Lead Story

New organization spotlight: Black Wall Street

Jamison Moore, February 22nd, 2018

Upon arrival at Mays Business School and Texas A&M University, then-freshman Daniel Jefferson ’19, hailing from Houston, Texas where he attended Jersey Village High School, quickly noticed an opportunity for establishing community among African American students. It was this opportunity that led to the vision of creating an organization that strived to establish a community amongst his fellow young black collegians at Mays. Bringing his vision into action this past September, Jefferson began the new student organization process to create Black Wall Street.

Daniel Jefferson

“During my time here, I’ve realized the importance of surrounding yourself with those who are both similar to you but also challenge your ideas,” Jefferson, a management major, described his motivation. “By creating Black Wall Street my hope is that I give a platform for those who may be new to the business school or those who feel as though they haven’t found their place to find those people.”

Black Wall Street is a space to celebrate the contribution of black Americans to the broader business community,” said Mays recruiter Corey Stone, who also serves as the student organization advisor for Black Wall Street. “It is a place of fellowship and shared learning for students at Mays Business School who want to engage further with the black community at Mays.

In its first year, Jefferson can already attest to how close-knit of an organization it is. “Not only is the organization one of a kind, but the idea is that even if you are not an executive board member you still have the ability to have just as much say in the direction that the organization goes,” said Jefferson. “As a new organization, the things that we do now will set the tone for the future so this is their chance to be a part of history.”

As the organization advisor, Stone has been impressed with the growth in Black Wall Street in its first year as well. “There has been a great turnout for Black Wall Street informationals, as many business majors and minors have interest in celebrating the spirit and future of businesses historically and presently tied to the black community,” Stone said.

Throughout February – Black History month – several activities and events hosted by different organizations. Jefferson and Black Wall Street will be participating, in hopes of the “A&M student body understanding the essence of Black History month and to observe the culture that will be showcased without,” said Jefferson. “We are firm believers that it is important to try your best to understand other cultures, you never know what you may learn while doing so.

Black Wall Street hosted a lecture on Feb. 20, “The Importance of Supporting Black Business,” in the Memorial Student Center featuring Shawn A. Taylor, president of Zaxby’s Houston and Special Advisor to the Chairman of the Houston Astros. The program showcased the importance of supporting African American business, which helps support families and communities that otherwise may not have much support.

Going forward, Jefferson hopes to see Black Wall Street thrive as an organization, and grow in the next few years to become one of the premiere organizations of Mays Business School, all while building representation on campus. Black Wall Street will continue to seek to provide tools of personal and professional development to its members, through professional development, academic achievement, and community involvement, and to promote a positive social environment amongst members to build a network they can thrive in.

Stone’s hopes for Black Wall Street is that the organization can continue to collaborate and create dialogue in ways that “promote cross-cultural conversations, shared learning, and ultimately lasting friendships between both people with shared experiences and those who may have little in common.”

Texas A&M students are already making preparations to welcome next year’s crop of new faces. Each year, students nominate faculty and staff to serve as namesakes for Fish Camp. The camp is held throughout August to give new students a taste of what life’s like as an Aggie.

Several Mays faculty have been awarded the honor of being a camp namesake this year. Fish Camp namesakes include: Marty Loudder, Department of Accounting; George Fowler and Mike Hnatt, Department of Information and Operations Management; Paul Busch and Duane DeWald, Department of Marketing; and Jing Zhou, Department of Management.

Categories: Departments, Faculty

When the Texas Public Relations Association named its Best of Texas winners at its annual awards ceremony recently in Austin, the Real Estate Center (REC) took away two top awards.

The center’s quarterly magazine Tierra Grande received a Bronze Best of Texas award in the external magazine category. Tierra Grande is sent to all 100,000 Texas real estate licensees.

The REC’s video on “Affordable Housing: The Crisis in Texas” also received a Bronze Best of Texas award in the special audiovisual project category. Earlier this year, the video received a finalist award from the New York Festivals’ international film, video and television competition.

Categories: Departments

Marketing Professor Paul Busch will spend the summer learning first-hand the intricacies and realities of the industrial workplace.

Busch was selected to the highly competitive A.D. Welliver Faculty Summer Fellowship at Boeing Co., which gives nine faculty members from around the country the opportunity to learn from industry engineers and professionals at Boeing’s offices in Seattle, Washington.

