Mays Business School’s Master of Science in Business program congratulated 40 students in its inaugural graduating class with a hooding ceremony at the end of the Spring 2017 semester. ‘Jon Jasperson, MS Business Academic Director, spoke highly of the Class of 2017, describing the students as a diverse group that quickly became a tight-knit community.

Launched in fall 2017, the Mays MS Business program is a one-year program for students who did not study business as undergraduates. The program offers core functional knowledge in the various business disciplines and provides students hands-on experience in creating and running a real business.

“This class drew students from a variety of educational backgrounds and personal interests,” Jasperson said. “The student culture in many majors, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), is very competitive and mostly based on individual performance. As the director, it was fun to observe the change in the students as they learned about cooperation and collaboration in a team-based classroom environment.”

Jasperson said the students began to bond as a family beginning with the first block of classes of the program year. “They met every day, Monday through Friday, in the same classroom from 1:15 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., for four weeks. This total immersion in the MS Business classes quickly led to establishing relationships with new ‘family’ members for the students. Not only did they meet together in the classroom and for team meetings, but they also began hanging out with each other and socializing.”

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Categories: Alumni, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MS Business, News, Students, 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

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 System 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.

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

Texas A&M University and the Blackstone Charitable Foundation hosted an open house April 28 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 were 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.”

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

3 Day Startup event is a 72-hour, hands-on workshop experience for Texas A&M University students of all majors. Within this three-day period, students are coached, mentored and begin executing on the critical first steps necessary to make any business idea grow successfully. Beginning on Friday afternoon, students pitch their own business idea, and teams are formed around the ideas most highly-supported by the other student participants. Then these student teams will work day and night to prepare for their final pitches on Sunday in front of a “Pro Panel” of entrepreneurial experts who have launched successful businesses across a wide array of industries. The constructive criticism and advice provided by volunteer mentors and entrepreneurs throughout the weekend provide the students with a framework and path to work toward launching a new business.

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Categories: Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M

By Jessie Minks ’16

On the morning of Feb. 17, the Cocanougher Center was filled with an audience of business and community leaders serving as judges, anxiously waiting to learn the mission and goal of 16 start-up companies that teamed up with the first-year students from the class of 2017’s Full-Time MBA program. Held in partnership between the Mays MBA Program and the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), the 2017 MBA Venture Challenge wrapped up its 15th year with three winning teams going home with a total of $10,000.

The day kicked off with the first round: the elevator pitch competition. Pitches ranged from a simplified physical fitness booking app and streamlined water purifying approaches to emerging drone security system technology. Elevator pitch winners Eric Jensen, Matt Larsen, Zain Hanif and Ellen Schott took home $500 after impressing the judge and company representative audience with their interest-sparking and comical pitch for InfinitySoft, a scalable data analytics platform provider for the oil and gas industry.

This year’s MBA Venture Challenge contained 68 first-year MBA students tasked with assisting applicant companies with business advice and financial/competitive analysis on current and future market and growth strategies. Each year the MBA Venture Challenge creates high-stakes competition between teams, for both sponsored cash awards and significant bragging rights. Additionally, the competition provides networking opportunities as well as high-value insights for participating firms.

The Venture Challenge asks the MBA student teams to provide a clear, unbiased and business-oriented evaluation of their selected firm’s market and financial viability. The start-up firms are invited to apply from throughout the Aggie Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, and the MBA teams selected their favorite firm, based solely on a short summary provided by the applicants. The program operates through partnerships and sponsorship from the Aggie Angel Network, JB Knowledge and the Texas A&M University Division of Research. The original 26 business applicants came from a wide variety of industries, including human tissue engineering and ecommerce, adventure media and consumer products.

While the MBA teams were allotted only two weeks of direct contact with their assigned company representatives, they were provided feedback and direction from industry and university mentors, including the MBA program faculty and volunteer entrepreneurs. Full-Time MBA Program Director Shannon Deer explains “the MBA Venture Challenge encourages our students to integrate what they have learned across the business disciplines” and allows each team to “demonstrate the ability to navigate ambiguity and intellectual curiosity – two critical skills our employers seek in our students.”

The MBA Venture Challenge consisted of a full-day competition over three rounds of judging by an audience of experienced judges from CNVE’s network of business, academic and entrepreneurial community leaders. Each round required the teams to present a concise yet in-depth analysis of the start-up and provide meaningful recommendations for future company success.

