As 2017 comes to a close, Mays Business School celebrates another successful year. Here are 12 of our favorite moments:

1. Strategic plan launch
Mays Business School officially launched its new strategic plan, after hundreds of Mays faculty, staff, students and former students worked together to develop it. The strategic planning process itself was innovative and unique among business schools, using Appreciative Inquiry – a positive approach to change – to affirm Mays’ past and present strengths, to discover what makes Mays truly distinct, and to envision ways to amplify that distinctiveness.

2. Business school with a heart
When Mays junior Ashton Robison shared her touching photo of Mays Clinical Assistant Professor Henry Musoma holding her baby during a lecture, it immediately went viral. From the headline “Mommy Was Able to Graduate” in People to a guest appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” news quickly traveled around the world about the culture of caring and connectedness at Mays Business School. It all started with the simple act of Musoma inviting Ashton to bring Emmett to his “Ethical Decision Making and Conduct” class when she didn’t have a babysitter. To recognize Musoma for his selfless service, Dean Eli Jones presented him with the first Mays Business School Spirit Award on Sept. 14. Watch “The Ellen Show” clip at tx.ag/ellenshow.

3. Largest single gift
The Texas A&M Foundation receives a commitment of $25 million from the Mays Family Foundation, the largest single commitment in the school’s history. The gift is part of an overall lifetime giving of $47 million, including a $15 million commitment in 1996 to rename the school to Mays Business School.

4. 50th to 1st anniversaries 

Many anniversaries of Mays programs were celebrated this past year, including the 50th of the MBA, the 5th of the Professional MBA, and the 1st of the MS Business program.

5. Inaugural Impact Award

Mays Business School gave the inaugural Peggy and Lowry Mays Impact Award to the award namesakes during the 25th-Year Anniversary Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner. The award was created to recognize outstanding contributions to the vision and mission of the school. Recipients must exhibit a long and distinguished record of impacting Mays Business School in significant ways, which include exemplary giving and strong leadership.

6. $150,000-plus to nonprofits
The Strategic Philanthropy class at Mays awarded $100,000 to nonprofits – double what was given the first year – in the spring of 2017, and another $62,500 in the fall. The funds are distributed by students in the class.

7. The Most CEOs
Texas A&M University is tied with the University of Michigan for having the most graduates currently serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, according to a Fortune magazine study. Three Fortune 500 CEOs are Mays graduates: Bruce D. Broussard ’84, CEO of Humana; David M. Cordani ’88, CEO of Cigna; and Jeff Miller ’88, CEO of Halliburton.
…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Centers, Departments, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, Programs, Rankings, Spotlights, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

AgScents

By Kristopher Muir, Clinical Assistant Professor

Imagine you’re a Mays graduate student and you just got out of class. In addition to walking to the library, you’re checking voicemails on your phone related to your team’s startup company. In addition to looking at social media to see what your friends are up to, you’re checking your company’s social media page for analytics. During your coffee break, you’re huddling with your CFO, CEO, and other team members in order to solve the latest crisis: your supplier has canceled your order. What do you do? If you can imagine any of these scenarios, you might be a Master of Science (MS) in Business student.

In its second year, the MS Business program is the newest graduate program offered at Mays Business School. MS Business is a 36-hour, 11-month general business graduate degree offered to students who do not have a business undergraduate education.

Mays Business School students have spent this semester “learning business by doing business” through the integrated business experience (IBE) course, designed to teach MS Business students how to start and run their own business in only one semester. In only its second year, the four student-run companies earned a collective profit of $18,352 that they were able to donate to local charities in addition to the 229 service hours. These numbers serve to validate that the MS Business program aligns with both the Mays vision of advancing the world’s prosperity and the Mays Grand Challenge of Entrepreneurship. …Read more

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Philip Mann and fellow interns dressed for scavenger hunt.

Philip Mann, left, dressed in traditional African clothing in an immersion exercise for an internship. The scavenger hunt around Disney World gave them insight into how they would look and feel wearing their American clothes while traveling overseas.

The light at the end of the tunnel is finally within sight for the Dec. 15 graduates of Mays Business School. 

Each student’s experience at Mays has been unique, each path afterward just as varied.

Shawn Mays

Shawn Mays

Some students are already immersed in the real world, and have been for awhile. For example, Shawn Mays is a 44-year-old husband and father who has commuted from Houston since fall 2012, working full-time as an automotive instructor at Universal Technical Institute while working to obtain his degree.

