The story of Mays Business School Professor Henry Musoma and Texas A&M University student Ashton Robinson has surprised them both as it has rippled through personal and corporate social media outlets worldwide.

Robinson, a single mom, told Musoma last Thursday she would not be able to attend class because she couldn’t find a babysitter. Instead of giving her the class notes, as she had asked, Musoma encouraged her to bring the baby to class. Toward the end of the class period, Musoma – the father of four – picked up a restless young Emmett and held him as he finished his lecture.

Robinson posted on Facebook how impactful Musoma’s gesture was to her: “Being a single mom is so challenging but it’s people like Dr. Henry Musoma that make life just a tiny bit easier! THIS is why I’m so proud to be an Aggie! Definitely something I’ll never forget and can’t wait to someday tell Emmett that it’s because of people like this that mommy was able to graduate from the best university in the world.”

Five hours later, those six lines had spread worldwide, and Musoma heard from friends, former students, the president of Texas A&M University, and family members in his home country of Zambia, Africa.

“I never imagined such a thing would happen,” Musoma said. “I was just trying to make sure she had the support she needs to succeed – as I would for any student.”

Musoma teaches “Ethical Decision Making and Conduct” at Mays and International Leadership at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.

The story continues

During that same class period Thursday, Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones surprised Musoma with an award – the first Mays Business School Spirit Award. The plaque reads, “For your selfless service and dedication to students and their educational needs and pursuits and for your heart for building community.”

“One of the things that we pride ourselves on at Mays Business School is having a community that’s connected, a community that’s caring. That’s all part of our Strategic Plan,” Jones said. “But he’s not doing it for the Strategic Plan. He’s not doing it because of our culture, necessarily. He’s doing it because this is who he is.”

Jones was joined in the auditorium by Marty Loudder, associate dean of undergraduate programs; Duane Ireland, executive associate dean; and Wendy Boswell, head of the management department.

After a few moments of silence, Musoma broke into an impromptu lecture. “When you do kind deeds you never die. So when you are a generous person, you have no fear of death.”

Then in another act of selflessness, he led the class in singing “Happy birthday” to one of the students before beginning his lecture.

Ashton Robinson and Henry Musoma are surprised in class by Dean Eli Jones and Marty Loudder, associate dean of undergraduate programs; Wendy Boswell, head of the management department; and Duane Ireland, executive associate dean. Credit – Taylor Stephens

 

Categories: Center for Business International Studies, Dean Eli Jones, Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, 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

By Jeffrey Quinn ’20

Business Honors and finance

On May 10th, I embarked on my journey to Mbale, Uganda, where I volunteered with an organization called HELP International. HELP International is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that has volunteer programs in multiple locations across the world, but has had volunteers on the ground in Uganda for the last seven years. My volunteer experience lasted for six weeks from May 12th to June 23rd. I had a lot of individuals try to discourage me from traveling to Uganda because of the danger they associated with living in Africa, but I was determined to empower Ugandans in their fight against poverty.

I will never forget the six weeks I spent working in Mbale and the lessons that the truly amazing local men and women taught me.

A problem to solve

One of HELP’s most important partnerships was with an orphanage in the Sibwala Village that is home to 300 orphans. The most immediate problem that faced the orphanage was its failure to be sustainable if HELP International no longer provided funding. One of the most vital lessons I learned during this internship is the importance of sustainability when doing developmental work. The most effective form of developmental work is providing individuals with knowledge and the ability to be sustainable without any outside intervention. This is why I felt it was important to immediately tackle the failure of the Sibwala Orphanage to be sustainable.

…Read more

Categories: Business Honors, Center for Business International Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

By Dunae Crenwelge, The Texas A&M Foundation

The Texas A&M Foundation has received commitments of $3 million from the Mays Family Foundation and $2.6 million from the Charles Koch Foundation to establish the Mays Innovation Research Center (MIRC) within the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

With these contributions, both foundations continue their legacy of philanthropy at Texas A&M. In 2017, the Mays Family Foundation has given a record $25 million in support of Mays Business School, bringing its lifetime contributions to more than $50 million. This contribution marks the first gift from the Koch Foundation to Mays Business School, although the organization has supported other endeavors at Texas A&M.

