Tara Blasor, an accounting lecturer and assistant department head at Mays Business School, was selected as the 2016 recipient of the David Baggett Endowed Teaching Excellence Award.

Tara Blasor

Blasor is coordinator of the Internal Audit Certificate program and is responsible for developing a course for the MS-HRM program.

The annual award is intended to recognize extraordinary efforts and innovation in teaching effectiveness, curriculum development and student services in the accounting department.

The recipients receive a plaque and a cash award. The award ismade possible through an endowment created by Denise and David Baggett ’81. David, who graduated with honors with an accounting degree, is the senior partner of Opportune LLP.

Previous awards went to Kevin Roach in 2015, Joan Sanders in 2014, Karen Farmer in 2013, Shannon Deer in 2012 and Christopher Wolfe in 2011.

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Mays Business School alumni David G. Eller ’59 and Cynthia B. Taylor ’84 were among the 2016 Distinguished Alumni, the highest honor bestowed upon a former student of Texas A&M University.

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Since the inception of the award in 1962, only 261 of Texas A&M’s 440,000 former students have been recognized with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Awarded jointly by the university and The Association, this award recognizes those Aggies who have achieved excellence in their chosen professions and made meaningful contributions to Texas A&M University and their local communities.

“Texas A&M’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni demonstrate the broad reach and influence of Texas A&M,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “This group includes fearless leaders and influencers in the fields of engineering, technology, energy, medicine, veterinary medicine, national defense, finance, education and philanthropy. Their stories truly display the power of a Texas A&M University education.”

Eller

Eller is a longtime biotechnology leader. He is co-founder, chairman and CEO of Celltex Therapeutics Corp. Previous positions include president of DuPont Pharmaceuticals-Europe; CEO and president of Virbac Corp.; and founder, chairman and CEO of Granada BioSciences. He served on The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents from 1983 to 1989, chaired it from 1985 to 1989, and was the first in A&M’s history to be designated a chairman emeritus; for a time, he was simultaneously System chancellor. He established the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences & Technology in Houston and has served on boards for the Texas Chamber of Commerce, Greater Houston Partnership, Baylor College of Medicine, Hermann Hospital, Allied Bancshares, First Interstate Bank, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the Houston Ballet and the Rice University Energy & Environmental Systems Institute. He served eight years as an officer on active duty and reserves in the U.S. Army.

Cynthia B. Taylor ’84 is CEO of Oil States International, a diversified oilfield services company that she helped take public. She was among the first female CEOs in the energy industry, Houston’s first public company female CEO and one of only 50 female CEOs in the Fortune 1000. She is a board member for AT&Tand Tidewater Inc. Her business accolades include being ranked on the All-American Executive Team for Energy.

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A former trustee of the 12th Man Foundation and member of Mays Business School’s Dean’s Development Council, she was named an Outstanding Alumna of Mays Business School in 2011. Recent awards include the McLane Leadership in Business Award; the Aggie 100 Summit Award; and the Women Former Students’ Network Legacy Award. She has served on the Board of Trustees for Texas Children’s Hospital and was inducted into the Greater Houston Women’s Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame in 2014.

The recipients learned of their honor when surprised in their places of business and other locations by a group of university and Association representatives, including Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp ’72, Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young, The Association of Former Students’ 2016 Chair of the Board of Directors Dwain Mayfield ’59, Association President and CEO Porter S. Garner III ’79 and a Ross Volunteer, along with university mascot Reveille IX and her handler.

“Our 2016 Distinguished Alumni are an inspiration to Aggies everywhere,” Mayfield said. “Their varied professional pursuits and far-reaching influences across our Aggie Network are all strongly rooted in our core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service.”

The Association of Former Students will further honor all recipients of this award during its annual Distinguished Alumni Gala on Oct. 7. In addition, the 2016 recipients will be recognized during the Oct. 8 Texas A&M football game against Tennessee.

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Mays Business School placed 7th in the 2016 College Choice rankings.

