April, 2005 | Mays Impacts

The Professional Program Office at Mays partnered with Austin-based Mirage Networks in late February to offer the expertise of the company’s best in a two-day IT series lecture, the first of its kind for the Professional Program.

Mirage Networks instructors reviewed with students general security issues including the myriad of worms, viruses and other malware that can compromise and steal organizations’ electronic information, often threatening to bring down entire enterprise networks. Instructors discussed ways to contain such threats with good security practices such as strategic network design, anti-virus software, patches and other security solutions. Mirage’s Chief Technology Officer and co-founder, Mark Wilkinson, was the lead instructor.

“As one of the leading accounting programs for recruitment by the Big Four accounting firms, Mays Business School sets a very high standard for its curriculum, instructors and students,” said Scott Olson, vice president of marketing at Mirage. “Mirage Networks is delighted to partner with Mays to help educate tomorrow’s business leaders about a critical component of standard business operations for the 21st century — protecting information by securing networks.”

Students enter the Professional Program the spring semester of their junior year. Upon completion of the two-and-a-half year program, students earn a BBA in accounting and a Master of Science degree in such fields as accounting and finance.

Categories: Programs

Julian Gaspar, director of the Center for International Business Studies (CIBS), recently signed agreements with Tsinghua University in Beijing, China; Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador; National University of Singapore; and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain. These agreements add four new Reciprocal Exchange programs to the CIBS collection of 25 overseas exchange programs.

Two of the exchange programs were added for Mays graduate students, while Mays undergraduates will have access to two other programs. The immersion programs allow students to experience international business and cultural practices first hand.

“The key is to get our students out and expose them to the dynamic regions of the business world,” Gaspar said.

Undergraduate students have the opportunity through these programs to earn business certificates in International Business, European Union Business or Latin American Business. The certificate programs require students to take courses in international business as well as develop a better understanding of other cultures and languages.

“Since business is global in nature, students need to be in tune with developments globally so they will not be handicapped in the business world,” Gaspar said. “Unless students see the world for themselves, they won’t appreciate the business implications of global events.”

These programs are expected to be available in Fall 2005. For more information about these or other international programs, please visit the CIBS Web site at http://cibs.tamu.edu/.

Categories: Centers, Faculty, Programs

Women hailed for their success in information technology gathered at Reed Arena in February to encourage IT students to grow and change with their field after graduation. Detailing the high-wire balancing act of managing work, promotions and family life, a panel of Dell and ConocoPhillips managers expounded on the increasingly global role of IT.

“You will be in school for the rest of your life,” said Aga Webb, director of global IT for Dell, telling the women they should add one new skill, such as learning a language, each year. “And that school unfortunately won’t have so much guidance. You’re going to have to figure out where to go — journals, people, resources — and see learning as a holistic approach.”

It’s a message inherent in the Center for the Management of Information Systems’ sixth annual Women in Information Technology Conference, which shared the theme “Exploring Your Life Ambition” with Mays IT students and their counterparts at Prairie View A&M University.

Exploring topics from landing the best job to leadership and management in an endlessly changing industry, the women also addressed time management issues as mothers and professionals (telling students not to miss the plays and performances that make their children’s eyes light up) and off shoring and other trends challenging IT workers.

Most major U.S. companies are also global companies, which means fitting the needs of a work team across the world into your schedule. That can sometimes land managers leading phone conferences from their couch in pajamas at 2 a.m. to ensure their European counterparts aren’t inconvenienced, said panelist Pam Crawford, a ConocoPhillips manager of information services.

Off shoring brings its own cultural vocabulary, one that means today and tomorrow’s IT professionals will have to have an open mind. Webb explained, “I’m not ever going to approach it as, “We are a U.S. company and that’s how we do things.'”

Categories: Centers, Departments, Faculty

The Houston Livestock Show has given more than $100 million to Texas youth in state colleges and universities since 1957, currently supporting 441 Texas A&M students with scholarships. The annual three-week show provides students with opportunities to intern in an events-atmosphere and relies on 17,000 volunteers to generate enough revenue to fund the show’s numerous scholarships and educational commitments.Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo’s Chief Operating Officer Skip Wagner told students in Ben Welch’s Management 105 class that the philanthropy of running a nonprofit organization has to sometimes serve as its own best reward.