Drawing from academic disciplines across the Texas A&M campus, MIRC will examine the nature of innovation. Research at the center will focus on how innovation advances human potential; the essential conditions necessary for innovation to flourish; how innovation spreads; and the social, economic and legal frameworks necessary to support innovation. Many traditional university innovation centers focus on teaching the history, theory, and practice of innovation. By contrast, MIRC is a research-oriented academic center that will engage in the study of innovation to advance knowledge in this important field.

…Read more

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

The Texas A&M University Center for Retailing Studies will host its annual Retailing Summit on Oct. 12-13 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas.

Since its launch in 1985, the Retailing Summit has provided inspiring, original, content for retail executives. Hundreds of business leaders throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico attend the event.

“Most retailers can no longer differentiate on product or price alone. Experiences play a central role in brand perception,” says Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School. “The Retailing Summit’s speakers will address how their companies deliver engaging experiences successfully across both the physical and digital worlds to excite customers and drive sales.”

The 2017 Retailing Summit will include appearances from two CEO’s, two of America’s top five retail firms by sales volume, several top 100 retailers, and other beloved brands.

A new and exciting addition to this year’s conference features a session with founders from four start-up companies launched by current and former Texas A&M students. The presentations showcase Texas A&M and its students as sources of technical innovation and new consumer brands in the retailing industry. The start-ups include AI technology, a grocery app, a nutrition snack, and an apparel line.

This year’s conference speakers include:

Crayola – Victoria Lozano, SVP & GM, Attractions & Retail
Zoës Kitchen – Kevin Miles, CEO
Dollar General – Steve Sunderland, SVP – Store Operations
Indochino – Drew Green, CEO
Walgreens – Kenya Jackson, Corporate Vice President
The Home Depot – William Bonnell, Senior Director of Site Reliability Engineering

“The disruption in retail justifies investing time away from the office to learn. The conference agenda is packed with insights valuable to traditional retailers and suppliers alike,” Hollinger adds.

Proceeds from the Retailing Summit support leadership programs and curriculum for students pursuing retail studies at Mays Business School.

Conference sponsors include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Alliance Data, BDO, brierley + partners, NectarOM, Protivix, REVTECH, ROOT, Shell, and Texas Retailers Association.

For further information on how to register for the 2017 Retailing Summit, visit retailingsummit.org.

 

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Most people rely on gauging facial expressions to build rapport with a new acquaintance. However, Steven Maldonado ’18 knows firsthand that looks can be deceiving. He cannot make one of the most common friendly gestures – a smile – because of facial paralysis caused by Moebius syndrome.

Maldonado, who attends Mays Business School’s Professional MBA program in Houston’s CityCentre, is an emerging leader in the national Moebius community. As a featured speaker at Baylor College of Medicine’s 2017 Compassion and the Art of Medicine series in September, he will share the lessons he’s learned from living with this neurological disorder.

Learning to connect with others

The Houston native was born with Moebius syndrome, but doctors did not diagnosis the rarely-seen condition until he was a child. Researchers estimate the non-progressive condition affects fewer than 20 in every 1 million people. Besides facial paralysis, this condition in some cases can result in respiratory problems, speech and swallowing disorders, visual impairment, sensory integration dysfunction, sleep disorders, weak upper body strength and autism spectrum disorders.

Maldonado said the condition contributed to his being socially awkward during his early years. The shy and reserved child had to learn to use different skills, such as humor, to build rapport. However, with practice, he was able to forge strong friendships.

Over the years, the condition has led to many life lessons. “Everyone is different in their own way,” Maldonado said. “Having compassion for others is a great thing. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t judge people on their looks, how they talk or where they come from.”

A drive to excel personally and professionally

After earning a business degree from the University of Houston, Maldonado worked for a company that did consulting on environmental issues. Eventually he switched industries and joined Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology. The administrative coordinator works with the department’s research grants, financial budgeting, and special projects.