Factors considered were cost of attendance (annual tuition), where each school falls in existing ra2016-Rankings-of-Master-of-Business-Administration-Programsnking data and each program’s reputation and track record in the business community. The data was gathered from U.S. News & World Report, individual school websites, The Economist, Bloomberg Business,PayScale.com and other public sources.

Find the full rankings here: http://www.collegechoice.net/rankings/top-mba-programs-2016/

 

Categories: Mays Business, News, Rankings, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

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Texas A&M University placed third at the 2016 SEC MBA Case Competition, held Saturday at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

The University of Alabama placed first, the University of Florida placed second and Mississippi State University placed fourth.

At the competition, teams of four MBA students from every SEC university were presented a business case by Henkel, a multinational company that produces consumer and industrial products. The teams, who were separated into four divisions, proposed their solutions to a panel of judges, including Henkel executives, on Saturday morning in divisional rounds. The top proposals from each division moved on to the final round to determine the winner of the competition.

Team members from Texas A&M’s Mays Business School were Kendall Daniel, Lillian Niakan, Maulik Mehta and Jared Sprunk. In other awards given during the divisional rounds, Lillian Niakan was named Best Presenter in her division and Kendall Daniel won the Best Q&A Award. Full-Time MBA Director Shannon Deer accompanied the team and Dean Eli Jones surprised the team by joining them on Saturday for the finals presentations.

Before the competition, professors Janet Marcantonio and John Krajicek provided coaching on problem-solving and presenting.

Deer said the entire Mays community is proud of the team and the faculty coaches who helped them prepare. “The team represented Texas A&M well all weekend through polished presentations, excellent ideas and in their interactions with other teams,” she said. “The students worked very hard  before and during the presentation, which showed in their success in the competition.”

This marks the fourth year for the SEC MBA Case Competition, which provides an opportunity for SEC business schools to showcase their students’ skills at solving simulated, real-world problems that cover the spectrum of business disciplines. The 2017 SEC MBA Case Competition will be held at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

 

 

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

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Jeff Miller ’88, president and Chief Health, Safety and Environment officer of Halliburton, will speak at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School April 14 as a part of Dean Eli Jones’ Executive Speaker Series. The program will begin at 12:45 p.m. in Wehner 114.

In his presentation, Miller will use his personal journey to share insights on career and leadership development. He will also discuss the many aspects of his current role at Halliburton, a world leader in providing products and services to the energy industry.

Jones said he is honored to welcome Jeff Miller back to Mays Business School. “Jeff has always sought roles throughout his business career that allow contribution through leadership, insight and analysis, building and improving business, making important changes to organizations and developing staff,” he said. “Mays Business School develops ethical leaders that display excellence in their business careers,” Jones said. “Jeff exemplifies this mission remarkably.”

Miller is on the Halliburton Board of Directors. He earned a bachelor of science in agriculture and business from McNeese State University and an MBA from Texas A&M. He is a 2012 Mays Outstanding Alumni Award honoree.

Miller was named president and chief Health, Safety, and Environmental Officer at Halliburton in 2012. He began his career with Halliburton in 1997 as director of financial reporting, and has held a number of leadership roles that have enabled him to work and live all over the globe. Before joining Halliburton, Miller worked for Arthur Andersen LLP for eight years.

He is also a certified public accountant and a member of the board of directors of Atwood Oceanics, Inc. Miller has continued to engage with Texas A&M as a member of the Advisory Council for the College of Engineering.

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Discrimination is sometimes discrete, often unexpected and usually not easy to address. Those were some of the remarks that emerged from “Mays Speaks,” as a panel of students, faculty and staff of Mays Business School shared their experiences at Texas A&M University and beyond from a range of different perspectives. The discussion came after a viewing of “Color Blind or Color Brave?” a TED Talk on unconscious biases by Mellody Hopson, an American businesswoman who is the president of Ariel Investments and the current chair of the board of directors of Dreamworks Animation.

