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.

Ten 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

By Jessie Minks ’16

On the morning of Feb. 17, the Cocanougher Center was filled with an audience of business and community leaders serving as judges, anxiously waiting to learn the mission and goal of 16 start-up companies that teamed up with the first-year students from the class of 2017’s Full-Time MBA program. Held in partnership between the Mays MBA Program and the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), the 2017 MBA Venture Challenge wrapped up its 15th year with three winning teams going home with a total of $10,000.

The day kicked off with the first round: the elevator pitch competition. Pitches ranged from a simplified physical fitness booking app and streamlined water purifying approaches to emerging drone security system technology. Elevator pitch winners Eric Jensen, Matt Larsen, Zain Hanif and Ellen Schott took home $500 after impressing the judge and company representative audience with their interest-sparking and comical pitch for InfinitySoft, a scalable data analytics platform provider for the oil and gas industry.

This year’s MBA Venture Challenge contained 68 first-year MBA students tasked with assisting applicant companies with business advice and financial/competitive analysis on current and future market and growth strategies. Each year the MBA Venture Challenge creates high-stakes competition between teams, for both sponsored cash awards and significant bragging rights. Additionally, the competition provides networking opportunities as well as high-value insights for participating firms.

The Venture Challenge asks the MBA student teams to provide a clear, unbiased and business-oriented evaluation of their selected firm’s market and financial viability. The start-up firms are invited to apply from throughout the Aggie Entrepreneurship Ecosystem, and the MBA teams selected their favorite firm, based solely on a short summary provided by the applicants. The program operates through partnerships and sponsorship from the Aggie Angel Network, JB Knowledge and the Texas A&M University Division of Research. The original 26 business applicants came from a wide variety of industries, including human tissue engineering and ecommerce, adventure media and consumer products.

While the MBA teams were allotted only two weeks of direct contact with their assigned company representatives, they were provided feedback and direction from industry and university mentors, including the MBA program faculty and volunteer entrepreneurs. Full-Time MBA Program Director Shannon Deer explains “the MBA Venture Challenge encourages our students to integrate what they have learned across the business disciplines” and allows each team to “demonstrate the ability to navigate ambiguity and intellectual curiosity – two critical skills our employers seek in our students.”

The MBA Venture Challenge consisted of a full-day competition over three rounds of judging by an audience of experienced judges from CNVE’s network of business, academic and entrepreneurial community leaders. Each round required the teams to present a concise yet in-depth analysis of the start-up and provide meaningful recommendations for future company success.

“Now in its 15th year, the MBA Venture Challenge has clearly set the standard for high-intensity and high-impact interaction between student teams and startup ventures,” said Blake Petty, director of the CNVE. “The analysis provided by these outstanding MBAs has proven to be immediately invaluable to the participating companies, and there is simply no better way to expose our students to the real-life challenges of entrepreneurship than to immerse them into a startup…even if only for two weeks.”

For those companies or judges interested in participating in the 2018 MBA Venture Challenge, be on the lookout for application information to begin circulating in November 2017.

The winning MBA teams were announced Feb. 17 at a networking and awards reception immediately after the Venture Challenge:

$5,000 – First Place (sponsored by the Texas A&M Division of Research) – Brent Carter, Nick Cheng, Philip Spencer, Jana Soares; CelaCare

$3,000 – Second Place (sponsored by the Aggie Angel Network) – Mario Coll, Thomas Dowlearn, Eclair Lehmongkol, Ankur Soni; IntuiTap Medical

$2,000 – Third Place (sponsored by JBKnowledge) – Meagan Altman, James Cochran, Lia Rojas Unamo, Rahul Sharma; FireDisc

 

Learn more about the results of previous MBA Venture Challenge competitions.

 

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, MBA, News, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Senior Mariah Smiley’s nonprofit is more than an extracurricular; it’s a labor of love.

576413_529112773768880_1364884412_nHer organization, called Drops of Love, raises awareness of the scarcity of clean water throughout the world and has sponsored the construction of clean water wells in four villages in El Salvador, Nicaragua and India. Donors are encouraged to give with a guarantee: one dollar provides clean water to one person for one whole year.

“We believe that every single person in this world should have access to clean water. Period,” said Smiley, a management information systems major who serves as president of the organization. “Every single person involved is here because they love the people we’re able to help. 100% of our donations go towards drilling the wells. We pay expenses out of pocket so that every cent can go to help these people that so desperately need something we take for granted in the United States.”

