TIAS Spotlight

From Texas A&M Today
(NOTE: V. Kumar will be working with Mays faculty researchers)
The Texas A&M University Institute for Advanced Study (TIAS) has announced its 2016-17 class of Faculty Fellows—10 distinguished scientists and scholars who are nationally or internationally renowned for conducting groundbreaking research in chemistry, mathematics, engineering, medicine, astronomy, atmospheric science, marketing or law.The newest class of Faculty Fellows includes members of the United States’ National Academies as well as representatives from major scientific or professional organizations in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany.Each Faculty Fellow will partner with one or more of the departments offering graduate degrees housed in Texas A&M’s 16 colleges or schools or at Texas A&M’s branch campus in Galveston. The Institute provides fellowships for graduate students to work with Faculty Fellows, as well as funding to support visiting graduate students and post-doctoral researchers affiliated with the Faculty Fellows.A long-time champion of the Institute, Chancellor John Sharp of The Texas A&M University System provided the funds that launched TIAS in 2010. “The talent that the TIAS program brings to Texas A&M is causing everyone else in higher education to take notice,” Chancellor Sharp said. “It was money well spent to enrich the academic experience with such world-class scholars and researchers.”

TIAS Founding Director John Junkins

President Michael K. Young of Texas A&M University said, “This fifth class of TIAS Faculty Fellows offers truly outstanding credentials. In collaboration with our exemplary faculty, these Fellows will sustain the extraordinary trajectory of TIAS, inspire truly transformative intellectual experiences among our students, and advance the international reputation of the Texas A&M research enterprise.”

Provost and Executive Vice President Karan Watson said, “Each of these remarkable individuals offers a strong portfolio of world-class accomplishments in their fields. As we have seen with the previous four classes of Faculty Fellows, the research that will emerge from their collaborations with our own outstanding faculty and students will be exciting and extraordinary.”

Each year, the Institute selects its Faculty Fellows from among top scholars who have distinguished themselves through outstanding professional accomplishments or significant recognition. Former classes have included two Nobel laureates, a Wolf Prize recipient, a recipient of the Hubble Medal in Literature for Lifetime Achievement, a recipient of the National Medal of Science, an awardee of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, a recipient of the highest award in Architecture and a two-time recipient of the State Prize of Russia.

TIAS Founding Director John L. Junkins said, “This fifth class of 10 outstanding scholars have intellectual strengths centered in six colleges, however their scholarship impacts many disciplines. These Fellows being in residence afford our faculty and students extraordinary opportunities to collaborate one-on-one with top people in their fields. We expect game-changing and life-changing outcomes as a consequence.”

The Institute will induct the Faculty Fellows Class of 2016-17 at its annual gala in early 2017.

  • Christopher C. Cummins, Henry Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology – Among the most innovative synthetic chemists of his generation, known for his impact on small molecule activation, Cummins is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a corresponding member


    Christopher C. Cummins

    Portrait of William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Mathematics and Applied and Computational Mathematics, Ingrid Daubechies

    Ingrid Daubechies


    Gerald Galloway


    Huajian Gao


    Maryellen Giger


    Robert Kennicutt Jr.


    Charles E. Kolb


    V. Kumar


    William M. Sage


    Thomas S. Ulen

    of Germany’s Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Cummins will collaborate with faculty-researchers from the College of Science and the College of Engineering.

