nearly $7.5 million.

“I was humbled and honored when I learned of the initiative to name the Department of Accounting,” said Benjamin. “While I have been gratified to be a part of the growth and success of the accounting program, I have always recognized that our growing reputation was a product of exceptional students and talented and dedicated faculty. I have been truly blessed to be surrounded by such great students, faculty and former students throughout my career.”

All gifts toward the James J. Benjamin Department of Accounting naming also count toward the Texas A&M “Lead by Example” campaign, which aims to raise $4 billion by the year 2020. If you wish to make an endowed gift of $25,000 or more to support the naming initiative, contact Brian Bishop at (979) 862-3615 or bbishop@txamfoundation.com. You can also contribute non-endowed gifts online at give.am/JamesBenjamin.

Mays Business School

Mays Business School’s vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. Their mission is to provide a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,200 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and faculty research.

Texas A&M Foundation 

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that unites generosity and vision to raise and manage major endowed gifts that support the future of Texas A&M University. For additional information and for photographs, please contact Dunae Crenwelge at dcrenwelge@txamfoundation.com or (979) 845-7461.

“Lead by Example” Campaign

Launched in 2015, Texas A&M University’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Lead by Example,” is a joint effort between Texas A&M and its affiliate organizations: the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation. With a goal of reaching $4 billion by 2020, it is the largest higher education campaign in Texas history and the third largest conducted nationally by a public university. The campaign will generate gifts in three major areas: Transformational Education; Discovery and Innovation; and Impact on the State, Nation and World.

For more information about the campaign, visit leadbyexample.tamu.edu.

 

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

The accounting program at Texas A&M University was recently ranked in the top 10 across all degrees by the Public Accounting Report. The undergraduate and doctoral accounting programs both ranked 9th, while the master’s program was cited as the 10th best in America.

“I was delighted that our programs were all ranked in the top 10 nationally by the Public Accounting Report,” commented James Benjamin, Deloitte Foundation Leadership Professor and Department Head of the Accounting Department at Mays. “Texas A&M was one of only five schools to rank in the top 10 for bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs. I believe that our ranking reflects the combination of high-quality students, a unique culture, dedicated faculty, and innovative programs.”

The Public Accounting Report rankings are the most commonly cited ranking of accounting programs, Benjamin said. The annual ranking is the only survey that allows well-respected accounting faculty to determine which accounting programs are most successful out of 200 universities.

Categories: Accounting, Departments, Mays Business, News, Rankings, Texas A&M

Louis “Lou” Paletta, a founding partner and the chief operating officer of Kildare Partners, joined the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees on July 1.

Paletta, originally from San Antonio, earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University in 1978. Prior to joining Kildare—a $4 billion private equity firm organized in 2013 to target distressed European commercial real estate-related opportunities—Paletta spent 20 years with Lone Star Funds, holding a variety of leadership positions. Paletta’s career has taken him to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

During his tenure at Lone Star, he was responsible for coordinating the formation of 10 private equity funds, representing $34 billion in capital commitments from a variety of global institutional investors including public pension funds, corporate pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, and foundations.

Before Lone Star, he served as director of internal audit for Brazos Asset Management Inc. and senior audit manager of American Savings Bank. He spent the first 12 years of his career with Deloitte specializing in attestation, business reorganization and litigation support.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve Texas A&M University and am privileged to be working with an outstanding group of proven professionals that ‘lead by example’ in distinguishing Texas A&M from its peers,” Paletta said.

He has remained active in the Texas A&M community, serving in volunteer leadership roles for Mays Business School and the 12th Man Foundation. He and his wife, Wanda, are longtime benefactors to Texas A&M and are members of The Association of Former Students’ Century Club, the A&M Legacy Society and the 12th Man Foundation’s Diamond Champions Council. Paletta also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays Business School and was honored as an Outstanding Alumnus in 2017.

Paletta also serves as chairman of the Board of Managers of Cerebrum Health Centers, a nationally recognized brain rehabilitation center. He has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Aggie Golf Association and the Vaquero Club in Westlake, as well as captain of the Dallas Area Champions Council. He has regularly visited campus to speak to business honors students about his experience in the finance and investment worlds. In 2016, he was recognized with an Outstanding Alumni Award from Mays Business School.

“Lou and Wanda are action-oriented volunteers who live by our Aggie core values,” said Tyson Voelkel ’96, president of the Texas A&M Foundation. “They embody the Aggie spirit and consistently support athletics and academics. I am proud to welcome Lou to our exceptional Board of Trustees and look forward to his influence on our endowment performance and impact on the university’s ‘Lead by Example’ campaign.”

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This story is posted on Texas A&M Today

Texas A&M Foundation 
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities.

For additional information or for photographs, please contact Dunae Crenwelge at dcrenwelge@txamfoundation.com or (979) 845-7461.