Each well costs $5,000 on average. Builders are sponsored to construct the wells between $1,200 and $2,000, depending on the region and time of year. The wells typically last for years, usually servicing 250-500 people, but one village had as few as eight families.

But when it comes to impact, Smiley believes the size of the village isn’t important. “Bigger organizations often overlook the smaller villages so that they can ‘do more good elsewhere.’ This is true but then who does good in the smaller, less populated villages?”

Her eyes were opened to the water scarcity crisis during a poignant conversation she had with her parents when she was 14. They had returned from a charity fundraiser and explained to Smiley how people frequently died from diseases they contracted through unsafe drinking water. She learned that the good news was that disease was preventable and it didn’t cost much to help – even one dollar could provide one person clean water for an entire year. Smiley recalled thinking: “If I could find a dollar as a 14-year-old, I knew others could too.”4160130_orig

She decided to do her part by forming Drops of Love. Then, at 17, she and her brother registered Drops of Love as an official non-profit and she took the helm as president.

Four years later, Smiley envisions a network of Water Ambassadors associated with Drops of Love who can sponsor their own wells by hosting fundraisers in their own communities. “We see Drops of Love as a vehicle for others who want to help but don’t know how to get started,” she said.

She hopes others can see just how much they are capable of creating an impact. “Everyone has a sphere of influence that they can inspire to change the world. With Drops of Love, we want to provide these leaders with the tools to get out there and make a difference.”

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

Ten Mays Business School students were given the MBA Scholar Award Dec. 1 – a new award designed to honor 4.0 graduates from the MBA programs. The celebration at CityCentre Houston was attended by Mays Dean Eli Jones, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Arvind Mahajan and Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs Michael Kinney celebrated with the Executive MBA and Professional MBA Program Class of 2016 graduates.

Scholars enrolled in the Executive MBA Program were Rajee Hari and Santiago Velasquez. Scholars in the Professional MBA Program were Kenza Bouzaher, Brad Burgess, Lane Cooper, John Doolin, Shelly Fuhrman, Ashley Gibson, Tyler Stegeman and Paul Urane.

The idea for the award came from Bala Shetty, who previously was Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.

MBA Scholar Award winner Brad Burgess said afterward, “The program has done so much for me and opened up many new opportunities. I look forward to helping this program grow and prosper in the future.”

To view photos of the Class of 2016 Scholars Awards Dinner visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/maysbusinessschool/sets/72157677407413586/

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Eight Mays Business School students have been named 2017 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund recipients, winning $40,000 in scholarships.

Established in 1937, the Young Menswear Association (YMA) Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) is the premier educational fashion non-profit in the United States. FSF offers scholarships to the best and brightest students seeking business, technology and design careers in the fashion industry.

Cheryl Bridges, adjunct professor of marketing at Mays,  teaches the Advanced Retail Case Study course (MKTG 426). She said the advanced retail case study course is designed to challenge each student to “use critical thinking to develop a business plan that is both viable and creative providing financial and marketing solutions.” The class is part of the certificate in retailing curriculum through the Center for Retailing Studies.

Students evaluated the recent partnership between Etsy, an online marketplace for selling and buying unique goods, and Macy’s – the 159 year-old chain. To combat the trend of successful sellers leaving the site, Etsy Manufacturing, it opened The Etsy Shop at Macy’s Herald Square. This gave Etsy sellers physical store space at one of America’s busiest and famous department stores. The partnership also allowed Macy’s an assortment of artisanal products that many millennials desire.

Students were asked to (1) identify the end-use customer the collaboration should target and (2) identify Etsy sellers who would create the most demand. By envisioning their role as the Director of Special Merchandising Projects at Macy’s, they also developed a marketing campaign and six-month financial plan for The Etsy Shop.

In total, 229 students were selected out of 569 applications from 58 schools, including Cornell, University of California-Berkeley, FIT-Fashion Institute of Technology and the Wharton School of Business.

Each winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship and will travel to New York City in January to be recognized at a formal awards gala. The scholarship also guarantees a fashion internship in New York City during the summer 2017.

Bridges and the eight scholarship recipients network with over 1,500 executives, including influential fashion designers, retail CEOs and top manufacturer brands.

 Texas A&M University has been recognized in the top 10 percent of universities across the country for having the most winners. Since 2012, FSF has awarded 35 scholarships to Mays Business School students, totaling $175,000.

