In a conversation with Business Honors students at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, Curtis Hite ’91, CEO and chairman of Improving Holdings, talked about his career and explained why his company has been hailed by The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Business Journal and Texas Monthly as one of the best places to work in Texas.

Hite studied computer science at Texas A&M as an undergraduate and graduate student, receiving his master’s degree in 1994. He started his career as a software engineer in the intelligence sector, working first for Rockwell International and then at E-Systems. Later, he cofounded Expede, a software development company, before cofounding Blue Ocean Group in 2007, later renamed Improving Holdings, or better known simply as Improving.

Improving, an informational technology service firm, is centered on restoring trust in the IT profession across several industries, and offers training, consulting, recruiting and project services.

Restoring trust in an entire profession is no easy feat, but Hite believes the best way to do so is to model a culture of integrity. “At Improving, we stick to our core values of excellence, dedication and involvement,” he said. “These are our identity as a company.”

A punch-the-clock, 9-to-5 mentality doesn’t fit in at Improving, Hite explained. The expectation is that all employees will actively engage with each other, even outside of regular work hours. Improving frequently hosts company retreats, movie nights, cooking classes, date nights, family events and town halls. “We believe not so much in work-life balance but in integration,” he said.

Hite said his commitment to his company’s core values was inspired in part by his years at Texas A&M. While an undergraduate, he learned excellence and dedication as a member of the Corps of Cadets, serving as a commanding officer for Squadron Six and as a member of the Ross Volunteers.

He is confident in his mission to perpetuate a culture in which coworkers can trust each other as friends and business partners, believing that it will pay major dividends in the long run. “At the end of the day, the entire mission of a leadership team is to create a great place to work,” he said.

Business Honors major Audrey Donohoe ’20 said she was inspired to apply these lessons to her future role as Business Honors peer leader. “Next fall, I will take into consideration as I strive to help the new class of freshmen be successful.”

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

A Texas A&M University program that provides training for entrepreneurial veterans will be renamed the Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Program to recognize the company’s $2 million endowment made in 2016.

The funds will be used to provide support to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) Program, which is administered by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School. Mays is a founding member of the EBV Consortium of eight universities dedicated to developing veterans in entrepreneurship through on-site training and ongoing mentorships.

The new name was approved April 27 by the Texas A&M University Board of Regents.

The renaming coincides with the 10th anniversary of the EBV at Texas A&M.

It bolsters the Mays grand challenge of entrepreneurship – which emerged after a school-wide strategic planning initiative that spanned most of 2016 and set the course for the school’s future.

The gift is part of Texas A&M’s “Lead by Example” comprehensive campaign, which launched in 2016 with a $4 billion goal.

Reynolds and Reynolds has been a strong partner of Mays for years, most recently as a founding partner in 2015 of the Mays Professional Selling Initiative. The program provides students with opportunities to learn in real-world situations through sales presentations and competitions, often with the advantage of critiques from business professionals. In addition, the company is a top recruiter of student talent.

Rob Nalley, vice chairman of the Reynolds and Reynolds Company, said he is pleased about the partnership. He is a military veteran who graduated from Texas A&M in 1965. “For all of us at Reynolds and Reynolds, it’s a privilege to be so closely involved in the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Program, which will push the boundaries of how students learn and how entrepreneurs grow,” he said. “The program is one more example of what sets the Mays School and Texas A&M apart.”

Nalley said his company has recruited heavily at Texas A&M for years, and the ranks of employees – from executives to roles across the company – are well represented with Aggies. “Now, with the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Program, we have a unique opportunity to support the university in yet another way and to provide a meaningful, lasting impact for military veterans, one of our country’s greatest resources,” he said.

The company provides automotive retailing solutions for car dealers and automakers in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Europe. It began in 1866 as a business forms printing company and began serving automobile dealers in 1927. It is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio, with more than 4,300 associates worldwide.

Mays Dean Eli Jones said the gift is another example of the depth of commitment Reynolds and Reynolds has with Mays. The company has long recruited Texas A&M University students and given scholarships. Two years ago, it was a founding partner of the Professional Selling Initiative created to give students real-world experience through sales presentations and competitions, often with feedback from business professionals. “The commitment Reynolds and Reynolds shows Aggies – and particularly Mays students – is beyond what we could even ask for,” he said. “This is the next step in a wonderful partnership, and one that will have a reach well beyond the confines of Mays or even Texas A&M. This gift will impact lives for decades while honoring a group that is so deserving – our veterans.”

The next Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans Program in College Station will be held July 15-22. For more information, visit the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School website.

Categories: Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Texas A&M University and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation will host an open house of the Blackstone LaunchPad (BLP) studio in the Koldus building.

After remarks by Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones, Blackstone Director Don Lewis, and Blake Teipel of Essentium Materials, tours of the studio in the Koldus Building will be offered.

BLP is a campus-based program designed to assist and mentor students, faculty, staff, and alumni who want to learn about entrepreneurship opportunities at Texas A&M.