The panel was the first in a series of programs planned at Mays to address diversity and inclusion. “Biases about race, culture, religion, age and other differences can create thought patterns and habits that cause us to behave in ways that impede our ability to meet our goals,” explained Annie McGowan, Professional Program director, who coordinated the event. “Some biases are deeply held but considered politically incorrect to act upon. Others are not intentional. We may not even be aware that they exist.”

Cultural acumen is an important leadership skill, and McGowan believes that proactive conversations about the unconscious biases that we all possess will help our students, faculty and staff develop the inclusive leadership skills that they need to navigate in the global society. Planning is underway for additional  “Mays Speaks” forums designed to increase awareness about important issues that are sometimes difficult to talk about.

Panelists from the spring event included students Ryan Zepeda, Azra Razvi, Timi Fadugbata, Olivia Williams, Kendal Galimore and Joshua Arey; faculty members Henry Musoma and Antonio Arrelola-Risa; and staff members Venita Mahajan, Shannon Deer and Kelli Levey.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Laura Fulton ’85 trusts her inner guidanc16051_014e when making professional decisions. Her intuition regularly encourages her to accept positions that involve risk-taking and trying new things while also honoring her talents and what she enjoys doing. This approach has guided Fulton’s career from an entry-level auditing job at a public accounting firm to her current position as chief financial officer of Hi-Crush Proppants LLC and its publicly traded partnership, Hi-Crush Partners LP. Eventually, that inner guidance may lead her to the CEO office.

In a conversation with Mays Business School’s Business Honors students, Fulton noted that following her intuition led to career twists that surprised even her. “If you had asked me if I was going to be in the sand business and if I was going to be in charge of logistics, I never would have guessed it,” she said. “I’ve really tried hard to listen to myself and take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves and then make the best of it. That’s something that Texas A&M teaches you more than anything.”

A career with breadth and depth

The CPA’s professional success is rooted in a career that – despite its twists and turns – allowed her to develop both breadth and depth of experience. Her first job after graduation was in Deloitte & Touche’s audit department. “Public accounting gave me experience doing a lot of different things, such as creating work papers and documenting specific action steps,” Fulton said. “I learned how to talk to someone who had 20-25 years of experience and ask, ‘What do you do? How do you do it? And why is that so important?’”

Fulton also credits her time at Deloitte with teaching her to lead others. “If I go back to the very beginning of my career at Deloitte, what they really taught me was a lot about leadership because you have to lead your audit team, tax team or consulting team,” she said. “I had the opportunity to lead recruiting teams and training teams.”

Her ability to lead, ask questions and think strategically proved invaluable when she was tasked with developing the Sarbanes-Oxley certification process while working at Lyondell Chemical Company, a centralized company with operations in the United States, Europe and Asia. “It was an incredible opportunity to create a process to document and test internal controls that no one in the United States had ever done before,” Fulton said. During that time, she also gained experience in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reporting and polished her leadership and management skills by turning a dysfunctional group of individuals into a world-class department.

Fulton’s next career move took her in an entirely different direction. She joined AEI Services, LLC, a decentralized company that operated in the emerging markets of South America and Eastern Europe. When AEI leaders decided to sell the company three years later, Fulton used her generous severance package to take a six-month sabbatical to do some soul-searching about her life and career.  

A few months after being laid off, Fulton began tapping into her intuition as she sought her next career challenge. “I always had the faith that I’m good at what I do and it will take some time, but I will find the right place,” she said, adding that she realized that she never worked for a small company. Six months after being laid off, Fulton found a match in Hi-Crush, a small company that was looking for someone with extensive accounting, management and leadership experience.

Using life lessons to inform business decisions

Fulton’s wide range of professional and personal experiences ground her day-to-day approach to business matters. Take employees’ paychecks. “Compensation is really important and very personal. I’ve learned that there’s no decision you’re going to make in this area that won’t have at least five different views of how you should have made that decision,” she said. “To try to come to a cohesive decision is a lot tougher than you think. As an accountant, I think there’s a logical answer. But no, this is a person’s paycheck and there’s emotion involved. Sometimes, you have to remember all those factors when you think about how you’ll make a decision.”

