January, 2006 | Mays Impacts

Sophomore business major Ali Ramzanali opened a Wing Zone franchise restaurant in College Station this fall, with help from his co-owner, father Rahman Ramzanali.

The Mays student hopes to get even more hands-on managerial and restaurant training while running Wing Zone.

“My father bought a Wing Zone franchise in Houston, where I worked with him as a manager for two years,” Ali told The Bryan-College Station Eagle. “I have always admired my father, and he has taught me a lot.  He has always pushed me to be my best. Since we are now co-owners, we have a partnership and that has strengthened our relationship.”

Wing Zone was created in 1991 and has since expanded to more than 74 restaurants nationwide. The hot spot offer 25 flavors of wings as well as sandwiches, appetizers, salads and other entrees.

Ali says Wing Zone is a stepping-stone to his goals. “Eventually I want to take over and allow my father to retire, then maybe start another business,” he said.

Categories: Students

William H. Flores ’76, a cum laude accounting graduate, is the 2006 president elect of the Association of Former Students. Joining him as new board member for 2006 is 1982 management graduate Linda LaMantia, a committee co-chair who helped raise $4.2 million over two years for South Texas Academic Rising Scholars (STARS) scholarships.

Flores, self-employed in the oil and gas industry, served as senior VP and CFO for Gryphon Exploration Company before it was sold to Woodside Energy (USA). He is a member of the dean’s development council and a 2003 Mays Outstanding Alumnus.

Categories: Departments, Former Students

S. Kerry Cooper, executive director of Mays’ international business programs, was part of a 17-member commission that asked the federal government to begin allocating $50 million a year to support students seeking study abroad opportunities.

The Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship, appointed by President Bush and members of Congress, recommended in a November report that the nation increase the number of students who study overseas to 1 million by 2017. Such a move is critical to maintaining U.S. interests internationally, the report finds.

Key among the commission’s findings: students need financial assistance to be able to study abroad. And, Cooper says, unlike Texas A&M and its collection of 80 faculty-led and reciprocal exchange programs, many schools have few if any study abroad programs for their students.

“We have a great study abroad office here at Texas A&M, so our own students know about the opportunities available,” Cooper says. “But there are some schools that don’t have this infrastructure. We’ve really got to help them build up programs and market the need for spending time abroad.”

Find the full report from the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship athttp://www.lincolncommission.org/.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Faculty

Finance faculty members are bringing good news home to Mays in the research world.

Republic Bank Research Fellow D. Scott Lee has joined the editorial board at the Journal of Asia Business Studies, an interdisciplinary journal with faculty from Harvard, Chicago and MIT also on the board. Assistant Professor Michael Gallmeyer likewise joined an editorial board, consisting of faculty from Princeton, Cal Tech and Northwestern, for the journal Mathematics and Financial Economics.

The 2005 book “A Course in Derivative Securities,” by Kerry E. Back, holder of the Cox Chair in Business and Leland Memorial Chair in Finance, was also recently named one of the Best 10 finance books of the year by riskbook.com. Check out the authors Back keeps company with athttp://www.riskbook.com/link_topic/best_of_2005.htm.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Research Notes

More than 50 business undergraduates and MBAs journeyed to Omaha, Nebraska in late October to learn from investment hero Warren E. Buffett and tour model companies in his Berkshire Hathaway portfolio. It was the second year a group of students, through the Aggie Investment Club, made the trip to hear Buffett’s advice, eat steak with him at his favorite steak house, and ask for guidance about future ambitions.

For most, it was a lesson in humility and the importance of values in determining your success, said Chris Comish ’05, the 2005 MBA Association President. Buffett drives a Lincoln Town Car and lives in the same home in Omaha he first purchased half a century ago. And he invests in companies that share his values and that he can understand, Comish explained after meeting Buffett this fall.

“This is something we need to do every year, so everybody has this opportunity,” Comish said.

Read more about last year’s inaugural Aggie trip to see Buffett.

Categories: Programs, Students

R. Malcolm Richards, director of the Real Estate Center at Mays Business School since 1995, left his position Jan. 1 to assume the deanship of the School of Business and Management at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Richards is also the Peters Professor of Banking. He began his career at Texas A&M as a finance professor in 1974, and was finance department head for years before he became Mays’ associate dean for administration and external relations. Richards only spent two years of his career away from Texas A&M, when he served as dean of the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State University from 1991 to 1993.

“Malcolm Richards has been a wonderful colleague at Mays Business School for a number of years,” said Dean Jerry Strawser. “When I visit with former students, his name is frequently mentioned as one of the faculty members who truly made an impact on their lives. While we are all excited for him as he undertakes this wonderful opportunity, our school simply won’t be the same place without him.”

