Rachel Keathley ’18 has been selected as a Gates-Muller awardee and a Fulbright Scholar. She graduated as a Business Honors and management major with minors in economics and Spanish and a certificate in international business.

The Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award, which also includes a $5,000 gift, was presented to Keathley at commencement. It is one of the highest student awards on the Texas A&M University campus. It was established through a gift from the Muller family of Galveston to provide public recognition to the outstanding seniors graduating from Texas A&M who have demonstrated those qualities of leadership, patriotism, and courage exemplified by Robert M. Gates. He served as president of the university from 2002 until 2006, when he was named U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Keathley also will be participating in the Fulbright student program as a Fulbright-Garcia Robles grantee for the Binational Internship program in Mexico City, Mexico. The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The 12-member J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board selects the recipients each year.

A path of leadership

While a student, Keathley has served as events coordinator for the Business Honors program. She was selected as a Public Policy Intern for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and was awarded the Sophomore Gathright and Outstanding Junior award for her college. She has served on multiple committees, including University Disciplinary Appeals, the Student Health Services Advisory Committee, and Wiley Lecture Marketing committee.

She is heavily involved in local ministry services such as the Philadelphia Sisters, Save Our Streets Ministries, and the Grace Bible Church Street Team. Her references extoll her commitment to “being a true friend,” someone who cares for “the frequently overlooked,” and who has the ability to “stay true to what she believes in, even in the face of challenges.” This fortitude was demonstrated during her term as elections commissioner through which her “conduct was above reproach”—showing “initiative, integrity, and leadership” while handling challenges “with grace.”

 

 

 

 

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

Mays Business School recognized 27 undergraduate students as Spring 2018 Martha Loudder Medal of Excellence recipients for their willingness to invest additional effort into their academics.

Named for Mays Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Accounting Professor Marty Loudder, the medal recognizes students who intentionally engage in their educations in and out of the classroom, and who engage in the reflective portfolio process to maximize their learning.

To be eligible for the medal, students first participate in a minimum of three high-impact experiences such as a peer educator position, an internship, or a learning community. Each student then completes a comprehensive learning portfolio, which includes self-awareness exercises and reflections on key experiences like those above.

The portfolio is showcased on a personal website, and serves as the final selection criterion for the Loudder Medal. Reviewers look for comprehensiveness, depth, and clear connections among stories, lessons learned, and future goals.

…Read more

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

Mays Business School produces a fresh batch of capable, confident, and courageous young people at each commencement ceremony. This year is no different, when 1,310 students graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees Thursday, May 10. Here are some of their stories:

Amanda “Mandy” Miller

For management major Amanda “Mandy” Miller, selfless service is not only a core value through Texas A&M, it’s also a part of her everyday life. In June 2013, Miller got involved with the Adera Foundation, a nonprofit based in Ethiopia designed to use business as a solution to lead people toward self-sustainability. While working with Adera, she traveled and interned within Ethiopia on five separate occasions. During her time with the Adera Foundation, she created inventory systems and order forms through Microsoft Excel, developed and designed the website for Adera Designs, and connected Adera with two major accounts to carry jewelry from the program. It was involvement in this organization that led her to start her own social enterprise, “Buna: Grounded in Love,” in January 2016.

This initiative stemmed from a passion for two things: building social enterprises and combatting poverty. Buna: Grounded in Love is devoted to delivering an excellent product and providing employment opportunities for underprivileged women. Their hand-roasted coffee is available for purchase online, at pop-up markets, and at four local retailers, including Aggieland Outfitters. Mandy’s post-graduation plans include expanding her work with Buna: Grounded in Love by moving to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to take on a more hands-on role in using business to better people’s lives.

  • by Amy Pakes

Cyndie Meersman senior picture

Cynthia “Cyndie” Meersman

Cynthia “Cyndie” Meersman completed her bachelor’s degree in management with a focus in Entrepreneurial Leadership. Like many students, she began taking classes in her major based on interests she held at the time, which for her included human resources and marketing–fields that generally involve high interaction and ingenuity. To refine her career plans and gain a more worldly perspective, Meersman studied in Norway for a summer. Not only did that experience allow her to gain cultural insights and friends from across the globe, her coursework provided a perspective that she always knew was there, but that she hadn’t fully explored.

Through a course exercise, Meersman learned that she prefers a job that is both autonomous and creative, much like she experiences with her love of painting. That course exercise sparked an idea: she could pursue her love of the arts within the realm of business. Drawing upon early course lessons in interaction and ingenuity, Meersman founded The Business of the Arts, a student organization designed to enlighten students about careers in art and how to make those careers a reality.

