In a conversation with Business Honors students at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, Curtis Hite ’91, CEO and chairman of Improving Holdings, talked about his career and explained why his company has been hailed by The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Business Journal and Texas Monthly as one of the best places to work in Texas.

Hite studied computer science at Texas A&M as an undergraduate and graduate student, receiving his master’s degree in 1994. He started his career as a software engineer in the intelligence sector, working first for Rockwell International and then at E-Systems. Later, he cofounded Expede, a software development company, before cofounding Blue Ocean Group in 2007, later renamed Improving Holdings, or better known simply as Improving.

Improving, an informational technology service firm, is centered on restoring trust in the IT profession across several industries, and offers training, consulting, recruiting and project services.

Restoring trust in an entire profession is no easy feat, but Hite believes the best way to do so is to model a culture of integrity. “At Improving, we stick to our core values of excellence, dedication and involvement,” he said. “These are our identity as a company.”

A punch-the-clock, 9-to-5 mentality doesn’t fit in at Improving, Hite explained. The expectation is that all employees will actively engage with each other, even outside of regular work hours. Improving frequently hosts company retreats, movie nights, cooking classes, date nights, family events and town halls. “We believe not so much in work-life balance but in integration,” he said.

Hite said his commitment to his company’s core values was inspired in part by his years at Texas A&M. While an undergraduate, he learned excellence and dedication as a member of the Corps of Cadets, serving as a commanding officer for Squadron Six and as a member of the Ross Volunteers.

He is confident in his mission to perpetuate a culture in which coworkers can trust each other as friends and business partners, believing that it will pay major dividends in the long run. “At the end of the day, the entire mission of a leadership team is to create a great place to work,” he said.

Business Honors major Audrey Donohoe ’20 said she was inspired to apply these lessons to her future role as Business Honors peer leader. “Next fall, I will take into consideration as I strive to help the new class of freshmen be successful.”

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

The 2016 Texas A&M Advertising team, also known as Good Bull Advertising, won a silver award at the 2017 AAF-Houston ADDYs in the category of collateral material. Founded in 1960, the ADDY Award is the world’s largest professional advertising competition and is sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.

In April 2016, Good Bull Advertising competed in the AAF’s National Student Advertising Competition, placing third at regionals. The plan book from this competition served as the collateral material for the 2017 ADDY Awards, held in March of this year. It involved a 27-page professional brochure detailing a complete $50 million advertising campaign for Snapple.

Lisa Troy, clinical professor of marketing, serves as the advertising team’s faculty advisor and teaches a two-semester course preparing students for this event each year.

The team members were Ashlyn Beckmann, Oren Mandelbaum, Holly Boyles, Angela Mats, Cassidy Caddenhead, Laura McCloskey, Julia Gaas, Megan Milstead, Marissita Garcia, Alyssa Osterhaut, Michelle Griffith, Angelica Perez, Pablo Haddad, Leah Rheinlander, Victoria Henson, Zachary Rother, Kati Hewitt, Catherine Scalf, Bailey Lee and Dejanay Tippens.

Categories: Departments, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Good Bull Advertising, an agency team of 20 students in Clinical Professor of Marketing Lisa C. Troy’s advanced advertising class at Texas A&M University, placed fourth in the district level American Advertising Association’s National Student Advertising Competition. Held in Fort Worth, Texas April 5-7, the competition involved a case study outlined by the current year’s corporate sponsor, Tai Pei Foods.

Students spent two full semesters researching and building a $15 million, fully integrated marketing campaign, preparing a professional quality campaign plan book and presenting the plan to judges at the competition. Over 150 schools across the country participate in the event each year and the Tenth District, in which Texas A&M participates, is one of the most competitive.

To market Tai Pei to 18- to 25-year-olds in the U.S., the team developed a new brand character and slogan, “Good Fortune Awaits.” Digital ads and a video execution reflecting the campaign theme were created and supported by a number of promotional tactics, including retail activations, promotional events and a partnership with Feeding America.

The team included students Mitchell Bausch, Mackenzie Borman, Rachel Bush, Elijah Cantrell, Mary Chacko, Mary Devillez, Dereka Dunn, Laura Eller, Gabriela Estrada, Brooke Gadjica, Caylin Godfrey, Calli Godwin, Divya Govil, Justin Hairston, Alexis Hanson, Kaitlin Hernandez, Anastasia Ivanova, Anna Kuczmanski, Victoria McLaughlin, Claire Metzger, Dillon Moore, MK Mountjoy, Emily Nero, Lami Olonilua, Alaina Omar, Alyssa Osterhout, Riden Reiter, Bailey Wood and Robby Young.

The 2018 Good Bull Advertising team will form in the fall to prepare for next year’s competition.

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

A team of three Mays Business School students placed first in a business analytics case competition that partners students with leading Fortune 500 companies.

The Master of Science in Management Information Systems (MS-MIS) majors Priyesh Rajasekaran ’17, Pradeep Kumar Sekar ’17 and Subbrammanian Nochur Ganeswaran ’17 competed in the 2017  INFORMS Data Analytics Competition April 7 at the University of Texas at Dallas. The Mays team placed first among 146 groups from seven schools: University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University, Southern Methodist University, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Dallas, Texas Christian University and University of Texas at Dallas.