Maldonado’s decision to pursue a master’s degree was based on his desire to advance professionally and grow as an individual. Mays’ Professional MBA program stood out for a variety of reasons. “The faculty and the staff made me feel like I was the only person applying for the program,” he said. “They were really personable and always ready to address my concerns. They really made me feel that I was going to be adding value to the program by coming to Mays.”

He credits the graduate program with helping him increase his confidence, become a better speaker and have the knowledge to tackle complex problems. He will use these skills as he prepares to give his first formal speech at the Baylor College of Medicine event.

Raising awareness and helping others

Maldonado also is planning to increase his involvement with the Moebius Syndrome Foundation. After attending his first conference in 2014, Maldonado now serves as the first point of contact for young adults who have Moebius syndrome. In that volunteer role, he helps them connect with other people with the condition.

Eventually, Maldonado hopes to serve on the organization’s board of directors. “Moebius has its challenges and obstacles,” he said. “However, I believe people with Moebius can lead pretty normal lives.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

By Dorian Martin ’06, The Texas A&M Foundation

The entrepreneurial spirit of longtime Texas A&M University benefactor Arthur “Artie” McFerrin Jr. will continue to inspire future generations of Aggies through the renaming of Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) in his honor.

McFerrin, who passed away Aug. 8 after a long battle with leukemia, consistently supported Texas A&M’s academic and athletic programs with major gifts. The 1965 graduate of Texas A&M University is the namesake of the McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, the McFerrin Athletic Center (the indoor football complex and track stadium) and the Cox-McFerrin Basketball Center.

“Widely known as one of the most generous, humble and understated leaders in business, Artie gave more in his life than he ever took,” said Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel. “He set a standard few others will ever achieve as a man of character and conviction focused on the future. It is fitting that the newly renamed McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship will bear the name of someone so focused on giving others opportunities.”

The CNVE’s renaming was made possible through a $10 million gift from McFerrin and his wife, Dorothy. These funds will advance the center’s work as an international leader in entrepreneurial education. “We are truly grateful to the McFerrin family,” said Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “Artie’s spirit lives on through the thousands of lives he has influenced and will continue to influence. His heart for Texas A&M and entrepreneurship beats in the hearts of those Aggies who choose to be courageous enough to create solutions to the world’s biggest problems—those who are indeed fearless.”

Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Jr. ’65

Funds will further help the center more effectively prepare aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed in a turbulent global economy. “Our goal is to create a state-of-the-art center that equips young people for starting and growing their ventures,” said Richard Lester, the center’s executive director. “With this support, we can expand our reach and impact while linking existing programs for a cohesive experience. More than grooming specific skills, we hope to train students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset: to believe they can achieve and not give up when the going gets tough.”

…Read more

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

Patients often exhibit hostage-like behaviors when dealing with their medical caregivers – underplaying serious symptoms, reluctant to ask questions, and fearful to express concerns about treatments – says Leonard Berry, a marketing professor from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

The trend is so prevalent, Berry and his three co-authors titled their paper in the September 2017 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings: “When Patients and Their Families Feel Like Hostages to Health Care.”

“Patients and families often hold back from openly engaging clinicians in the thorough discussions that true shared decision making requires,” Berry explains. “We refer to this phenomenon as ‘hostage bargaining syndrome’ (HBS) because, in the presence of clinicians, patients and their families may behave like hostages negotiating, from a position of fear and confusion, for their health.”

HBS is most likely to occur in cases of serious illness.

Clinicians are unlikely to want their patients to feel like hostages, and many will actively encourage the patient’s involvement in shared decision-making. They encourage respect and collaboration in health-care scenarios.

In a video of Berry, he describes the phenomenon of HBS, offers clinical vignettes to clinicians to assist them with identifying it, and emphasizes the value of fostering shared decision-making with patients in their care.

Berry is a Regents’ Professor at Texas A&M University, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and a University Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Texas A&M.

Berry is the lead author of the paper. His co-authors are Tracey S. Danaher, a marketing professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia; Dan Beckham, president of The Beckham Company; Dr. Rana L.A. Awdish, director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program and medical director of Care Experience at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit; and Dr. Kedar S. Mate, senior vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass.

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Health Care, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M

The Survey of Marketing class (Marketing 621) taught by Professor Paul Busch recently welcomed guest speakers Dallas Shipp ’03 and Nicole Morten Lamb. Shipp runs a marketing strategy company called 6 Shooter Marketing and Lamb owns the video production company Water to Wine Productions.

The class focuses on developing marketing strategies including product, pricing, distribution, and promotion decisions. The pair’s presentation connected those principles by speaking on the “Power of Video.”

Shipp and Lamb reinforced the idea that even though facts are important, the emotion and storytelling behind marketing can sometimes leave a more lasting impression. Shipp introduced students to the idea that people want to do business with companies they feel connected to. Through marketing strategies, including video, you can relay emotion, explain difficult concepts, and make a connection with an audience, creating that vital relationship.  His simple mantra “facts tell, and stories sell” summarizes that idea. As for videos specifically, he emphasized the importance of quality video advertisement by sharing that use of an effective embedded video typically increases customer conversion by 80 percent.

Lamb focused on how to go about telling your story. She creates video projects for weddings, businesses, social media, and for clients in many different industries. Her passion resides with storytelling and bringing her clients vision’s to life. Understanding that so much work goes into creating a business, her hope is to communicate that idea and the finished result through professional, creative, and engaging videos. Lamb showed students a few videos she had produced advertising for businesses in Downtown Brenham.

Students were also shown the current and typical written information found on the Brenham website. When asked to compare the two, students instantly felt more connected to the experiences and emotion depicted the video instead of the written advertisements. This demonstration proved that it is possible to be informative and get the point across without sacrificing creativity and connection.

Their approach to marketing and advertising disproves the idea that there is only “one silver bullet for marketing success.” They encouraged focusing on constructing the right combination of practices to achieve the best marketing strategy for each client.

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

For the first time in its history, Mays Business School hosted the Master’s in Finance (MSF) Career Lunch with Executive Professors for incoming students as part of the MS Finance Boot Camp on Aug. 8-25. This unique event gave students the chance to hear a panel of Texas A&M University faculty members discuss key insights and experiences within the finance field, as well as the opportunity to network with the panelists and ask questions.

The MSF curriculum provides intense study in finance, with supporting coursework in accounting. It is designed to help non-finance undergraduates launch a finance-related career. The 36-credit-hour curriculum begins in August with a mini-mester (MSF Boot Camp) and ends the next May. Twenty-four credit hours of required courses are completed during the fall and spring semesters, and includes a six-hour practicum spread over the August Boot Camp and fall semester.

The panel event was moderated by Len Cannon, a news anchor for KHOU Houston Channel 11 News. Cannon co-anchors the 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts and has a popular segment called “Len at Work.” He has won Emmys and the prestigious Columbia University Dupont Award for his work in reporting.

The panel included:

  • Executive Professor of the Mays MBA Programs Lemar Brown, who told the students to “Set goals, lay out a plan, and work the plan”
  • Executive Professor and Director of Real Estate Programs Cydney C. Donnell, whose advice was to “make opportunities happen by planning to be in the right place at the right time”
  • Executive Director of the Commercial Banking Program Dwight Garey, who suggested that “a strong work ethic outweighs talent, intelligence, and is a requirement for success”
  • Executive Professor of Accounting K. Sue Redman, who quoted Amelia Earhart in telling the students to “build and use runways”
  • Executive Professor of Finance Ed White, who encouraged the students to “be curious, add value, and have fun”

Students gained insights and key takeaways such as how to weigh job opportunity versus job salary, steps to networking, and how to impress people in your workplace. The panelists finished the session with advice like “don’t make the salary the reason you take a job,” “Networking never stops,” and “people will embrace you if you show a passion to grow and improve.”

 

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