“Now in its 15th year, the MBA Venture Challenge has clearly set the standard for high-intensity and high-impact interaction between student teams and startup ventures,” said Blake Petty, director of the CNVE. “The analysis provided by these outstanding MBAs has proven to be immediately invaluable to the participating companies, and there is simply no better way to expose our students to the real-life challenges of entrepreneurship than to immerse them into a startup…even if only for two weeks.”

For those companies or judges interested in participating in the 2018 MBA Venture Challenge, be on the lookout for application information to begin circulating in November 2017.

The winning MBA teams were announced Feb. 17 at a networking and awards reception immediately after the Venture Challenge:

$5,000 – First Place (sponsored by the Texas A&M Division of Research) – Brent Carter, Nick Cheng, Philip Spencer, Jana Soares; CelaCare

$3,000 – Second Place (sponsored by the Aggie Angel Network) – Mario Coll, Thomas Dowlearn, Eclair Lehmongkol, Ankur Soni; IntuiTap Medical

$2,000 – Third Place (sponsored by JBKnowledge) – Meagan Altman, James Cochran, Lia Rojas Unamo, Rahul Sharma; FireDisc

Learn more about the results of previous MBA Venture Challenge competitions.

 

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, MBA, News, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Texas A&M University senior Sarah Shaw is most enthusiastic about the future. The twist is it’s not her own future that’s exciting her, which has been her approach to life since her elementary school days.

“I’m excited about it because it blends my two biggest passions,” Shaw said. “I’ve played soccer since I was 6, and I’ve volunteered at the food pantry since I was 10. It’s always been one of my biggest goals to have a nonprofit, so why not start now?”

Shaw’s idea is much like TOMS Shoes, which matches shoe purchases one for one and donates the second pair to children in need. For every soccer ball Goals for Bowls sells or donation it receives, the organization will donate a soccer ball and meal to a child in Nepal or Ghana.

Charity work runs in Shaw’s family, which has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours at the Community Enrichment Center in North Richland Hills in Fort Worth, where her father serves on the board.

“It’s always been a big part of my life, volunteering and giving food to people,” Shaw said. “I interned there to get the feel of how to run a nonprofit, and it’s been one of my biggest goals to have a nonprofit, so why not start now.”

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

andrew-jarrettA startup that competed in the annual MBA Venture Challenge at Mays Business School in February was recently admitted to Startup Aggieland as a client company. It joined the campus-based accelerator program’s Lifestyle group, exclusive for early-stage ventures that generate revenue.

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ResponderX is a team of technical, non-technical and emergency service providers who are dedicated to engineering safety solutions for firefighters across the nation. Volunteer firefighter Andrew Jarrett formed the company team to promote the use of TaskForceTracker, his patent-pending technology consisting of small device attaches to the top of firefighter helmets and is able to provide critical information such as location and condition of the personnel on the scene.

He said he was inspired to create TaskForce technology to save lives after two local firemen lost their lives during a Feb. 2013 rescue at the Knights of Colombus hall. “Someone got lost in the fire and we had to go search for him,” Jarrett recalled. “When the dust settled, we realized that the guy they came to rescue was very close to an external door to the back building. That’s when it came to me that there is a better way to do this.”

ResponderX founders Jarrett and Jerry Lozano participated in the annual MBA Venture Challenge through Mays Business School at Texas A&M University in February 2016. Over an intensive two-week period, they worked with two Texas A&M MBA students whose task was to complete an in-depth analysis of the business and market segment of Jarrett’s startup company, ResponderX.

“Armed with the research provided to ResponderX by the MBA team, we were able to approach serious investors for the first time with a truly accurate depiction of our business valuation and well-documented market research,” said Jarrett.

The information helped Jarrett raise almost $200,000 in funding.

“The MBA Venture Challenge may have been one of the single most important things to happen to our startup in the past year,” Jarrett explained. “The research, projections, and recommendations provided to me by the student team we were partnered with were priceless, and we continue to use the materials they created to help us in our projections to this day.”

As a client company of Startup Aggieland, ResponderX has been assigned three mentors:

  • Startup Aggieland Entrepreneur-in-Residence Nathan Day, a retired founding CTO of SoftLayer and Texas A&M former student who lives near Austin;
  • Startup Aggieland Entrepreneur-in-Residence Brian Kralyevich, a VP UX for Amazon in Seattle and a Texas A&M former student;
  • Dave Manzer, an Aggie mentor for Startup Aggieland who owns Manzer Communications in Austin;
  • Shelly Brenckman, a student co-founder and marketing coordinator as well as manager of the CNVE Mentor Network and Startup Aggieland’s Dormcubator.
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Burnt gear from the firefighters who died in February 2013 is used to demonstrate how important safety is on the fireground.

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, MBA, News, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M