In early March, 25 Business Honors students toured government and defense contractor Raytheon’s McKinney, Texas, unit. There they played with thermal imaging devices (what one student called “real James Bond technology”) and heard from Raytheon VP Colin Schottleander.

Raytheon leaders also detailed the company’s financial leadership development program, in which recent graduates spend six months in four company divisions to get a feel for the business. The company employs 80,000 worldwide and posted $21.5 billion in sales in 2005.

Junior accounting major and honors student Zach Neal said he was drawn to the work environment at Raytheon, which focuses on employee satisfaction to retain workers on top-security projects. “Raytheon would be an excellent company to work for,” he said. “Employees get to experience first-hand the latest in defense technology and make a difference in protecting the United States.”

Categories: Programs, Students

Associate Dean Bala Shetty is the first recipient of the Dan H. Robertson Distinguished Core Faculty Award.

Shetty, who became associate dean in 2005, was PhD coordinator and head of the Department of Information & Operations Management. He also held faculty positions at Southern Methodist University and the Madrid Business School in Spain, and he served as a Research Fellow at Princeton University in 1996.

Learn more about the award’s namesake at

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Accounting Professor L. Murphy Smith was named Outstanding Educator by the American Accounting Association Southwest Region in March.

The award recognizes Smith’s contributions to the field, including research on ethics, information technology and international business. Earlier this year, he received one of two Assessing Technology in Teaching Awards at the Texas A&M national teaching assessment conference.

Categories: Departments, Faculty

What’s the next revolution in online retailing? It might be tying inventory to location so that a customer can find out if the exact size, color and brand of pants she’s looking for are in stock at her local store or in a nearby town.

That’s a project the gurus at JCPenney’s are tackling as they seek to expand their market and direct a multi-channel shopping experience that takes advantage of the best tools retailers have to offer. The company reached a record $1 billion in online sales in January with a Web site that is already tailored to consumers by their tastes in clothing and home furnishings.

The site now claims 45 million active customers, JCPenney Direct (catalog and internet) President John Irvin said in March to an audience of marketing graduate and undergraduate students.

That means JCPenney has been able to reach out beyond the 1,000 brick-and-mortar stores to get new customers and tap new markets. “E-commerce is big companies getting smaller in respect to customers, so that we’re not a general merchant like we were in 1902,” Irvin said. “We’re more like a specialty store, we’re one-on-one with the customer’s needs.”

The company had a head-start on the e-commerce revolution when it first established a Web site with an 800-number for orders in 1994. By 1996, began accepting secure online ordering, and in 1998 a full-time Internet division of JCPenney was formed as part of JCPenney Direct.

“We’ve been set up for a long time to put the customer first,” Irvin said. But as other companies catch up in e-commerce, must do its best to introduce innovation to the online retail environment. Treating the Internet as another branch of JCPenney’s services in multi-channel marketing is key to improved customer service, Irvin finds. That means having in-store Internet terminals to show customers additional merchandise and allowing customers to order online and pick up at a store.

And that even extends to Web page look-and-feel, Irvin says: You don’t want to alienate customers with a major site redesign every month. “Imagine if you go into a store, and every week the lady’s sportswear is on a different floor,” he said. “Customers need to be able to find things in the same places, they grow accustomed to a look and feel, and that carries across all channels.”

Categories: Departments, Executive Speakers

Coleman Chair in Marketing Venkatesh Shankar’s co-authored paper, “Estimating, Tracking, and Managing Brand Equity,” has been chosen a finalist for the 2006 Marketing Science Practice Prize.

The winner will be named at the 2006 Marketing Science conference, following presentation of the papers to a panelist of judges. Shankar’s work was also chosen as a finalist for the prize in 2004.

Categories: Faculty, Research Notes

A technique for the treatment of macular degeneration got the green light for commercialization from a team of MBAs and their informal technology commercialization board — the 130 industry representatives judging the MBA Technology Transfer Challenge.

First-year MBA candidates Jason Call, Nicholas Jones, Mike Reynolds, Travis Habhab and Ivan Cima took first prize, winning $3,000 in the 4th annual challenge, sponsored by Mays’ Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship.

The challenge is a required part of the curriculum for all first-year MBAs. Students have a week to assess a new technology, identify markets for it and determine its potential commercial viability. They must then make a “go” or “no go” decision on the technology and defend their decision to potential business and venture capital investors.

Students randomly draw from selected technologies. The inventions are developed by Texas A&M University System researchers and managed by the Texas A&M System Office of Technology Commercialization.

The week ends with a day of pitches in front of judges familiar with the industry or accustomed to investing in new ventures, giving students a real-world feel for business analysis, decision-making and entrepreneurship.