It is no surprise that along the way, Meersman’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to the Entrepreneurial Leadership track for her degree. Her integration of the arts in business will serve her well as she continues both passions after graduation, initially continuing to paint while she finalizes plans to pursue a graduate degree in art leadership on her path to museum and gallery management.

  • by Kristi Mora

Niyonsaba Magnifique

Mays management graduate Niyonsaba “Magnifique” grew up in a refugee camp in Tanzania. Arriving in Houston to a completely different life at the age of 12 provided her with a unique perspective, which translated to a passion helping those less fortunate than herself.

Magnifique was told at an early age by her parents that education is the key to success in life and the way to break the poverty cycle she had seen so much of in Tanzania. She graduated as the salutatorian of Lee High School in Houston and was awarded a full ride to Texas A&M University through the Posse Foundation.

She is quick to credit her success to mentors who have helped her succeed in both high school and college.

Magnifique has held leadership roles in a number of Texas A&M organizations, including Aggies Creating Sustainable Solutions, Maroon and White Leadership Fellows, and the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference. In addition, she completed an internship with BakerRipley, where she researched new curriculum for elementary ESL teachers to help foreign, illiterate students learn English. However, her desire to help others get the education they seek didn’t stop there.

Her goal after graduation is to run her own non-profit in Burundi and Rwanda with goals to raise scholarship funds to help underprivileged students complete their education and empower them to succeed. The oldest of three children, and a first-generation high school and now college graduate, Magnifique wants to continue to model the core values she has embraced while at Texas A&M.

  • by Amy Pakes and Liesl Wesson

 

 

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

The first-place team in the inaugural Aggie Pitch competition on April 20 was Bezoar Labs – a team familiar to McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship because it received honorable mention in the 2017 Raymond Ideas Challenge.

Of the 10 finalists in the competition in which students from Texas A&M System schools and branch campuses pitch their business concepts, eight had been involved in McFerrin programs (3 Day Startup, Ideas Challenge, and Startup Aggieland).

Bezoar Lab team members said their invention “tackles every element of our planet’s complex web improving its health by creating a safer, more nutritious protein sources for all.” Team members were Ryan Springer, manufacturing and mechanical engineering technologies; and Grace Tsai, nautical archaeology.

McFerrin Center Director Blake Petty said the first competition was encouraging. “Our inaugural Aggie Pitch event showcased the dedication and entrepreneurial spirit behind our top student entrepreneurs,” he said. “McFerrin Center looks forward to enabling the next wave of students within our Aggie Entrepreneurial Ecosystem to be even stronger competitors in 2019 and beyond.” …Read more

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Students, Texas A&M

Students in the Strategic Philanthropy class at Mays Business School awarded $62,500 to six local nonprofit organizations at a celebration on May 3. After researching local nonprofit organizations for the semester, students in the class awarded gifts ranging from $2,400 to $17,500.

That brings the total allocations since the class started in 2016 to $318,000.

Kyle Gammenthaler, lecturer and Coordinator of Social Impact Initiatives at Mays, described at the celebration in the Wehner Building the impact of the course on both the students and the nonprofit organizations. “Strategic Philanthropy provides students with an opportunity to experience generosity firsthand,” Gammenthaler said. “For many students, this is the beginning of a life filled with service and meaningful engagement with nonprofits in our communities and around the world.”

Bill Peel, the executive director of innovation and strategic planning at Mays, welcomed the audience gathered in the seminar classroom. “At Mays, our vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. Our students are challenged to innovate and impact the world around them,” he said. “This class has dedicated a whole semester to researching their community.  Now they will give back to their identified non-profit organizations with philanthropic investments. You will hear our students share their stories about how they engaged their local community and the impact of this transformative experience.”

The winners are…

This semester’s funding was provided by The VanLoh Family and The Philanthropy Lab. The recipients and their proposed projects were:

Northway Farms: $17,500 – Housing infrastructure
Health For All: $15,100 – Critical medical supplies
Save Our Streets Ministries:$13,500 – New vocational training work truck and vocational training program support
Mercy Project: $8,000 – Two social workers in Ghana
Still Creek Ranch $6,000 – TAGGED Program
Family Promise: $2,400 – Operational support
In her overview of the semester, finance senior Lydia Wallis said her overall impressions of the class were that everyone was excited to be there, and that the students considered the people operating the various organizations local heroes.