This year’s business case was an opportunity to solve one of PepsiCo’s current and most challenging problems in transportation. PepsiCo is now evaluating the solutions that were presented by the teams for implementation.

Students engaged in a networking session on the final day with more than 40 industry representatives, including 23 director and vice presidents.

Learn more about the competition.

 

 

(L-R) Subbrammanian Nochur Ganeswaran’ 17, Priyesh Rajasekaran ’17 and Pradeep Kumar Sekar’ 17

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

While many business majors are preparing for careers in advertising, investment banking, or corporate accounting, sophomore Elizabeth Popp’s sights are set on medicine.

The Business Honors and management major is using her time at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School to prepare for a career in pediatric surgery. “I love working with kids,” Popp said. “They are so resilient and happy, which makes them a joy to be around.”

She said she decided to major in business so she will be better equipped to run her own practice. “I wanted to broaden my horizons with business knowledge to complement my future studies in medicine.”

Popp said studying at Mays has helped her learn skills that are important for doctors – like effective communication and leadership. “At Mays, I’ve learned how to work in diverse team settings by using different leadership styles and decision-making frameworks.” She added that outside the classroom, too, “Wehner’s social atmosphere adds a nice contrast to the more serious tone found in the science buildings.”

Popp can also add to her resume being published in a global research journal. As a research experience undergraduate (REU) at Texas A&M’s Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT), she contributed to a research project overseen by Bita A. Kash and Jane N. Bolin that aims to develop a healthcare model for the state of Texas. The study was recently accepted for publication in the International Journal for Innovation Science. …Read more

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

Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, told a group of Mays Business School students the best things they can be doing to prepare for a career are to pay attention to world events and invest in and watch the stock market daily. He suggested the Wall Street Journal and business magazines as good sources of that information.

Kaplan met on March 27 with students in the Commercial Banking Program at Mays ranging from juniors to graduate students, as well as other students and faculty members from Mays. That evening, Kaplan discussed economic conditions and the role of monetary policy as part of the Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics, and Public Policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University’s “Conversation in Public Policy.”

“If I were interviewing you for a job, the first question would be ‘What is the market doing now?’”  he said. “The second question would be, ‘What do you think it’s going to do? And why?’ If you can’t answer those questions, you’re not going to get very far with a lot of business people.”

…Read more

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

KPMG has been selected as the 2017 Mays Business School Corporate Partner of the Year. To celebrate, April 4 will be KPMG Corporate Day in Mays Business School as part of the Mays Connection program, which celebrates the school’s partnerships with both businesses and former students.

Mays will host a presentation to announce the award, special remarks, a reception and class visits across the school from various KPMG alumni. The Corporate Partner of the Year presentation will be made in the Wehner Atrium from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

Bernie Milano, president of the KPMG U.S. Foundation Inc. and The PhD Project Association, is scheduled to give remarks on “Embracing Diversity of Thought” from 2:20 to 3:30 p.m. in Wehner 161.

Diversity of thought ensures cautious and creative processing of information compared to that which occurs within homogeneous groups. The key to embracing diversity of thought is to embrace difference. Managers who are adept in understanding differences across. race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and ability spectrums have an advantage in creating a sustainable 21st century work force. Transformational leaders are open minded and seek diverse viewpoints to remain innovative and solve organizational challenges.

Milano graduated from Temple University with a B.S. in accounting and started his career with KPMG in the audit practice of the Philadelphia office. Prior to his current roles as president of the KPMG Foundation he held positions of increasing responsibility, including National Partner in Charge of University Relations and National Partner in Charge of Human Resources.

KPMG is a professional services company – offering audit, tax and advisory services – and is one of the Big Four auditors. It is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and employs 189,000 people.

The contributions that KPMG has made to Mays Business School include, but are not limited to

  • The KPMG Chair in Accounting, established in 2001
  • The KPMG Professorship in Accounting, established in 1988
  • The KPMG Fellowship, established in 1987,
  • The KPMG Data Analytics/Technology Development Endowment, established in 2015

KPMG is one of the school’s top employers. In 2016, the company hired more than 75 students for internships and full-time opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

“When selecting the honoree for 2017, we immediately realized that KPMG was the only choice, considering their commitment to our school through financial support, hiring and educational support,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones.

The PhD Project, an effort to improve diversity in higher education, has been led by Milano since its inception and has benefited a number of Mays current and prospective faculty.   

 

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Healthcare customers are a unique type of consumer reluctant to purchase, at risk and often highly stressed. During a visit with business students in the Improving Service Quality in Healthcare course, J.R. Thomas, executive vice president of Optum, shared some of the complicated challenges healthcare providers face today.

The visit was the second day of a trip to Mays for Thomas and Optum senior executives Doug Hansen ’89, Allison Miller ’99 and Kevin Kuhn. The first day, Thomas presented to Business Honors students in the Executive Speaker Series, followed by a networking session and student dinner sponsored by Optum. The second day Thomas and his team members from Optum spoke with MBA students and to students from the School of Public Health.