“The annual Tech Transfer Challenge brings MBA classroom lessons to life,” said Richard Scruggs, director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship. “It really tests their learning as well as their research, analysis, planning and teamwork skills.”

The challenge was underwritten by Ford Motor Company. CRA International provided the $3,000 grand prize; Monika Matthews (in honor of Gordon Matthews) sponsored the second-place, $2,000 award; and Hewlett Packard sponsored the third-place prize of $1,000.

Other winning teams include:
Second place:  Low-Volume Total Suspended Particulate (TSP) Sampler Head, presented by Lauren Fincher, Kevin Venturini, Marty Allsop, Kipper Overstreet and Paul Dyson.

Third place: Fluorescently Labeled Primer Combinations to Produce a Multiplexed Assay for High Throughput Identification of Bovine Prion Protein Gene (PRNP) Mutations, prestened by Abbas Halabi, Sanjay Gokhale, Patrick Cary and Mendi Slodowitz.

Categories: Centers, Programs, Students

First-year MBAs David Houston, Levi Douglass and Ivan Cima and second-year MBA Mark Stubbs took 9th place in the University of Toronto’s Rotman International Trading Competition in late February.

This was the first year our MBAs entered the competition, where students from 22 international teams practiced their forecasting and trading skills in a realistic environment. The UK’s University of Reading came in first place, followed by MIT.

Categories: Programs, Students

The student managers of the Tanner Fund continue to outperform their benchmark, the S&P 500. From its inception in May 2001 to last count at December 2005, the Tanner Fund has increased in value by 16.2 percent. Over the same time period, the S&P 500 is up only 0.5 percent. The performance gap widened during the most recent completed investment term — May 15 to Dec.14, 2005 — as the fund earned 13.4 percent to the S&P 500’s 8.8 percent.

The most recent group inherited a fund with 31 individual stocks, liquidated 15, and added another 10 stocks of their own for a trimmed-down fund of 26 stocks. The students hope their allocation strategy of overweighting energy, health care and consumer discretionary sectors while underweighting industrials, financials, information technology, telecom and utilities will continue the fund’s strong performance trend.

The Tanner Fund, established with a $250,000 gift from Jamey and Richard Tanner ’53, puts competitively-selected students in charge of the live portfolio, with each student fulfilling typical roles such as that of the fund’s research economists. Professor Tim Dye teaches the fund in an upper-level finance course, where there is already a waiting list for the Fall 2006 management team.

Categories: Donors Corner, Students

Craig Ranch’s 2,000 acres have only been zoned for development for four years, and already 4,000 residents mill about in what will become a residential, commercial and recreational center reminiscent of yesterday’s hometowns.

Forget suburban sprawl and the long faces of drivers waiting in traffic, Craig Ranch master planner David Craig ’78 told a master’s of land economics and real estate class in late February. Instead, think “new urbanism”: a functional commercial center within walking distance of homes, parks and entertainment venues that reclaims a heyday of the American past for families in McKinney, Texas.

“What we’re doing is really turning back the hands of time,” Craig explained, pointing to the diagrams of the recently-opened Cooper Aerobics Center and the Tournament Players Club at Craig Ranch, which held its first golf rounds in 2004 as an official course of the PGA Tour. “There’s nothing new about urbanism, but when you put it in a suburban setting, that’s pretty new.”

Craig’s development will create a city-within-a-city, complete with a water park, ballfields, a soccer complex, bank, medical complex, houses and condos, a veteran’s memorial and dancing fountain, and a Montessori school. The idea is to create a commercial tax base to support the residential tax rolls in an area that has experienced double-digit growth over the past 15 years, Craig explained.

And such designed communities are also the new wave of real estate for those who love dirt and development, Craig told the future real estate professionals. “Create destination locations, communities that foster family,” he said. “You’ll never be bored in this industry — there’s so much happening and changing every day.”

Visit to learn more about Craig Ranch’s new urbanism concept.

Categories: Centers, Former Students

From May 22-25 in College Station, join world-class experts from academia, government and business in a seminar on how to prepare businesses and organizations to sustain a terrorist attack while minimizing operational disruption.

The seminar, “Planning for the Worst: Business Continuity Strategies in the Face of Terrorism,” is hosted by Texas A&M’s Integrative Center for Homeland Security.

Experts will look at how terrorism threatens business continuity, how executives can protect their businesses from cyber-terrorism, the legal and financial impacts of terrorism on business, and how leadership can restructure their business to ensure continuity. Key leaders and mid-level managers from government organizations, public and private corporations, and non-profit organizations are invited to register for this event and join the small but growing number of managers and executives who are knowledgeable in the new field of BCP & HLS (Business Continuity Planning & Homeland Security).

To find more information and register, visit

Categories: Texas A&M