Richards’ research has focused on the functioning of financial markets, including studies of the accuracy and usefulness of forecasts of corporate earnings, investor choice, and the process by which the market evaluates and reacts to new information. Among the most satisfying parts of his 30-year career so far, he says, has been seeing Texas A&M’s growth and progress.

“And, of course,” Richards adds, “it doesn’t hurt seeing former students do so well in their careers.”

Categories: Centers, Departments, Faculty

Trading on currencies in a foreign exchange market characterized by volatility can turn profits to losses in seconds. That’s what John Corley, a finance major, learned this fall as he scrutinized the market to execute mock trades in the school’s first-ever Inter-University Financial Trading Competition.

Corley took third place, adding $4,693 — or a 9 percent return — to his original $50,000 mock account and executing 15 to 20 trades during the month-long competition. The December 2005 graduate this month joined Constellation Energy in Baltimore as an analyst in origination. Though he says he probably just got lucky in his first trading competition, he explained his approach in strategy gleaned from Mays classes and put to the test in the mock trades. It’s a real-life skills set he took with him to help understand business at Constellation.

“You learn how people trade, what they look for in valuing a company and what big events in the news affect trading,” Corley explains. “Overall, it’s a good lesson on how to monitor everything around you and react to changes.”

Students from eight schools in the United States and Canada competed for cash prizes in the trading event, completing simulated trades in the foreign exchange market on a Global Forex Trading platform. In the end, those with the biggest returns claimed prizes of up to $1,000.

Students were required to make a minimum of five trades in each of three trading sessions, factoring in shifts in the market and live news events as they planned and tailored their trading approach. Texas A&M students also had access to the real-time and historical financial resources at the Reliant Energy Securities and Commodities Trading Center at Mays.

“This is another component of the Reliant Trade Center’s mission to develop students so that they leave A&M with a decided advantage over their peers, especially when it comes to stock and commodity trading and risk management,” says Finance Department Head David Blackwell.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Faculty, Students

Research by internationally ranked Mays faculty is now available online in a searchable format. More than 3,500 entries — a number that grows every day — from Mays’ 105 tenured and tenure-track faculty can be sorted by keyword, department, publication type, publication date and abstract contents.

Within the business database you’ll find references to journal articles, authored books and conference papers on everything from the challenges of global management to corporate governance and the rise of e-commerce. To access the public research database, visit http://maysbschool.tamu.edu/research.

Categories: Faculty, Research Notes

Phillip Z. Pace ’85 of Houston has established a $30,000 excellence fund for use at Mays. His gift creates the Phil and Linda Pace Excellence Fund, intended to support and enhance programs and opportunities in business.

“The Pace’s generous commitment to our school provides us with funds and flexibility to identify key programs and provide seed money to support new ideas,” said Dean Jerry Strawser. “These funds are essential in assisting us in our move to be among the top 5 public business schools.”

Pace earned his BBA in finance from A&M in 1986. The longtime financial analyst is now managing director at Credit Suisse First Boston’s Houston office, where he’s been since 1991. In 2000, Pace was the No. 2 analyst in oil and gas exploration and development on thestreet.com’s analyst rankings — compiled on the basis of strong stock-picking skills as well as votes from key institutional investors.

Pace has been an analyst for natural resource exploration and production companies with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Smith Barney and Rauscher Pierce in addition to his time at CSFB. He is also pegged as a key speaker in the industry as part of the Texas Southeast Regional Speakers Series for the Independent Petroleum Association of America. He is a member and advisor on the dean’s development council at Mays. He and his wife, Linda ’86, have been married for 20 years.

“I am grateful that Mays Business School gave me the tools to compete with the Ivy Leaguers working in New York City,” Pace says. “Aggies have a growing reputation on Wall Street for being hard working and insightful. We hope that our support of Mays will contribute to sustaining that strong reputation.”

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

Mays’ accounting graduate and undergraduate programs placed among the top 10 programs in the nation in the Public Accounting Report’s 2005 rankings. The undergraduate program ranked 7th, up from 13th in 2004, and the graduate program moved to 8th from its 10th place spot last year.

The rankings are based on an annual survey of accounting professors. Other programs in the top 10 for both undergraduate and graduate included Brigham Young University, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Notre Dame, Southern California and the University of Texas.  That’s of the more than 400 U.S. business schools accredited by AACSB International, including 167 with specialized accounting accreditation.

Both the undergraduate and graduate programs ranked high in the 2006 U.S. News and World Reportrankings: undergrad tied for 16th public program, and graduate came away ranked 11th.

Department of Accounting Head Jim Benjamin says that this is further evidence of the growing national reputation of the Texas A&M accounting programs. Both the success of the innovative Professional Program (an integrated bachelors/master’s program) and the productivity of the department’s faculty have driven the climb in the rankings, Benjamin says.

Categories: Departments, Faculty