  • Ingrid Daubechies, James B. Duke Professor of Mathematics and Electrical and Computer Engineering, Duke University – One of the world’s most cited mathematicians recognized for her study of the mathematical methods that enhance image-compression technology, Daubechies is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Daubechies will collaborate with faculty-researchers from the College of Science and the College of Engineering.
  • Gerald Galloway, Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, University of Maryland – Regarded as the leading flood-management expert in the United States, he is known for his work on the Galloway Report, a federal study that focused on the Great Flood of 1993 along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Galloway is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Public Administration. He will collaborate with faculty-researchers at Texas A&M University at Galveston.
  • Huajian Gao, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Engineering, Brown University – Known for his research into micromechanics, the basic principles that control mechanical properties and behaviors of materials in both engineering and biology, Gao is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He will collaborate with faculty-researchers in the College of Engineering.
  • Maryellen Giger, A.N. Pritzker Professor of Radiology and College Vice-Chair for Basic Science Research, The University of Chicago – An expert in computer-aided diagnosis as well as digital signal and image processing, Giger is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. She will collaborate with faculty-researchers in the College of Engineering as well as with scientists and clinicians in the Texas A&M Health Science Center, the Houston Medical Center and local hospitals.
  • Robert Kennicutt Jr., Plumian Professor of Astronomy and Experimental Philosophy, University of Cambridge – Best known for his work on the Kennicutt-Schmidt law, which relates gas density to star-formation rates, Kennicutt is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society in the United Kingdom. Kennicutt will collaborate with faculty-researchers in the College of Science.
  • Charles E. Kolb, President and Chief Executive Officer, Aerodyne Research Inc. – A leader of one of the world’s most prominent research institutions specializing in atmospheric chemistry, air quality and climate, Kolb is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Research Award. Kolb will collaborate with faculty-researchers in the College of Geosciences.
  • V. Kumar, Regents’ Professor and the Richard and Susan Lenny Distinguished Chair Professor of Marketing, Georgia State University – An acknowledged expert on marketing research methods and customer relationship management strategy, Kumar has been recognized with eight lifetime achievement awards. Kumar will collaborate with faculty-researchers in the Mays Business School.
  • William M. Sage, James R. Dougherty Chair for Faculty Excellence in Law and Vice Provost for Health Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin – Nationally known as an expert in national health care reform including market principles driving access to health care, Sage is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. Sage will collaborate with faculty-researchers in the School of Public Health, the College of Medicine, the Bush School of Government and Public Service and the School of Law.
  • Thomas S. Ulen, Swanlund Chair Emeritus at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Professor Emeritus of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law – Author of pioneering textbooks and journal articles that examine a variety of issues related to economics, legal scholarship and legal education. Ulen serves on the Board of Directors and is a founding member of the American Law and Economics Association. He will collaborate with faculty-researchers in the School of Law and the College of Liberal Arts.



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

Humanitarian organizations need the help of the technology and operations management discipline, Luk Van Wassenhove said recently at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School.

He is the Henry Ford Chaired Professor of Manufacturing at INSEAD and academic director of the INSEAD Humanitarian Research Group, and his current research focus is on closed-loop supply chains and disaster management – a relatively new research area in the discipline of operations management.

 Van Wassenhove is a leading management thinker and educator on supply chains – systems of organizations, people, activities and resources involved in moving a product or service from a supplier to a customer. He said his research in adapting supply chains to developing countries has been eye-opening. “To me, research is about pushing the boundaries of your discipline,” he said. “Fifteen years ago, nobody was doing work on humanitarian operations. Now it is my hobby – supply chain management within the context of humanitarian disasters.”

Mays Dean Eli Jones invited Van Wassenhove as part of the 2016 Dean’s Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series at Mays C a forum that presents distinguished scholars from an array of business disciplines.

Van Wassenhove publishes regularly in Management Science, Production and Operations Management and many other journals as well as in management journals such as Harvard Business Review and California Management Review. He has written at least a dozen books, including Humanitarian Logistics, has published more than 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has worked on problems in industrial engineering (production-inventory control, transportation and warehousing). He is also the author of 78 teaching cases, many of which have won best case awards.

“I thought I knew everything about closed-loop supply chains, but after meeting with humanitarian operations, I realized I don’t know much at all.”

Van Wassenhove’s education on the topic came by immersion in 2000, when he was called by the supply chain manager of Red Cross International to go observe operations in Geneva. “I quickly realized there are a lot of challenging, interesting and fascinating problems there,” he said. “It is intriguing to me, and it is very important work. But make no mistake – this is not about doing good, it’s about developing a better closed-loop supply chain. It’s about survival.”

The military and businesses have the resources – people and money – to respond to disasters, while humanitarian agencies don’t. He said the problem is an ideal scenario for supply chain – the act of matching demand with supply. But first things first: “How can you set up a supply chain if you don’t know the demand or the supply?”

