The professional practice of human resources is awaiting the emergence of an offshoot field focused on talent to fuel the strategy that best disperses human capital and creates a competitive advantage. That’s according to HR theorist and consultant Pete Ramstad, who faced a gathering of upper-level HR executives during the Center for Human Resource Management’s Spring Forum.

Nearly 30 HR leaders from such multinational companies as GE, Ford and Southwest Airlines gathered at Mays for the center’s two-day professional development forum in May, hearing from faculty and industry experts on new approaches to managing human capital.

A field focused on decision science is needed to guide talent decisions — just as finance enhances and steers the strategic decision framework behind accounting — said Ramstad, an executive vice president at industrial psychology firm Personnel Decisions International. “For HR, we have a rich, incredibly robust set of professional practices, but we are largely divorced from decisions just about people. For HR to advance, it’s going to have to separate its services from its support functions.”

Ramstad calls the new area of HR “talentship,” explaining that much like marketing’s affect on sales, an offshoot specialization would take the focus off bottom-line employment support and instead focus on value-added talent pool analysis. Knowing where your most pivotal employees are and guiding their growth and development, therefore, is crucial to a company’s success.

An organized, evolving talent strategy can clear up strategic ambiguity within the company as a whole and enable HR leaders to send their company’s troops out with clearly articulated marching orders. Knowing where to funnel that energy — and educating company executives about your plan — is key to creating programs for talent pools and directing efforts to improve the company’s image and brand through such talent, Ramstad says.

“How often do you get asked to do a program that you know won’t fly?” Ramstad asked. “You’ve got to shift out of the service framework and into teaching.”

Categories: Centers, Executive Speakers

Several faculty members and PhD students were honored for their work at Mays’ spring faculty/staff meeting.

Earning the Mays Faculty Fellowship for Teaching Innovation, a two-year appointment, are Associate Professor of Finance L. Paige Fields and Professor of Finance John C. Groth.

Mays awarded four $10,000 summer teaching grants to: Senior Lecturer in Finance J. Amanda Adkisson and Assistant Clinical Professor of Finance Detlef Hallerman; Associate Professor of Accounting Annie McGowan; Associate Professor of Accounting Mike S. Wilkins; and Professor of Accounting Christopher J. Wolfe.

The school also awarded summer research grants in the amount of $10,000 each to:

  • Leonard Bierman, management professor; Michael A. Hitt, distinguished professor of management; and Donald R. Fraser, finance professor
  • Trevis Certo, assistant professor of management
  • Cindy Devers, assistant professor of management
  • Shane A. Johnson, professor of finance
  • Rogelio Oliva, associate professor of information and operations management
  • Christopher O.L.H. Porter, assistant professor of management
  • Sorin Sorescu, associate professor of finance
  • Elizabeth Umphress, assistant professor of management
  • Christopher J. Wolfe, professor of accounting
  • Manjit Yadav, associate professor of marketing

Three PhD students were recognized during the meeting with the 2004-2005 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Research by a Doctoral Student. They include: Bilal Erturk in finance, Celile Gogus in management and Kartik Kalaignanam in marketing.

Five PhD students were recognized with the 2004-2005 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching. They are: Kun Wang in accounting; Julie Wu in finance; Arunachalam Narayanan in information and operations management; John Bingham in management; and J. Garry Smith in marketing.

Also this spring, Andersen & Co. Chair in Accounting Robert H. Strawser was honored with the 2005 KPMG Mentoring Award from the Gender Issues and Worklife Balance Section of the American Accounting Association. Winners of the award have demonstrated significant mentoring of women in the accounting profession for at least 10 years.

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Two professors from Prairie View A&M University’s College of Business will head to South Africa and Botswana in June, embarking on an educational journey for the school as it seeks to internationalize its business education programs.

That trip wouldn’t have been possible without guidance from Mays’ Center for International Business Studies (CIBS), which in 2004 helped net Prairie View a two-year, $166,000 grant to eventually create an international business program of its own.

That’s just one recent Department of Education grant that Mays Professor Kelly Murphrey — director of the Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade under the CIBS umbrella — has mentored requests for in his effort to raise awareness of global business opportunities for Historically Black Universities and Colleges. Working with a nation-wide group of Center for International Education and Research business educators, Murphrey also helped Mississippi’s Rust College gain a similar grant this year to fund exchange and awareness programs in its business curriculum.

“Many of these schools have not had a formal international business focus,” Murphrey said, outlining a three-year push to help acquire the federal funding needed to implement international business education programs at key historically black institutions. “Gaining a global perspective helps students become better citizens and also increases their competitiveness in the job search process.”

