Lead Story

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans boosts ideas

Stephanie Burns, July 18th, 2018

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship welcomed 22 veterans to Aggieland for the 11th annual Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) on the evening of Saturday, July 14.

EBV at Texas A&M University is an exceptional initiative that leverages the resources and infrastructure of higher education to provide entrepreneurial skills and small business management training to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities. Part of a nationwide consortia of nine universities offering EBV to disabled veteran entrepreneurs, the overall goal of Texas A&M’s program is to open the door to economic opportunity for our veterans and their families by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining a commercial venture.

The opening ceremonies were held at the Association of Former Students with a welcome address made by Kathryn Greenwade ’88 of the Association of Former Students and opening remarks made by David Shimek ’86 of the program’s underwriter, The Reynolds and Reynolds Company.

Honoring the past, encouraging the future

Ron Poynter, retired Army helicopter pilot and EBV Class of 2012 graduate, was recognized with the Robin ’76 & Robert Starnes ’72 EBV Outstanding Alumni Award and delivered an encouraging and thoughtful speech to this year’s participants. Poynter encouraged the 2018 class to stay focused and engaged in their industry’s trends and to be prepared for a lot of hard work.

The program consists of a 21-day online course followed by a nine-day residency at Texas A&M. During the in-residence portion of EBV, participants will spend the week attending lectures and workshops at Mays Business School’s Center for Executive Development, where they will learn about enterprise basics, lean startup methodologies and small business growth strategies. The bootcamp extends well into the evening hours with individual breakout meetings between participants and volunteer mentors from the local community. Thanks to the generosity of the program’s individual and private-sector sponsors, EBV is offered at no cost to the participants.

This year’s class includes business ventures ranging from an eco-friendly flower alternative to healthcare to drone-imaging services, with nearly every venture focused on employing and giving back to fellow veterans.

The 2018 back-to-school shopping season is underway, and spending is expected to reach almost $27.6 billion – nearly 50 percent of annual school-related spending for a quarter of U.S. households. The one-month countdown to the first day of classes is under way, as many school districts have a start date of Monday, August 20.

In-store vs. online

Brick-and-mortar stores remain in the lead with back-to-school shoppers, but online spending continues to increase. Based on a survey by Deloitte, 57 percent of back-to-school shopping will be conducted in-store compared to 23 percent online, with 20 percent undecided how they will shop. Up from 2017, online shopping has gained ground in sales of school supplies, clothing, and computers. However, in-store sales are up for electronic gadgets. Despite the increasing push from online shopping, 96 percent of parents will head to a physical store at least once during the back-to-school shopping season, according to RetailMeNot.

“While a healthy economy is likely to lift purchasing across all categories, electronics spending is on track to out-pace apparel by 2019. Looking cool is certainly not just about what brand you do or don’t wear, but about what smartphone is in your pocket,” (Reference: RetailMeNot) says Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

How much time do shoppers allow?

Approximately $18 billion will be spent in the four-week period between mid-July and mid-August, reaching a peak in early August. Nearly 62 percent of parents have started their back-to-school shopping before August. According to a study by Deloitte, early shoppers are likely to spend 20 percent more than those who start late, and 68 percent of consumers intend to finish their back-to-school shopping within a month. However, the longer a person extends his shopping, the more he is likely to spend.

“It’s possible that people who enjoy shopping tend to start shopping earlier and plan to spend more while shopping,” added Christina Kan, an assistant professor of marketing at Mays Business School who researches consumer behavior and psychology.

Time to look for deals?

According to RetailMeNot, 67 percent of shoppers say they look for more savings during the back-to-school season than other times of the year, which is up from 36 percent in 2017. Anticipated spending is up across all major categories, with shoppers looking to spend the most on clothing. For 65 percent of parents, final price is the biggest factor in what they will buy for their kids. Based on figures from the National Retail Federation, households with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of nearly $685 each.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Two Mays Business School MBA candidates, Thomas Dowlearn and Willie Dennis, were included in Poets & Quants’ 2018 list of “MBAs To Watch.” The criteria for inclusion on the list MBAs who possess unique backgrounds, innate talent, and long-term goals that make them transformational leaders to watch in the coming years.


Thomas Dowlearn

Dowlearn is working toward an MBA while pursuing an MD. The co-op is designed to prepare students to tackle the managerial, financial, and leadership aspects of the medical field.

He said he chose Mays Business School because of how welcomed he felt throughout the admissions process. He felt he was surrounded by a group of people who believed in him, and he sensed the deep sense of pride that people associated with Texas A&M tend to have. The advice he would give to students looking to pursue an MBA is asking yourself “why” every day because it will help you discover yourself and find purpose in your decisions.

Since being at Mays, Dowlearn competed in and placed second at the Venture Challenge as well as earning the Best Presenter Award in 2017.

Willie Dennis
Dennis earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s in business management at the University of Texas at Arlington. He worked for Exxon Mobil as a revenue accountant and then Multiview Inc. as a financial reporting associate. When deciding which MBA program to pursue, Dennis said was intrigued with the worldwide recognition of Mays Business School. What sealed the deal was that Mays has one of the best ROI’s of a top-ranked business program.

His advice for students looking to get their MBAs: Be yourself and be able to tell your story in a unique way. Be able to understand what you want to accomplish by going to business school, particularly Mays, and be able to deliver that message to the admissions committee as well.

While at Mays, the faculty and staff nominated Dennis to be recognized as one of the “Best and Brightest” business school students in Texas, which led to him being honored as a Texas Business Hall of Fame Scholar in 2017.

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

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship welcomed 22 veterans to Aggieland for the 11th annual Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) on the evening of Saturday, July 14.

EBV at Texas A&M University is an exceptional initiative that leverages the resources and infrastructure of higher education to provide entrepreneurial skills and small business management training to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities. Part of a nationwide consortia of nine universities offering EBV to disabled veteran entrepreneurs, the overall goal of Texas A&M’s program is to open the door to economic opportunity for our veterans and their families by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining a commercial venture.

The opening ceremonies were held at the Association of Former Students with a welcome address made by Kathryn Greenwade ’88 of the Association of Former Students and opening remarks made by David Shimek ’86 of the program’s underwriter, The Reynolds and Reynolds Company.

Honoring the past, encouraging the future

Ron Poynter, retired Army helicopter pilot and EBV Class of 2012 graduate, was recognized with the Robin ’76 & Robert Starnes ’72 EBV Outstanding Alumni Award and delivered an encouraging and thoughtful speech to this year’s participants. Poynter encouraged the 2018 class to stay focused and engaged in their industry’s trends and to be prepared for a lot of hard work.

The program consists of a 21-day online course followed by a nine-day residency at Texas A&M. During the in-residence portion of EBV, participants will spend the week attending lectures and workshops at Mays Business School’s Center for Executive Development, where they will learn about enterprise basics, lean startup methodologies and small business growth strategies. The bootcamp extends well into the evening hours with individual breakout meetings between participants and volunteer mentors from the local community. Thanks to the generosity of the program’s individual and private-sector sponsors, EBV is offered at no cost to the participants.

This year’s class includes business ventures ranging from an eco-friendly flower alternative to healthcare to drone-imaging services, with nearly every venture focused on employing and giving back to fellow veterans.

Categories: Centers, Diversity and Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Selfless service, Spotlights, Texas A&M

With bright eyes and smiling faces, 38 rising high school seniors are enjoying the first annual Mays Transformational Leadership Academy (MTLA). It gives participants the opportunity to experience college life at Mays Business School including taking classes led by Texas A&M University professors on subjects such as public speaking, leadership, business model development, as well as the majors that are offered at Mays. The participants will are hearing from corporate panels ranging from JP Morgan, Deloitte Consulting, and KPMG.

The objectives of this program are to:

  • Cultivate the leadership and academic potential of rising high school seniors
  • Allow students to experience on a first-hand basis a microcosm of the collegiate and professional lives of business students
  • Introduce talented students to career opportunities in business disciplines
  • Provide information about admission, scholarship funding, and high-impact programs available at Mays

“It is not about starting the company, it is about what you do today with an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Clinical Professor Kris Muir.

 

In addition to these objectives, participants will be learning from many people who could have a profound effect on not only their decision of where they will be attending university next year but on their lives. “Start to find your 12,” Mays Dean Eli Jones said on Sunday, the opening day. “I made a list of 12 influential people in my life and kept in touch with them throughout my professional career.”

 

Throughout the week, the participants are staying in Texas A&M dormitories and are being led by seven small group leaders who will be there for them as support. Every night, the small group leaders will lead a reflection on the days’ events as well as assist them with their weeklong project, which the participants will present on the last day. When they do their presentations, they will also be getting feedback from a panel of Mays professors and executives.

 

The event is being hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Mays Business School and has been coordinated by numerous faculty, staff members, and students. Ricky Dillard Jr. ’19 has been serving as the Chief Logistics Officer of the program and Kate Wellmann ’18 is the Chief of Staff. “Our team is dedicated to being a voice and not an echo for the future world leaders,” Dillard said. “Seeing the enthusiastic parents and participants at the MTLA opening has jump-started and reenergized our purpose to enable a diverse set of Transformational Leaders to begin their leadership journey.”

Several participants said interactions at the Student Recreational Center on campus helped strengthen their relationships. “We think this will help us in our group project by being able to trust each other on a deeper level,” one said.

The 80/20 Foundation and KPMG have demonstrated their support for our efforts to create a culture of diversity, inclusion, and engagement at Mays by sponsoring the Mays Transformational Leadership Academy. Organizers are hopeful this week will lead to some of the students becoming members of the Texas A&M Class of 2023.

Categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Management and pre-med student Kathryn Anderson ’19 and biomedical engineering student Sarah Swift ’20 both have a heart for philanthropy and a mind for business. After attending the Philanthropy Lab Ambassador’s Conference with students and nonprofit organizations from all over the nation, Anderson and Swift brought back a $25,000 grant and a promising future for Save Our Streets (SOS) Ministries in Bryan.

“I was one of six professors to serve as facilitators and mentors for the weekend as we led discussions and conversations related to philanthropic topics all weekend,” said Kyle Gammenthaler, a lecturer at Mays Business School. “It is important that we recognize our students for this well-deserved accomplishment.”

…Read more

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

The master’s in accounting program at Mays Business School ranked #1 in North America for the first time in the Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking Financial Markets – a ranking of the best master’s and MBA programs.

Eduniversal classifies and highlights masters and MBA programs which prepare and graduate the most competent students into the global workforce by surveying current graduating students and recruiters. Their methodology takes into account the reputation of the program, the salary of the employed graduates, and the graduates’ satisfaction with the program. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Departments, Featured Stories, Finance, Management, Marketing, Mays Business, MBA, MS Business, News, Programs, Rankings, Spotlights, Texas A&M

 Four years ago, Jared ’03 and Risa ’05 Meyer were looking to start their own business. The Mays Business School former students wanted to start a business that directly reflected the values of their marriage: compassion and service. Values for them were determined by their faith and wanting to be people who look outside of themselves to serve others. “Texas A&M holds true to that, as well. It is about everyone making an impact beyond your own world, which Texas A&M does a good job instilling in their students,” Jared described. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Mays Business School students have traveled for the past five years across the Atlantic to take part in a faculty-led winter trip to South Africa and Swaziland. Led by Clinical Professor of Management David Flint and Clinical Assistant Professor of Information and Operations Management Matthew Manley, students spend part of their winter break in South Africa visiting local businesses and national parks. Then they travel to the neighboring country of Swaziland to learn about the non-profit orphanage Bulembu, the businesses that support it, and the challenges of Swaziland’s market environment.

“I thought it was a really interesting combination of not-for-profit work, developing market conditions, and entrepreneurship, so they encouraged me to go visit,” Flint said as he recalled the suggestion from some of his church friends to visit Bulembu.

After visiting the orphanage in the summer of 2013, he came back with a vision of guiding a group of Mays students through South Africa and Swaziland to enhance their cultural understanding and global mindset. 

“The purpose of the trip is to discover how business education and skills can be brought to bear in solving very real and pressing social issues,” Manley said in describing the business aspect of the trip. “There are problems to solve, there is a real urgency, and there are people who are committed to working out the solutions.” …Read more

Categories: Center for Business International Studies, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Management, Mays Business, Selfless service, Students, Texas A&M

Ronnie Hale Sr. didn’t attend Texas A&M, but he was always an Aggie to the core. He put his four children through Texas A&M. Five of his grandchildren so far – with another on the way – are also Aggies.

Hundreds attended Hale’s funeral in March 2017, where Ronnie Hale Jr. recalled many memories and spoke of his father’s love for his wife of 58 years – Kay – and their children Ronnie Jr. ’82, Randy ’85, Richie ’88, and Kerri ’92.

To honor Ronnie Sr. after his death, his son and daughter-in-law Randall B. “Randy” and Tracy Hale are donating $250,000 toward renaming the Department of Accounting
for longtime department head Jim Benjamin.

The Benjamin campaign recently reached its goal of $10 million in commitments, and the Hale family wanted to help it come to fruition. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Donors Corner, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Put the phone down, earn prizes.

That’s the premise of SAFE 2 SAVE, a mobile app that rewards users for staying off their phones while driving. Since its launch in Fall 2016, it has grown to attract more than 70,000 users. And its founder Mays former student Marci Corry ’01 is continually working to improve it and increase its reach.

While having a conversation with a Texas A&M University student, Corry noticed everyone around them was on their phone. “As I reflected on that and the dangers of texting, especially while driving, it hit me that I should start a positive app that targets adults as well as teens that would encourage people to be hands-free,” said Corry.

The tipping point came when she heard the news of a 19-year-old student who lost his life after he was struck by a driver who was texting. “That’s when I knew I needed to start this company to help grow the awareness and prevent distracted driving as much as we could in Aggieland,” said Corry.

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Startup Aggieland, Students, Texas A&M