Van Wassenhove said about 95 percent of his work is applicable for real companies, rather than theoretical. In addition to the Red Cross, Van Wassenhove has worked with the United Nations, the World Food Program, UNICEF, Oxfam International and World Vision International.  

Humanitarian organizations have been working in rural areas and are not familiar with working in urban areas, he said. Of the world’s 1 billion undernourished people, he said, about half live in cities. By 2030, that number will reach 75 percent.

One of the greatest challenges after a disaster is when donations arrive from outside the area. When things are donated, the inventory is perishable, so is often wasted. “If you really want to do good after an earthquake or flood, give money, not stuff,” he explained. “The relief workers know how to get what is needed.”

Another hurdle is the influx of pledges that often don’t convert into “real money,” he said, or they take a long time to arrive. The critical time for funds is within the first 72 hours.


Categories: Mays Business, News, Research Notes, Texas A&M

Texas A&M Marketing Professor Suresh Ramanathan has been named a Fellow of the Institute of Asian Consumer Insights, giving him the opportunity to expand his research on one of the fastest-growing consumer segments in the world.


The Singapore-based institute is dedicated to helping international brands respond to the needs of Asian consumers by bridging the gap between academic theory and practice. This two-year fellowship will give Ramanathan access to research grants and open doors for industry collaborations and case studies on Asian consumers.

Ramanathan, whose research has focused on the dynamics of affective and motivational processes in judgments and choice, said the fellowship will provide him a unique opportunity to delve more deeply in studying perceptual cues and consumer decisions.

“Asian consumers respond differently to visual and numerical cues compared to their Western counterparts, which could have major implications for brand strategy,” he explained. “The ACI provides me access to resources and high-quality facilities that I could use for studying these research questions.”

He plans to bring the case studies back to the classroom at Mays, where he teaches Consumer Behavior and Marketing Management in the MBA and Professional MBA programs as well as the MS Marketing program.

“I am really looking forward to working closely with faculty associated with the ACI,” he said. “I hope to set up opportunities for doctoral students to also work on similar projects.”

Categories: Faculty, Mays Business, News, Research Notes, Texas A&M

By Ben Haimowitz, Academy of Management

What happens when the romance of corporate leadership collides with the romance of stock analysis? With a massive literature devoted to leadership and American companies reportedly spending $14 billion a year to teach it, one might expect a CEO’s reputation for superior governance to prove dominant over even sharp-eyed analysis. Yet, some new research finds otherwise.

According to a study in the current issue of the Academy of Management Journal, “a downgrade by a star analyst causes tremendous valuation changes, which are not offset by the CEO’s reputation….CEO reputation buffers the stock market reaction to downgrades by regular analysts, but, when a downgrade is issued by a star analyst, the CEO’s reputation has almost no effect on the market reaction.”

In short, “star analysts’ reputation is more powerful when it comes to how the market reacts to downgrades, even when star analysts are downgrading firms run by star CEOs.”

Specifically, the researchers found the stock market’s reaction to a downgrade by a star analyst (someone ranked among the top one sixth or thereabouts of the breed) led to an average market-adjusted, two-day decline of a stock of 3.5 to 3.6 percent whether the CEO had won as many as five prestigious leadership awards over the previous five years or had been honored with one or two or none at all. In marked contrast, the impact of a downgrade by analysts outside that select circle varied considerably depending on the reputation of the CEO. While leading to an average market-adjusted decline of 1.93 percent for firms headed by five-time leadership honorees, it produced a 2.74 percent decline for those headed by non-honorees (presumably run-of-the-mill types), a drop of 42 percent more.

Comments Steven Boivie of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, who conducted the research with Scott D. Graffin of the University of Georgia and Richard J. Gentry of the University of Mississippi, “There has been much documentation of the advantages a firm enjoys when the CEO has a reputation for excellent leadership (an advantage our study confirms), but little research has been done on how this plays out in interactions with highly reputed others. We’ve all heard about the romance of leadership, a belief verging on mysticism about what great chief executives can lead companies to achieve. But, although we don’t hear quite as much about it, there’s also a romance of stock analysts, who, as Harvard’s Boris Groysberg informs us, have been variously described by seasoned investors as ‘Diogenes with a lamp’ or ‘a Renaissance man’ or a ‘course fixed on truth.’ Our findings suggest that the romance of analysis exceeds the romance of leadership, at least where the investment community is concerned.”