That means, Wagner said in a February guest-lecture detailing the fundamentals of operating a $15-million-a-year nonprofit, that your pay isn’t as high as that of executives in the for-profit business world. But, he explained, “you have to have an intrinsic reward system that says youth and education is worth working for.”

He told more than 400 students that his nonprofit leverages the strength and quality of its volunteer program to generate enough revenues to invest in education. That affects the Houston show’s measure of success, which isn’t judged by the bottom line, but depends on whether the people who give their time are having fun while doing so.

Outlining his roundabout path from a chemical engineering degree and his MBA at Harvard to management consultant firm McKinsey & Company, Wagner told the students to have fun and not think too far down the road about where they might end up next. Excel at what you do, he told them, and people will invest in you. The important thing is that you return the favor, he said.

“Give back in ways you can’t imagine,” Wagner said. “Give back to people and places that helped put that jingle in your jeans when you get it.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Former Students

Perry D. Reed ’76, of Longview, has committed $25,000 to create an endowed scholarship for students at Mays. His scholarship gift, intended for finance majors with financial need, forms the Perry D. Reed ’76 Endowed Scholarship.

“One of the greatest traditions is the Aggie Miracle, a process through which a person of modest means receives an education because of the generosity of others. Mr. Reed has reached out to students who need financial help the most,” said Dean Jerry Strawser. “His generous gift will enable Mays to recruit talented students and keep the Aggie Miracle alive.”

Reed, CPA, is president and CEO of Perry D. Reed & Company, PC, of Longview. His firm provides accounting, tax, audit and advisory services to clients in Texas and across the nation. Reed graduated from Pleasanton High School in 1974 and from Texas A&M in 1976 with a degree in finance, beginning his professional career with H.B. Zachry Co. in San Antonio. He has served in leadership capacities for the Texas A&M Foundation and the Deep East Texas A&M Club. His son, Perry Thomas Reed II, is currently a freshman at Texas A&M.

“Success should be measured by the legacy one leaves behind, which in turn creates opportunities far into the future,” Reed said.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

Stanton P. Bell ’54 has committed $80,000 to endow a scholarship for undergraduate students studying at Mays Business School. His gift creates the Stanton F. Bell ’29 President’s Endowed Memorial Scholarship, in memory of his father and intended for Corps of Cadets students majoring in business.

“Mr. Bell’s gift honors his father and provides an opportunity for an outstanding student to study at Mays,” Dean Jerry Strawser said. “His generous endowment will ensure the legacy of both through the accomplishments of the students it supports.”

Bell served as a Lt. Colonel on the Corps staff and was executive officer of the Ross Volunteers and a member of the Student Senate while at A&M. After graduation, he was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division in Korea. He is currently president and owner of Bell Hydrogas Propane, director of Compass Bank and a director of Mission Gas Corp. He is past president of the San Antonio Country Club, where he has been golf champion and senior golf champion, and is a director of Children’s Hospital Foundation, Boysville and The Valero Texas Open Golf Tournament.

“I’m happy to help in a small way since any success I have enjoyed is due in large part to my education at Texas A&M,” Bell said.

Categories: Deanspeak, Donors Corner, Former Students

Hicks, who spoke as part of the Center for Retailing Studies’ spring executive speaker series, said a company must have a strong leadership team, a clearly stated vision and financial goals and effective long-term strategies to guide a turnaround. Over the past five years, JCPenney’s once-stagnant and declining profits have more than quadrupled, making it one of the most remarkable turnarounds of the century as four straight years of waning profits ending in 2000 jumped to 7 percent in 2004. JCPenney President and Chief Merchandising Officer Ken Hicks gave more than 100 Mays marketing undergraduate and master’s students a peak at how that turnaround occurred, explaining that the international retailer had to bring in new ideas and re-envision its relationship with each store.