The daily drive is 201 miles from his house to College Station, back to his job, then back home after work. “I did that every day I had class and over the five years I only missed four days of class – and they were all serious events, that’s why I remember. One was a funeral, my wife had surgery, I was seriously ill one time, and the last was due to Hurricane Harvey.”

Mays said he had always admired Texas A&M and regretted not attending directly after high school. “I decided one day I wanted to further my education, and the only option I would accept was attending A&M,” he explained. “My best friend growing up and his wife both are both graduates of A&M. There are countless reasons as to what influenced me to attend A&M.  My favorite color is maroon (imagine that).”

Mays finished every class he started, and he currently has a 3.704 GPA. As far as his motivation is concerned, he relates it back to high school, when he was a long-distance runner. “I am a very determined person and don’t give up easily,” he said. “I will see things through to the end and won’t quit till the job is done. I am the type of person that if you tell me something can’t be done, I will do it to just prove to myself it could be done. 

He added: “I am proud of everything I have accomplished and of having had the honor to attend Texas A&M. If I can be an inspiration to one person, to motivate them to do half the things I have done, it would be heart-warming.” …Read more

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

Recalling her career of achievements and offering inspiring industry advice, Cathy Works Helmbrecht ’85, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, recently visited with Mays Business Honors students as part of the Mays 2017 Transformational Leader Speaker Series. Helmbrecht received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University and has affiliations with the Aggie Real Estate Network, Texas A&M Greek Former Student’s Network, and the Women Former Student’s Network.

Helmbrecht started with PwC right after her graduation from Texas A&M and has been with them since, serving in various roles throughout her career. She realized pretty quickly into her first job that she was using skills from all of her classes, not just what she learned specifically from her major. She told the students, “the skills you learn as a business major branch across degrees. You won’t just stick to one thing, like accounting.”

She shared her personal struggles in finding a work/family balance and dealing with feelings of burning out on certain things. One student asked whether Helmbrecht had experienced critics in being a woman in her role. She explained the pressure she experienced in the industry stemmed mostly from herself. The toughest time of her career was when she had kids. She experienced an internal struggle of wanting to continue her success in her career, but also knowing she needed to step back to be a good mother to her children. “You don’t always have to be the top at what you’re doing,” she said. “You need to be satisfied, and doing well for the sake of your kids and family. You have to take things one step at a time and truly find that balance.”

Helmbrecht went further into detail about the key things that have brought her success in life and in her career:

  • Communication is key in all aspects of your career
  • Learn how to keep people around you motivated
  • Keep an organized schedule
  • Have a strong team/support network behind you
  • Take vacation time when you have the opportunity

Business Honors major Taylor Wiest ’19 said Helmbrecht’s talk encouraged her “to find my own support network and not be afraid to rely on others when the time calls for it.”

When the conversation turned to internships and entry-level positions, Helbrecht advised the students to “intern somewhere that you would want to eventually work, as those companies are investing in you as a potential hire.” She also urged the students to “explore a lot of opportunities out there, ask a lot of questions, and understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. Have a roadmap for the big picture and a purpose of what you are doing.”

Helmbrecht’s story was an inspiring one, and clearly had an impact on the students attending. Business Honors major Bridget Davies ’20 said Helmbrecht’s story “encouraged me to try new things and continue to challenge myself so that I am always learning.” Business Honors major Asad Engineer ’20 said Helmbrecht’s story “inspired me to find a company that I can trust and stay with.”

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

“Imagine that it is a Friday night, you’re tired from a long week, and you just do not want to do much,” freshman Daniel Shulkin said to the crowd. Shulkin added to the narrative by mentioning how the weekend flies by, then Sunday rolls around and suddenly, “It’s 7 p.m. and you have economics homework due at midnight and two tests coming up.”

To help the average college student, a group of Mays Business School freshmen have come up with a nearly foolproof framework for beating procrastination.

Procrastination is something most students have struggled with at some point in their college years. Most college students become stressed, and force themselves to stay up late getting school work and studying done at the last minute. Daniel Shulkin, Allison Kaczynski, Hannah McNease, Tanner Malone, and Zoher Darugar from Richard Johnson’s Freshman Business Initiative (BUSN 101) class were competing against 5 other groups which had developed mental frameworks for tackling college’s challenges. These freshmen were chosen amongst six other groups to give a presentation on Nov. 13 introducing a plan for procrastination, a GAME Plan to be exact.

