30003351720_4583b600c2_oFew professionals can say they’ve been with the same company their entire career. But Gina Luna ’95, chairman of JPMorgan Chase in the Houston region, is an exception.

Luna has been with JPMorgan Chase since she graduated from Texas A&M in 1995. On her visit to Mays Business School, she had lunch with Business Honors students and shared how she has navigated such a large corporation for so many years. For more than 20 years, her willingness to plunge into new challenges and optimism about new relationships has guided her through positions in finance, recruiting, operations and marketing.

Luna leads the Middle Market Banking business and is active in recruiting, mentoring and leadership development within the organization. “I’ve held many challenging but rewarding roles at JPMorgan Chase,” Luna said, “Each one has taught me something new and has been a wonderful opportunity to build relationships.”

She believes the challenge is always worth it because of her coworkers. “Every day I get to work with such high-caliber, intelligent individuals.”

Her career with JPMorgan Chase started with a summer internship before her senior year of college. The next year she graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s of business administration degree with a double major in finance and management, and went to work full-time for JPMorgan Chase.

But Luna wouldn’t stay an analyst for long. Within a few years she was offered an opportunity to lead entry-level recruiting for the organization. “I had no experience in recruiting, but I remember it sounded like an interesting and unique opportunity.” Luna accepted the offer with enthusiasm and found that she really enjoyed building relationships with new recruits and colleagues across the Firm.

She later moved into a management role overseeing analysts and associates, many of whom she had recruited. Next she moved into leadership positions in investment banking and commercial banking. Prior to her current role, she was chief marketing officer for Chase Commercial Banking, for which she directed marketing and communications for the national commercial banking business.

When students asked how she was able to adapt to such diverse roles within the company, she said the key was to be open to what others might teach her. “I was often surrounded by people who had far more knowledge and experience than I did,” she said. “But I had to ask myself, ‘What can I learn from others in this situation?’”

Even in leadership, she prefers a consultative style. “I always try to involve others in the decision-making process. Even if the final decision is my responsibility, I value others’ contributions.”

Business Honors major Will Locke ’20 said he found the discussion extremely enjoyable. “I learned that crafting relationships in truly invaluable in the business world,” he said. “Not only do they provide you with meaningful friendships, they also provide excellent opportunities for advancement.”

Emily Clark ’20 said she was inspired to make some personal changes. “Going forward, I will make my values a priority and make an effort to develop relationships in school as well as my future career.”

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Departments, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Finance, Management, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

After seeing how much their daughter Grace learned in a new “Strategic Philanthropy” course at Mays Business School, Wil and Jennifer VanLoh donated money to fund the next two courses. A portion of their $140,000 gift to Mays through the Texas A&M Foundation will provide grants for students to distribute to local nonprofits through the course, while remaining funds will help cover operating costs.


Philanthropy is a way of life for the VanLoh family – from left, Grace, Mary, Wil, Jennifer and Sarah.

The course that debuted last spring gives undergraduate students at Mays first-hand experience in the world of nonprofit work. In the first program of its kind to be offered at an SEC school and the first at a business school, students get the chance to learn about various facets of philanthropy, hear from philanthropic leaders and experience the grant-making process from a foundation’s perspective.

Wil VanLoh, founder and CEO of Quantum Energy Partners, said his family routinely holds meetings to make philanthropic decisions for their family foundation. “My wife and I are intentional about including our kids in our decisions,” he said. “We think being good stewards of the resources we are given is a big responsibility, and something we don’t think a lot of people take seriously enough.

“We believe modeling generosity for our kids is one of the greatest gifts we can give them as it helps them understand that one is more blessed to give than to receive. We get tremendous joy out of giving and we want them to experience that at a young age to set the tone for the rest of their life.”

VanLoh said he was impressed with the course, which he said should be offered across the university – and not just at the business school. “This is an all-around great set of skills for these students, and it benefits the community they live in while they’re attending college, so it has a significant ripple effect,” he said. …Read more

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

trifusiondevicesTriFusion Devices, the winner of the 2016 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC), the world’s richest and largest student startup competition, was invited to ring the opening bell Monday at the NASDAQ Stock Market in New York City. Cofounders Blake Teipel and Brandon Sweeney participated in the morning ceremony, along with representatives from RBPC and Texas A&M University, including Philippe Hercot, executive professor and director of Aggies on Wall Street at Mays Business School.

TriFusion Devices was the first Texas A&M team to win the Rice competition, the world’s largest student-centered business plan competition. The team received checks totalling nearly $400,000.  