Blackstone expanded its campus entrepreneurship program, Blackstone LaunchPad, in 2016 to three Texas universities: Texas A&M, The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas at Dallas. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s three-year, $3 million grant will establish a partnership between the three institutions to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and offer opportunities to the universities’ 130,000 students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system.

Blackstone photo2“Texas has a strong business environment and is a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman, CEO and co-founder. “As universities look to the private sector to expand their capabilities and provide experiential opportunities to their students, we are pleased to help meet that need and deliver the tools and resources to build strong enterprises rooted in the state and connected to a global network of entrepreneurs.”

…Read more

Categories: Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Organizers of the first Leading Champions executive leadership program hosted by Mays Business School’s Center for Executive Development (CED) in partnership with Texas A&M Athletics Department are calling it a success. They are looking forward to next year’s program.

Chris Lyon, assistant director of business development at the CED, called the first session of the unique executive training phenomenal. “The first 16 participants were awesome and were eager to learn,” he said. “They set the bar for future classes.”

The program is designed to teach participants new ways to lead and bring different ideas to the table by combining business and athletic principles.

In the three-day program, Mays faculty and the nationally renowned coaching staff of Texas A&M Athletics facilitated focused sessions, experiential learning activities, self-assessments and simulations with the objective of strengthening business and leadership acumen. Additionally, participants had opportunities to engage with the coaching staff, exclusively tour popular Texas A&M sports facilities and participate in highly experiential activities related to Texas A&M Athletics.

The program is designed for executive-level leaders and decision makers from a wide range of organizations. “This program is a great example of our mission to develop the Mays Transformational Leader: Responsible, ethical leaders with entrepreneurial mindsets and vision, who have strong business competencies and personify selfless service,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones.

The program was announced at a Sept. 23 Corporate Connections reception at AT&T Stadium, where Mays hosted more than 100 corporate leaders representing more than 60 companies. Jones, as well as Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young and Mays Assistant Dean Ben Welch, spoke of the importance of lifelong learning and how Mays is stepping up to provide it.

Texas A&M Athletics Director Scott Woodward described the program to the Faculty Senate in October. “There are many core principles of athletics such as leadership, team building and sustaining excellence that are applicable in the business world,” he said. “We are excited to partner with Mays Business School on this innovative program that brings together our championship-caliber coaches with the excellent faculty of the Mays Business School.”

Welch, who has led executive education at Mays since 1990, said the new program follows Texas A&M’s unprecedented growth both academically and athletically. “Through this partnership between Mays and A&M Athletics, we have leveraged the wealth of experience and knowledge that made that possible,” he said. “The Leading Champions Executive Program is an opportunity to submerge yourself into Texas A&M’s winning culture while strengthening your leadership skill set.”

To watch a video about the Leading Champions program, visit https://youtu.be/MLWco7f6JhY.

 

Categories: Centers, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Texas A&M’s Mays Business School was featured at the 2017 International Conference and Annual meeting (ICAM), held by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) April 23-25 in Houston. The conference attracted over 1,400 attendees representing business schools from 55 countries – the largest gathering of business school leaders from around the world.

Mays Business School was highlighted in a session titled “Innovating Curriculum Through Interdisciplinary Collaborations” for the Texas A&M University Petroleum Ventures Program (PVP), a bold new entrepreneurial training program that better prepares students to be leaders in the oil and gas industry. By connecting the curriculum with industry needs, PVP gives students a competitive advantage in an interdisciplinary way.

Anthony Bahr ’91, president of WildHorse Resource Development and one of the business partners who funded the program, provided insight into the need for PVP. “There is an explosion of private equity in the oil and gas industry that has created many small companies. This has created a need for more qualified engineers and business people,” says Bahr. He and his business partner Jay Graham ’92 said they saw a shortage of talent able to wear a lot of different hats.

…Read more

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Energy, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Staff, Texas A&M

As part of KPMG Corporate Day at Mays Business School on April 4, several KPMG partners and professionals visited classes, attended a reception and accepted awards from Dean Eli Jones. The firm was named the 2017 Mays Business School Corporate Partner of the Year as part of the Mays Connection program, which celebrates the school’s partnerships with both businesses and alumni.

KPMG is a professional services firm – offering audit, tax and advisory services – and it is one of the Big Four accounting firms. In 2016, the firm hired approximately 75 students for internships and full-time opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

The contributions that KPMG has made to Mays Business School include, but are not limited to, the KPMG Chair in Accounting established in 2001, the KPMG Professorship in Accounting established in 1988, the KPMG Fellowship established in 1987, KPMG Endowed Scholarship Fund established in 2007 and the KPMG Data Analytics/Technology Development Endowment in 2015.

“We couldn’t do some of the things we do at Mays – in accounting, especially – without your involvement,” Jones said before unveiling a plaque that will hang on the wall at Wehner. He pointed out several faculty members who have benefitted from the school’s partnership with KPMG, including former Dean Jerry Strawser, who holds the KPMG Chair in Accounting.