Leonard Berry, University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, taught the lecture for the Improving Service Quality in Healthcare course discussion and facilitated discussion between students and their visitors. The focus on Healthcare is one of Mays’ Grand Challenges.

Managing stress

In the discussion, Thomas underscored one of the most important issues facing healthcare providers: stress. “Patients and their families are faced with life-altering decisions, nurses and doctors work long hours and endure emotional exhaustion to provide the best service possible, and management is stressed with striking a balance between good will toward those who can’t afford expensive healthcare and staying in business,” he said.

The key, he said, is to remember that patients are more than customers; they’re people. He provided an example of an end-of life scenario: “If a patient is dying, it’s important to personally talk to the family. Give them your instinct. You can’t always prevent death, but you can control how it will happen.”

He elaborated on another complex situation: “Some customers can’t always afford healthcare. But remember you also owe it to patients to stay in business.”

Technology creates new challenges, opportunities

Thomas also shared how technology is changing the landscape of medicine. “Routine visits and checkups for common maladies are moving towards telemedicine, such as simple phone calls instead of expensive in-office visits,” he said. “But for the more serious cases, the value of a personal touch in an in-person visit will never go away. Patients need that.”

Marketing senior Rachel Claggett said she was impressed by the amount of involvement the business side of healthcare has in the lives of patients. “It’s reassuring to know that there is humanity and passion in this industry – it’s not just about profits.”

Thomas received his master’s of business administration focusing on finance and management at the University of Texas at Austin. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Arkansas.

Categories: Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Health Care, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

First-generation college students at Mays Business School like management senior Myroslaba Martinez know firsthand the challenge of transitioning to college life without the experience of relatives to guide them. She admits it was sometimes a bewildering and lonely process. But there is one thing she said made the transition a little easier: like-minded peers.

PRO Team student leaders Myroslaba Martinez and Kenyatta Brisco are both first-generation college students.

This semester Martinez and more than 20 other Mays students have launched PRO (Peer Outreach and Recruitment) Team, a volunteer organization to connect high school seniors and younger Mays students from underrepresented populations with older mentors. PRO Team assists with on-campus and off-campus recruiting events in Aggieland and statewide, including Aggieland Saturday, Aggie Rallies, Mays for a Day campus trips, student dinners and tours of the Wehner building. Many of the student recruiters are first-generation college students themselves.

Martinez and management information systems sophomore Kenyatta Brisco serve as PRO Team’s undergraduate leaders, overseeing the week-to-week operations. Mays’ full-time undergraduate recruiters and advisors Corey Stone and Ana Davila advise the team.

Creating community 

Stone saw a need for a team like this a few years ago when he began his career at Mays. “The advantage of PRO Team is that it is highly personalized recruiting,” Stone said, adding he hopes the team makes the path easier for incoming students. “We want to educate first-generation college students and their families about the tremendous opportunities for them at Texas A&M and Mays Business School.”

PRO Team members welcomed prospective students to Mays at Aggieland Saturday.

The inspiration for the team came from Martinez and her peers’ own experience of finding mutual support in learning communities like the Regents’ Ambassador Program. “In our classes and other activities, we pushed each other and helped each other succeed,” Martinez said. “Now we want to give opportunities to students that we didn’t have as freshmen. We’re passionate about Mays and feel fortunate to be here. We hope to help other students because we’ve been in their shoes.”

Categories: Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M

The saying goes that everything is bigger in Texas, and in the case of the inaugural Spirit of Texas Festival, it couldn’t be any truer. The free festival aims to round up Guinness World Records in Aggieland for the largest serving of chili and Frito pie and largest Texas two-step.

That’s 5,000 pounds of chili and 4,000 boots.

To accomplish this feat, the festival has recruited Mays Business School’s Department of Marketing to help publicize the event, which will be March 2-5 at Wolf Pen Creek Park in College Station.

More than 100 Mays marketing students have worked with event organizer Cynthia Caronna to coordinate the festival’s social media, facilitate vendor relations and media partnerships and create a promotional magazine and other collateral. Caronna said she has been impressed by the hard work of the students. “This is truly giving back – building something that will outlive them,” she said. “It is a new tradition that will give them pride, much like the Aggie Ring does.”

In addition, the spring semester Services Marketing course, taught by Clinical Marketing Professor Janet Parish, will audit the entire 2017 event and provide recommendations for the 2018 Festival. She said this has been the largest-scale project marketing students have been involved in.

Pi Sigma Epsilon, a professional fraternity for students in marketing and sales management, advised by marketing faculty advisor Andrew Loring, has sold magazine ads and sponsorships for the event.

The event will also feature food trucks, a barbecue cook-off, a pie contest, car and bike shows, a marketplace of more than 200 antique and craft vendors, and live entertainment, and will benefit the Ronald McDonald House, Mobility Worldwide, K9s4Cops and other local charities.

For more information, go to https://sotfair.com/ or call 979-571-8891.

 

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