Wallis said her journal entries reflected her feelings that the class was not just educational, it was a “beliefs stretch.” “It really matters if you surround yourself with people who care,” she said. “Don’t just live, live with purpose. Live with intentionality.”

She closed with her favorite quote, by J.R.R. Tolkien: ‘There is some good in the world, and it is worth fighting for.”

Learn more at the Strategic Philanthropy blog.

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

The 4th Annual KPMG Fraud Case Competition Final Round was held on May 1 at Mays Business School. The three teams competing in the Final Round had advanced from the Preliminary Round held there the prior week. Final Round judging was facilitated by Travis Canova, director, and Kelsey Wright from the Houston office of KPMG’s U.S. Forensic Advisory Practice. Executive Professor of Accounting Tim Torno coordinated the competition.

The Final Round case competition participants from Mays Business School included:

Joshua Brookins                     Elizabeth Chavez                    Sabra Jasinki

Alexandra Garefalos               Reagan Farmer                       Rebekah Land

Tara Schwehm                        Alicia Hays                              Morgan Liptoi

Kristine Sebastian                   Camden McKenney                Andy Schultz

Carissa Van Beek                    Temiloluwa Taiwo                  Jake Shields

KPMG 2018 first-place team

The first-place team is pictured below (from left to right): Andy Schultz, Travis Canova (KPMG), Rebekah Land, Morgan Liptoi, Kelsey Wright (KPMG), Sabra Jasinki, and Jake Shields.

 

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

Keith Squires, CEO of PathMaker Group, was invited as a guest lecturer in Henry Musoma’s Management 309 class. This is a reflection his daughter wrote afterward.

One of the things I took away from my father’s speech is what a blessing it is to have the father that I do. The core values he holds have greatly impacted my life and even my own core values. The core value of Balance is a great example. He made Balance a core value within his company because one of his personal core values is Family and spending time with us. This has greatly impacted my life because I had a father who supported me throughout high school; whether it was the choir concerts, musicals, or all day track meets. I could count on the fact that my father would be there. And now in my own life I know that family comes first before my own selfish plans or even, at times, my friends. I am blessed to have a supportive and wise father who wants to help me to achieve my goals.

Since Results is a core value for PathMaker Group, I think that I have seen my father constantly working for the best results for his company within their industry and specifically for their clients. The core value of Results is something that I think I have always had within me. I am a very passionate and committed person who will strive to achieve the best results possible. Right now I apply this value as a student as I am committed to learning but I know that I will strive for the core value of Results in my career as well.

PathMaker Group is also based on Creativity. This core value is one that I struggle with because I am a very logical and straightforward thinker. But without a doubt my father has always pushed me to think creatively, even within my meteorology major, which focuses heavily on math and physics. In fact, he recently sent me an email about how I could even start my own company within my field using established weather data and creating a new practically applicable tool for customers to interpret the data. Now this seems crazy to me; however, it shows how amazing my father is. He has so much faith in my abilities that he knows I can reach for what I think is impossible right now.

The number of people who stood up in class to comment on how beneficial the lecture was and the friends who have talked to me after class make me reflect on the fact the guest lecturer is an extremely wise, talented, and creative man who I am lucky to call my father. Whenever Dr. Musoma mentioned how he dressed up because my father is a CEO, I had to take a step back and think about the fact that I really just know him as my dad. He is the one who has guided and supported me in tough decisions and constantly pushed me to make wise decisions. My father is a very impressive person, demonstrated through his lecture to my Management 309 class and the students’ responses.

After the lecture, my father and I went to get frozen yogurt. While we were talking about how it went I asked him, ”Why didn’t you push me in the direction of doing business?” He said he wanted me to figure out what I was passionate about on my own, and when I was thinking about majors I was leaning more toward the science-based fields of study. This speaks volumes to his character and role as a father because he wants what is best for me and allows me to be independent and choose my own major and career. Even though I know I have my own core values to live by, my father has led by example with his core values for both his company and himself.

  • By Kara Squires ’19

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

A group of high school juniors spent the past weekend attending “A Day at Mays” to learn more about their options as not only potential Mays Business School students, but also as prospective Texas A&M University students. Of a select group of students invited, 35 visited campus.

The overriding goal of the “A Day at Mays” program was to increase the number of students from under-represented groups who pursue degrees at Mays Business School. By doing so, Mays hopes to make a major contribution to the larger objective of ensuring a workplace that is not only diversified, but also staffed by highly skilled employees who are prepared to work in a global and multicultural environment.

