gI_67033_Shelly BrenckmanShelly Brenckman, marketing coordinator at Texas A&M University’s Startup Aggieland, was named the 2015 International Brand Master, announced competition sponsor, Educational Marketing Group, Inc. (EMG) http://www.emgonline.com. This international award, now in its seventh year, is presented annually to an exemplary educational brand manager. Brenckman took top honors for her ability to create a story-centered brand while utilizing creative and traditional marketing techniques with zero dollars in the marketing budget.

Startup Aggieland, powered by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, keeps Brenckman busy as the only full-time staff member in the 1 1/2 employee program. She developed the name of the program and brand identity through strategic story telling techniques. In addition, she utilized guerilla marketing, event promotion, social media platforms, and media releases. Brenckman collaborated with Texas A&M’s Marketing & Communications division to get their support for distribution and to amplify Startup Aggieland’s message with their own media releases. She worked with campus publications to help spread the word about Texas A&M’s student startups and accelerator, including Aggiebound magazine for future students and their parents, and The Battalion student daily.

One of the first things that Brenckman did was to organize a stylish photo shoot to showcase Startup Aggieland students as part of its branding. These photos helped the brand have a consistent theme throughout all digital and print materials so it would be easily recognizable and stand out. The brand was also promoted using t-shirt marketing, event/mobile app marketing, and giveaways Brenckman carefully protects the Startup Aggieland brand so it is not overused and maintains its mystique. She also has utilized popup banners to promote Startup Aggieland’s academic partners and sponsors, as well as the brand itself.

“When I think of Startup Aggieland, I think of Shelly,” said Rodney Hill, presidential professor, former assistant dean, and founding board member of Startup Aggieland. “She helped raise it from an idea, nourished it to where it is a nationally-recognized business accelerator for students, and now faculty, too. During her involvement with Startup Aggieland, the three-year-old program has been showcased at the White House in Washington D.C. and students in the program have earned many awards at international pitch competitions. Shelly is the marketing soul of Startup Aggieland, having come up with the name and brand identity.”

Brenckman competed against two other strong finalists to win top honors in the International Brand Master competition. Katie Kempf, alumnae relations and special events, Ursuline Academy, St. Louis, Missouri, and Johanna Lowe, head of marketing, communications, and engagement, University of Sydney, Australia, were runners up. Brenckman competed with an initial field of seven exceptional nominees, five of whom hailed from the United States, one from Australia, and one from United Kingdom.

“We are honored to recognize Shelly Brenckman’s outstanding marketing skills. She conceived the Startup Aggieland brand and produced extraordinary results while working as the sole full-time staff member, making her a standout in the competition,” said Bob Brock, EMG president.

Colleagues in education branding will be able to hear more from Brenckman, as EMG will honor her success with a series of interviews during the coming months.

More information on the 2015 International Brand Master and Startup Aggieland, can be found at http://emgonline.com/ibm-award/past-awards/2015-master/.

# # #

SHELLY BRENCKMAN BACKGROUND
Shelly Brenckman wears many hats at Startup Aggieland as the facility’s only full-time employee since May 2013. Although her title at Startup Aggieland is marketing coordinator, she also serves as a mentor, event planner and office manager with some responsibility for managing student workers and representing Startup Aggieland at outside events. She helps Assistant Director Don Lewis with strategic planning, creating new programming and developing related course curriculum. In particular, her work focuses on donor development, sponsor and speaker recruitment, and recruitment of mentors and new student entrepreneurs. As marketing coordinator, Shelly is the webmaster and social media manager, as well as the mobile app manager. She creates all branding for Startup Aggieland and communicates the facility’s story both internally and externally through print, radio, social media and gorilla marketing. As a mentor, Shelly has advised nearly every student venture launching from Startup Aggieland and some that never became official clients. She also has advised former students and remote-learning students in other states. Shelly connects student startups with funding and board members by tapping her extensive network of alumni, administrators and CEOs. Shelly manages the 44-bed Dormcubator on campus, a residential program for freshmen and sophomores that is operated by Startup Aggieland as a Startup Living Learning Community. She teaches MGMT 289: Introduction to Entrepreneurship for Mays Business School, a multi-disciplinary course for Dormcubator students.

INTERNATIONAL BRAND MASTER AWARD BACKGROUND
The International Brand Master award was established in 2009 to bring recognition to the outstanding work of extraordinary educational brand marketing professionals from around the world. Since then, EMG received nominations from countries including Portugal, Belgium, Scotland, Netherlands, Australia, England, Canada, and the United States. This year, a blue-ribbon panel of volunteer international judges from the United States, Ireland, and England reviewed supporting materials provided by the nominees. Nominees were asked to provide responses to a number of questions related to their brand’s strategy, tactics, and provide results as well as provide several letters of support from colleagues. The judges narrowed the pool of seven nominees to three distinguished finalists. Two from the United States, Shelly Brenckman, Texas A&M University’s Startup Aggieland, and Katie Kempf, Ursuline Academy, and one from Australia, Johanna Lowe, University of Sydney. Votes to determine the winner among the three finalists were cast by brand stakeholders and fellow branding professionals from around the world. Over 120 individuals voted from around the world. The winner was chosen by a combination of public votes and the judges’ scores. For more information see: http://emgonline.com/ibm-award/.