The team illustrates a collaboration between several colleges at Texas A&M, and it bolsters the arena of health care – a priority at Texas A&M and at Mays. “So many faculty and staff members invested in these young people. The team’s success is a beautiful example of collaborating across the university and beyond,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones. “It aligns nicely with our primary mission of advancing the world’s prosperity by developing such areas as entrepreneurship and health care.”

Their project was based on breakthrough additive manufacturing products and services aimed at simplifying and expediting the process of manufacturing custom prosthetic devices. The team applies a revolutionary, patent-pending process that fuses together 3D printed parts to next-generation biomedical devices. The result is a durable, lightweight, custom-fit prosthetic device created within 48 hours, saving time, labor, and materials by eliminating the residual limb plaster-casting process and the current need for test-fit sockets.

TriFusion Devices got their start through Startup Aggieland, a globally recognized, award-winning business incubator and accelerator program at Texas A&M. Through the mentorship and experience provided by Startup Aggieland and other university initiatives, such as the National Science Foundation I-Corps program, TriFusion’s founders were able to incubate their ideas and prepare for the commercial world. In addition to the Rice University Business Plan Competition, TriFusion Devices has received several other top honors, including winning the 2016 Baylor New Venture Competition, the Raymond Ideas Challenge at Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, and the SEC Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition.

Don Lewis, the team’s mentor and coach at Startup Aggieland, said the team has a promising future. “Be on the lookout for this company,” he said. “They are a team to watch because of what they do. They’ve created a revolutionary way to 3D print plastics that are extremely durable and strong, and they are crafting them into very useful objects, like the prosthetics.”

The students plan to open a manufacturing production facility within the next few months in the Bryan-College Station area, Lewis said. Britton Eastburn, a Mays Business School MD/MBA student who was on the team at the time of the victory, has resumed medical school.  

TriFusion Devices competed against more than 750 applicants  on 42 teams from the world’s top universities before 300 judges over a three-day period to emerge as the top startup company at RBPC.

“We are grateful for the support, guidance, and encouragement that we’ve received from the Texas A&M University and Rice University programs,” Teipel said. “The experience and coaching we have received as we’ve launched our venture have proven immensely valuable to our success.”


Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Health Care, I-Corps, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

sandi-pictureSandi Lampo, clinical associate professor of marketing at Mays Business School, was invited to be a panelist for the Pedagogy Project, a recently launched initiative at Texas A&M University.

The Pedagogy Project aims to improve student success and retention through implementation of motivating and engaging classroom instruction. It will include a series of lunch forums featuring faculty members who already exemplify pedagogy in their classrooms. Lampo will be among the five panelists at the first lunch forum “Focus on Large Classes” on Oct. 14 in Rudder 601.

Marketing department head Mark Houston called Lampo a role model of a professor who knows how to fully engage students. “Part of her success is due to how she structures her courses,” Houston said. “But a bigger part is the combination of care that she invests in the students as individuals along with her high expectations that encourage students to take ownership. Being selected for the Pedagogy Project panel for large classes is a real honor for Sandi and a testament to the respect that her students have for her. Her colleagues and I are really proud!”

Lampo has served at Mays for over 13 years, as a marketing lecturer from 2002 to 2008 and as a senior marketing lecturer from 2008 to 2013. She was marketing director for Christopher’s World Grille in Bryan from 2013 to 2015. She returned to Mays as a clinical associate professor of marketing in 2015.

Lampo has taught multiple courses in the Mays Department of Marketing, including Principles of Marketing, Marketing Research, Retail Concepts and Policies, Strategic Retailing, Advertising, Advanced Retail Case Competition and graduate-level Survey of Marketing. She received a bachelor’s degree in marketing at Mays in 1993, an MBA from SMU in 1995 and a Ph.D. in marketing from Mays in 2001.

Categories: Alumni, Faculty, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Each fall for the last four years, the “Dealmakers in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A)” course has provided high-performing Mays Business School students a unique opportunity to be immersed in the world of mergers and acquisitions.

In this highly competitive and innovative program, select MBA, Professional Program in Accounting and undergraduate students learn the real-world dynamics of corporate and financial mergers and acquisitions from experienced M&A professionals in a fast paced environment. M&A leaders from around the country serve as guest lecturers, leading students in dynamic role plays, class discussions, case studies and team competitions on actual deals.

The course uses actual completed transactions to address a variety of topics, including finding the right deal, applying valuation methods and techniques, determining deal pricing, financing and capital structure, developing negotiation skills, evaluating contracts and deal memoranda and identifying diligence issues.