Photo credit: Corey D. Stone ’13

The activities began on Friday, April 20, and extended through Saturday, April 21. A dinner on Friday provided the high school students to converse with other prospective students, family members, current students, and Mays faculty at the George Hotel in College Station. After dinner, prospective students paired up with current students in Business Student Council (BSC) and Multicultural Association of Business Students (MABS) and participated in a fun evening at Grand Central Station, where prospective students were able to build connections and ask questions about real “college” life at Texas A&M.

The next day, the students were able to take a walking tour of the Texas A&M campus and then moved to the Cocanougher Center to learn from Mays faculty and staff. Undergraduate recruiter Corey Stone shared with the students the application process for entrance into Texas A&M. He offered honest advice on earning college credit in high school and the requirements for the students to work for. “When in doubt, email me,” Stone said.

After Stone’s presentation, a panel of current PPA students shared their knowledge of their different track decisions and experiences on their internships. They described the opportunities given in public accounting and explained why they chose to do the PPA program, followed by a question-and-answer session for both parents and prospective students. Students were then given a brief overview of the PPA program by Casey Kyllonen, followed by brief overviews of the rest of the departments in Mays.

At the end of the day, prospective students attended an Opportunity Fair where students could ask questions about opportunities at Mays. This provided a convenient way for participants to learn one-on-one about their specific interests and options, after a packed weekend of group discussions and panels. 

The program was sponsored by the PPA program at Mays in conjunction with
PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Profession Program at Mays is an integrated program that allows participants to complete a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting and a master’s of science in one of five business disciplines in just five years.

– By Erin Cullers, PPA student

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, PPA, Students, Texas A&M

As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Westlake Chemical, Steve Bender ’78 has been instrumental in many of the company’s financial decisions. Bender recently visited with Mays business honors students as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series, which recognizes business leaders in today’s society and gives them the chance to share their expertise with Mays students.

Bender graduated from Texas A&M University with a finance degree, then went on to receive an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Bender was assistant treasurer at Halliburton and served as vice president and treasurer of KBR prior to joining the Westlake Chemical team as vice president and treasurer in 2005 and later made EVP and CFO. Bender wanted to share with current students the wisdom he has gained at Westlake Chemical after being involved in multiple company acquisitions during his time there.

The most significant company Westlake acquired was Axiall in 2016. “We believed this acquisition would enhance margin stability along with providing additional growth expansion opportunities,” Bender said. The acquisition gave Westlake a global presence with facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia.

However, the acquisition process was not an easy one. Axiall’s CEO and board of directors were not fans of the idea, and it took months of meetings and increasing the initial offer to finalize the acquisition. Even after signing the deal, there were many long days of tirelessly working to make sure the transition ran smoothly.

Through the entire acquisition process, the main lesson Bender learned was to be open to a diversity of views. “Challenge others without being challenging,” he said. “Recognize that not everyone has the same perspective, so coming to a consensus may not always be easy.”

Bender continued to provide other pieces of advice regarding students’ futures in the working world:

  • A broad skill set is important. Use your skills and apply them as broadly as you can, and try to leverage those of your co-workers in the process.
  • Always be truthful, even if it is not always pleasant.
  • Be careful about burning out your own team. “Make sure your team sees the benefits and rewards that come out of working long days and nights so that they’ll continue returning every morning,” he said.

Bender closed the discussion by telling the students that what they are learning today has plenty of real-world applications. “Be opportunistic, don’t underestimate your relationships with others, and most importantly, use what you are learning today in the real world,” he said.

John Frederick ’18 said he found Bender’s “insights and experience worth paying attention to and listening to for years to come.” James Warman ’21 said these insights helped him “peer into the world of business and made me even more excited to enter the business world after graduation.”

Categories: Business Honors, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Transformational Leader speakers, News, Students, Texas A&M

The Aggie Advertising Club recently received a donation of $3,200 from the Association of Former Students to help its advertising competition team attend the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.

The advertising team operates each year as part of Lisa Troy’s MKTG 447 course. Functioning much like an advertising agency, students in the class spend two semesters conducting research, building a multi-million-dollar budgeted, fully integrated marketing campaign for the client brand, developing a professional 22-page campaign plan book, and presenting the campaign to industry judges.

This year’s team will present their campaign for Ocean Spray at the AAF District 10 Convention in Corpus Christi next week. Winners at the district level will advance to nationals in Chicago in June.

AFS Donation Check

Categories: Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M