Murphrey also recently received a $160,000 Department of Education grant to create a model e-education program to deliver Web-based international business learning resources in support of the North American Small Business International Trade Educators’ global business professional credential. Included in that funding, Murphrey will host a national conference on best e-learning practices for international business educators and adapt his global entrepreneurship course for online consumption.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Faculty

Ten teams of entrepreneurial Texas A&M undergraduate and graduate students took away $13,000 in prize money to help fund their big ideas during the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship’s fourth annual Ideas Challenge held in May.

Two Mays graduate students in information technology, Mathew Subit and Murthi Raghav, took first prize of $3,000 for their paper-thin notePOD, a lightweight digital notebook that holds electronic copies of texts and books and allows users to compose notes. The 0.6-pound idea, based on emerging E-Paper technology, is projected to be lithe enough to be opened and closed like a notebook — displaying PDF pages of textbooks, newspapers and magazines — and can be read in any light and viewed from any angle.

Ninety expert and industry judges from across the state gathered in a day-long event at Wehner as teams of 40 finalists detailed their ideas and inventions in five-minute “elevator pitch” presentations that mirror real-world venture capitalist pitches.

Students with life-changing improvements and new ideas to streamline business were challenged to put their ideas to the test as they identified consumer markets, competitors and suppliers.

To read more about the top-10 winning ideas, visit

Categories: Centers, Students

More than 800 Mays students tossed their caps into the air on May 13 in a commencement ceremony kicked off by 2002 Mays Outstanding Alumni Award winner and Pier 1 CEO Marvin Girouard ’61. Girouard recounted the path his life took, urging graduates to look for similar opportunities to craft a career from the things they most love, before sending them off into their lives with a “Gig ‘Em.”

Graduating this spring were 508 undergraduate business students, 60 MBA students, 12 master’s in land economics and real estate, and 236 master’s of science students.

Texas A&M and the Association of Former Students named two business graduates at the ceremony as the 2005 Distinguished Alumni: Judge Willie E.B. Blackmon ’73, a retired Air Force attorney and municipal court judge in Houston, and Jerry S. Cox ’72, president and chairman of Cox & Perkins Exploration Inc. and namesake along with his wife Kay ’02 of Cox Hall, Wehner’s new wing.

Also during the ceremony, December Mays graduate Matt Josefy ’04, a former student body president and Professional Program graduate, was awarded the Brown Foundation-Earl Rudder Memorial Outstanding Student Award, the highest honor bestowed on a graduating senior. He was one of two students university-wide to win the award this year.

Two business graduates and members of the Corps of Cadets were also honored as the top cadets in their ROTC units during the campus spring military commissioning ceremonies. Doherty Awards, given to the most outstanding graduating cadets entering the military through an ROTC program, were presented to: Andrew J. Hightower of Houston, a finance graduate and newly commissioned Army man; and one of the Air Force’s newest, Aaron G. Kinsey of Canton, a Professional Program student who graduated with a BBA in accounting and a master’s in finance.

Categories: Former Students, Students

Management professor R. Duane Ireland joined a group of elite academics when he was elected this spring as a Fellow in the 16,000-member Academy of Management.

Ireland, the Foreman R. and Ruby S. Bennett Chair in Business Administration, joins four other Mays faculty members in the academy’s 160-member Fellows Group: Department Head Angelo DeNisi, Executive Associate Dean Ricky Griffin and Management Professors Don Hellriegel and Michael Hitt. Membership as a Fellow recognizes and honors those who have made significant contributions to the science and practice of management.

The only schools throughout the world with a higher number of Fellows are Harvard (11), Michigan (7), Washington (7), the University of Southern California (6) and Stanford (6).

Ireland is associate editor for the Academy of Management Journal, past associate editor for Academy of Management Executive and a previous consulting editor for Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. He also has completed terms as a member of editorial review boards for multiple other scholarly journals. His research focuses on strategic alliances, the effective management of organizational resources and corporate and strategic entrepreneurship.

“This is like being elected to the baseball or basketball hall of fame,” Ireland said. “This is a tremendous honor. It’s really recognition of the body of work you’ve accumulated throughout your career. I am humbled to become a Fellow and thrilled to join my Mays colleagues in this capacity.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty

A team of underclassmen students at Mays Business School finished out an Introduction to Securities and Commodities course with a bang this spring when five students placed in the top 10 at the New York Mercantile Exchange Commodities Challenge, held at the University of Houston in mid-April.

Sophomore business major Kristin Kellar took home the second-place prize and $1,000 in the Open Outcry Competition, which simulates a trading pit in which traders “cry” out their bids and offers. Freshman Casey Bell took 4th place and $500, and sophomore Michael Rooney came away at No. 6, winning $250. Sophomore Allison Martin and junior Sarah Krauss placed in the top 10.