The goal of the eight-week program is to give the fellows a solid understanding of the issues in the industry, so they can incorporate those issues into their classroom curricula. The fellows will be exposed to issues such as the true meaning of being customer driven, the business realities of a global marketplace, using cycle time, cost and quality as measures, teamwork, and the role of people skills in engineering.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Programs

Mays Executive MBA students who usually spend their time learning to build successful businesses tried their hand at building homes, assisting in the construction of eight Habitat for Humanity homes in the Tomball area. Hosted by the Northwest Harris County chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the building blitz focused on the eight homes already in various stages of completion and are part of a planned 20-plus home project.

Categories: Departments, Students

Two of the nation’s top executives will be honored this month at two of the college’s most notable spring events.

Colleen Barrett, president and chief operating officer of Southwest Airlines, has been named this year’s Kupfer Distinguished Executive. The cornerstone of Southwest’s fun-loving culture, Barrett will receive the award and speak to Mays students on Wednesday, April 10.

Retailing guru Marvin Girouard ’61, chairman and chief executive officer of Pier 1 Imports, will also be honored, as he will present the fifth annual M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture. Sponsored by the college’s Center for Retailing Studies, Girouard will speak Monday, April 15.

Categories: Departments, Executive Speakers

Mays student Robert Finch was selected for the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) postgraduate fellowship for 2001-2002. Finch, who is in the Professional Program, is the sixth consecutive Texas A&M nominee to be selected for the fellowship. The FASB accepts 41 nominations from different business programs throughout the country and chooses four fellows each year.

Categories: Programs, Students

Contributing significant research is central to a career in academia. And, when it comes to research, marketing professor Rajan Varadarajan is considered one of the best, so say his peers.

Varadarajan, who also serves as department head, was recently named the recipient of the American Marketing Association’s Harold H. Maynard Award. The annual award recognizes the contributor of the most noteworthy article published in the Journal of Marketing.

The award is decided by journal readers who vote on their top three articles. Rajan’s article, “Strategic Interdependence in Organizations: Deconglomeration and Marketing Strategy,” was co-authored by two Mays doctoral students, Satish Jayachandran & J. Chris White.

“This is the thirteenth paper I’ve submitted to the journal and each time you hope you will receive recognition,” says Varadarajan of the award

Categories: Departments, Faculty

The college recently received three departmental grants thanks to the Shell Oil Company Foundation. The grants, which total $16,500, were awarded to the Department of Accounting and the Department of Information and Operations Management to support teaching and research.

According to Dr. Jim Benjamin, head of accounting, the department uses grants for a variety of purposes, including funding student organizations, scholarships, faculty development and recruitment, acquiring library materials and computer hardware and software.

In a time when state funding is tight, Benjamin says grants such as the ones awarded by Shell are greatly appreciated. “State funds provide the basics, but grants are very helpful in supporting our students and faculty,” he says. “It’s grants like these that help us go beyond the basics and create margins for excellence.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Two of the 36 individual Fish Camps to be held this summer will honor two Mays College staff members.  Dr. Clair Nixon, associate dean and accounting professor, and Dr. Linda Windle, assistant director of undergraduate programs, have been selected namesakes for Fish Camp ’01. Each year students nominate faculty, staff and administrators to be namesakes for one of the individual camps held over six sessions throughout the month of August.

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Mays business students recently had the opportunity to interact with some of the nation’s top retailers during the first annual Retailing Career Fair.

Hosted by the Retailing Society, the fair familiarized students with role retail plays within different industries, as well as provided both employment and internship opportunities. More than 30 retail companies participated this year, including companies such as Neiman Marcus, IKEA, Albertson’s and Barnes & Noble.

Unlike the bi-annual Business Career Fair, which includes anywhere from 120 to 150 companies, the Retailing Career Fair provided more personal interaction between recruiters and students

“The Retailing Career Fair is separate from the Business Career Fair because it narrows the field to those students and companies who are more interested in the retail side of business,” says Robyn Bairrington, president of the Retailing Society and a senior marketing major. “It’s a good way for students to find internships or permanent placement. But, the fair isn’t restricted to business majors only.”

In addition to the fair, the Retailing Society planned a College Relations Night, including an introduction to the history and traditions of Texas A&M as well as a “mini-Fish Camp,” to familiarize companies with potential applicants.

This first-ever event provided companies and students with new knowledge. “I got my feet wet and learned how to talk to companies,” says Katie Campbell, a senior management major. “I think the fair has really helped me in terms of interviewing skills and helping me learn about all the jobs in retail that are available.”

Categories: Departments, Programs, Students