A family matter led Fulton to develop an increased awareness of the importance of communication during stressful times. She recounted how her son – who was 6 at the time – thought Fulton’s one-week break between jobs meant she was unemployed and that the family would soon be homeless. “He was picking up on things that I didn’t realize. He was overhearing me talking to my husband about, ‘Should I do this? Should I do that?’ He was hearing me make the decision and I didn’t realize how much he was paying attention,” explained the Houston Business Journal’s 2013 CFO of the Year for Small Public Company and Community Impact.  

“That taught me to realize that you have to think through who is going to be impacted by the things you do and the decisions that you make. You have to put yourself in their shoes and try to think about how they are going to interpret this decision. They don’t come from the same background that I have; they don’t have the same experiences that I have. What is it that I need to tell them that will give them comfort in a time of change?”

This lesson has been driven home because of the recent downturn in the oil industry. As people lose their jobs, Fulton is more conscious of trying to communicate what is happening and how the company is trying to help employees make a difficult transition. She also considers important factors when making business decisions, such as the date when a layoff will be made since the timing can mean another month of health benefits for laid-off employees.

The downturn in the oil industry also forced Fulton to take on the role of the company’s “chief agitation officer” who asks colleagues to think about potential devastating scenarios. “You really can’t ever anticipate how bad things can get,” she said. “You always say, ‘I’m going to plan for the worst and hope for the best,’ but you almost have to be more Draconian than that. All you can really do is deal with the hand that you’ve got right then and there and try to be as proactive as possible.”

 

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Marketing Professor Leonard Berry’s research article “Managing the Clues in Cancer Care” was recently published by the Journal of Oncology Practice. The paper provides a framework recommended for cancer centers to implement in order to improve their services.

It was written in collaboration with Dr. Joseph O. Jacobson, chief quality officer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Dr. Brad Stuart, chief executive officer of Advanced Care Innovation Strategies (ACIStrategies.com) in Forestville, Calif., and chief medical officer of Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC.org)

The article outlines the importance of managing certain clues that act as stimuli to patients, eliciting either positive or negative emotions. These clues – identified as functional, mechanic and humanic – involve the perceived technical quality of the service, tangible aspects of the facility itself and the ability of the employees to interact effectively with the patients, respectively. Managing these clues well can make a frightening and emotional service experience much more positive in the eyes of the patient.

Berry is a University Distinguished Professor of  Marketing at Mays Business School and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass. He has been an influential voice in the marketing and healthcare industries for many years. His research at Mayo Clinic and other high-performing healthcare facilities have translated into 10 books and extensive research on healthcare services. As a marketing professor at Mays Business School, Berry founded the Center for Retailing Studies and earned many awards, including Distinguished Achievement Awards in both teaching and research and the Lifetime Achievement Award at Mays.

For the full paper, go http://mays.tamu.edu/research/managing-the-clues-in-cancer-care/

 

Categories: Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research Notes, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

In its first 25 years, the Professional Program (PPA) at Mays Business School has become one of the largest providers of CPAs nationally and by far the largest in Texas, producing about 4,500 graduates to date.

The Professional Program is an integrated five-year curriculum that offers students the opportunity to simultaneously earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s of science degree in any one of the business majors. Placement rates for graduates are nearly 100 percent, as the program is a leading source of prospects for the largest public accounting firms. PPA graduates are also sought after by companies in the consulting, investment banking and corporate accounting/finance, energy, financial services and technology arenas.

At a recent reunion and scholarship drive at Texas A&M University, about 200 former students, supporters and faculty members gathered at the Zone Club at Kyle Field to share stories and meet with former classmates and faculty members. They heard from inaugural program director Austin Daily and Accounting Department Head Jim Benjamin, and they donated funds for scholarships for fifth-year PPA students.

Annie McGowan and Austin Daley PPA Director Annie McGowan visited with Austin Daily, the program’s first director.