The researchers found a pattern among upgrades that was a somewhat reduced mirror image of the pattern for downgrades. Once again, rating changes by star analysts had the greatest impact on the market. And, once again, the market response to star-analyst changes was about the same no matter the number of awards garnered by CEOs, the average market-adjusted response to their upgrades being between 3.27 percent and 3.29 percent, whether the CEO was a non-honoree or a five-timer.

In contrast, the mean response to upgrades by non-star analysts ranged from 1.86 percent for firms with five-time-honoree CEOs to 2.29 percent for companies of non-honorees, a 23 percent greater boost for the latter group. Why do firms of pedestrian CEOs receive this significantly greater bump? As the professors explain, “Increased expectations for future performance will cause shareholders to react less positively to upgrades by analysts because their expectations that star CEOs will continue to deliver high levels of performance are already reflected in the firm’s value.”

The study draws on large databases of corporate, financial, and market information compiled over a 13-year period. CEO reputation is determined by the number of leadership awards bestowed on a chief in the five years previous to a given year by seven leading business magazines. Analyst stardom is gauged by selection to one of the all-American teams published annually by Institutional Investor magazine through worldwide surveys of money managers at large investment and hedge funds, a select group that constitutes about 17 percent of analysts. The study’s total of about 19,500 downgrades and 17,400 upgrades each consisted of a change of one point or more in recommendations that ranged from 1/strong buy to 5/strong sell.

As would be expected, the researchers controlled for many factors that can influence the effects of changed recommendations, including those related to analysis (such as extent of analysts’ experience or number of a firm’s upgrades or downgrades in the prior two weeks); those related to firms themselves (such as size, diversification, past profitability, and percent of institutional ownership); and those associated with company management (such as board size, CEO duality, and CEO tenure).

CEOs were recipients on average of 1.25 prestigious awards for leadership over five previous years, the study reveals. For the entire sample, each prior award reduced market reaction to a downgrade by an average of 3% and (because of higher market expectations for superior leadership) reduced reaction to an upgrade by 4%. In addition to finding that recommendation changes by star analysts amplified changes in market response compared to those resulting from changes by non-stars, the professors found that “firms being covered by star analysts received more upgrades and downgrades,” a finding that suggests that “star analysts may simply have more discretion in changing the recommendations they issue, and may also have a greater incentive in making changes in order to maintain their recommendation’s accuracy.”

It was also discovered that firms led by CEOs who had received one or more awards generally elicited more recommendation changes than others, which, the professors speculate, may be attributable to analysts’ seeking to “garner attention.” At the same time, “having a large number of CEO awards decreased the number of downgrades a firm received by star analysts.” The two findings lead the authors to observe that “firms led by star CEOs receive greater scrutiny in general…but CEO reputation may offset that scrutiny for star analysts.”

In conclusion, the authors wonder if, given that “star analysts move markets dramatically and are generally more likely to issue recommendation changes…it might be worthwhile [re]considering to what types of firms they are assigned. Markets may function more effectively if these influential analysts are distributed more evenly across all firm sizes and types.”

Adds Boivie: “Instead of having so much insight, and influence clustered around a relatively small number of the sexiest firms, maybe that talent can be of more service covering a more varied group. Instead of having three or four all-stars covering Google or Apple, maybe we could do as well with one or two.”

The paper, “Understanding the Direction, Magnitude, and Joint Effects of Reputation when Multiple Actors’ Reputations Collide” is in the February/March issue of the Academy of Management Journal. This peer-reviewed publication is published every other month by the academy, which, with more than 18,000 members in 123 countries, is the largest organization in the world devoted to management research and teaching. The Academy’s other publications are Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Perspectives, Academy of Management Learning and Education, Academy of Management Annals and Academy of Management Discoveries.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Mays Business, Research Notes, Texas A&M

Marketing Professor Leonard Berry’s research article “Managing the Clues in Cancer Care” was recently published by the Journal of Oncology Practice. The paper provides a framework recommended for cancer centers to implement in order to improve their services.