This year’s judging panel included:

  •     Elizabeth Allen: Director of Online Communications at the American School in London in London, United Kingdom
  •     Jennifer Collins: Grants Administrator at SEAL Legacy Foundation in Virginia, United States
  •     Eilis O’Brien: Director of Communication and Marketing at University College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland
  •     Seth Odell: 2013 International Brand Master Winner and Vice President of Creative and Marketing Strategy at Helix Education in Utah, United States
  •     Dr. David Peck: 2014 International Brand Master Winner and Vice President of University Relations at Azusa Pacific University in California, United States
  •     Kay Zimmerman: Associate Vice Provost Marketing & Partnership Development and Special Assistant to the Senior Vice President for Academic Outreach & Entrepreneurship at North Carolina State University DELTA in North Carolina, United States
  •     Travis Brock: Chair of the 2015 International Brand Master Award committee, and Director of Business Development and Social Media for Educational Marketing Group, Inc. in Colorado, United States (replacement judge)

ABOUT EMG
EMG is a full-service, integrated brand development and marketing agency that provides custom-tailored research, brand development, creative, development, new media services, and media services for universities throughout North America. Headquartered in Parker, Colorado, the company was established in 1997 and has operated in the higher education arena exclusively for 19 years. Clients have included Colorado Community College System, North Carolina State University, Washington State University, Virginia Tech, Cal Poly, Dalhousie University, University of Victoria, University of Colorado, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Wyoming, and many others. More information can be found at http://www.emgonline.com.

  • written by Educational Marketing Group

Categories: Centers, Departments, Mays Business, News, Staff, Texas A&M

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

Stepping up to Mays’ future

deanjones

Eli Jones calls himself an “accidental dean”–and says most deans are “accidental” because academics rarely join the profession to be administrators. Academics are teachers, researchers and authors. One typically takes an administrative role as selfless service–a way to serve those he or she leads. As Aggies know, selfless service is one of the Aggie Core Values.

Early in Jones’ career, he finished an undergraduate degree in journalism at Texas A&M and pursued broadcast journalism. Later, he and his family returned to Texas A&M for a two-year MBA degree and Jones became a sales executive and sales manager at three Fortune 500 companies. Still, becoming a dean of a business school had not entered his mind.

However, there was a time in his corporate life when he thought back to something a Mays professor said to him–pursue a Ph.D. and become a professor. Back to school Jones and his family went, and four years later, Jones began his academic career–the path that would eventually lead to the dean’s office at Mays Business School.

Through a series of intentional decisions that led him back and forth between the corporate and academic worlds in an effort to continuously enhance his knowledge, skills and capabilities, the self-professed “hybrid” finds himself today at the helm of a leading business school–one that is on an upward trajectory and positioned to break into the ranks of the nation’s elite institutions.

“One might view Mays Business School as a highly talented, well-coached football team that has marched down the field to our opponents’ 20-yard line,” Jones said. “We have gotten where we are today through hard work, smart decisions and strong leadership. And we are poised to get into the end zone…to score a touchdown. But at this point in the game, our competitors have tightened their chinstraps, the playing field has shifted a little bit and the winds of change are swirling. In order to make that last push over the goal line, we will have to leverage the considerable strengths we’ve built to date. Just as important, we need to reimagine the roles that engagement, innovation and impact will play in the future of business education.”

The changing landscape of business and business education

Jones takes the helm of Mays at a time when companies are facing formidable challenges, such as technological advances, digitization of data, increasingly diverse and dispersed workforces and changing employee attitudes and expectations.

Business schools are pipelines to the corporate and entrepreneurial world – suppliers of new knowledge, young talent, and retooled managers and leaders. Thus, business schools are uniquely positioned to help businesses successfully navigate today’s turbulent environment.

Engagement, innovation and impact

While his professional background working in the corporate and academic sectors gives Jones unique perspectives and experiences to lead Mays at this time, he recognizes “At the end of the day, we need to actively engage our stakeholders; continuously innovate our research and programmatic efforts, and positively impact the students, companies and business and academic communities we serve,” he said.

Elevating engagement

Jones recognizes that the school cannot redefine innovation and impact in a vacuum, solely on its own terms. Rather, it must solicit the input of various constituencies–internal and external–to understand what innovation and impact mean to them. So this summer, he embarked on a “listening tour” traveling across Texas to engage key external stakeholder groups and give them a voice in the school’s larger strategic planning and visioning efforts.

The listening tour has included town hall meetings with students, faculty and staff as well as networking events with former students. In addition, Jones is conducting a series of small-group gatherings and one-on-one meetings with academic department heads, donors, corporate partners and recruiters, business clients and development council members. In each of these interactions, he is asking for opinions on a range of topics and questions, including “When you think of Mays Business School, what is the first thing that comes to mind?” as well as “Do we have the right mission, and how can we leverage the school’s mission to continuously improve as measured by innovation and impact?”

In January, Jones and his leadership team will begin discussing the stakeholder input and integrating key insights into the school’s formal strategic planning initiative. To help guide this overall effort, he has created a new position—interim director of innovation and strategic planning—and has asked Mary Lea McAnally to serve in this role.

Already, Jones has gleaned insights in some of the early meetings with stakeholders that will help shape the school’s plan going forward.