Media contact: Dunae Crenwelge, Texas A&M Foundation (txamfoundation.com) at (979) 845-7461 or dcrenwelge@txamfoundation.com

  • by Texas A&M Foundation staff

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

Mays Business School is committed to advancing the world’s prosperity. In part, achieving this vision is attained by creating impactful knowledge, knowing that the more challenged students are in class the more they will be prepared to initiate inspirational change as alumni. Mays is actualizing this undertaking by stressing the importance of enhancing research through two classes that are being offered during this upcoming school year.

One of the courses focuses on graduate-level academic research, while the other introduces undergraduate students to methods for researching material through the lens of business research. R. Duane Ireland, executive associate dean and University Distinguished Professor at Mays, said the courses will serve a greater purpose for Mays graduates.

“Learning is an important objective that drives Mays’ faculty members as they engage in academic research. In this regard, we know that to be successful, business people must strive to consistently learn more about the needs of customers, employees, suppliers and the local communities in which they work and live,” Ireland said. “Similarly, in addition to developing new knowledge, academic researchers are committed to learning about practices that when effectively followed, have a strong probability of helping business people and their firms create value for those they serve. We are indeed pleased that courses are now available to Mays’ students through which they will learn about the purposes of academic research and how it can help them understand how to be effective leaders throughout their careers.”

Introduction to Academic Research

The accounting department is offering a new course called an “Introduction to Academic Research,” which will be taught by Associate Professor Nate Sharp. Its purpose is to encourage students to consider pursuing a Ph.D. in accounting through introducing them to scholarly research. It also includes a discussion element regarding what to expect from Ph.D. programs and how to succeed both in the classroom and as a professor.

Students will hear from guest speakers on why they chose to pursue a Ph.D. and how it impacted their careers. The immediate interest in this innovative course resulted in an enrollment that quickly exceeded the number of classroom seats that were initially available. So many students were eager to participate in this course, the interest surpassed the capacity of the class. Sharp hopes that while teaching the course, he “will be able to persuade them (students) that the scope and novelty of accounting research goes way beyond what they have learned in their undergraduate and even master’s classes about accounting.”

This course is being offered to fifth-year accounting students in the department’s Professional Program (PPA). PPA is a five-year program that offers students the opportunity to simultaneously earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Science in Accounting, MIS, Management, Marketing, or Financial Management. Students in this program can learn from Sharp about the importance of academic research and the role that it plays in a university setting.

It will debut in the Fall 2017 semester.

Applied Business Competencies: Mays Business School Faculty Research

Business research is everywhere, from newspapers to journals to viral social media content. Used well, it can help firms make prudent financial investments, install talented leadership and shape successful advertising campaigns. It can also help everyday shoppers make more informed decisions and even provide rewarding opportunities for a potential career path as an academic researcher.

Yet many college students, outside of Ph.D. tracks and academic circles, are unfamiliar with business research. For them, research is esoteric at best; at worst, uninteresting.

But Stephen (Steve) Courtright, an assistant professor of management, hopes to change those perceptions. He designed an elective course “Applied Business Competencies: Mays Business School Faculty Research” to help make the world of academic business research more accessible to undergraduate and graduate students. The course launched in Spring 2017.

Through the one-hour-credit course, Courtright said he hoped to show students that business research is incredibly relevant for society. “What not everyone knows is that business research is like medical research; it has the potential to affect the quality of people’s lives,” he said. “It can improve how business is conducted and how organizations are run. This makes for a better work environment for everyone involved.”

He also explained that the life of the researcher is like an entrepreneur – and it comes with similar rewards. “Researchers are not just question-askers; they are problem solvers, and you have total freedom pursue the questions and problems that most interest you.”

During the first few weeks of the course, Courtright helped students understand what business research is. Students also learned to look past sensational headlines and questionable sample sizes to evaluate whether research is useful or not. The remaining few weeks of the course, Courtright invited professors from the various Mays departments as guest speakers to present on their own research pursuits and passions.

Participating professors included Nate Sharp,  an associate professor of accounting; Matthew (Matt) Call, an assistant professor of management; Shane Johnson, a professor of finance; Subodha Kumar, an associate professor of information and operations management; and Leonard Berry, University Distinguished Professor of Marketing.

At the end of the semester, students wrote reflections on what they had learned during the semester.

Colton Bucey said the course helped him better see that the role of a researcher is like an entrepreneur. “Coming into this course, I thought I had a solid understanding of what professors’ jobs were like; I thought that professors each lectured for a few hours every week, held office hours, graded assignments and then were finished,” he said. “Actually, at any given time, professors can be working on numerous research topics. They are more or less their own bosses and have extreme flexibility in when/where they chose to work.”

Lauren Abiog, a business administration freshman, reflected on Berry’s presentation on his healthcare industry research and how it opened her eyes to the greater good that many researchers hope to realize. “Dr. Berry’s purpose in researching is to help improve the quality of life of others,” she said. “What a selfless and purposeful reason to live for!”

Courtright said he hopes the course will gain momentum with students in the coming years. “I want more students to be thinking about research as a career,” he said. “Even if they choose not to pursue it as a career, it will give them an appreciation for what faculty like those at Mays do for a living.”