The program began in 1992 as the accounting profession began calling for increased education for CPA’s, and Texas added a requirement of 150 hours of education to sit for the CPA exam, Benjamin said. While the requirement did not mandate a master’s degree, Mays added non-traditional academic tracks providing the option of master’s degrees. Both degrees are awarded simultaneously at the end of the program. “Many peer schools now have integrated programs, but the formats vary considerably,” Benjamin said. “What makes our program truly unique from all others is the opportunity for students to get the MS degree in finance, MIS, marketing or entrepreneurship in the program. I am not aware of any other schools that have such an option.”

All PPA graduates are eligible to sit for the CPA exam, and most start their careers in public accounting, but Benjamin said Mays faculty and administrators believe that the master’s degree options give Mays graduates greater career opportunities – as evidenced through the success and career progression of the PPA graduates.

Mays is consistently ranked in the top 10 accounting programs nationally by a number of ranking services. The CPA exam pass rates of the Mays PPA students significantly exceed national averages, and the program is usually in the top 10 in that category among large accounting programs. Almost all of the PPA students have paid internships during their fourth year, and most have accepted jobs prior to graduation.

“Parents and students were initially somewhat skeptical of the need for accountants to have a graduate degree,” Benjamin added, “but the value proposition seemed to be accepted relatively quickly and the integrated concept became well branded quickly.”

PPA picks up, maintains steam

Annie McGowan, current director of the program, said it quickly earned a very positive reputation among employers and that most graduates have job offers prior to graduation. Most of the students have internships during their fourth year. The consensus among employers has been that the Professional Program adds value well beyond a traditional bachelor’s program coupled with a traditional stand-alone master’s program.

“The program was designed to focus on problem solving, teamwork, technology, leadership and communication, as well as other broader business issues,” McGowan said. “The success of the tracks required not only substantial cooperation among the departments involved, but also a seamless relationship between the program’s BBA and MS phases.”

For Brett Parrish ’93, one of the students in the first cohort, the PPA was a springboard for a successful career that led him to become a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He said the program helped him be a more well-rounded graduate. “I was much more qualified, both technically and professionally, than if I had not gone through the program,” he said. “Being a part of Group 1 was a neat experience, helping to establish something that has continued to grow and flourish. I enjoy getting to come back to campus and meet with students and recruit. It is always neat to see the students’ reactions when I tell them I’m from Group I.”

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Brett Parrish, Group I, and Samantha Bates, Group XXV, with Brett’s wife and Samantha’s mother, Stacey Parrish.

Parrish said the internship was built into the program at a good time. “I was able to obtain career experience while still a student, then take that knowledge back for the rest of my schooling and apply what I learned,” he said. “Because of the experiences during my internship, I was much more focused on learning the skills and information that would benefit me going forward, instead of learning to achieve a grade.”

Parrish said the program has changed quite a bit since he was in it. For one thing, the program initially had no name, so that became one of the first tasks for the students. Also, when he began, there wasn’t a 150-hour requirement to receive a CPA license. “This made recruiting students into the program difficult since it wasn’t a necessity to have the master’s degree,” he said. “Additionally, we lost several folks after the internship when they decided to not come back for their fifth year. By the time we graduated, there were approximately 30-35 students. Now the program has grown to around 250.”

The program continues to be proactive in providing its students with options to expand the breadth of available opportunities. The program partners with the Bush School to offer students the option to integrate a transfer pricing or non-profit certificate into their course of study. Students are also offered an opportunity to participate in a global immersion program to Australia.

PPA’s next generation

Sometimes a good thing comes full circle, and such is the case with PPA. Samantha Bates ’17 is a current student in Group XXV of the program. She said she knew she wanted to study business, but was undecided on what field to pursue. She was strongly influenced by her stepfather, Brett Parrish, and Bates set her goal during her freshman year to get admitted to the program.