In the early history of JCPenney, individual stores were essentially franchises responsible for their own buying and for displaying items in each store. That sent mixed messages, meaning “customers didn’t know from one Penney’s to the other what we stood for,” Hicks said. With a new CEO in turnaround guru Allen Questrom and a reasonable, five-year plan to hit 6- to 8-percent profit growth by 2005, the company has been able to rebuild the image of its 1,017 U.S. stores and 61 Puerto Rican outlets.

Store-to-store sales have been, on average, above the 2-percent-a-year target Questrom set, helping JCPenney keep a tight hold on its 7- to 8-percent market share. “We had to win the driveway decision,” says Hicks, who came to JCPenney in 2002 as chief operating officer of stores and merchandise operations, part of the team leading the turnaround. “When she backs out, does she go left to Kohl’s or right to JCPenney’s?”

The change, though, isn’t yet complete. Even as Hicks showcased the company’s new advertising campaign — targeted at the middle class, 35- to 55-year-old female demographic with such slogans as “It’s all inside” — he explained that JCPenney is still recovering and turning its strategy to improved leadership.

“The definition of a merchant is someone who’s a constant critic and eternal optimist,” said Hicks, a former president of Payless Shoe Source with 20 years experience in merchandising. “You look at the last day’s sales and know you could do better — but wait till tomorrow. You’re constantly looking at what’s next and what’ll be fun to do to please the customer.”

Categories: Centers

Rebecca A. and Neal T. Thompson ’66, of Bullard, have committed a $200,000 estate gift to fund endowed scholarships for Mays students. Their gift creates the Neal T. Thompson ’66 and Rebecca A. Thompson Endowed Scholarship in Business.

“The Thompsons have made Mays students part of their legacy with their most generous gift,” said Dean Jerry Strawser. “Their generosity will be rewarded by providing an educational opportunity for future students studying business at Mays.”

Born in Bryan, Neal graduated from Texas A&M in 1966 with a degree in accounting and was a member of the 1964 Southwest Conference champion baseball team. He spent his career with Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) in locations around the country, retiring in 1995 as vice president of human resources. Neal and Becky have two sons, Aggies Brooks and Chip, and three granddaughters they hope will also become Aggies.

“Texas A&M has had a very positive influence on my life,” Neal Thompson said. “Becky and I feel blessed and privileged to be able to give back to the institution we love and consequently help support future Aggies.”

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students, Students

John W. Clanton ’84 has committed $300,000 to endow a faculty fellowship at Mays. His gift creates the John W. Clanton ’84 Endowed Faculty Fellowship to support the teaching, research and professional development of Mays faculty members.

“John’s generous support will help us compete for and retain the very best faculty,” Dean Jerry Strawser said. “Top faculty are the key to having great programs and providing unique learning opportunities for our students. John’s most generous gift will further Mays’ goals of attracting the most talented pool of professors possible.”

Clanton’s gift counts in the One Spirit One Vision Campaign, the university’s multi-year fundraising effort. The campaign goal is to help Texas A&M attain national top 10 status among public universities.

“Mays Business School’s leadership has articulated a clear vision for the future, and has demonstrated the commitment, courage and tenacity to achieve that vision,” Clanton said. “I am thankful to be able to participate in such an exciting process with such a dedicated group of leaders.”

Categories: Donors Corner, Faculty, Former Students

The Mays MBA Program Office has taken its recruiting to the Internet. As part of a new push to ensure that potential MBA students have as much access to recruiters as possible, the program launched an online chat initiative this spring, giving more than 200 potential students a virtual introduction to Mays.

MBA staff and their guests take questions and welcome students to Mays in a forum that most prospective students have been familiar with for years. Students can also log in to AOL Instant Messenger, an individualized-message system, to send questions and comments straight to the desk of MBA Program Associate Director Wendy Flynn as she works each day.

In a half-dozen two-hour chat sessions that began in February, MBA program staff and guests including alumni and career advisers outlined the benefits and challenges of earning an MBA at Mays. They handled questions ranging from admissions requirements to diversity and minority recruitment, providing an immediate response and finding more information if needed to address each student.

It’s a new connectivity that Flynn says keeps the program in touch with today’s student needs. “Part of the strategy is to help them feel like they have lots of personal attention and have a real personal connection with our program,” she says.

Categories: Faculty, Programs, Students