2017 Scholarship Recipients:

  • Leslie Bonorden, Marketing ’18
  • Loryn Setterquist, Business Honors ’18
  • Alex Marks, Marketing ’18
  • Tori Kloeppel, Supply Chain Management ’17
  • Sarah Stroup, Business Honors/Marketing ’17
  • Frances Uzoukwu, Marketing ’17
  • Riden Reiter, Marketing ’17
  • Tess Williamson, Marketing ’17

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

Texas A&M University senior Sarah Shaw is most enthusiastic about the future. The twist is it’s not her own future that’s exciting her, which has been her approach to life since her elementary school days.

“I’m excited about it because it blends my two biggest passions,” Shaw said. “I’ve played soccer since I was 6, and I’ve volunteered at the food pantry since I was 10. It’s always been one of my biggest goals to have a nonprofit, so why not start now?”

Shaw’s idea is much like TOMS Shoes, which matches shoe purchases one for one and donates the second pair to children in need. For every soccer ball Goals for Bowls sells or donation it receives, the organization will donate a soccer ball and meal to a child in Nepal or Ghana.

Charity work runs in Shaw’s family, which has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours at the Community Enrichment Center in North Richland Hills in Fort Worth, where her father serves on the board.

“It’s always been a big part of my life, volunteering and giving food to people,” Shaw said. “I interned there to get the feel of how to run a nonprofit, and it’s been one of my biggest goals to have a nonprofit, so why not start now.”

More

 

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

A scholarship and a Disney movie helped Mays Business School student Arden Robertson achieve her dreams of attending Texas A&M University and working for NASA. Arden will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in Business Honors and accounting as well as a master’s degree in management information systems as part of Mays’ Professional Program in Accounting.

30950805470_0e8a93635f_z

Student speaker Arden Robertson

She spoke at the Mays 2016 Scholarship Banquet Nov. 3 about how the Disney movie “Toy Story” influenced her life. She identified more with than Woody the cowboy, and has parlayed three summer internships at NASA into a job offer there upon graduation.

“All because of one scholarship, I was able to be just like Woody and achieve the Western dream while keeping intact core values and emulate Buzz by going to the infinity and beyond by working with NASA,” she told about 500 attendees at the Zone Club at Kyle Field. “Needless to say, just getting the opportunity to come to Texas [from Florida] and attend Texas A&M was a dream come true in itself! However, the dream kept getting better.”

…Read more

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

scholarship-recipientsBy Allison Hayes

The MS Finance Program held the inaugural scholarship ceremony for the Theodoric C. Bland Jr. Family Scholarship on Nov. 8. Ted Bland awarded the scholarships to three promising students: Mengyan Cheng ’17, Alyson Miranda ’18 and Shelby Johnson ’19.

The scholarships are funded through a $50,000 endowment from Bland, who has served on the board for the Department of Finance since 1995 and is the longest tenured member of the board. He is also on the Steering Committee for the MS Finance Program. When asked what the thought was behind giving this scholarship, Bland responded, “Both of our children are Aggies and their spouses are Aggies. I have a very strong allegiance to Texas A&M, and Mary Lou and I thought we were fortunate and we wanted to give back. People gave to me to get to where I got, and I think it’s important to give back so that other people can have that opportunity as well.”

When asked what the thought was behind giving this scholarship, Bland responded, “Both of our children are Aggies and their spouses are Aggies. I have a very strong allegiance to Texas A&M, and Mary Lou and I thought we were fortunate and we wanted to give back. People gave to me to get to where I got, and I think it’s important to give back so that other people can have that opportunity as well.”

Bland said he wanted to encourage more women to pursue STEM majors and the area of finance, so he funded the scholarship to help more female students pursue a master’s degree in finance. “I do believe in giving back, and A&M is where I’m going to give back,” he said. “Whether it’s in time or money, I’m going to give back.”

Categories: Donors Corner, Faculty, Finance, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School students are “learning business by doing business” through the integrated business experience (IBE) course, designed to teach Master of Science (MS) in Business students the ins and outs of the major business disciplines by running a startup of their own. The program aligns with the Mays Grand Challenge of Entrepreneurship.

flourish_team-e1478746981266

Flourish

Five teams of students in the MS Business program have spent the semester identifying a product or service they would like to sell, conducting market research to determine how the product would be received, developing a business plan and requesting start-up funds. In October, Aggieland Credit Union donated up to $2,000 per company. Since then, the teams have been developing their businesses and partnering with nonprofit organizations who will receive the profits of the businesses after they close at the end of the semester.

…Read more

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