“We are writing the next chapter in the remarkable story that is Mays Business School, and I believe our opportunity to join the ranks of the nation’s truly elite business schools is now,” he said. “We will build on the momentum here, leverage the experience I gained from my two previous deanships, combine that knowledge with that of the amazing team of faculty and staff at Mays Business School, and generate the support needed to build to world-class status by fully engaging our Aggie network.”

Increasing innovation

In addition to elevating stakeholder engagement, Mays’ world-class faculty is being enhanced by the addition of new faculty. This summer, Mays welcomed 11 new professors with degrees from other top institutions, including Duke, INSEAD, Stanford, the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

“This group of scholars provides just the right influx of fresh perspectives, insights and experiences we need to complement our existing faculty,” Jones said. “They include seasoned professors, those in the middle of their careers and newly minted Ph.D.s who are just starting out on one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding careers imaginable. And they will pursue diverse research interests ranging from sales leadership and behavioral economics to corporate governance and information asymmetry.”

One of the new additions is Assistant Professor of Marketing Cexun “Jeffery” Cai, who comes to Mays from Wharton. Of his decision to join Texas A&M, Cai said, “No other place promises the combination of dynamic, productive and helpful colleagues; engaged students who are eager to push their limits; a warm and friendly environment made up of people with a deep sense of values; and the opportunity to contribute to a highly reputable institution that is on the frontier of knowledge discovery and dissemination.”

In addition to recruiting new faculty, Mays plans to develop innovative educational programs to meet the evolving needs of today’s students, corporate partners and the market. The new Master of Science in Business (MS Business) is one example of the kind of innovation to which Jones is referring. Scheduled to welcome its first class of students fall 2016, the MS Business is an intensive 11-month program designed to help non-business majors compete more effectively for jobs in the global marketplace. The program will provide students with core business knowledge, solid quantitative skills and a basic understanding of best practices in leadership—with emphases on experiential learning, teamwork and career preparation. Students will apply to the MS Business during their senior year, and the program will enable undergraduate students to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years. No prior job experience is required for admission.

‘Jon Jasperson, academic director for the program, says it will showcase some of the latest innovations in higher education. “We plan to build a challenging, innovative learning environment for the MS Business students that incorporates education best practices into the classroom,” he said. “The concentrated, block delivery schedule for the courses combined with role play, simulations and flipped classroom active learning techniques will provide better engagement for students in the learning process.”

High-impact learning

For many years, Mays faculty have challenged students to apply what they learn in class to solve problems in a variety of real-world contexts—from consulting engagements and capstone projects to internships and study-abroad programs. The school’s undergraduate Business Honors and Business Fellows programs along with the Freshman Business Initiative offer a range of active learning experiences, including visits to corporations, guest speakers on campus, community service activities, and regional and national trips. Mays’ Full-Time, Professional and Executive MBA programs all feature a consulting or capstone project in which students work with actual businesses as well as some kind of travel-study component—either overseas or through the school’s Washington, D.C. Campus.

Case competitions and other business skills challenges have provided another fertile field of high-impact leaning for students. By testing business knowledge and problem-solving skills in a range of areas—from tax, entrepreneurship and ethics to fashion and retail—these activities force teams of students to merge theory and practice while dealing with the same kind of time, resource, and knowledge constraints they will face on the job after they graduate.

In recent years, Mays departments, centers and programs have expanded the number of competitions they host. Newer events such as the Wall Street Journal Challenge for undergraduates, hosted this year by Mays, have joined longstanding activities such as the MBA Venture Challenge and the Ideas Challenge, which is open to all students. Students are also participating in more external competitions, ranging from National Retail Federation Student Challenge to Deloitte’s FanTAXtic tax case competition and the National MBA Case Competition in Ethical Leadership. In 2013, a team of Mays Full-Time MBA students (composed of Janette Barnard, Matt Johnson, Lloyd McGuire and Robyn Peters) won the case competition in ethical leadership. Peters remarked on the impact of the learning experience: “Given less than 24 hours to dissect the case, craft recommendations and develop a flawless presentation, this competition was a test of critical problem solving and prioritization. Experiences like this are what really prepare us for our roles as future professional leaders.”

Mays will continue to participate in these and other experiential learning activities to ensure that its students are ready and able to put their hard-earned knowledge into action.

Impact on business

Corporate partnerships play a vital role in many of the high-impact learning experiences enjoyed by Mays’ students, as organizations help underwrite competitions or host students for consulting engagements or capstone projects. By forging new partnerships with industry, as well as deepening relationships with existing partners, Jones is confident the school can also boost its impact on business.

Mays’ Professional Selling Initiative (PSI) is one example of a new program that provides a platform for creating innovative, mutually beneficial partnerships with industry. Its existence, in fact, is born out of the school’s ongoing dialogue with corporate partners and a careful assessment of marketplace forces and trends. In recent years, the Department of Marketing has witnessed significantly increased demand from firms looking to hire graduates for professional selling jobs—in both consumer and business-to-business settings. After examining sales initiatives at other universities across the nation and talking to a number of the school’s current recruiters, the department launched the Professional Selling Initiative to meet a range of student, faculty and employer needs.

The initiative will provide enhanced educational offerings for students, including a Certificate in Sales along with a Professional Selling and Sales Management career track. Faculty will enjoy increased research opportunities along with more role-play rooms supported by state-of-the-art technology. Corporate partners will gain greater access to Mays’ top sales students through a variety of recruiting activities, social events and guest-speaking opportunities.