She said she knew of the program’s good reputation and advantages, which open many doors in the business world. She liked the idea of getting a master’s degree and being able to sit for the CPA exam before graduating, as well as the opportunity to interview and intern with the most prestigious accounting firms. “In my opinion, the program really sets you up for success and gives you all the tools you need to excel in the ‘real world,’” Bates said. “I hope to gain experience and connections in the industry as well as continue to learn and expand my knowledge base through the master’s degree.”

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

The job of a financial advisor encompasses multiple elements of business – marketing and sales, management of staff and clients, and analysis of finance, capital markets and portfolios. But for Tom Jenkins ’92, it also means telling stories.

25386562385_6c7c1941ac_kAs Senior Vice President of Wealth Management at Jenkins & Associates of UBS Financial Services, Jenkins manages more than $200 million for 75 wealthy families and individuals. Managing wealth is a sensitive topic, and Jenkins has learned that stories can help him convey important advice in a way that both educates and resonates with his clients. He showed Business Honors students at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School how storytelling can be a powerful tool not just in financial advising, but in life as well.

“It’s important to have a story with everything – be it with a recruiter, interviewer, whomever you encounter,” he advised. “Stories help define who you are. Have those and practice those, and always be prepared to share them.”

Jenkins shared his own story with the students. He began his education at Texas A&M, where he studied marketing and enjoyed success on campus as a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Business Student Council. Also heavily involved in summer internships, he received multiple job offers and accepted a marketing position at NationsBank. Things were going well.

But within just 10 months of starting his new job, he was laid off. He was jobless and faced with a dire financial situation due in part, he admits, to poor financial management during those first months after college. To make ends meet, he took jobs selling suits and delivering pizzas.

Take ownership of your career

“That was a real shocker for me. I was so discouraged from having gone from where I was in college to balancing those two jobs at once. I didn’t foresee it happening,” he recalled. Yet Jenkins had a plan. Knowing his ultimate goal, he decided to open his own financial advising business while holding the other two jobs. Though it was difficult holding multiple jobs at once, he said the lesson was that he was learning to take ownership of his career through hard work and financial responsibility.

“Things aren’t always going to go our way,” he said. “But think about and plan what you’re going to do – what you’re willing to do – to work hard and get where you need to be and want to be.”

Seek others’ wisdom

To grow his business, Jenkins said he harnessed the power of networking. “I had a shoebox full of business cards I had collected from recruiters during college, and I began calling the people on the cards,” he said. His contacts gave him guidance on how to succeed in the industry and referred people who became Jenkins’ newest clients.

“I really learned importance of finding mentors and seeking others’ advice and input,” he said. “Always ask yourself, ‘Who can I seek advice from?’”

To whom much was given, of him much will be required

For five years, Jenkins worked hard running his own financial planning practice before Merrill Lynch took an interest and approached him about moving his practice to join the company. He accepted and worked there for 12 years. During that time he participated in graduate work through the Harvard University Extension School and received the Certified Investment Management Analyst ® designation from Wharton’s Business School of Executive Education, a certification held by only a small percentage of his colleagues in the industry. In 2010, he joined UBS.

Jenkins explained how he appreciates the flexibility of picking his own clients, developing relationships with them and tailoring a portfolio that is best fit for their needs. “I take a lot of pride in helping people be good stewards of their money,” Jenkins said. “You’ve heard the saying ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’ If you have intelligence, financial luxuries, whatever it may be, you have an obligation to use those gifts to help others.”

Advice for Millennials and financial wisdom

One student wanted to know what Jenkins would advise today’s college students. “Millennials have a greater access to information than those in times in times past. Unfortunately, they don’t always value the input of a financial advisor as much as previous generations.” Jenkins added: “Remember that you should always outsource areas that are not your expertise to those who can help you; invite them to be on your team.”

He also gave financial advice, drawing on principles he uses in his own practice:

  • Have an emergency reserve of cash for three to six months
  • Prioritize giving and saving with Dave Ramsey’s “out of sight, out of mind” principles
  • Allocate money to spend guilt-free on things you enjoy, but only after you handle all of your goals
  • Be careful with debt – only use it as leverage for a greater return in the future

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized