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Texas A&M’s MS Analytics program earns No. 1 in Fortune’s Online Analytics Programs Ranking

Blake Parrish, January 28th, 2022

According to Fortune magazine, Mays Business School at Texas A&M University has the top online business analytics program in the country. Factors highlighting the success of the MS Analytics program include selectivity, demand, and brand, per Fortune’s methodology.

One component to the ranking outcome emphasizes the MS Analytics program enrolling its most recent class with an average of over 12 years of full-time work experience and an average incoming undergraduate GPA of 3.42. With a mix of computer science, business acumen, business math, and statistics, this online/face-to-face, flexible format degree allows students to select from many diverse paths in data science while incorporating business and leadership skills.

“We are so pleased to see our program recognized at the national level,” said Jerry Strawser, associate dean for graduate programs. “This ranking reflects the outstanding efforts of our program leadership – Myra Gonzales and Javier Aldape – as well as the faculty and staff who create a valuable learning experience for our students.”

MS Analytics program director Myra Gonzalez shared, “As a young, quickly-growing industry, we are committed to the mission of Mays Business School: to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. We designed our program to be an inclusive learning environment, while also focusing on an excellent customer experience (CX) through our cohort model. Those efforts, in addition to our quality faculty and curriculum, have enabled a strong graduation rate launching excellent data leaders into the marketplace.”

With over 300+ data science/analytics programs in the nation, students have many options. Texas A&M’s MS Analytics offers a formal education led by prestigious faculty with terminal degrees or strong ties to industry. Each year, the program enrolls 65 students from all backgrounds. Faculty and students create synergy in the program. “Our faculty members’ capability, paired with our students’ persistence and thirst for excellence, enable the quality and the success of the MS Analytics program,” added Gonzalez.

“In today’s challenging and rapidly changing global markets, firms gain significant benefits by using sophisticated tools and techniques to analyze, interpret, and use data in competitively relevant ways,” shared interim dean, R. Duane Ireland. “Our MS Analytics program presents learners with opportunities to develop skills through which they can help their firms succeed by working with data effectively. We are thrilled for our MS Analytics program to receive Fortune’s number 1 ranking! Congratulations to our outstanding students and to our faculty and staff who collaborate with them.”

Texas A&M’s MS Analytics program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2022 cohort. Visit the MS Analytics site for an overview. To request more information, contact Javier Aldape, Program Manager at 979-845-2149 or jaldape@mays.tamu.edu.

Out of 42 finalists, ten teams were given top honors and awarded cash prizes for their innovative and entrepreneurial ideasr

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS May 7, 2022 – The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its second annual and first in-person Texas High School Ideas Challenge today, with competitive presentations held at Texas A&M University’s Memorial Student Center and The Crowd Fund Showcase and Awards Reception (sponsored by Education Advanced) held at the McFerrin Center. Open to high school students across the state of Texas, the challenge, designed to encourage students to explore entrepreneurship and foster development of an entrepreneurial mindset, awarded more than $10,000 in cash prizes to the top ideas.

Launched in 2021 by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, the Texas High School Ideas Challenge is modeled after the Raymond Ideas Challenge, one of the McFerrin Center’s longest standing programs open each fall to current Texas A&M students. Due to restrictions in place, the inaugural event in 2021 was held exclusively in a virtual format, but the 2022 event was held in person at Texas A&M, giving high school students from across the state the opportunity to visit campus and be introduced to Texas A&M, the McFerrin Center and the Aggie entrepreneurial ecosystem.

In addition to prize money for the top idea winners, this year’s challenge also awarded $3,750 in prizes based on “investments” from “The Crowd Fund,” with showcase guests having the opportunity to visit each of the ideas to meet the student teams and learn about their service or product concept and “invest” in their favorites via “McFerrin Money.”

For the 2022 event, Texas high school students aged 14-18 were invited to apply beginning in late 2021, submitting their idea as a team or individual, via a compelling application demonstrating creative, careful and methodical planning. Following a screening process, a total of 42 finalist teams, comprised of more than 100 students from 18 Texas cities, were selected as finalists and invited to compete in person on the campus of Texas A&M.

Throughout the day, each team presented their idea twice, each time to a different panel of judges. The presentations consisted of a 5-minute pitch of the idea, followed by a 5-minute “Q&A” with the panel. Judges, selected from the McFerrin Center’s network of mentors, successful entrepreneurs and Texas A&M faculty, were looking for competitors who have an outstanding idea and clearly indicate that their idea creates values, can defend their idea against other ideas in the competition, and demonstrate to the judges that the idea is viable in the marketplace with clear evidence that the idea is attractive to a customer. Ideas were scored based on idea uniqueness, target market, competitive advantage, resources, goals and presentation content.

Rudy A., a junior from Centennial High School in Frisco, walked away with top honors and $2,500 for his pitch of WorkBee, a business concept developed with his partner Sarthak D., also a junior, who was unable to attend the competition. WorkBee solves the problem of low inventory of quality holiday decorations and the hassle of installing decorations by enabling customers to purchase customized holiday decorations and labor from local, reliable, responsive, fair-priced contractors.

“A friend who applied for this challenge knew I had this idea, and he suggested I apply as well. I did, and then suggested a different friend also apply with his idea,” Rudy said. “I feel like that sums up entrepreneurship. Healthy competition, but always looking to help and assist others who are also trying to pursue and build their own ideas.”

Following high school graduation in 2023, Rudy plans to attend college, pursuing a degree related to technology and business. “The best takeaway from today was the feedback I received from the judges following my pitches,” he said. “One judge suggested I consider a subscription option, and one even told me it was probably the best pitch he’d ever heard, including from college students. That really made me feel like not only do I have a great idea, but the time, effort and energy I put into preparing for this challenge really paid off. I’m already thinking of a new idea to apply again and come back to Aggieland next year.”

“In only its second year, this is quickly becoming one of our Signature Programs, and one that brings so much positive energy and excitement to the Center and our partners. As a competition focused solely on inspiring, encouraging and celebrating our next great generation of entrepreneurs, the ideas this year did not disappoint, nor did the students themselves, who have been nothing short amazing,” said Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center. “While we realize not all of these students will choose Texas A&M as a destination after high school, our ultimate goal and purpose is to pour into them at this earliest stage of their entrepreneurial journey and help fan the flame of their entrepreneurial spirit. If we can create a few new Aggie entrepreneurs along the way, we’ll consider that icing on the cake!”

The McFerrin Center is already planning the third annual event, scheduled for May 5, 2023. Updates and more information will be made available at tx.ag/TexasHSIdeasChallenge.

2022 Texas High School Ideas Challenge Winners

Top Idea Winners
1st Place ($2,500): WorkBee | Centennial HS | Frisco
sponsored by Active Industrial Fire Protection
Student receiving a big check
2nd Place ($2,000): FYDER, LLC | Alamo Heights HS | San Antonio
sponsored by CareerPhysician, LLC
3rd Place ($1,750): Com.Post | Round Rock HS | Round Rock
sponsored by Education Advanced
Honorable Mention ($750): Stoozies: The Heated Shoetree | Canyon HS | New Braunfels
sponsored by Critical Environments Group
Honorable Mention ($750): iPath American English | Centennial HS | Frisco
sponsored by Education Advanced
Honorable Mention ($750): sMile | Centennial HS | Frisco, TX
sponsored by Startup LLC
Honorable Mention ($750): Traverse Marketplace | Vista Ridge HS | Cedar Park
sponsored by Mays Family Foundation

The Crowd Fund Winners
1st Place ($1,500): M.T. Equipment Backpacking Table | Westlake HS | Austin
sponsored by Nexersys (XFit Inc.)
Students receiving a b
2nd Place ($1,250): FYDER, LLC | Alamo Heights HS | San Antonio
sponsored by Startup LLC
3rd Place ($1,000): Let’s Keep Talking | Elkins HS | Missouri City
sponsored by Mays Family Foundation

2022 Texas High School Ideas Challenge Sponsors

Education Advanced, The Crowd Fund Showcase & Awards Reception sponsor
Active Industrial Fire Protection
CareerPhysician
Critical Environments Group
Mays Family Foundation
Nexersys
Startup LLC (Living Learning Community)

 

About McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The McFerrin Center’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and former students.

The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty and staff.

The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts upon opportunity. In this spirit, the McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship offering more than 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.

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Media Contact: Lara Robertson, communications manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, 979- 845-1724, lrobertson@tamu.edu

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, Students, Texas A&M

The James Benjamin Department of Accounting’s Internal Audit Program (IAP), which is part of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, has been recognized as a Center of Excellence by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), an international organization of internal audit professionals.

Only 12 university programs across the globe have completed the stringent requirements to be named an IIA Center of Excellence. “This recognition from the IIA is a tremendous honor for Mays Business School and for the James Benjamin Department of Accounting. It is also a tribute to the hard work of Professors Tara Blasor and Mike Head, and it will provide additional high-impact opportunities for our students,” said Department Head Nate Sharp, who holds the Nelson D. Durst Endowed Chair in Accounting. “Our vision is to be the preeminent Accounting program in the nation, and the IIA Center of Excellence recognition is an important step toward fulfilling that vision.”

Mays leaders and faculty decided to seek the highest recognition because of the growing interest in internal audit among both students and employers. “We’d seen a lot of growth in the number of students in our program,” said Tara Blasor, co-director of Mays Internal Audit Program and assistant department head. “More and more companies are looking to engage with and hire our students, so we felt it was a good time to apply to be recognized by the IIA as top tier, which is the Center of Excellence.”

Stringent Accreditation

The IIA’s tiered accreditation process incorporates a specific framework of standards. Overall, 56 universities in 15 nations have completed the necessary qualifications to be recognized at some level as an IIA-accredited Internal Audit Education Program.

The IIA’s highest tier is Center of Excellence, which builds on the requirements for the Foundation and Comprehensive levels. Currently, 12 higher education institutions internationally—seven of which are in the United States—have received this recognition. Texas A&M joins two other Texas schools—the University of Houston and the University of Texas at Dallas—and one Southeastern Conference School—Louisiana State University—in holding this distinction.

Building on Quality

The IIA accreditation process uses a scaffolded approach that is designed to continually increase an academic program’s level of excellence as it progresses through the tiers. This approach focuses on ensuring that the institution is providing a strong educational foundation for students who want to enter an internal audit career.

Being named a center extends Mays’ long commitment to ensuring that Aggies are well-prepared to make an immediate impact in their career. “The program being recognized as a center is a commendable step in its future – especially for those students who complete the certificate,” said Bethany Miller ’20, a recent graduate of the program who is an internal audit associate with KPMG. “The program’s level of excellence encourages students to understand the critical thinking, diversity, flexibility, and rigor that someone can bring to the table—and adds value to our teams and our clients. It is attractive to recruiting and exemplifies the unique skillset that students will have upon graduation.”

Internal Audit Advisory Board meeting

To reach and maintain IIA’s top level of accreditation, Mays has committed to numerous on-going efforts. These include:

  • The Internal Audit Program offers a 15-credit-hour Certificate in Internal Auditing, which is awarded by Texas A&M’s Office of Registrar.
  • Every faculty member who teaches the Internal Auditing course (ACCT 408/608) in the Internal Audit program is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), which ensures that Mays’ instructional program is firmly grounded in practice.
  • Mays is committed to growing the program’s enrollment. With over 120 students currently enrolled, program leaders estimate that 35-40 students will graduate annually in the future.
  • The program provides exceptional support for students. A formal mentoring program links students with internal auditor professionals. Additionally, internships give students an opportunity to work in the field prior to graduation.
  • The program has an active Internal Audit Program – Student Association (IAPSA), which is affiliated with the Brazos Valley IIA chapter. The student organization offers leadership opportunities, professional networking, community service, and a social outlet for like-minded students who are interested in an internal audit career.
  • The Internal Audit Program has an active Internal Audit Advisory Board, which started in 2016. Representatives from more than 25 organizations and several Texas IIA Chapters are engaged in the advisory board and provide support through strategic direction, scholarship funding, internships, and full-time employment recruitment of graduates.

Mays Internal Audit Program’s rapid growth can be tied to Blasor’s hiring in 2012. “Since then, the program has seen incredible growth, and was further strengthened when Mike Head joined in 2016, bringing a career of experience as an Internal Audit leader to the table,” said Protiviti Managing Director Jordan Reed ’95, who has been recruiting at Texas A&M since 1996 and serves as a member of the program’s advisory board. “The Advisory Board has provided guidance and support over the past six years, and I could not be more proud to follow the program’s progression from a Foundation Program to a Center of Excellence in a fairly short time span.”

Continued Forward Movement

As the program grows, Mays’ leaders are committed to maintaining a strong student-centered focus—which Aggies appreciate. “The classes that we take in the program are valuable to our education,” said Ellyse Hahn ’22, an accounting major who is completing the Management Information Systems track in Mays Professional Program in Accounting (PPA). “When I went on my internship, I had a leg up from the interns from other schools due to my education here.”

Elise Hahn ’22, pictured (right)

Aggies also appreciate the opportunity to step into student leadership roles that help them hone their skills. “When I first joined IAPSA, I never dreamed that I would become the president,” said Hahn. “Now, it’s exciting talking to freshmen and sophomores that are joining and telling them about the opportunities that they can have here. If a student comes in and is driven to succeed, they will get to make a difference in the Internal Audit Program.”

Ultimately, Mays is committed to doing its part in preparing more graduates for this growing career field. “There is a high demand for students to go into the internal audit career. Additionally, there is far more demand than qualified students available,” said Head, who is a Mays executive assistant professor. “Mays’ Internal Audit Program gives another avenue where businesses can find students who have been exposed to this specific career and curriculum and are positioned to be successful in these risk-based services. This accreditation is telling potential employers that Mays is a source of very high-quality students because it’s been recognized as a Center of Excellence.”

 

 

Categories: Accounting, Mays Business

Sunjay Letchuman ’22, a senior at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, is the lead author on the article, “Revise the IRS’s Nonprofit Hospital Community Benefit Reporting Standard,” published April 15, 2022 in Health Affairs Forefront, a preeminent journal for healthcare policy.

Letchuman co-authored this article with his mentor, Dr. Leonard L. Berry, Mays Business School’s University Distinguished Professor of Marketing, along with Dr. Michael K. Hole, executive director of The Impact Factory and assistant professor at The University of Texas, and Dr. Ge Bai, professor of accounting at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.

Letchuman now has had four published articles and a fifth under review while an undergraduate student at Texas A&M. “It is unusual for an undergrad to publish an article regardless of where he or she is placed in the byline. To be the lead author for an article in which the other authors are MDs or Ph.Ds. means that Sunjay earned the placement by leading the way throughout,” Berry said. “Dr. Hole, Dr. Bai, and I have plenty of experience researching and writing articles and we pitched in during the cycle of multiple drafts, but Sunjay earned the lead author spot on his own merits.”

The article’s publication in Forefront offers the co-authors an important opportunity to inform and influence healthcare policymakers and industry leaders.  “Appearing in the leading health policy journal, this article may actually lead to revision of the Community Benefit Standard, which, in turn, will enhance nonprofit hospitals’ involvement and investment in improving community health,” Berry said.

This paper analyzed the Community Benefit Standard, which is used by the Internal Revenue Service to determine whether a hospital qualifies as a nonprofit. “Over half of U.S. hospitals are organized as nonprofits, meaning they do not pay taxes in exchange for benefiting community health,” Letchuman said. “Unfortunately, however, most nonprofit hospitals do not provide more community benefit than their for-profit counterparts. A recent study showed that, for every $100 of total expenses, nonprofit hospitals spend just $2.30 on charity care (a key component of community benefit)—substantially less than the $3.80 of every $100 spent by for-profit hospitals.”

The co-authors suggest changes to the Community Benefit Standard in order to make nonprofit hospitals more accountable for enhancing the community’s health and welfare.  “The federal, state, and local tax exemptions that nonprofit hospitals receive amount to over $25 billion annually. Local property tax dollars that nonprofit hospitals would have paid could have been used to build parks, improve schools, fix roads, and offer other services that bolster public health,” Letchuman said. “Our article describes which of the Community Benefit Standard’s 10 current standards should be kept, modified, or removed, and we include 3 new standards to add. Policymakers can use our article as a guide to strengthen current policy to ensure nonprofit hospitals fulfill their stated mission of promoting the health and well-being of the communities they serve.”

The article also reinforces the role that nonprofit hospitals can play in community wellbeing. “One of the biggest takeaways from this article is that nonprofit hospitals should focus on promoting and achieving community health equity, which means everyone has a fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires the dismantling of barriers to good health, including poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, such as access to stable housing and education,” Letchuman said. “As anchors in their communities, nonprofit hospitals can and should dedicate at least some of their surplus funds to address the social determinants of health, and they should make the value of their tax exemptions transparent to allow the public to evaluate the adequacy of community benefits provided.”

These publishing opportunities give Letchuman, who will enroll in the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in the fall and plans to devote a part of his career to influencing healthcare policy, the chance to work with and learn from some of the world’s leading researchers. “I am humbled and constantly inspired by the researchers I get to work with,” the Mays student said. “These professors and researchers are doing the work I want to do one day—making high-quality healthcare more accessible to every American. It’s a privilege for me to learn from and work with my role models.”

His co-authors have been equally impressed with the Aggie’s work. “I am certain Sunjay will change the world for good, and I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to watch his rocket-ship career take off,” Hole said. “How fun, too, collaborating across “rival” institutions; we are certainly stronger together.”

 

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Explore more on Sunjay:

Categories: Business Honors, Health Care, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M

Dr. Murray Barrick is the 2022 recipient of Mays Business School’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Research and Scholarship. The award will be presented April 20, 2022 during a special presentation.

The honor, which is one of Mays’ most prestigious awards, recognizes a faculty member who has made a substantial contribution to academic and industry knowledge. “Dr. Barrick is a prolific scholar who is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts with respect to employee selection processes used in organizations. His research has had a significant influence on helping companies use more evidence-based selection processes,” said Mays Interim Dean R. Duane Ireland. “Dr. Barrick is also an excellent mentor for his students. There is a large group of masters and doctoral students who can attest to the value of the guidance and counsel they received from him.”

Barrick considers this honor to be one of the highlights of his career. “Being nominated for this award is amazing. While I’ve won two lifetime achievement awards in two academic societies, this is the most meaningful to me,” said the Department of Management faculty member, who will be retiring at the end of the 2022 Spring semester. “It’s a great way to reflect back on what I’ve accomplished throughout my career and what it’s meant.”

Barrick holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and psychology from the University of Northern Iowa. He enrolled at the University of Akron, earning both his master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial/organizational psychology.

His faculty career started at the University of Iowa, where he had a decade-long appointment before joining Michigan State University’s Broad Graduate School of Management for two years. Barrick returned to the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business as the Stanley M. Howe Professor of Leadership in 2001.

In 2006, Barrick was recruited to Mays Business School and named the Paul M. and Rosalie Robertson Chair in Business. Within the first two years, he found himself becoming more impressed with Mays’ academic quality and influence. “I was astonished at the number of scholars in the field who had started their careers at Texas A&M and earned their PhDs here or had started as assistant professors here,” he said. “We have a long history of excellent selection. It just reinforced that I hadn’t made a mistake.”

In 2007, he was named head of the Department of Management and served in that role until 2011. “The Department of Management has a long history of excellent scholarship and has been a vibrant learning community for years,” he said. “We have had among the most influential scholars in the field working here.”

The department continued to flourish through Barrick’s leadership. Four months after his term as department head ended, Texas A&M leaders evaluated the university’s academic performance.  That analysis found that the Department of Management was the university’s top-ranked department (out of 93) and was in the top 5 for research productivity of management faculty based on a comparison of peer and aspirant universities.

Barrick’s substantial body of work continues to contribute to the department’s prestige. His teaching and research have focused on the strategic utilization of human resources, the development of effective selection systems, the impact of behavior and personality on job performance, motivation to effectively manage work, and executive teams. Barrick’s work—which, according to Google Scholar, has been cited over 49,000 times as of March 2022–has been published in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and other journals or as chapters in Handbooks.

In 2011, Barrick assumed the role of director and then executive director of the Center for Human Resource Management (CHRM). In those roles, he helped the center expand its well-respected offerings and services through hiring exceptional staff members. This set the stage for CHRM to better serve its clients, many of which are Fortune 100 companies and five of which are Fortune 10 companies.

Barrick also has offered significant contributions to the field. He served on the Editorial Boards of the Academy of Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology and Personnel Psychology. Additionally, he was Chair of the HR Division for the Academy of Management Program, Volume Editor for “Personality and Work: Reconsidering the role of personality in organizations,” and Associate Editor of Personnel Psychology.

The current James R. Whatley Chair also has received numerous honors, including the 1997 Fellow of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychologists in the American Psychological Association, the 2001 Owens Scholarly Achievement Award, the 2009 Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), and the 2010 Fellow of the Academy of Management.

In 2010, Barrick was named a Texas A&M University Distinguished Professor. This honor recognizes his seminal contribution to and global authority in the field of management as well as his record of teaching and mentoring students.

As the sixth recipient of the Mays Lifetime Achievement Award, Barrick joins a distinguished and elite group of faculty members that includes Ireland, Dr. Leonard Barry, Dr. Ricky Griffin, Dr. Michael A. Hitt, and Dr. Rajan Varadarajan. “The level of scholarship that they have been able to achieve underscores the value of this award. It is only given for outstanding scholarship,” he said. “What also impresses me is the level of service prior recipients have exhibited, including multiple stints as Department Heads, Associate Deans, and service as Interim Deans multiple times. I’m not sure that I live up to that, but receiving this award is quite impactful.”

Categories: Mays Business, Research

 

COLLEGE STATION, TX – Mays Business School is proud to announce the recipients of the 2022 Outstanding Alumni Awards. Mays will recognize and honor these individuals during the 30th Annual Mays Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner in April.

Porter S. Garner III, ’79, Eli Jones ’82,’86,’97, and Brian K. Pinto ’93 are the 2022 recipients.

As the highest honor a Mays Business School graduate can receive from the school, we recognize recipients of the Mays Outstanding Alumni Award for leading lives of distinction and embodying the Aggie core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service.

To date, Mays has honored 94 former students who have made outstanding contributions in their chosen fields with significant impact, innovation, and influence at Mays, in their community, and in other walks of life. “Those we are honoring this year continue the tradition of exemplifying the Aggie Spirit. I am very pleased that Mays is recognizing these outstanding Aggies,” said R. Duane Ireland, interim dean at Mays Business School. “The ways in which these individuals serve their communities and how they live their lives in both their personal life and professional career substantially contribute to the betterment of their community and of society. They are an inspirational group of leaders and irreplaceable members of the Mays Family. We all look forward to celebrating and recognizing them in April.”

Hosted by R. Duane Ireland and powered by the Mays Experience Team at Mays Business School, the 2022 Outstanding Alumni Awards’ celebration will welcome the family and friends of this year’s honorees, previous award recipients, and a variety of other special guests to the invitation-only event on Thursday, April 28, 2022, in Aggieland.

 

Categories: Alumni, Uncategorized

Mays Business School Ph.D. candidate, Hannah Judd, becomes the fifth student from Mays to accept $25,000 from The Deloitte Foundation’s Doctoral Fellowship program.

Deloitte aims to provide reliable services and resources to their clients, amplify the success of their partners, and make a difference in society today. Part of their efforts to encourage success and ignite difference in the world is through The Deloitte Foundation and their annual Doctoral Fellowship program. Every year, The Deloitte Foundation rewards 10 Ph.D. candidates across the U.S. with a $25,000 grant to support their final year of coursework and succeeding doctoral dissertation. This year, Mays congratulates one of our own for this prestigious award.

Judd grew up in San Jose, California, and received her bachelor’s & master’s degree in accounting, with an emphasis in taxation, from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Along with her academic career taking off, she became a tax intern at Deloitte in London, a tax associate at Grant Thornton LLP, and a CPA. Hannah has been around the world, both far and wide, setting the example for the next generation, but what made her choose Mays?

Aggieland is known for being a friendly place to live, learn, and grow, and after applying and interviewing with Mays Business School, there was no other choice for Judd. “The faculty was so warm. They care about high-quality research and good teachings, and the quality of the faculty and culture is why I am here.” Mays aims to create a community where its current and former students, faculty, and staff, feel a sense of belonging and support. Today, nominated by her accounting faculty, Mays gets to recognize Judd as a top Ph.D. candidate across the U.S.

Judd is no stranger to hard work and resilience, and to be recognized as a remarkable student from her university and Deloitte, she has felt nothing short of appreciation and privilege to receive this grant. “I’m so grateful for this recognition, especially knowing how many people have helped me so much along this journey—I really wouldn’t be where I am now without the amazing faculty and fellow Ph.D. students here.” Not to mention that this accomplishment helps Judd and her family financially. “Financially, this will be a huge benefit with my husband in medical school and our eleven-month-old son.” Judd has worked consistently and diligently to get to where she is now, and the honor and rewarding feeling she has comes from knowing that her hard work has paid off. With her ambitious drive and determination, Judd stated she does not plan to stop there.

The Deloitte Foundation’s Doctoral Fellowship program is to aid these students in pursuing an academic career. For Judd, she dreams of becoming an accounting professor to teach the future generation and aid in high-quality research. The upcoming semester is approaching rapidly, which means Judd’s fellowship will soon be put in motion. While she does not know where she will be after graduation, perhaps she will join Mays’ past recipients, Rachel Flam (2022) at London Business School, Jennifer Glenn (2020) at Ohio State University, Brant Christensen (2015) at the University of Oklahoma, or Mike Drake (2009) at Brigham Young University. Wherever Judd goes, she will be changing the lives of future business students, just as she did here at Mays Business School.

Categories: Accounting

COLLEGE STATION, T.X. — Earlier this year, Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School boasted top ranking for Fortune’s list of preeminent Business Analytics programs. Now, in just their second year of ranking eligibility, the program has leapt more than 50 places on the U.S. News and World Report list of Best Online Graduate Business Programs. From a ranking of 6th in Texas and 72 overall last year, to this years’ 2nd in Texas and 16th overall – the Mays’ program performed exceptionally across a host of competitive metrics in the ranking’s methodology. Categories included: engagement, expert opinion, faculty credentials and training, services and technologies, and student excellence.

Atop the list of data points informing the U.S. News methodology was engagement, an area where the Mays’ MS Analytics program (Mays’ first online offering) really sets itself apart, according to program director Myra Gonzalez. “Our program is unique in that it’s one of the few online, non-MBA, part-time, business programs designed for working professionals.” Drawing on their own experiences in graduate school, Gonzalez and program manager, Javier Aldape, sought to make the process of completing the MS analytics program student-centric and seamless. They identified engaging and supporting students more holistically (beyond the enrollment process) as essential to student retention and – ultimately – graduation rates.

Creating a “one-stop-shop” for student services – to keep students focused on school and eliminate obstacles to program success – they cut the middleman across campus offices and partner with students directly to help them navigate everything from onboarding and financial aid, to tutoring, academic advising and business degree plans. “We know first-hand the balancing act that’s required to achieve simultaneous success in school, work and home life,” shared Aldape. “We wanted to reduce administrative burden and stress, creating opportunities for students to focus on their classes, finish their degree plans on time, and engage meaningfully with their peers.” Gonzalez concurs, “We hope students will reflect on this time as a positive one, despite the workload. By building relationships with the students in our program and providing a single point of contact for administrative details, we replicate the simplicity and personal touch of a small-school experience in tandem with the resources and educational value of a major university.”

First-class faculty also drove the program’s ranking. Unlike instructors for many online programs, Texas A&M’s MS analytics professors typically have terminal degrees, in addition to robust industry experience. “This ranking reflects the excellence of our faculty and the distinctive blend of skills they bring into the classroom,” shared associate dean of graduate programs, Jerry Strawser. “Outstanding academic credentials, paired with deep private sector experience, uniquely position our instructors to equip students with the tools to excel in this rapidly evolving field.”

Additionally, with online hybrid delivery that dates back to 2013, the program’s faculty are fully prepared to create a distance-learning experience that is both effective and provides comparable instructional value to a traditional classroom setting. Gonzalez is quick to note the distinction. “Our faculty’s distance-learning tenure significantly predates the wave of online courses we saw offered in answer to the Covid-19 Pandemic. This isn’t a new playing field for us; our instructors are highly accustomed to instruction in a hybrid face-to-face and online setting.”

The breadth of faculty credentials helps provide greater parity with classroom learning in a digital setting – a program priority its leaders pursue relentlessly. To that end, Aldape and Gonzalez have curated a state-of-the-art, intuitive learning management system that prioritizes user experience and accessibility. “By ensuring a frustration-free technology component to the degree, we’ve seen a major boost in student engagement with course materials and peers, as well as a more positive outlook and strong retention,” shared Aldape.

A standardized interface and simple navigation for course structure and material – regardless of the course – offers students one-click access to recorded lectures, syllabi, course content, contacting the professor, and networking with fellow students. Assignments and exams are integrated such that interaction with key content is a prerequisite to accessing subsequent coursework. The design of this “read, reflect, display, do” model aims to keep students focused and engaged, courses interactive and to reduce pain points. The system builds on a service model focused on student experience, helping them manage course expectations and facilitating connectivity between students, their cohorts, and instructors.

Lastly, among other marketing and engagement efforts that bolster expert opinion of the MS Analytics program, the value of the student capstone projects to their respective organizations is noteworthy.  As part of the capstone, students are tasked with building a predictive model in support of their current employers. The projects run the gambit from safety modeling, to expected well production, to predicting outages before they happen. For the 2021 cohort the average estimated annual value per student capstone project is $18.2 million in savings or new revenue for their organizations. “Our students are leveraging their extended education to drive demonstrable value for their organizations – and that is something we are exceedingly proud of,” shared acting Dean, R. Duane Ireland. “It really affirms the caliber of the students coming through this program;” with an average student GPA of 3.5 paired with an average 13 years of work experience; “for student excellence, we are setting the bar.”

For an overview of the Texas A&M’s MS Analytics Program, visit the MS Analytics site. The program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2022 cohort.  To request more information, contact Javier Aldape, Program Manager at 979-845-2149 or jaldape@mays.tamu.edu.

Categories: MS Business, Uncategorized

The 8th Annual KPMG Fraud Case Competition was held on March 7th thru 10th at Mays Business School. Seven teams presented case solutions culminating the semester-long fraud case competition. Final judging of the competition was facilitated by Kelsey Wright, KPMG Advisor, with the help of several of her colleagues, representing KPMG’s US Forensic Advisory Practice.

The first-place team members are pictured below (left to right), Katie Patrick, Anna Schwartz, Abel Chan, Kylie Rodgers, and Hannah Schnackel:

Categories: Accounting

Twenty Aggie-led startups competed in the only university-wide business plan pitch competition.

By Lara Robertson, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS March 8, 2022 – The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its fifth annual Aggie PITCH at the Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center Monday evening. Now open to both current and former students, Aggie PITCH is the only university-wide business plan pitch competition at Texas A&M and seeks to identify the best Aggie business pitches from across industries and sectors.

For the 2022 event, a total of 20 startups were selected as finalists to compete for the coveted McFerrin Cup and a share of more than $35,000 in prize money. Split into three divisions —Full Pitch for both current and former students and Elevator Pitch open to both — the competition gives startup founders the opportunity to pitch their business in a fast-paced, high-energy format to a panel of anonymous judges and an audience of students, professionals, mentors, possible investors and fellow Aggie entrepreneurs.

In the Full Pitch divisions, 10 teams were each given 10 minutes for their pitch. In contrast, the Elevator Pitch competitors were only given a 1-minute allotment for their pitch. Although the anonymous panel of judges was tasked with ranking and selecting the winners of the Full Pitch division, audience members were invited to take part and cast their vote to select for the winners of the Elevator Pitch division.

Finalists’ ventures at this year’s Aggie PITCH represent a variety of industries including agriculture, information technology, consumer products and energy technology, among others, and are now automatically admitted into an exclusive group of startup founders who are eligible to represent Texas A&M University at national and global entrepreneurial competitions.

Flux Works LLC took home first place in the Full Pitch division for current students and was awarded $7,500. Bryton Praslicka ’24, startup lead, reacted with, “Winning to us means that people are excited about our technology. People believe in our technology. And winning this demonstrates that, and that’s really incredible.” Flux Works LLC, a developer and manufacturer of magnetic gears, has now met their fundraising goal and plans to use the prize money to buy back their intellectual property from Texas A&M and move into product development.

Taking home top honors and also $7,500 in the Full Pitch division for former students was Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie). Ovie aims to solve the problem of food waste in homes with a digital smart tracking system and plans to use their winnings to purchase prototype samples to get their product into user homes for testing. “Winning Aggie PITCH is so amazing because it validates our idea, where we’re at. And to have our peers and industry professionals that we respect acknowledge that our company is on to something, and believe in us, it means the world. It’s fuel,” stated Ovie lead Stacie Thompson ’02.

“Aggie PITCH continues to be a highlight of our year at McFerrin. The energy in the room is palpable, from both the pitch teams and the audience members getting to experience an event like this,” stated Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center. “In only our fifth year of Aggie PITCH, we’ve continued to see growth in both the quantity and quality of pitch competitors. Seeing entrepreneurs, specifically Aggie entrepreneurs, pitch their startup businesses to such a diverse, engaging crowd is something I’ll never grow tired of.”

2022 Aggie PITCH Winners

Full Pitch Division | Current Students
1st Place ($7,500): Flux Works LLC [Bryton Praslicka ’24, Daniel Zamarron ‘22]
2nd Place ($5,000): Teale [Narendra Vishnumolakala ’22, Connor Ust ’22]
3rd Place ($3,500): Flow-Pax [Haley Clark ‘23]

Full Pitch Division | Former Students
1st Place ($7,500): Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie) [Stacie Thompson ‘02]
2nd Place ($5,000): ClaraTech [Clara Orlean ‘20]
3rd Place ($3,500): SageSpectra [Madi Heck ’21, Mark Golla ‘22]

Elevator Pitch Division
1st Place ($1,500): South Texas Security Gates [Carson Neal ‘22]
2nd Place ($1,000): Imperium [Donald Bowen ‘25]
3rd Place ($750): Unravl Hair [Zanbria Asante ‘18]

A list of past Aggie PITCH winners can be found at aggiepitch.com.

About McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The McFerrin Center’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and former students.

The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty and staff.

The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts upon opportunity. In this spirit, the McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship offering more than 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.

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Media Contact: Lara Robertson, communications manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, 979- 845-1724, lrobertson@tamu.edu

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

Joseph Escobar ’22 stays busy between being a student managing partner for The Reveille Fund, starting his own small business, leading the Aggie Investment Club, and recently appearing on Mays Mastercast.

Growing up in El Paso, Escobar turned his attention to investing when his high school economics teacher decided to take some liberties with his curriculum. After running through the basics of macroeconomics for a month, Escobar’s teacher switched to financial literacy.

“My teacher said: I’m going to teach you how to file a tax return, how to make a stock portfolio, how to balance a budget with an annual income, and how to figure out what the cost of college is going to be,” said Escobar. “That gave me a whole lot of insight.”

Growing Interests

As his interest in investing grew and high school came to a close, a meeting with a Mays Business School recruiter turned into a visit to campus, and through the contributions of donors and the support of scholarships, Escobar soon found himself at Mays Business School.

“When someone comes over here from El Paso, it’s mesmerizing how many more opportunities there are,” said Escobar. “I was able to get hands-on experience from very successful alumni and faculty so soon.”

A few years down the road, Escobar is a stand-out student in the Adam C. Sinn ’00 Department of Finance, already differentiating himself from his peers through involvement in several clubs and his passion for the “fast-paced, highly competitive” elements of investment banking. Through stock-pitch competitions organized by the Aggie Investment Club and a trip through Aggies on Wall Street, Escobar would connect with Britt Harris ’80, chief investment officer of the University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company (UTIMCO). When The Aggie Investment Club was struggling to set up a student-run investment fund on their own, they reached out to Harris.

“He’s been one of the most influential people I’ve listened to and learned from,” said Escobar. “He just has an extremely deep amount of knowledge to share.”

Harris expanded the vision for what would become The Reveille Fund, interlocking it with a class at Mays Business School, allowing more students to have hands-on investing experience. While Escobar and the other officers of the Aggie Investment Club originally aimed for $100,000 to be set aside for the fund, Harris and UTIMCO allotted $7.5 million in January 2021.

“It was definitely an amalgamation of anxiety, of wanting to know what the future held during the first month. I still have anxiety, you know, how the fund will do week to week, month to month and that’s I think that’s a good thing,” said Escobar. “When I got to the moment where I’d had that first class, I just felt I had this big duty and responsibility on my shoulders.”

As the fund finishes its first year, Escobar and many other students have found the growth they experienced extremely rewarding. By the fall of 2021, The Reveille Fund had passed 9 million in assets under management.

“It’s like when you see NFL athletes crying when they win the Super Bowl,” said Escobar. “All that hard work, all that dedication, all of it was worth it in the end.”

Investing in his education and his future

Escobar attributes his success in his role within the fund and the Aggie Investment Club to the valuable mentorship he has received from Harris, as well as Mays Business School faculty members Dr. Sorin Sorescu, Dr. Christa Bouwman, Brent Adams, and William Jene Tebeaux and the support of Former Students, particularly Bryan Farney ’06.

“They’re so loyal to Texas A&M and so dedicated to educating students on real investing and how real investment managers make money in the market,” said Escobar. “They’re very helpful in going from all this theoretical talk and debate to action items.”

Although he felt the pull to go to New York City, Escobar turned down multiple offers in Manhattan and will be working for the Jefferies group in their energy investment banking practice in Houston.

“I wanted to be working with good people and I got the impression I would be when I interviewed with Jefferies. I’ve seen it myself that Aggies end up in New York or end up in San Francisco,” said Escobar. “But I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and I’m happy I chose to stay.”

Escobar will graduate in May but is excited to keep in touch with Mays and give back when he can.

“I just say to myself: How could I raise or help contribute to the prestige of Mays? Mays Business School, in terms of its national rankings, is so appealing to undergrad students that want a competitive, exciting career. Hopefully, one day I can be in a place where I can donate back and hopefully mentor as many students as I can.”

 

Categories: Finance