It was written in collaboration with Dr. Joseph O. Jacobson, chief quality officer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Brad Stuart, chief executive officer of Advanced Care Innovation Strategies (ACIStrategies.com) in Forestville, Calif., and chief medical officer of Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC.org)

The article outlines the importance of managing certain clues that act as stimuli to patients, eliciting either positive or negative emotions. These clues – identified as functional, mechanic and humanic – involve the perceived technical quality of the service, tangible aspects of the facility itself and the ability of the employees to interact effectively with the patients, respectively. Managing these clues well can make a frightening and emotional service experience much more positive in the eyes of the patient.

Berry is a University Distinguished Professor of  Marketing at Mays Business School and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass. He has been an influential voice in the marketing and healthcare industries for many years. His research at Mayo Clinic and other high-performing healthcare facilities have translated into 10 books and extensive research on healthcare services. As a marketing professor at Mays Business School, Berry founded the Center for Retailing Studies and earned many awards, including Distinguished Achievement Awards in both teaching and research and the Lifetime Achievement Award at Mays.

For the full paper, go http://mays.tamu.edu/research/managing-the-clues-in-cancer-care/


Categories: Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research Notes, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Drone project

 (Note: This is the first in a series of stories about research projects that have received I-Corps funding.)
A team of Texas A&M University engineers has been accepted into the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, which is managed by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) of Mays Business School.

I-Corps™ is a set of activities and programs that prepares scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the laboratory and broadens the impact of select, NSF-funded, basic-research projects.

The latest Texas A&M team to receive the funding is from the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Dwight Look College of Engineering. The team is made up of Andrea Strzelec, Ph.D. (principal investigator), Brian Musslewhite (entrepreneurial lead) and Dale Cope, Ph.D. (industry mentor). This team’s innovation to be tested is a miniaturized emissions sensor that is mounted on a drone that can be deployed to difficult and/or dangerous locations to analyze the existing environment. Strzelec has served as PI on a previous I-Corps team and recognizes the high value of this training and how it impacts her research.

The CNVE has played a key role in team formation, guidance and mentoring of the team.

I-Corps is a public-private partnership program that solicits three-member teams – composed of an academic researcher, a student entrepreneur and an industry mentor – to participate in an intensive seven-week program to determine commercialization opportunities for their innovations. Selected I-Corps teams are receive $50,000 in NSF grant funding to support their efforts in the combined on-site and online curriculum, which is based on the Lean LaunchPad Methodology for business model validation.

CNVE maintains a dedicated I-Corps program that is focused on discovering, recruiting and encouraging scientists and engineers to participate in this program which is designed to discover the true commercial capabilities of research innovations. Charles (Chuck) Hinton leads the CNVE’s efforts as part of the Southwest I-Corps Node (http://swicorps.org), one of seven national partnerships of universities funded by NSF to support I-Corps expansion. Texas A&M, UT-Austin, Rice University and Texas Tech University share responsibilities for promotion of this high-impact program and recruitment of I-Corps Team applicants.

At Texas A&M, 11 teams with grants totaling $550,000 have been assembled from the colleges of Agriculture & Life Sciences, Engineering and Science, as well as Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, Prairie View A&M, Texas A&M Health Science Center specializing in biochemistry, computer science, material science, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, physics, biomedical engineering, electrical & computer engineering, biological and agricultural engineering, entomology, and environmental and occupational health.

About CNVE:  Through a combination of entrepreneurial-focused curricular and experiential opportunities, the CNVE seeks to enhance the livelihood of Texas A&M University and the greater community. Since its inception in 1999, the CNVE has served as the hub of entrepreneurship for Texas A&M University.3logos

Categories: Centers, Mays Business, Research Notes, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School Marketing Professor Leonard Berry co-wrote an article for Harvard Business Review on improving customer service in high-emotion customer experiences like cancer care. In “When the Customer is Stressed,” Berry and his colleagues identify reasons why certain services provoke high emotions. They also provide guidelines for ways organizations can design these services to better anticipate and respond to customers’ emotional needs.

The article is available online at https://hbr.org/2015/10/when-the-customer-is-stressed? and in the October 2015 print issue of the Harvard Business Review.

Berry conducted the research for the article with Scott W. Davis, a postdoctoral fellow at the Jones

Graduate School of Business at Rice University who studied at Mays; and Jody Wilmet, the vice president for oncology, diagnostics and hospital physicians at Bellin Health Systems in Green Bay, Wisc.

The team chose to focus on cancer care in part because Berry is conducting an ongoing study of how to improve the service journey that adult cancer patients and their families take from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and in some cases end-of-life care. So far, the research has involved interviews with more than 350 cancer patients, family members, oncologists, surgeons, oncology nurses, nonclinical staffers, and leaders of health care organizations, primarily at 10 highly reputed cancer centers in nine U.S. states.

Berry is a Senior Fellow with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass. He is Distinguished Professor of Marketing and holds the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership in the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. He is the founder of Texas A&M’s Center for Retailing Studies and served as its director from 1982 through June 2000. He is a former national president of the American Marketing Association. He has written the books Management Lessons from Mayo Clinic, Discovering the Soul of Service, On Great Service, Marketing Services: Competing Through Quality and Delivering Quality Service.



Categories: Faculty, Mays Business, News, Research Notes, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

The Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School has partnered with Retail TouchPoints and CashStar to identify a new profile of empowered and engaged digital shoppers.


Ram Janakiraman, a marketing professor and a Mays Research Fellow, was the lead researcher for the project. He analyzed survey data from Retail TouchPoints, the online publishing network for retail executives, to profile the influential “Brand Maven,” or enthusiastic brand advocate.

“It was good to get the reassurance that both digital and social media were the two big channels for consumers when it comes to engagement and interaction,” Janakiraman said. “I expected that people would prefer to use gift cards, but there was overwhelming evidence that digital technology is present throughout many transactions of retailers.”

The report, published by CashStar – a leader in prepaid commerce solutions such as branded gift cards – stands to influence the way retailers interact and view the impact of branded currency and behavior of usage. Its findings also explain how the relationship between a consumer and digital payment evolves, from the introductory point of giving or receiving a gift card to the transition into becoming a loyal customer.

According to Janakiraman, Brand Mavens are among us, with more than 53 percent representing the current shopping population and contributing approximately $1,800 of purchasing power annually through redeemable gift cards and loyalty credits.

Pleased with the collaboration efforts of Texas A&M University with CashStar and Retail TouchPoints, Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies, shared the impact of generating thought leadership. “By leveraging the unique analytical expertise of [our] faculty, the Center for Retailing Studies can help retailers identify their best customers or in this case, Brand Mavens, and quantify their financial value to a firm,” Hollinger said.

Last fall, the Center for Retailing Studies and Janakiraman partnered with Knights Apparel and Texas A&M University for the Back-to-College Roadshow promotional campaign, measuring the impact of social media engagement and evaluating sales of Aggie apparel at Costco Wholesale locations across the state.

According to Hollinger, partnerships like these can help “retailers better know where to invest their money to improve marketing efficiency and effectiveness.”

Janakiraman agrees.

“As researchers, we take a lot of pride working through case studies, marrying practice with academia,” he said. “But each time I work with the Center for Retailing Studies, I learn a lot.”

See the full report at CashStar.com.


Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,900 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, business, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Centers, Mays Business, Research Notes, Texas A&M

Michael A. HittMays Business School’s inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award for Research and Scholarship was awarded to Michael A. Hitt, a University Distinguished and Joe B. Foster ’56 Chair in Business Leadership.

During the recognition program for Hitt, Mays Dean Jerry Strawser said, “We are starting a new tradition in a place that’s full of traditions. We wanted to bring in pioneers and thought leaders in the field.”

Hitt entered the management field 40 years ago, and he spoke on the day of his award about the numerous changes in the field over time. “A lot of the work we do is important on even a broader scale,” he said, adding that the study of management is now global.