Rooney was also an instrumental member of the third-place team in the broker trading competition, a five-week mock trading challenge that mirrors NYMEX’s ups and downs during daily trades in crude oil and natural gas commodities.

The team of younger students fared better than last year, when a group of 25 finance seniors took seven of the top 16 spots. This year’s 25 freshman and sophomores, recruited through a special topics course to learn the competition, took nine of the top 16 places.

“We expected our students to compete well, but this was a welcome surprise,” said Detlef Hallermann, a finance professor who oversaw student involvement in the challenge. “Considering all of our students will be returning next spring, things are looking up for next year.”

Categories: Students

“What steps can the Fed take after catastrophic attacks to reassure the market?” one Mays student asked the screened image of Roger Ferguson, vice chairman of the Fed’s Board of Governors, who was speaking with only a slight time-delay from 1,400 miles away in Washington, D.C.

The broadcasted answer from the only governor present in Washington on 9/11 was decisive: Maintain open market operations by directing the Fed to purchase government bonds, provide direct loans to banks, clear all checks and encourage banks to keep at business as usual. “First, we must communicate very clearly that the Fed is open and operating and that we’re willing to use our tools to keep the economy running,” Ferguson said.

Graduate management students in Professor Michael Pustay’s distance learning course hear first-hand each week from the nation’s top policy makers and business leaders — including such figures as Admiral B.R. Inman (ret.), former deputy director of the CIA, and former U.S. Congressman Charles Stenholm, who was a House leader in promoting social security reform for more than two decades. But Ferguson is among the highest-ranking economic officials to share his perspective on the intricate relationship between business and the public policy it must abide by.

Mays graduate students put Ferguson on the spot with questions about how and why the Fed sets interest rates, learning that the nation’s central bank monitors and responds to the activities of “bond market vigilantes” in doing so. Students also pondered NAFTA’s future, questioning the Fed leader about the possibility of a North American currency to mirror the strength of the euro. “It would only work if there were a broader desire to bring these countries together,” Ferguson said.

The class joins in on weekly lectures at the Washington Campus via videoconference, taking turns asking questions of highly-regarded speakers with fellow students at Purdue and the University of Texas.

It’s a technology that puts students as close as possible to leaders influencing the course of today’s economy through policy and business decisions. “Business people need to understand the role of the policy process in their business,” Pustay said of his half-dozen years teaching the distance course. “Students in the class get a better picture of how practitioners conceptualize problems and operate in the real world.”

Categories: Departments, Executive Speakers, Students

Senior finance major Ante Matijevic from Split, Croatia, and senior marketing major E. Nicole Melton of San Antonio were named the Bill Erwin Scholar-Athletes of the Year this spring, netting the duo the top academic prizes for male and female student athletes at Texas A&M. This marked the second year in a row that Mays student athletes have collected A&M’s top scholar-athlete honors.

Melton is the top scoring women’s golfer in Texas A&M history. She is a three-time Academic All-Big 12 selection and has earned Academic All-American honors.

Tennis player Ante Matijevic, ranked as high this spring as No. 6 nationally as a singles player and No. 1 in doubles, is a three-time All-Big 12 selection and a two-time All-American. Matijevic ranks second at A&M in career dual match singles and doubles wins. He also won the Distinguished Letterman Award for his team contributions, leadership and academics, making him the first athlete to ever claim both award

Categories: Students

Business graduate James G. Hooton ’66 was appointed as the Texas A&M University System’s executive vice chancellor for finance by the Board of Regents in April.

Hooton’s position is an expansion of responsibilities now held by the vice chancellor for business services, Tom Kale, who will retire Aug. 31 after 30 years in Texas higher education. As executive vice chancellor, Hooton will oversee the administrative and business functions of the entire A&M system, which consists of nine Texas universities, seven state agencies and a health science center and enrolls more than 100,000 students.

Hooton’s 35-year career with Arthur Andersen culminated in the role of managing partner for finance and administration and chief financial officer for Andersen Worldwide in Chicago, a global organization with 130,000 people in 50 countries and revenues in excess of $15 billion. He has worked as a consultant since his retirement from Andersen in 2002.

“After nearly 40 years in the private sector, I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to put my skills and experience to use on behalf of the people of Texas through the A&M System,” said Hooton, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA from A&M.

Hooton has served as a member of the Governor’s Special Commission on 21st Century Colleges and Universities and has been active in numerous organizations at A&M, including the Vision 2020 committee, the Mays Business School Dean’s Development Council and the A&M Foundation Development Advisory Committee. Hooton and his wife, Marilyn, live in College Station and have two daughters and five grandchildren.

Categories: Former Students