Each semester, the Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) hosts 15-20 industry leaders for the Executive Professor Speaker Series, designed to connect retail students with working professionals as guest lecturers.

“Visiting executives share their personal experiences with students and promote career opportunities within their companies,” said Lauren Osborne ’05, program manager.

“Hearing first-hand from our speakers is the highest-rated learning experiences by our students as they incorporate what they learn from their coursework.”

…Read more

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M

A group of Mays Business School students attended the annual New York City Market Tour, which the Center for Retailing Studies hosts, immersing students in business tours and dynamic cultural experiences they cannot get in Central Texas.

Open to the M.B. Zale Leadership Scholars and members of the Student Retailing Association, this one-of-a-kind spring break travel opportunity provides students aspiring to careers in retail a behind-the-scenes look at some of the world’s greatest brands and retail flagship stores in Manhattan.

“In preparation, I thought about all the different versions of the city that I had seen from sitcoms and movies and had high expectations going in,” said Allison McGraw ’19. “New York blew my expectations out of the park!”

…Read more

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

Some Mays MBA graduates answer the question: “How has your MBA program help you see new opportunities and achieve your career goals?” 

The Mays Executive and Professional MBA Programs are held in Mays’ Houston CityCentre complex.

The Executive MBA Program is ranked in Financial Times (2016): 1st public in Texas, 1st in salaries among Texas public schools, 1st in work experience among Texas public schools,  8th U.S. public and 19th in U.S. overall. The Professional MBA Program is a rigorous 22-month program designed for working professionals who want to immediately apply the knowledge they learn in the classroom to their jobs.

Mays also offers a Full-Time MBA program at the Texas A&M University’s main campus in College Station.

Executive MBA, Class of 2017

Kayvan Zarea, Development Partner, Hanover Company

“The Mays MBA program was a highly transformative journey on both personal and professional levels. I expected professional growth but was surprised by the personal growth. I learned things about myself that no one can take away from me. Disaster City was a very insightful experience in which all of your strengths and weaknesses are immediately exposed for you and your team to analyze. It was instrumental in identifying strengths that I was unaware of, and quickly highlighted weaknesses that need further development.”


Steve Upshaw, CEO, Crosscountry Home Services

“The Mays Executive MBA program has made me a more effective CEO and puts me on a different trajectory of what I can achieve in the future. I cannot think of any decision in life that was better than choosing this program. Choosing A&M lets me be a third-generation Aggie.”




Ronny Jimenez, Assistant General Manager, Walmart

“The Texas A&M Executive MBA has given me the tools I need to become a transformational leader. I have been able to develop a global and strategic understanding of how data processes, economic and finance and government work together to enhance and optimize the purpose of a business entity. The trip to Washington, D.C., gave me a grasp of regulations, legislation at corporate and governmental levels, and has helped me to understand why and how decisions are made at the corporate level and why companies decide to work with the government to better society.”


Chad Cannon, Analyst, BHP Billiton

“The Mays MBA has been a rewarding experience and the time has been well spent. You have to step out of your comfort zone.”





Patti Miller, Vice President-Business Development, E.E.Reed Construction

“This program has opened up my eyes to business aspects that I did not know existed. I understand our company more holistically and I am not pigeon-holed in my own silo. The capstone project made me realize that I did not have the skills before the program to understand my company. I now understand how to read data and analyze. I am more well-rounded. I now have a voice, an educated perspective. I also made lifelong friends and mentors in my cohort. I always have somewhere to go with a problem. I can pick who I can go to because of the diversity of the cohort.”

Indrani Ghosh, Product Manager, United Airlines

“From the Executive MBA program, I gained more than tools; I gained an understanding of what I am capable of. The program challenges you and pushes you beyond your limits. I learned that I can do anything I focus on. I learned my own capabilities and where I fit into the big picture. It’s now more clear to me what I want to do in life.”



Professional MBA, Class of 2017


Candice Henderson, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

“I’m the first person in my family to get an MBA. I originally came from a meteorology background, but I’ve been able to immediately use the business acumen I’ve learned in both my personal and professional lives. What sounded like a foreign language before is now part of my business vernacular; now I can hold my own in business conversations and use the knowledge I’ve gained in both my personal and professional lives.”



Kimberly CucciaFinancial Analyst, Chevron

“In working on four to five teams throughout the program, I’ve learned how to work with different personalities. Ultimately, my goal in life is to be in a leadership position where I can positively influence others, and I believe that strong leaders understand how to relate to other people. I’ve also been able to take a technical approach to the lessons I’ve learned; there are things I have taken from class one weekend, and I’ve used them at work the next.”  

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

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

…Read more

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

Healthcare customers are a unique type of consumer reluctant to purchase, at risk and often highly stressed. During a visit with business students in the Improving Service Quality in Healthcare course, J.R. Thomas, executive vice president of Optum, shared some of the complicated challenges healthcare providers face today.

The visit was the second day of a trip to Mays for Thomas and Optum senior executives Doug Hansen ’89, Allison Miller ’99 and Kevin Kuhn. The first day, Thomas presented to Business Honors students in the Executive Speaker Series, followed by a networking session and student dinner sponsored by Optum. The second day Thomas and his team members from Optum spoke with MBA students and to students from the School of Public Health.

Leonard Berry, University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, taught the lecture for the Improving Service Quality in Healthcare course discussion and facilitated discussion between students and their visitors. The focus on Healthcare is one of Mays’ Grand Challenges.

Managing stress

In the discussion, Thomas underscored one of the most important issues facing healthcare providers: stress. “Patients and their families are faced with life-altering decisions, nurses and doctors work long hours and endure emotional exhaustion to provide the best service possible, and management is stressed with striking a balance between good will toward those who can’t afford expensive healthcare and staying in business,” he said.

The key, he said, is to remember that patients are more than customers; they’re people. He provided an example of an end-of life scenario: “If a patient is dying, it’s important to personally talk to the family. Give them your instinct. You can’t always prevent death, but you can control how it will happen.”

He elaborated on another complex situation: “Some customers can’t always afford healthcare. But remember you also owe it to patients to stay in business.”

Technology creates new challenges, opportunities

Thomas also shared how technology is changing the landscape of medicine. “Routine visits and checkups for common maladies are moving towards telemedicine, such as simple phone calls instead of expensive in-office visits,” he said. “But for the more serious cases, the value of a personal touch in an in-person visit will never go away. Patients need that.”

Marketing senior Rachel Claggett said she was impressed by the amount of involvement the business side of healthcare has in the lives of patients. “It’s reassuring to know that there is humanity and passion in this industry – it’s not just about profits.”

Thomas received his master’s of business administration focusing on finance and management at the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Arkansas.

Categories: Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Health Care, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

As a Mays Business School student, Hans George ’91 decided to combine his passions for marketing and sports into a meaningful career. However, his career path took unanticipated detours through high-end men’s suits and mac-and-cheese before George reached the holy grail – a position working at sportswear giant Nike.

George shared stories and lessons learned during his career, including his two decades at the global athletic wear company, with Mays Business Honors students at a recent roundtable discussion. “My biggest takeaway from Hans was the importance of pursuing your passions strategically,” said Loryn Setterquist ’18. “Through the decisions he made in his career, he developed tangible skills, fostered important relationships, and learned about the retailing industry.”
…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M

30077345983_ab4ac9d1af_oStrike when conditions are good and exercise restraint when they are not, Bruce Petersen ’83, said of succeeding in the real estate market. On his recent visit to Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, he sat down with a group of Business Honors students to discuss his experience navigating an ever-evolving – and often volatile – real estate market over the last three decades.
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Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Real Estate, Texas A&M


Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones ’82 and his wife Fern Jones are personally doing their part to develop transformational leaders by stepping up to endow a $50,000 gift to Mays Business School.

The endowment will provide scholarships to full-time students pursuing an undergraduate degree in marketing who are also pursuing the Professional Selling and Sales Management career track.

“Fern and I are giving back to support students interested in a career in professional selling, a career that blessed me immensely when I was in corporate America,” said Eli Jones. “Sales is at the core of every business discipline, so we are pleased to bolster that aspect of the educational offerings here at Mays. This field also aligns with our vision at Mays to advance the world’s prosperity by creating impactful knowledge and developing transformational leaders.”

Since 2015, Jones has served Texas A&M as a marketing professor, dean, and the Lowry and Peggy Mays Eminent Scholar. His association with the university, which spans four decades, includes three degrees from Texas A&M: a bachelor’s in journalism, an MBA and a doctorate in marketing. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

30624496395_4326378b01_zBen Keating ’94 and Don Whitaker ’96 believe in disrupting the marketplace and then strategically investing in their business. Their success in growing the Keating Auto Group — a family-owned company that includes a number of popular Texas dealerships selling domestic and foreign cars — underscores the wisdom of their approach.

Keating’s and Whitaker’s approach to entrepreneurship resonated with a group of Mays Business School Business Honor majors who listened to their recent presentation. “I learned how having a broad perspective, possessing strong analytical skills and thinking long-term were some of the key elements that enable them to thrive in such a competitive field,” said Bao Nguyen ’20. “As the lecture progressed, it dawned on me that there was more to their business than simply selling cars, trucks and other vehicles for profit.” …Read more

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

Bret Kidd ’90 is guided by a firm commitment to his priorities: first faith, then family, friends and finally, fortune. In his recent conversation with Business Honors students at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, he shared how maintaining this order has ensured balance and purpose in everything he undertakes.

Kidd is president of Travelport Americas. His role encompasses strategic direction, financial results and operations of Travelport’s travel agency, travel management company (TMC) and regional online travel agency (OTA) customers throughout North America, the Caribbean and South America.

“I love travel and the travel industry,” Kidd said. “At Travelport, I get to travel a lot – I’ve already been to 13 countries in 2016. But I am also in the business of simplifying the travel process for the industry. Travelport centralizes key data and make it accessible to travel agencies big and small, both online or brick-and-mortar shops.”

Business Honors major Isabel Gonzalez ’18 was engaged by the discussion about global distribution systems like Travelport.  “I never knew that there are intermediaries between airlines and travel sites like Expedia,” she said.  

Several students asked how Kidd maintains a work-life balance.

“I’ve never missed a day of vacation,” Kidd admitted. “Taking time to unplug mentally and spend time with family is invaluable. Your company can continue to run without you.”

Kidd said he also builds walls around his weekends and disconnects from technology during time with people he cares about. He encouraged students: “Get involved in your church or your community and hold leadership positions. This gives you something else purposeful outside of your job and keeps you from the temptation to overwork.”

While an undergraduate at Texas A&M University, Kidd studied management and was a member of the Business Fellows program. He was also involved in the Wiley Lecture Series, which sparked his interest in politics and opened doors to begin his career working on Capitol Hill.

After graduating from Texas A&M, Kidd served as special assistant to U.S. Senator Phil Gramm, supporting Gramm in a variety of areas, including health care and fiscal/economic matters. His work brought him in touch with dignitaries like Margaret Thatcher, who once was visiting for a fund-raiser. “I even had a conversation in Russian with Mikhail Gorbachev,” Kidd joked of his one-word exchange with the former leader of USSR.
…Read more

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