Out of the entire class, 35 students were chosen to be apart of the Freshman Excellence Initiative (FEI), which is a more exclusive branch of the Freshman Business Initiative that included an intense application process. Students who were chosen exemplify not only the Mays Business School core competencies, but also have the skills and the drive to make a difference in the business world. Jack Youngblood, a BUSN 101 peer leader, came up with the idea to split the students up into groups of five, and then have them come up with a framework in just one week to present to all the BUSN 101 peer leaders. After this, one group was chosen to present in front of the entire class.  

The group presented to their 200-person class a four-step plan for beating procrastination, which consists of:

  • The Gathering stage. In this step, students are to write down dates for everything they need to do or might do in a planner or in their phones.
  • The Assigning stage.This is when students sort all their gathered information and prioritize each event, giving each activity a time slot.
  • The Making stage. Once students sort through their gathered information, they should make a concrete schedule of what they need to do during the day.
  • The Execution stage. This final step is when students actually put their plans into action.

Gathering, Assigning, Making, and Execution make up the acronym GAME, which is an almost foolproof way to beat procrastination, if implemented correctly. Darugar said “the acronym made [their] presentation stand out amongst the other groups, because it is so memorable.” He also mentioned that he thinks their group was chosen over all the other groups because their plan was the most applicable to students, since every student has procrastinated at some point.

McNease added that she now knows how to manage her time better, because she has actually started using The GAME Plan in her everyday life. “Once you get used to the process, it is really easy to implement” McNease said.

“This process has really helped me improve my presentation skills and increase my confidence, considering I have presented more in this one semester than I have in my life” Kaczynski exclaimed. “As a freshman, getting up in front of so many people is intimidating, but now that I have done it, I am ready to take on any other presentation in the future.”

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

For this season’s #GivingTuesday, Jon and Debbie Bethancourt have generously committed to a $10,000 matching gift if current and former students from the Strategic Philanthropy course raise $10,000 in additional funding for future grant making. The gift and the match will go straight to nonprofit organizations in the form of grant funding in the 2018-2019 school year.

The Strategic Philanthropy course at Mays Business School is heavily oriented toward the sustainable, responsible, and measurable ways in which nonprofits address and solve problems in local, national, and global communities. This course provides opportunities for students to practice strategic giving as a group while also developing a personal approach to philanthropy to carry forward into their personal and professional lives.

Donations to this initiative not only fund other nonprofits, but also provide a unique learning experience for students to learn how to “give well.”

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Programs, Selfless service, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

App acts as social media address book

Mays Business School’s focus on the entrepreneurial mindset is personified in the success of Mays marketing senior Dylan Secrest ’17, the CEO and creator of SyncLink.

Dylan SecrestSyncLink is a new iPhone application that allows users to consolidate friends on all social media platforms, as well as store other forms of contact information, in one place. His vision was to “simplify the way the world connects, and essentially create a social media address book.”

Once a user has downloaded the app and created an account, he can sync social media profiles onto the SyncLink account and share it with the world. From there, the user can connect with other SyncLink users on social media with the click of a button.

Secrest has released the app locally, and has garnered more than 400 users and plans to expand further. He and his business partners – Noah Kaplan of Cornell University and Jay Dickey ’17, who graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in political science and is now a prospective law student – recently joined Startup Aggieland, a business incubator on campus. They are working with several entrepreneurs-in-residence and software mentors, and have applied to MassChallenge Texas.

…Read more

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Startup Aggieland, Students, Texas A&M

HOUSTON – A student team from Purdue University won the $6,000 first-place prize in the inaugural Healthcare Analytics Case Competition sponsored by health and well-being company Humana Inc. and Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. It was held at Mays’ CityCentre Houston location.

More than 300 master’s-level students representing 109 teams from 19 major universities in the U.S. registered for the competition, which showcased students’ analytical abilities to solve a real-world business problem. Students enrolled full-time in accredited Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Information Systems, Master of Public Health, or Master of Business Administration programs at educational institutions based in the United States were eligible to enter.

Purdue students Hongxia Shi, Shenyang Yang, and Xiangyi Che received the top prize after a presentation Thursday, Nov. 9 to an executive panel of judges.