KPMG Audit Partner Randy Hill said the firm couldn’t do what it does without Mays and Texas A&M University producing young people who are “not only polished, but have great all-around skills. They are as dedicated and hard-working as anybody we hire.” He said the partnership is fun for the firm’s people who deal with Mays students and graduates. “This has been a labor of love more than work.”

…Read more

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

The 2016 Texas A&M Advertising team, also known as Good Bull Advertising, won a silver award at the 2017 AAF-Houston ADDYs in the category of collateral material. Founded in 1960, the ADDY Award is the world’s largest professional advertising competition and is sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.

In April 2016, Good Bull Advertising competed in the AAF’s National Student Advertising Competition, placing third at regionals. The plan book from this competition served as the collateral material for the 2017 ADDY Awards, held in March of this year. It involved a 27-page professional brochure detailing a complete $50 million advertising campaign for Snapple.

Lisa Troy, clinical professor of marketing, serves as the advertising team’s faculty advisor and teaches a two-semester course preparing students for this event each year.

The team members were Ashlyn Beckmann, Oren Mandelbaum, Holly Boyles, Angela Mats, Cassidy Caddenhead, Laura McCloskey, Julia Gaas, Megan Milstead, Marissita Garcia, Alyssa Osterhaut, Michelle Griffith, Angelica Perez, Pablo Haddad, Leah Rheinlander, Victoria Henson, Zachary Rother, Kati Hewitt, Catherine Scalf, Bailey Lee and Dejanay Tippens.

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

Good Bull Advertising, an agency team of 20 students in Clinical Professor of Marketing Lisa C. Troy’s advanced advertising class at Texas A&M University, placed fourth in the district level American Advertising Association’s National Student Advertising Competition. Held in Fort Worth, Texas April 5-7, the competition involved a case study outlined by the current year’s corporate sponsor, Tai Pei Foods.

Students spent two full semesters researching and building a $15 million, fully integrated marketing campaign, preparing a professional quality campaign plan book and presenting the plan to judges at the competition. Over 150 schools across the country participate in the event each year and the Tenth District, in which Texas A&M participates, is one of the most competitive.

To market Tai Pei to 18- to 25-year-olds in the U.S., the team developed a new brand character and slogan, “Good Fortune Awaits.” Digital ads and a video execution reflecting the campaign theme were created and supported by a number of promotional tactics, including retail activations, promotional events and a partnership with Feeding America.

The team included students Mitchell Bausch, Mackenzie Borman, Rachel Bush, Elijah Cantrell, Mary Chacko, Mary Devillez, Dereka Dunn, Laura Eller, Gabriela Estrada, Brooke Gadjica, Caylin Godfrey, Calli Godwin, Divya Govil, Justin Hairston, Alexis Hanson, Kaitlin Hernandez, Anastasia Ivanova, Anna Kuczmanski, Victoria McLaughlin, Claire Metzger, Dillon Moore, MK Mountjoy, Emily Nero, Lami Olonilua, Alaina Omar, Alyssa Osterhout, Riden Reiter, Bailey Wood and Robby Young.

The 2018 Good Bull Advertising team will form in the fall to prepare for next year’s competition.

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

A team of three Mays Business School students placed first in a business analytics case competition that partners students with leading Fortune 500 companies.

The Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MS-MIS) majors Priyesh Rajasekaran ’17, Pradeep Kumar Sekar ’17 and Subbrammanian Nochur Ganeswaran ’17 competed in the 2017  INFORMS Data Analytics Competition April 7 at the University of Texas at Dallas. The Mays team placed first among 146 groups from seven schools: University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Dallas, Texas Christian University and University of Texas at Dallas.

This year’s business case was an opportunity to solve one of PepsiCo’s current and most challenging problems in transportation. PepsiCo is now evaluating the solutions that were presented by the teams for implementation.

Students engaged in a networking session on the final day with more than 40 industry representatives, including 23 director and vice presidents.

Learn more about the competition.

 

 

(L-R) Subbrammanian Nochur Ganeswaran’ 17, Priyesh Rajasekaran ’17 and Pradeep Kumar Sekar’ 17

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

While many business majors are preparing for careers in advertising, investment banking, or corporate accounting, sophomore Elizabeth Popp’s sights are set on medicine.

The Business Honors and management major is using her time at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School to prepare for a career in pediatric surgery. “I love working with kids,” Popp said. “They are so resilient and happy, which makes them a joy to be around.”

She said she decided to major in business so she will be better equipped to run her own practice. “I wanted to broaden my horizons with business knowledge to complement my future studies in medicine.”

Popp said studying at Mays has helped her learn skills that are important for doctors – like effective communication and leadership. “At Mays, I’ve learned how to work in diverse team settings by using different leadership styles and decision-making frameworks.” She added that outside the classroom, too, “Wehner’s social atmosphere adds a nice contrast to the more serious tone found in the science buildings.”

Popp can also add to her resume being published in a global research journal. As a research experience undergraduate (REU) at Texas A&M’s Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT), she contributed to a research project overseen by Bita A. Kash and Jane N. Bolin that aims to develop a healthcare model for the state of Texas. The study was recently accepted for publication in the International Journal for Innovation Science. …Read more

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