The program was founded by Mays alumni and M&A professional Drew Koecher ’88 who envisioned a professionally led case study program to give Texas A&M students exposure to, and a competitive edge in, the M&A disciplines of investment banking, transaction advisory, private equity and corporate deal making. Working closely with Mays Accounting Professor and Department Head James Benjamin, Koecher developed the course, which was launched in the fall of 2013.


(pictured: Drew Koecher, Sean Murphy, Tim Torno and Larry Gies)

After the inaugural year, Sean Murphy ’94, also a Mays alumni and M&A professional, assumed leadership of the class, and along with Koecher, strengthened the course by welcoming Tim Torno as executive professor, and introducing a new group of M&A leaders as guest lecturers at Mays. Torno has more than 35 years of successful executive-level business experience, including 25 M&A transactions while he was a chief financial officer.

“This is the type of high impact, hands-on opportunity that we try to provide for our high-achieving students in Mays,” Benjamin said. “The innovative style of team role play with actual case studies led by practicing M&A leaders, together with the academic stewardship of Tim Torno, is truly unique at Mays and among most business programs. I am confident that this course will continue to meaningfully impact the lives and professional careers of our students.”

Koecher and Murphy continue to be intimately involved in the program, leading classes and hosting M&A professionals from around the country as case presenters. Selected presenters have included:

Larry Gies, founder and CEO of Madison Capital Partners;

Kent Wallace, partner of The Sterling Group;

 Tom Keene, founder of Southlake Equity;

– Mark Miller, CFO of Sabre and ActiveNetworks;

Doug Aaron, CFO of HollyFrontier;

Jeff Hull, managing partner of Highlander Capital;

Mark Dufilho, managing director of corporate finance, Houlihan & Lokey;

 Francis Carr, managing director of The Sterling Group;

– P. Scott Ozanus, deputy chairman of KPMG;

Joe Colonnetta, partner, HBC Investments;

Carolyn Burke, chief integration officer of Dynegy

Gies had this to say about his experience with Mays’ Dealmakers program: “Imagine working on a real deal in an auction environment with teams valuing, strategizing and bidding to try to win the prize. This was the environment in our classroom at Texas A&M. The students I encountered in this class during my two years were so incredibly impressive and resourceful; I would hire any one of them to help me build a business.”

Students interested in investment banking, corporate M&A, private equity, transaction consulting or other investment and/or transaction professional services roles are encouraged to apply. Standout qualities for applicants include strong academic performance, leadership skills, meaningful classroom involvements and a commitment to move outside one’s comfort zone in a challenging, fast-pace team environment.

For more information about the program, visit http://mays.tamu.edu/department-of-accounting/dealmakers-in-mergers-and-acquisitions/

Categories: Finance, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Damien Harmon delivered his message about building trust with customers — who he called “boss”— to a packed house of nearly 500 students, faculty and staff at Mays Business School on Sept. 7. Harmon, the vice president of operations at Bridgestone Retail Operations, was the featured speaker of the 19th annual M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture Series, hosted by The Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School.


Journey onward

A father of six and a former NFL player, Harmon began his career in retail while working as a store manager for Best Buy. Overseeing $16 million in sales annually, he demonstrated his ability to lead and know different types of people. He was soon selected to oversee the opening of Best Buy operations in China and Turkey.

From an early age, Harmon’s success was credited to his mother for her entrepreneurial spirit and determination to see her children do well in life. Growing up in small town Gary, Indiana, academic study became the promise to a broader world. Through his mother’s encouragement, he developed an outside-the-box mindset that would propel him forward.

Logging upwards of a million miles a year to implement and grow Best Buy’s international business, Harmon developed expertise in marketing and store operations with the electronics giant, before joining Bridgestone Retail Operations.

Harmon’s eagerness to embrace challenge became the foundation for his current role as vice president of operations, leading to development of its strategic customer experience platform. He also maintains direct responsibility over retail operations, supply chain, IT, customer retention and service capability. …Read more

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

The Petroleum Ventures Program has kicked off its inaugural semester with 25 petroleum engineering students, several finance students and a 23-member advisory board.

The interdisciplinary partnership between the business and engineering schools at Texas A&M University started with a $12 million gift from Anthony Bahr ’91 and Jay Graham ’92, who gave $6 million each to the finance (FINC) and petroleum engineering (PETE) departments. The petroleum engineering graduates own WildHorse Resources in Houston. Their goal is to teach finance skills to PETE students and petroleum engineering skills to FINC students.

Anthony Bahr

Anthony Bahr

“I’d say we are off to a good start, and the advisory board members are excited at what is to come,” said Detlef Hallermann, a Mays Business School clinical professor who oversees the program. “What I am hearing from the board is that it’s been a long time coming. We’ve made the first step.  Now the board is going to help us look at what we are doing and provide direction for where we wish to go next.”