The course is set to be offered in future spring semesters.

By creating these two classes, Mays is providing a platform where professors can instill in students an interest in research that will extend past the four years that they are in college. It has the chance to influence learners to become more intellectually curious, which in turn increases their ability to develop innovative approaches to pursue while seeking to advance the world’s prosperity.

Caitlin Nutt ’19 contributed to this story.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Accounting, Departments, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Research, Students, Texas A&M

Texas A&M University is tied with the University of Michigan for having the most graduates currently serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, according to a new Fortune magazine study.

With four former students serving as CEOs of some of the largest companies in the United States, Texas A&M has the most of any university in Texas and is only matched by the University of Michigan. Other schools on the Fortune list include Cornell University and Harvard University, both with three CEO graduates.

Texas A&M also is the only Texas school in the survey with a CEO on Fortune’s Top Ten list. Darren Woods, CEO and chairman of Exxon Mobil, studied electrical engineering at Texas A&M and is a 1987 graduate. His wife, Kathryn Woods, is also a 1987 Texas A&M graduate who earned a degree in accounting from Mays Business School.

This year’s Fortune list also includes Bruce D. Broussard, CEO of Humana, Class of 1984; David M. Cordani, CEO of Cigna, Class of 1988. Both Broussard and Cordani earned degrees in accounting from Mays Business School.

“Texas A&M has always been committed to developing leaders of character and the mission of Mays Business School is to develop transformational leaders,” says James Benjamin, head of the department of accounting at Mays Business School. “Beyond that, accounting is often referred to the language of business and graduates are well positioned for success is all aspects of organizations. Both Mr. Broussard and Mr. Cordani worked as auditors with major public accounting firms and became CPA’s before transitioning to the corporate world. Many believe that the discipline and work ethic required in public accounting provides good preparation for leadership roles in business.”

Not included in this year’s survey is Jeff Miller, who was recently appointed as president and CEO of Halliburton Co.  Miller received an MBA from Mays Business School in 1988.

Read more here: http://today.tamu.edu/2017/07/05/texas-am-heads-fortune-magazine-ceo-list/

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Departments, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, MBA, News, Texas A&M

The Professional Program in Accounting has announced two of its former students as recipients of the Rising Star Award and Outstanding Alumnus/Alumna Award. Phil Graves ’04 and Christy Baumann ’95 will be recognized at a dinner in College Station on May 9.

Rising Star

This year’s Rising Star award goes to Phil Graves ’04, senior director of corporate development for Patagonia and managing director of Tin Shed Ventures. He is in charge of the company’s investments and merger and acquisition activities. Graves also serves as a Senior Advisory Board Member of the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business’s Center for Responsible Business.

He has been recognized on Global Corporate Venturing’s Powerlist 100, and by Texas A&M’s Association of Former Students’ “12 Under 12 Young Alumni Spotlight.” Graves was previously a senior manager in the Business Valuation practice at Deloitte, and he began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He models selfless service in the community as well through his work with the homeless and as a long-time Big Brother mentor. …Read more

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

Curiosity has always been at the heart of Steve Harding ’84’s career. Just after graduating from Texas A&M University with a business degree in accounting and management, he took a job in audit at KPMG Peat Marwick to learn about as many different businesses as possible. Later he took his inquisitiveness with him as he moved into the corporate real estate industry and held controller positions at privately held commercial and residential real estate companies, where he became interested in understanding the financial impact of engineering decisions in buildings such as the Dallas and Houston Gallerias, and finally to his current role as a chief financial officer.

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Business Honors, Departments, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Management, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Kris Chester ’87 was there during one of the most successful banking mergers in history. In fact she oversaw the entire treasury management integration when Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia in 2008.

In a conversation with Business Honors students at Mays Business School, Chester, executive vice president of treasury management implementation and delivery at Wells Fargo, said it was one of the most fun and challenging jobs she has ever held in her 27-year-long career at the international banking and financial services company.

“I had the opportunity to be on the forefront of deciding what the new bank would look like, including what treasury products it would offer, how its operating model would be structured, which people were needed,” she said. Chester studied accounting and finance at Texas A&M University as an undergraduate student.

At Wells Fargo, she manages a team of 800, overseeing the implementation of domestic and international treasury management solutions, designed to help customers manage their treasury operations and succeed financially. 

She said implementing solutions for customers can be tricky because customers expect the process to be intuitive and “as easy as setting up an iPhone.” However, she said a true customer-centric approach often requires painstaking care to ensure the implementation goes well. “If you implement well, it makes it easier for customers to continue doing business with you,” she said.

Likewise, she said the secret to the merger’s success was that the decisions kept the customer at the center. She advised students to “always put the customer first when developing products and services; the financial results will follow,” no matter the type of business.

She offered this parting career advice:

    1. Looks matter – match your appearance to the expectations of the job.
    2. Take company culture into account.
    3. Choose your boss wisely. Seek someone you can learn from.
    4. Don’t stop learning.
    5. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
    6. Always have a mentor.

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Business Honors, Entrepreneurship, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M