Data for research is much more available now than it used to be, but he said basic scientific research is still the basis of all reputable research.

Hitt said the important questions of academia are: What is the impact of your work? And how do you measure it? Strawser said Hitt’s research findings “direct the work of other scholars and the course of future study in the academic profession.” In addition, he said, Hitt “studies relevant issues that affect the business world and impact economic development.”

When Hitt’s impact on audiences – both within his field and outside of academia – is measured by any scale, it always ranks highly. An article in the Academy of Management Perspectives named him as one of the 10 most-cited authors in management over a 25-year period. The Times Higher Education in 2010 listed him among the top scholars in economics, finance and management, and he was first among management scholars (tied), with the largest number of highly cited articles.

Hitt targeted the younger audience members when he spoke to a group of colleagues and students at the award program, offering this checklist of advice:

  • Whatever you do, do it well.
  • Think long-term.
  • Do work for which you have a passion.
  • You’re going to have pressure to do it all well.
  • There are no short cuts.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 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 undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Faculty, Research Notes, Texas A&M

Nathan Y. Sharp, Assistant Professor at Mays Business SchoolNathan Y. Sharp, Assistant Professor at Mays Business School

A new study of 365 sell-side financial analysts shows that private phone calls with managers remain an essential source of analysts’ earnings forecasts and stock recommendations — even in light of regulations limiting businesses’ selective disclosure of financial information.

More than half of the analysts surveyed by a team of accounting researchers said they make direct contact with executives of companies they cover five or more times per year. The direct contact with management is so important that one analyst said his company hired an FBI profiler to train analysts “to read management teams, to tell when they’re lying, to tell when they were uncomfortable with a question. That’s how serious this whole issue has become.”

“Our intent was to peer inside the “black box’ and provide new insights about the pressures and incentives analysts face. One key finding is that more than a decade after the passage of Regulation Fair Disclosure (FD), analysts report that private conversations with managers are among their most valuable sources of information,” said Nathan Y. Sharp, assistant professor at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, who conducted the study with professors at Temple University, The University of Georgia and The University of Texas at Austin.

The survey also finds that accurate earnings forecasts and profitable stock recommendations have relatively little direct impact on analysts’ compensation. These findings are derived from a study titled Inside the Black Box of Sell Side Financial Analysts, which presents results of a 23-question survey focused on analysts’ incentives, as well as 18 detailed follow-up interviews.

The study offers insights into an area that is understudied by researchers of the financial industry. While hundreds of articles have sought to predict financial analysts’ choices using models and statistics, few have peered into the “black box” of the organizational contexts and personal psychologies that drive analysts’ decision-making.

The study’s findings also serve as a potential commentary on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Fair Disclosure (Reg FD), launched in 2000 to limit selective disclosure of market-moving information to analysts or other key stakeholders prior to the general public.

But respondents noted that companies’ public conference calls discussing quarterly earnings are often followed by one-on-one conversations between analysts and chief financial officers. According to one analyst: “We’re almost back to where we were pre-Reg FD, but not quite because that backroom chatter is shut down. It’s just now it’s not in the backroom; it’s everywhere.”

More insights from the survey include:

  • Approximately one quarter of analysts feel pressured by supervisors to lower their earnings forecasts, presumably because outperforming forecasts pleases investors.
  • Approximately one quarter of analysts feel pressured by supervisors to raise their recommendations, presumably because it is easier to get their clients to buy rather than to sell the stocks they recommend.
  • While only 35 percent of analysts said the profitability of their stock recommendations were a very important determinant of their compensation, 67 percent cited “standing in analyst rankings or broker votes” as central to their compensation.
  • Only half of analysts considered primary research “very useful” in forecasting earnings or recommending stocks.

The study was conducted by Nathan Y. Sharp, Assistant Professor at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School; Lawrence D. Brown, Seymour Wolfbein Distinguished Professor of Accounting at Temple University’s Fox School of Business; Andrew C. Call, Assistant Professor at University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business; and Michael B. Clement, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. The full text is available on Social Science Research Network at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2228373.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 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 undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Faculty, Research Notes, Texas A&M