Students wrote multiple analytical analyses, reviewed by advisory board members prior to being  accepted into the program. Approximately 100 students attended the informational sessions and more than 60 students applied.

Princewill Imouokhome, a sophomore pursuing a bachelor’s in finance, said he was “immediately both interested and curious” about the program and the current state of the oil and gas industry’s impact on it. He applied because he wants to be involved in the energy industry.

“I saw an opportunity to gain both a competitive edge and to leave my comfort zone,” he said. “In my time in the program I have already seen a change in the way I see many things that a contingent upon the energy industry. I hope to gain knowledge, new perspectives on problem solving, and exposure to situations that force me to grow as an individual and a professional.”

Bahr said he is happy to hear about the popularity of the program. “I’m thrilled to welcome the inaugural class of business and engineering students into the Petroleum Ventures Program, and excited these students have made a significant commitment to their future careers in the energy business,” he said.

When fully implemented, the program will offer a Certificate in Petroleum Ventures for both PETE and FINC students. Hallermann is also director of the Trading, Risk & Investments Program (TRIP) and the Reliant Trading Center.

The program will have a profound impact on Mays at many levels, Hallermann said. It provides :

  • Increased visibility of Mays programs
  • Integration of engineering students in Mays undergraduate classes – mostly in finance, but also in other disciplines
  • Strategic importance
  • Groundwork for other programs

The advisory board’s first meeting is Oct. 6-7.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School invests significantly in global study opportunities for its undergraduate and graduate students. In 2015, the 599 Mays students who studied abroad comprised 13 percent of the Texas A&M students who did so. Within Mays, about 24 percent of graduating seniors had an overseas study experience.

A number of programs are coordinated by Mays’ Center for International Business Studies (CIBS). Julian Gaspar, CIBS executive director, explained, “CIBS’ mission is to empower Mays students to become globally competent and operate at a professional level in intercultural and international contexts.”

CIBS is a member of the national Center for International Business Education & Research (CIBER) Network: a select group of 17 universities, chosen by the U.S. Department of Education.  


“At Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, we believe that awareness of global issues is just as important as knowledge of accounting, finance, management, marketing, management information systems or supply chain issues… business is truly a global enterprise,” said Dean Eli Jones. “For anyone aspiring to leadership of a business – especially one that is has a global reach – cross-cultural skills and global competence are critical.”

Last year, 14 faculty and staff members led Mays study-abroad excursions to such places as Southern Africa, Brazil, Cuba and India. (tx.ag/abroad). “As leaders, we really immerse ourselves in the education of our students,” Gaspar explained. “Before you take a group abroad you recruit the students, you then take the students abroad and teach. When you are abroad with them, you’re not only their faculty member, you’re like their parent and on call 24/7.”

One program with strong Mays participation is the Texas A&M Global Business Brigades (GBB), a chapter of Global Business Brigades – the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Over the past few years, Mays GBB students have provided basic business and financial literacy to micro enterprises (primarily in Panama) to help entrepreneurs succeed.

Gaspar also explained that CIBS offers Certificates in International Business (a minor in International Business) to Mays undergraduate and graduate students. Certificates entail both international business courses as well as a study-abroad component. While most of Mays certificate programs are available to all students, the school has also worked with the Department of Petroleum Engineering for 15 years on a specialized master’s-level certificate in International Petroleum Management.

Gaspar recently announced plans to grow Mays study-abroad programs. “To impact the world, you must first know the world,” he said. “The dean’s goal is to raise the overseas study experience from the current 24 percent to 50 percent, which is possible, provided we restructure our programs accordingly.”  In Fall 2017, seven new exchange partnerships will be added in Asia/Oceania and Europe.

The growth in study-abroad programs is in part due to the generosity of Mays corporate partners and donors. Corporate partners include Phillips 66, PwC and Deloitte. A recent $200,000 gift from former students Jarrett ’93 and Tracy Anderson ’92 will assist students who go abroad to study sustainable business development programs. The II Corinthians 9:7 Foundation CIBS Excellence Endowment, created through the Texas A&M Foundation, will provide financial support to the programs that assist micro-business expansion in developing countries.

The Andersons have generously supported Mays and Texas A&M in the past: An earlier gift came from their II Corinthians 9:7 Foundation, and the couple funded an endowed Presidential Scholarship at Texas A&M. Jarrett’s degree was in business management and Tracy’s was in accounting.