Perhaps most importantly, through more frequent interaction and closer collaboration, Mays and its corporate partners will be able to explore new opportunities to develop custom programming and conduct applied research that is tailored to the unique business needs and objectives of different partners.

Looking ahead

As Jones looks to the future, he is humbled by the opportunity to lead his alma mater into a new era, mindful of the challenges that lie ahead and exhilarated by the opportunities they present.

“Moving into the ranks of the very best business schools is going to require everyone at Mays to step up their game,” he said. “We have to create new knowledge that is relevant and useful to companies. We need to offer unique education programs that prepare students to make valuable contributions to their employers from day one on the job. And we must develop leaders who are as focused on serving their organizations and transforming their communities as they are on maximizing shareholder wealth. There is no more important or rewarding work than this.”

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

Startup Aggieland, the business incubator launched as an initiative of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship for Texas A&M University student entrepreneurs, has added a new partner to its roster: The College of Liberal Arts.

Startup Aggieland partnersStartup Aggieland is a cross-college collaboration with Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE); Texas A&M University’s Office of the Vice President in the Division of Research; the Dwight Look College of Engineering and Computer Science; and the College of Architecture. It started in January 2013 to provide qualified students of all majors with a peer-led startup community that helps students leverage public and private resources while launching early-stage ventures.

Startup Aggieland is administered by an advisory board that includes representatives from the Colleges of Engineering, Architecture and Mays. Now a Liberal Arts representative will be added. The partner entities also fund the program financially.

Pamela R. Matthews, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said she is looking forward to her college having closer ties to Mays. “We are excited about the potential for new collaborations that will benefit our students and faculty,” she said. “We’re also excited about helping liberal arts students benefit from the CNVE/entrepreneurship initiatives that Startup Aggieland offers.”

The liberal arts contribution to the program extends into the classroom, as well, Matthews explained. A new faculty member – Patricia Thornton – will teach sociology and have an adjunct appointment in management. “She is a leader in entrepreneurship, and she will collaborate with others to develop curricular and co-curricular opportunities,” Matthews said. “This is an exciting time for our young entrepreneurs.”

Thornton previously was an adjunct professor and an affiliate of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University Fuqua School of Business, where she taught entrepreneurship and new venture management. She is also visiting associate professor and affiliated faculty to the Program on Organizations, Business, and the Economy in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University, where she taught the social science of entrepreneurship.

Richard Lester, executive director of the CNVE, said he is pleased to increase the reach of the program. “Our goal from the beginning has been to engage as many current students as we can, regardless of their majors,” he said. “A good business is a good business, no matter what discipline the student originates from. We’re just here to help them get it to the next level.”

Startup Aggieland is a student-designed business incubator and accelerator. Mentors and coaches help qualified student-owned startups leverage Texas A&M University resources and private support without relinquishing equity ownership in their companies.

CNVE also offers a student-managed seed fund that can be used to cover certain business startup costs with no obligation for students to repay the money.

Startup Aggieland is open to students pursuing any major at any level of study at Texas A&M University. Six entrepreneurship courses for university credit meet each week at the Startup Aggieland facility.

Students retain ownership of any intellectual property they develop at Startup Aggieland, and are provided access to legal assistance to help protect student IPs or register their trademarks.

Startup Aggieland provides students with free or at-cost services such as accounting assistance, graphic design services, marketing support, $24,000 in free Rackspace webhosting, furnished student office space and free parking, and access to snacks and refreshments on site. Students also have opportunities to attend free out-of-town trips to companies, entrepreneurship events and pitch competitions.

Startup Aggieland has headquarters in Research Park on the western edge of campus. It is supported by several corporate and institutional sponsors. Some students qualify for residence in a Startup Living Learning Community, which is co-sponsored by Mays and Texas A&M Department of Residence Life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

The 2015 Retailing Summit celebrated its 30th year by focusing on innovation, the empowered customer and omnichannel retailing. The Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School hosted the Oct. 8-9 event at the Westin Galleria in Dallas.

Over two days, nearly 275 attendees explored how to make retail better through improved customer interactions, one-to-one marketing and store enhancements. Executives from JCPenney, Bluemercury, Mission Athletecare, The Futures Company, UPS, Pinot’s Palette, MasterCard Advisors and NatureBox headlined the conference, which also included two panels on technology innovation and retaining top talent.

THE SKY IS THE LIMIT: PERFORMANCE IN ACTION

Former U.S. Navy Blue Angel pilot John Foley kicked off the Retailing Summit conference with the empowering “Glad To Be Here®” mantra. His enthusiasm radiated as he recalled stories from his precision flying days, where he was nicknamed “Gucci” by fellow pilots.

In order to achieve their peak performance, Foley advised attendees to:

  1. Examine their present situation
  2. Define where they would like to be
  3. Focus on the positives that can help guide them there

Former U.S. Navy Blue Angels pilot John Foley with Katie Burroughs, Haley Gooch and Lindsay La Rosa from the Master’s in Marketing program.

According to Foley, research confirms that when a person feels satisfaction with where they are, they become more grateful, positive and productive. Companies can also foster teamwork by channeling positive visualization techniques.

MEET THE CENTENNIALS: WHO THEY ARE AND HOW THEY WILL IMPACT RETAIL

Youth marketing to the millennial customer is officially over.

Erik Medina, vice president of The Futures Company, defined millennials as the age group of 19- to 34-year-olds. His research through the TRU Youth Monitor dubbed the up-and-coming generation of those between 12 and 18 years of age as “centennials.”

Compared to their predecessors, centennials are more focused on mobile versus the internet, have faced financial upheaval and want to take a stand for something by supporting companies associated with a cause.

Centennials are also more inclined to want to buy niche products. They are interested in the “maker movement,” alongside the rise of Etsy and customized product choices. They view the future with wariness and grasp that personal success is not a guarantee in life. They are less concerned with fitting in and they value individual uniqueness.

Medina praised GameStop as a retailer effectively serving the centennial customer with fun, tech-savvy and personalized shopping experiences.

 TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION AND THE IN-STORE TRANSFORMATION

Fittingly, the 2015 Retailing Summit featured the man behind GameStop’s store innovations: Jeff Donaldson, SVP of the GameStop Technology Institute. Donaldson led a panel discussion, which profiled companies that are revolutionizing their businesses through technology.

Moderated by Debbie Hauss, editor in chief of Retail TouchPoints, the panel also included Scott Emmons, enterprise architect for Neiman Marcus, and Michelle Bogan, partner at Kurt Salmon.

When defining what innovation meant to them, Emmons said building stronger customer relationships and Donaldson said innovation can either be a new idea or a reinvention of something old, by creating a novel approach. For example, a low-tech solution that customers embraced at Neiman Marcus included in-store charging stations, which encouraged customers to stay and shop longer.

Each also agreed that innovation directly correlates with growth.  “The pace of change internally must exceed the pace of change externally,” Donaldson said.

The panel also briefly touched on incubator communities like REVTECH in Dallas — places where mentors guide entrepreneurs who are looking to refine their startup business ideas.

Forecasting hot trends, Bogan highlighted the increase of “buy” buttons on social media. She also mentioned the rise of subscription box offerings, including Birchbox. Donaldson said GameStop will look to crowdsourcing as it develops new products.

PAINT. DRINK. HAVE FUN. FIGHTING “A FAD” WITH INNOVATION AND CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Combining the wine and DIY art industries, Craig Ceccanti, co-founder and CEO of Pinot’s Palette launched his entrepreneurial and franchise concept in 2009. With more than 150 locations in 33 states, Ceccanti credits integrating innovation into his business plan and company culture as key to his success.

Franchise owners are expected to introduce new sales promotions, painting designs, and process improvements by reviewing customer surveys, asking for direct feedback, and effectively using customer data to stay relevant. Because, as Ceccanti concluded, complacency and “becoming a fad [will] make you vigorously prepared to not become one.”

BEYOND OMNI-CHANNEL: HOW TO REACH THE SPENDING CONSUMER

Sarah Quinlan, VP of Market Insights at MasterCard Advisors, debunked several retail myths by analyzing economic data from 2015 credit card transactions.

According to Quinlan, increased competitiveness from small businesses who provide superior customer service and specialized product offerings has driven down retail sales at department stores and other mass merchants. With reduced gas prices, consumers have additional disposable income that they have opted to spend on travel, at restaurants and on durable goods instead of apparel or more “stuff.”

Although ecommerce companies like Amazon are forcing traditional, physical stores to expand their offerings online, online-only companies like Warby Parker and Rent the Runway are opening brick-and-mortar stores to more personally engage with shoppers.

The store is and will always be the emotional heart and financial core of retail.

REDEFINING FOOD RETAIL: CREATING A WORLD OF ON-DEMAND INNOVATION, PERSONALIZATION, AND ACCESS

The Retailing Summit also featured healthy snacking subscription provider NatureBox, led by one of Inc.’s “30 under 30,” co-founder and CEO Gautam Gupta. Providing customers an algorithm-curated assortment based on previous purchases, NatureBox has become a leader using the business model of monthly replenishment.

Eighty percent of the nearly 5,000 new products introduced every quarter fail.

By mining its extraordinary data warehouse of customer flavor preferences, ingredients, etc. NatureBox reduced the product development cycle from 12 months to 12 weeks and increased its percentage of successful product launches.

SIMPLICITY THROUGH SUCCESS

RetailingSummit2015-48Newly named JCPenney CEO Marvin Ellison inspired the audience by detailing his career path at Target and Home Depot, and vision for JCPenney’s turnaround. JCPenney’s decline did not result from increased or new competition, a revolutionary technology or fewer customers, he said, but from a disaster in leadership.

To reverse the damage, Ellison pledged to attack differently. He started by plugging as many holes as possible and simplified the company’s strategic focus. Moving forward, each business decision will be evaluated on how it benefits JCPenney’s omnichannel strategy, growth of private brands and increase in revenue per customer.

JCPenney has turned the corner, and its future success hinges on a pledge for clarity of purpose and balance between the art and science of retail, he said

INNOVATION FOR THE SPECIALTY RETAIL CHANNEL

Newly acquired by Macy’s, Bluemercury—a friendly neighborhood store where customers can seek advice from “self-proclaimed beauty junkies who love people”—has high hopes of becoming the next “Starbucks of the makeup industry.”

Celebrating the mom-and-pop shopping experience, co-founder and chief operating officer Barry Beck described the company’s foundation as built on the three P’s: people, product and place.

Beck claims that Bluemercury’s people strategy is the chain’s secret weapon. By offering real career paths and higher wages, Bluemercury hires style consultants who have genuine client focus. Like “human Googlers,” they provide beauty solutions for customers, not just product recommendations.

The company, headquartered in Georgetown/Washington, D.C. has intentionally placed 14 stores within a 28-mile radius to increase brand awareness in the area.

According to Beck, innovation is important because “it’s a winner-takes-all game.”

THRIVING IN THE AGE OF THE EMPOWERED CONSUMER

With the expansion of ecommerce, home delivery is now integral to the customer experience. Steve Brill, Vice President for Global B2C Strategy for UPS, described the importance of strengthening relationships between retailers and delivery providers like UPS who interact directly with the purchaser.

Choice, control, and convenience top what customers want in efficient distance delivery. UPS recently created the “My Choice” program to allow people to select the most convenient delivery option when receiving a package, including flexibility on shipment date, delivery, location, etc. Brill identified this as an innovative response to the “situational need” that always accompanies shipping.

No single size delivery option fits all in an omnichannel world where options now include ship to store, ship from store and ecommerce returns.

RETAINING HIGH-PERFORMING PEOPLE

The second panel at the Retailing Summit, moderated by the Center for Retailing Studies’ Director Kelli Hollinger, sought to identify characteristics of high performing individuals and tactics for how companies can retain them.

Karyn Maynard, recruiting director at The Container Store, quoted the company’s philosophy that “one great person equals three good people.” She said it is essential when hiring to select the right candidate who can:

  • Speak up and contribute
  • Show perseverance
  • Nurture others

Karla Waddleton, division vice president at ALDI, Inc., said the German grocery chain tests the resiliency of new hires by challenging them with real responsibility. “We want to see their potential for leadership.”

According to Jennifer Lustig, senior director of human resources at PetSmart, employees want to feel valued. They also become more motivated when the career path for growth within the company is clearly outlined.

THE CLUTCH EN/INTREPRENEUR

Aggie graduate and football star Chris Valletta propelled himself from the NFL to the Apprentice to head entrepreneur and co-founder of Mission Athletecare. Inspired by basketball legend Michael Jordan, Valletta used his failures to work harder and perform under pressure—what he describes as being “clutch.”

Talent and motivation are not enough to set you apart, he explained. Having emotional intelligence or the ability to hold tight to your emotions while making decisions is key.

Being “clutch” requires being obsessed with details because the little things matter greatly.

Similar to a game of football, the retail landscape is constantly changing. You have to be able to adapt, think quickly and execute during the hard moments, he explained.

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Attendees also heard from breakout session leaders Matt Schmitt, President and Chief Innovation Strategy Officer at Reflect, with Lee Summers, Manager of Marketing and Technology at Nebraska Furniture Mart; Mathew Sweezy, Vice President of Marketing and Insights at Salesforce, with Aaron Stevens, Senior Sales Manager, Carrier Indirect & Regional Carrier at OtterBox; and, Jim Sturm, President and Chief Executive Officer at Brierley+Partners with representatives from Half-Price Books.

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The 2016 Retailing Summit will take place on Oct. 13-14 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas.

Visit retailingsummit.org for more information.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Mays Business, News, Staff, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Henry and Judith order rings_alt1Henry Musoma often quotes one of his favorite sayings: “Your network is your net worth.” Recent events indicate the Mays Business School lecturer is a very rich man.

On Nov. 20, a group from Musoma’s network will give him an Aggie Ring, a coveted symbol of the Aggie Network that dates back more than 100 years. Students must earn 90 hours and a 2.0 GPA to be eligible to order a ring. Aggie Ring Day is one of the most anticipated milestones in an Aggie student’s career – and as Musoma will attest, in a former student’s career, too.

Musoma lost his ring several years ago and hasn’t replaced it. But anyone who knows him knows he is an Aggie through and through, personifying the core values of the institution: Excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service.

Musoma spoke in mid-August to Grad Camp, an orientation for graduate and professional students, about one of his favorite topics: networking. Last week, event director and AgriLife Extension Program Specialist Kevin Andrews said Musoma made such an impact on him and on those present, he felt compelled to rally the students in his agriculture class, ALED 441, to raise funds to buy Musoma a replacement ring.

“He is well-liked and respected across campus, and I knew a lot of people would come together with small gifts to make a big difference,” Andrews said. Besides, the project was a lesson for his students to learn “you don’t need one person doing all the work, but rather a lot of people each doing their small part,” he said.

The ring is a small token of appreciation for all Musoma  has done since he arrived on campus from Africa years ago, Andrews said. “If you were to take all of the hours Dr. Musoma has spent on evenings and weekends speaking to student groups, inviting students into his home or mentoring young Aggies, and multiplied that by even minimum wages, he has invested enough into Texas A&M to have paid for a replacement Aggie Ring,” Andrews explained. “Even though he could afford his own replacement ring, Aggies take care of Aggies. He has given all of us something far more valuable than money – he has given us his time.”

The day Andrews came to Musoma’s office to tell him about the ring, Musoma was hosting a team from Phillips 66 who were visiting Mays. They were filming a video about a trip Musoma and Mays recruiter Corey Stone took with 14 students to Africa last summer. This was the second year that Phillips 66 sponsored the trip, and a team from Africa visited Mays last summer in return.

Judith Vincent, general auditor of Phillips 66, was nearby when Andrews delivered the news to Musoma. “The look on Dr. Musoma’s face – the sheer shock and pride and appreciation – just really touched me. It was very special, and it made me want to go get my ring.” Vincent graduated 30 years ago and never ordered her ring.

The pair immediately drove to the Association of Former Students to order her ring on the final day for a Nov. 20 delivery. Vincent said, “Every time I look at my ring, I will have so much pride because it will remind me of Dr. Musoma and the impact he has had.”  Nov. 20 will be a big day for Musoma and Vincent. That’s when they plan to pick up their rings, then go dunk them – an Aggie tradition. Most people drop their ring into a full pitcher of beer, then drink it to retrieve the ring. Musoma and Vincent are still working on details of their big day.

“I am taking a vacation day and coming to College Station,” Vincent said. “I wouldn’t miss it, and I wouldn’t miss being there when Dr. Musoma gets his ring. It’s going to be a very special day.”

Andrews said he is hopeful the group’s project reaches beyond Musoma. “Already, we have the funds to purchase an additional female Aggie Ring in his name, and we will continue to give as many scholarships in his name as possible,” he said. “I see no more fitting tribute for such a selfless servant than to keep this gift going for those who deserve it.”

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 6,000 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: Alumni, Donors Corner, Faculty, Mays Business, News, Staff, Texas A&M

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Bala Shetty, right, hosts alumni at Dean Eli Jones’ reception at CityCentre.

Mays Dean Eli Jones ’82 enjoyed a welcome celebration Aug. 27, when about 150 current and former Full-Time, Professional and Executive MBA students gathered in Houston CityCentre. Dr. Jones’ wife Fern and Mays faculty and program staff were also in attendance.

The event was a way to introduce Jones and to reach out to Mays alumni, which are 58,470 strong.

Jones is recognized as a visionary leader, sales management expert, accomplished researcher and passionate teacher. His return to College Station is a homecoming for the Houston native and three-time alumnus. He earned his bachelor’s in journalism at Texas A&M and his MBA and Ph.D. in marketing at Mays, and he has strong family ties in the Lone Star State.

Jones assumed deanship of Mays on July 1, 2015, having previously served as dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Under his leadership, the Walton College of Business raised $32.9 million in FY2014, launched a 100 percent online General Business Degree, expanded the Executive MBA program and signed partnership agreements with schools in China, Brazil and Panama.

Jones returns to Mays at a time of growth and upward trajectory. The Executive MBA Program is 6th among U.S. public schools (Financial Times), the Full-Time MBA Program is 16th among U.S. public schools (U.S. News & World Report) and the Professional MBA program is ranked 21st among U.S. public universities (U.S. News & World Report).

 

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Jones lauded the school’s strength and reputation, and said it was an honor to be invited back to work at his alma mater. He told the group assembled, “I can’t talk about it too much without getting emotional, but Mays changed me. The MBA program at Mays changed my life.”

In 2012, Mays planted the Aggie flag in Houston at CityCentre to serve area businesses, working professionals and former students with MBA and other business programs. CityCentre is home to the Executive MBA program, which requires at least 10 years of professional work experience, including seven years of managerial experience, and the Professional MBA Program, a 22-month program designed for working professionals. Mays also offers custom executive development programs at CityCentre through its Center for Executive Development.

Cynthia Klein ’15, who lives in Tyler and serves as chief strategy officer of Mentoring Minds, traveled to Houston for the Executive MBA program until she graduated last May. She returned for the reception to honor Jones and to reconnect with some of her classmates. “The most valuable part of the program is being in a classroom not only with top-notch professors – the most seasoned, typically – who bring the theoretical part of business, but also your class of real-world professionals who bring their experience and we talk about what’s really happening in the world and balance that with the theoretical part of business,” she explained. “What it has really done for me is enabled me to think in ways I’ve never thought and bring that to my own workplace.”

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

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: Alumni, Mays Business, News, Programs, Staff, Texas A&M

Mays Communications Specialist Courtney Bosquez has been selected to join Cinemark’s new Chairman’s Advisory Committee. The newly created committee will help provide innovative input and feedback to Cinemark’s management team.

Bosquez has beeCourtney Bosquezn with the Center for Retailing Studies since May 2014. There, she promotes the center across Texas A&M University and to a national audience of retailers through visual, print, e-mail and social communications. She is also responsible for all of the design and marketing efforts for the annual Retailing Summit in Dallas along with providing communications support for the Dallas/Fort Worth Retail Executives Association.

She was selected for the Chairman’s Advisory Committee through a competitive application and interview process. The committee members, who are not employed by Cinemark, will represent the 10 best and brightest young leaders in the DFW area and beyond.

Cinemark founder and chairman Lee Roy Mitchell created the committee with a vision that, “the program will be mutually beneficial to both Cinemark and our committee members.”

Committee members will serve two-year terms and meet five times a year, to work alongside Mitchell and other members of Cinemark’s management. “The committee members will have the opportunity to work with me and learn how to conduct business in today’s corporate environment in an honest and ethical manner,” Mitchell stated in a news release.

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,900 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, business honors, 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: Departments, Mays Business, News, Staff, Texas A&M

At Mays Business School, our outstanding faculty are consistently recognized for their research and teaching accomplishments. This year, we welcome 13 new faculty members.

Mark Houston has joined the Department of Marketing as department head, professor and the Blue Bell Creameries Chair in Business. Houston is the inaugural holder of the chair, which was created in 2009.

Prior to joining Texas A&M University, Houston served on the faculties of Texas Christian University (chaired full professor), University of Missouri (endowed professorship), Saint Louis University and Bowling Green State University.

Houston said he was attracted to Mays because of its reputation as a college that encourages research, and he looks forward to working with PhD students again.

“Also, it is a great opportunity to be a part of a nice community and to lead a group of great colleagues,” he said. “I am looking forward to it.”

Christa Bouwman has joined the Department of Finance as an associate professor. Prior to joining Texas A&M, she served the faculty of Case Western Reserve University as an associate professor of Banking and Finance.

Bouwman received a master’s degree in Economics and Business from the University of Groningen — the Netherlands, an MBA from Cornell University and a PhD from the University of Michigan.

Her research is empirical and focuses on Financial Intermediation and Corporate Finance. She was a visiting professor at MIT Sloan’s School of Management, and is currently an Associate Editor of two journals (the Review of Finance and the Journal of Banking and Finance), a Research Associate at the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Boston, and a Fellow of the Wharton Financial Institutions Center.

Cindy Zapata has joined the Department of Management as an associate professor. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Zapata served the faculty of Georgia Institute of Technology as an assistant professor of Management.

Zapata received both her PhD and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Florida.

Her research interests include organizational justice and trust, supervisor-employee relationships and personality and individual differences.

Yan Liu has joined the Department of Finance as an assistant professor. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Liu was a PhD student at Duke University.

Liu’s current research focuses on empirical asset pricing and information bounds.

David R. Skeie has joined the Department of Finance as an assistant professor. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Skeie worked in New York as a senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank.

Skeie received his PhD in economics from Princeton University. His primary fields of interest are in financial intermediation, macro-finance and financial stability.

Jeff Yu has joined the Department of Accounting as an assistant professor. Prior to joining Texas A&M, he served the faculty of Southern Methodist University as an assistant professor of accounting.

Yu received both a master’s degree and a PhD from The Ohio State University.

His research focuses on empirical capital markets in financial accounting and areas of specialization include debt contracting, information intermediaries and economic effects of financial reporting and disclosure.

Tim Torno has joined the Department of Accounting as an executive professor. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Torno served the faculty of the University of Dallas as an adjunct professor of Accounting.

Torno received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Ed C. White has joined the Department of Finance as an executive professor. Prior to joining Texas A&M, he served the faculty of Bowling Green State University-Ohio as an executive-in-residence. White received an MBA from the University of Hawaii.

Prior to joining academia, White was a Senior Vice President and the Chief Financial Officer of Owens-Illinois, Inc. (NYSE: OI) for seven years until his retirement in 2012. During his 38-year career with OI, White worked in a variety of management roles across finance, manufacturing and marketing. His international experiences included senior management positions as an expatriate in Finland, Poland, France and Switzerland. He also served in the United States Army.

Andre Araujo has joined the Department of Information and Operations Management as a clinical assistant professor. He received a PhD from the University of Oklahoma.

Bilal Erturk has joined the Department of Finance as a visiting assistant professor. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Erturk served on the faculty of Oklahoma State University as an assistant professor of Finance.

Erturk graduated from Bilkent University in Ankara Turkey with an industrial engineering degree. He earned a PhD in finance from Texas A&M.

Marco Rossi has joined the Department of Finance as a visiting assistant professor. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Rossi served the faculty of The University of Notre Dame as an assistant professor of finance.

Rossi obtained a PhD in Finance from the Pennsylvania State University. Before joining academia, Rossi spent approximately one year working full time on a currency options desk for Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (of the Allianz group) in London.

Morgan Moore has joined the Accounting Department as a lecturer. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Moore worked for Ernst & Young in Houston as a CPA.

Moore received a bachelor’s degree from TCU and a master’s degree from the University of Texas-Austin.

Kristopher Muir has joined the Undergraduate Special Programs Office as a lecturer. Prior to joining Texas A&M, Muir served the faculty of Woodward Academy as a Spanish instructor.

Muir received a bachelor’s degree from University of Tennessee, Knoxville, a master’s degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Doctorate of Education from Walden University. His goal is to design meaningful work at the intersection of learning, innovation and technology.

Categories: Faculty, Staff

Mays Business School professors Venkatesh Shankar, Duane Ireland and Mike Hitt have been recognized among the most frequently cited economics and business researchers. All three were selected as 2014 Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers.

Inclusion on the list is based on having the most articles cited in the top 1 percent of their field between 2002 and 2012. In other words, the lists feature authors whose published work in their specialty areas has consistently been judged by peers to be of particular significance and utility.

Shankar is the Coleman Chair in Marketing at Mays. Ireland and Hitt are both University Distinguished Professors in Management. Ireland is the Conn Chair in New Ventures Leadership and president of the Academy of Management. Hitt is the Joe B. Foster ’56 Chair in Business Leadership.

Seven other professors on the list are from Texas A&M University, in the disciplines of agricultural sciences, chemistry, computer science, engineering and mathematics.

Categories: Faculty, Staff