Purdue team members Hongxia Shi, Shenyang Yang, and Xiangyi Che won first place. They are flanked by Arvind Mahajan of Mays Business School, left, and Vipin Gopal of Humana, right.

The second-place prize of $3,000 was awarded to Martin Shapiro, Lianne Ho, and David Sung of the University of Southern California, and the third-place prize of $1,500 was presented to Yvonne Yu, David Proudman, and Christina Murphy of the University of California, Berkeley.

“The Mays MBA Program is pleased to partner with Humana to bring together the brightest graduate students in the country to use data analytics in solving a real-world business problem in health care, one of the three Grand Challenge areas of Mays Business School,” said Arvind Mahajan, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays.

The analytics case received by the students was designed to be ambiguous, similar to a real-world business problem. The students were asked to predict the likelihood of a newly-diagnosed Type II diabetes patient with a Medicare Advantage health plan being admitted to an inpatient facility within a year and then the likelihood of readmission within a year. Students had to evaluate more than 900 variables, including age of the patient, gender, geography, type of health plan, and patient medication adherence.

“We are very impressed with not only the number of entries to the competition but also the level of expertise shown by the students in response to our scenario,” said Vipin Gopal, Enterprise Vice President for Humana. “We hope this competition inspires the students to think about careers in health care and challenges them to use their analytical skills to help shape the way our industry delivers care.”

The teams were judged based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to establish key performance indicators aligned to business needs
  • Quantitative analysis identifying key business insights
  • Ability to provide unique insights for business improvements
  • Professionalism and visualization skills

For assistance, applicants were allowed to pick from an array of tools, including R. Python, SAS, SPSS, Matlab, and Excel to help solve the problem.

 

 

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

Mays Business School senior Leslie Bonorden was selected to compete for a National Merit Scholarship after winning a $5,000 Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) during the first round of the advanced retail case study. Only one student from each university could be submitted to compete for the next round of scholarships, and Bonorden’s work proved to be Texas A&M University’s best.

In the first round of the competition, competing students evaluated the recent partnership with Etsy, an online marketplace for buying and selling unique goods, and Macy’s, the 159-year-old retail chain. Students were asked to (1) identify the end-use customer the collaboration should target and (2) identify Etsy sellers who would create the most demand. They also developed a marketing campaign and six-month financial plan for The Etsy Shop. Each winner received a $5,000 scholarship. Eight Mays students were named 2017 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Recipients, including Bonorden, winning a total of $40,000 in scholarships.

Out of the eight scholarship recipients, she was chosen to compete for scholarships that were as high as $35,000 in the next round of the competition. She worked on the case study throughout the summer while doing an internship with Kohl’s.

Only eight finalists out of all the universities across the nation were selected, and although Bonorden was not selected as a finalist, the process was a great learning experience for her. She said that this project “taught [her] how to clearly communicate [her] thoughts and ideas in a fun and creative way,” and it also taught her that if she works hard at anything, she will be proud no matter what the result.

Cheryl Bridges, a professor of marketing at Mays, teaches the Advanced Retail Case Study course. She said she could not be prouder of Bonorden’s work, and how well she represented Mays Business School and Texas A&M in this highly competitive national competition. “When Leslie won the first-round scholarship last year, the Fashion Scholarship Fund Organization selected her paper as an example of a perfect one,” said Bridges. “I think this is a really good story about how our business school students compete and represent us so well in the fashion and retailing industries.”

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

To honor the Mays students who received scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic school year and thank their generous donors, Mays Business School hosted the 2017 Scholarship Banquet Nov. 2 in the Hall of Champions at Kyle Field.

More than 700 scholarships totaling more than $5 million were given to Mays students for the fiscal year 2017. Mays donors support a total endowment of more than $22 million.

The night started with a welcome reception, providing students the chance to formally introduce themselves to their donors, peers, and Mays faculty and staff members. These introductions turned into in-depth conversations during dinner – discussions about the impact attending Mays and receiving a scholarship has had on the students’ education at Texas A&M University.

Spencer Sullivan ’18, a student who is graduating with a finance degree in December, has benefitted from the Gary Neale Reger Scholarship Fund/CED for his entire college career. He said the financial support has allowed him to concentrate on his studies and pursue immersive study-abroad opportunities. …Read more

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M