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

The Mays Business School’s interdisciplinary Master of Science in Finance (MSF) Program (“STEM to Stocks”) kicked off its 2016-2017 program year with an orientation on Aug. 8. This year’s class is the largest yet, at 77 students, including 40 Texas A&M undergraduates who are taking advantage of the program’s Accelerated Admissions (4+1) option. The mission of the MSF is to help students with non-finance undergraduate degrees launch finance-related careers.

MSF Program Director Kevin Moore and Assistant Director Allison Hayes were joined at the orientation by Arvind Mahajan, the newly appointed Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, and Sorin Sorescu, head of the Department of Finance. Kristi Shryock, Executive Director of Interdisciplinary Engineering Programs, joined the orientation to award almost $35,000 in program scholarships earned by Texas A&M engineering students.

The students also met the program’s Career Management Center team, including Director Kim Austin, Associate Director Desiree Wilson and Associate Director for MS Programs Mitch Lederman, as well as Senior Career Coordinator Lisa Burton. Last year, the program achieved 94 percent full-time job placement and 100 percent internship placement for domestic students.

Categories: Finance, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University and holder of the Peggy Pitman Mays Eminent Scholar Chair in Business, received two awards and two other faculty members were recognized during the 2016 Summer Educators Conference of the American Marketing Association (AMA), held Aug. 5-6 in Atlanta.

Jones was inducted into the Hall of Fame for the American Marketing Association’s Ph.D. Project, a national group the works to increase the diversity of business school faculty members. The Ph.D. Project’s annual recognition of faculty members started in 2011 to honor commitment, involvement and inspiration, and to recognize “a select few who have greatly inspired many,” organizers said.

This year was the first time a charity component was added to the award. Members of the AMA’s Selling and Sales Management Special Interest Group (Sales SIG) gave personally to a charity in Jones’ name, and raised more than $14,000 – the highest raised by a single individual. The fund-raising component was a surprise to Jones until the night of his award. When presenting the Hall of Fame honor to Jones, KPMG Foundation and Ph.D. Project President Bernard Milano said: “You have been a wonderful role model and mentor to many, many people.”


Venkatesh Shankar (left)

Jones also was presented with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the AMA’s Sales SIG, which provides programs designed to enhance selling and sales management scholarship, teaching and practice in an inclusive and collegial environment. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors the outstanding scholar who has made meaningful contributions to the field of sales through publications in top journals, teaching excellence, fostering professional development among others, and generally contributing to scholarship in the area of sales. 

Mays faculty members who were recognized at the conference were marketing professors Venkatesh Shankar and Manjit Yadav.

Manjit award

Manjit Yadav (left)

Shankar was recognized with the 2016 Outstanding Area Editor Award for the Journal of Marketing (JM). Yadav was recognized as Outstanding Reviewer for JM.

Jones said of the school’s positive representation at the conference: “Part of our mission is to create a vibrant learning organization. The awards garnered recently are a testament to the quality of our people and the vibrancy of our culture. People make the place. I’m pleased with the culture we’ve  created and the desire to continuously improve it.” 
Faculty members from other Mays departments have also been recognized in recent months:


Lorraine EdenManagement Professor Lorraine Eden won the inaugural Woman of the Year award from the Women in the Academy of International Business, a special-interest group within the Academy of International Business. She was presented the award at the annual AIB meeting in New Orleans in June.

Alina SorescuAlina Sorescu has been invited to join the editorial review board of the top-tier Journal of Marketing Research.

BarrickA paper University Distinguished Professor of Management Murray Barrick co-wrote won best paper in Personnel Psychology. It was titled “Personality and Leadership Composition in Top Management Teams: Implications for Organizational Effectiveness.”

Duane IrelandUniversity Distinguished Professor of Management and Executive Associate Dean Duane Ireland was on a team that won the 2016 Journal of Management Scholarly Impact Award for “Signaling Theory: A Review and Assessment.” His colleagues were Brian L. Connelly, Trevis C. Certo and Christopher R. Reutzel.

Michael HowardManagement Assistant Professor Mike Howard’s paper won a “Best Paper” honor from the Business Policy and Strategy division of the Academy of Management. “The Influence of Founder Collaborations on Venture Knowledge Quality” was co-written with Warren Boeker, Sandip Basu and Arvin Sahaym.

CourtrightManagement Assistant Professor Stephen Courtright received a Best Reviewer Award from the Academy of Management Review.

James-Abbey-3James Abbey, Assistant Professor in the Deparment of Information and Operations Management, was invited to and joined the Editorial Review Boards for two top-tier journals: Production and Operations Management Journal and Journal of Operations Management. Abbey also received a “Best Reviewer Award” for review work at Production and Operations Management Journal and was recognized for “Outstanding Review Work” at the Production and Operations Management 2016 Annual Conference.

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