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

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 Aggie Real Estate Network (AREN) is hosting its 40th Annual Conference July 27-29 Bryan/College Station’s newest luxury hotel, the Stella Hotel located at Lake Walk at Traditions Golf Club.

The celebration of the AREN’s accomplishments culminates each year at the Annual Real Estate Conference. This event’s primary focus, since its introduction in 1977, is on continuous education and fundraising. Members satisfy their goal by inviting real estate professionals to College Station and providing them with the opportunity to learn, celebrate, and network with peers.

Since this year marks the 40th anniversary of the original conference, the event begins with a commemorative reception on Thursday evening. It will be followed by speakers and networking opportunities on Friday and Saturday.

For additional information, visit https://aggierealestate.aggienetwork.com/annual-conference/2017-registration/.

What differentiates AREN is the support from its members. Many affiliates serve as mentors to graduate students, host various conferences in the pursuit of lifelong education, and fundraise to create scholarships for students. The organization has raised more than $350,000, with $225,000 of that being awarded to outstanding students.

Mays Executive Professor Cydney Donnell, who is director of real estate programs, is coordinating the conference. A big part of the conference’s purpose is to raise funds in support of the real estate education efforts at Texas A&M,” she said. “Students have benefited greatly from both endowed scholarships and funding for educational events and trainings.”

How the network evolved

Students in the Master of Land Economics and Real Estate (LERE) Program created what is now known as the Aggie Real Estate Network (AREN). Their hope was to establish an organization where students could connect and network with those who had similar interests. These students originally called the organization The Association of Texas Real Estate Economists.

Master’s students who were accepted into the LERE Program were working toward a degree from the College of Agriculture. As finance became a more prominent feature of the real estate industry, the program was transferred to Mays Business School and the name was changed to the Master of Real Estate Program.

There are still close ties between the Master of Real Estate Program and College of Agriculture. The streamlined academic option, 4+1, was created for top students in Agricultural Economics who were interested in obtaining a Masters in Real Estate. The program allows students to register for essential agriculture courses and collaborate with students who are enrolled in a similar program in the College of Architecture.

Typically, the Master of Real Estate Program accepts 30 to 45 students annually and provides them with countless opportunities after college. Numerous students go on to work in banking, mortgage finance, retail site selection, investing, and agricultural appraisal. While graduates venture into the professional world, many continue to stay connected to Texas A&M through membership in The Aggie Real Estate Network.

 

 

Categories: Alumni, Centers, Departments, Faculty, Mays Business, News, Programs, Real Estate, Texas A&M

This fall, Mays master’s students will have the opportunity to connect with analytics experts through the new Mays Marketing Analytics Challenge. The partnership was coordinated by Hari Sridhar, Center for Executive Development Professor and Associate Professor of Marketing.

The mission behind this partnership is to provide students in the MS Marketing Analytics Class with the opportunity to learn from professionals, put into practice what they learn in class, and bolster Mays’ commitment to marketing analytics.

The first partnership is with Buxton and Ansira, who will provide guest lectures from partners at Buxton and Ansira and opportunities for students to visit their offices in Dallas and Fort Worth. The Fall 2017 challenge will culminate with students presenting their analytic solutions to partners, who will provide commentary, advice, and suggestions. The competition will be on Nov. 20.

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

Several research projects by University Distinguished Professor of Marketing Leonard Berry at Mays Business School have come to fruition.

Berry, whose research focuses on improving service in cancer care, has been involved with multiple studies on improving the quality of end-of-life care for patients with advanced illness.

Unlocking intrinsic hope in patients with advanced illness

Can cancer patients tap into a certain kind of hope that is often overlooked but incredibly therapeutic and healing?

In an article published in The BMJ Opinion (British Medical Journal) titled “The Dual Nature of Hope at the End of Life,” Berry and his co-authors suggest clinicians can help patients tap into a certain kind of hope that is often overlooked but incredibly therapeutic and healing. They differentiate between two types of hope: focused (focused on a cure and recovery) and intrinsic (peace with circumstances and ability to live in the moment).

…Read more

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Featured Stories, Health Care, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

By Sophia Mora

On Friday, April 28, Texas A&M University held a grand opening event for a new entrepreneurship program – Blackstone LaunchPad – with tours of their studio space and the unveiling of their mobile office space.

During the event, remarks were made by Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones, Blackstone LaunchPad at Texas A&M Director Don Lewis, Blackstone LaunchPad Global Director Alisha Slye, and Blake Teipel of Essentium Materials.

Student entrepreneurs spoke about their journeys through entrepreneurship thus far and their excitement to have Blackstone LaunchPad as another entrepreneurial touchpoint on campus. The program showcased the Blackstone LaunchPad studio space in the Koldus building (Suite 105), a permanent location to conduct meetings and mentorship sessions, and a mobile kiosk, which is a traveling office used to increase the accessibility of entrepreneurship on campus.

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

The Raymond Ideas Challenge is a full-day business concept competition for all undergraduate and graduate students to help turn their idea, technology or prototype dream into the next product or service that will change the world. The Texas A&M University-wide Challenge invites all majors, ideas, and interests to apply.

For the second consecutive year, the Raymond Ideas Challenge also invited the winner of the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi campus’ BUC Days Ideas Challenge to compete alongside their Aggie peers. Students were encouraged throughout March and April to attend several workshops that would assist in perfecting their big idea submissions through mentoring and guidance. Students were able to begin executing the initial steps involved in developing an idea and seeing it through to fruition.

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Categories: Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, Centers, Departments, Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, 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.

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