November, 2006 | Mays Impacts

While flipping burgers is often the teen-choice job, making a career out of a hot grill and drive-through window might not be very appetizing. But as the 50 members of Texas A&M’s Restaurant & Hospitality Club have found, there’s more to the food industry than a hairnet and grease stains—there’s a job pool for college graduates in management, marketing, entrepreneurship, accounting, IT and more.

Established in 2005 by Agricultural Economics Professor John Siebert, the Restaurant & Hospitality Club has helped linked students with numerous opportunities in the food industry.

Junior agribusiness major and R&H club treasurer Lacey Nixon has been able to put the networking aspect of the club to work for her: She secured an internship in the summer of 2006 with Pappas Restaurants. This experience provided her with training in every area of restaurant management and hospitality, including hosting, serving, catering, banquets, bussing, floor managing and kitchen managing.

Though she wasn’t sure if she’d be allowed to intern with Pappas since she wasn’t yet a college senior, Nixon said it was her “passion for the industry” that made her an exception to the rule. When she graduates, Nixon plans to start her career in restaurant management. “Eventually I would love to become a general manager and have my own store,” she said. “Or I would like to go into menu design, marketing or company recruiting.”

Whatever track a student may choose, the opportunities in the industry are virtually endless. According to the National Restaurant Association, employment in the food and restaurant industry will increase by 14 percent in the next decade. And what increases along with this statistic are employee standards.

“A&M and Mays are obviously well known for the education they offer,” Nixon said. Since many of the restaurants in the industry no longer see a degree as an advantage, but rather a requirement, she says her time as Texas A&M has been a good investment.

In an evolving industry in which this year’s annual sales are predicted to hit $511 billion, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the odds of finding a successful career in restaurant and hospitality are increasingly high. What it will take, though, is a business-minded graduate to ferret out the best opportunities and make an impact in the industry.

Categories: Students

For many soon-to-be graduates, finding a job is more like an assignment than an opportunity. But the Business Student Council’s Fall Career Fair provided job seekers with smooth sailing on a 202-company sea of opportunity.

Held twice annually, BSC’s career fair is one of the largest student-run career fairs in the nation. Combined, the fall and spring fairs bring in about $223,000 for BSC, money that helps cover fair-hosting costs, professional development trips for members, membership dues, scholarships and community service projects.

“In years past, the number of companies that were able to attend the fair was capped at 61,” said Richele Rainosek, BSC’s Career Fair vice president. “Our vision this year was to expand slightly while still maintaining and improving the level of service we offered our recruiters.”

And they did. BSC was able to create openings for eight more companies each day, bringing in 69 companies on two days and 64 on the last.

“The career fair is an opportunity to communicate with companies, rather than just looking at their Web sites,” said senior marketing major Rachel Browning.

The 200 companies from all industries recruiting at Mays this September ranged from consulting to energy and transportation to food. But regardless of the field that the recruiters represent, or which position they were here to fill, they unite on the search for one thing—Texas A&M quality.

“We’re here because we’re looking for good people,” said Knight Transportation Division Manager Adam Phillips. As the current employer of a few former students, Phillips says he knows the types of employees produced at Mays. And though it was Knight Transportation’s first appearance at Mays, according to Phillips, they’ll be back for more. “It’s a good resource that’s fairly untapped, and we hope to become established here.”

Categories: Programs, Students

Two trips to Seattle and Detroit gave groups of Mays marketing and honors students a glimpse at some of the nation’s top companies and urban cultures this October.

And, as Honors Director Kris Morley noted of her students in Detroit, it gave some young students the basic confidence to travel independently. “Tipping the bellman, hailing a cab, finding your way around with a map of the city—you name it, they got a handle on it,” Morley said.

The Center for Retailing Studies sent 12 retailing-minded students to Microsoft and Nordstrom headquarters in Seattle in early October, where they visited the “inner sanctum” of Microsoft and learned about the company’s vision of the home of the future and its role in retail. Students toured Nordstrom, REI’s flagship store and Fred Meyer, a multi-department grocery store owned by Kroger.

But seeing a vibrant retail market in action at Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market might have proved the more impressive tour: students caught fresh fish from market merchants singing old fishmonger’s songs, fingered beads and leathers from artisan vendors and breathed in the fresh-daily grocer smells in the open-air vegetable, meat and seafood market.

Culture also characterized a trip to Ford Motor Company in Detroit taken later in October by 17 Business Honors students. For this group of students, the biggest glimpse was of career possibilities outside Texas. Clicking down the pavement in their heels and professional wear, students marveled that they could really see themselves working in a city like Detroit, Morley said. “That’s it, that’s our goal right there. It’s to help these students extend their view of the world beyond the borders of Texas,” she said.

Whether they find their possibilites in the factory floor at Ford or model their marketing on the engaging customer service practices of singing fish sellers, nationalizing students’ views of business is proving just as salient as ensuring they have a global view of corporate practice.

“We gained insight into four completely different companies, which were all outstanding models of successful retailing,” M.B. Zale Scholars Laura Hermansen and Joan Swetlick told the Center for Retailing Studies after their trip to the Emerald City. “Combined with Seattle’s beauty, it was the experience of a lifetime.”


Categories: Centers, Faculty, Programs, Students

It’s hard to match Harvard’s pace in any field, but when it comes to productivity in the top management research journals, Mays’ management faculty has done just that.

Management professors tied Harvard for second in terms of research contribution and publishing volume for management departments among the Association of American Universities’ 62 most prominent research institutions in North America. The University of Florida’s faculty came in first in the rankings, which compare the number of research publications in the top eight journals in management in 2004 and 2005.

Rounding out the top five are the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Michigan State University.

The assessment of research productivity has traditionally been based on the number of research publications in high-quality journals. The management productivity ratings are the result of a joint study undertaken by two scholars at the University of Florida and Texas A&M. The last such study, completed in 2003, tied Mays’ management faculty for third with the University of Maryland-College Park and the University of Minnesota.

“Our faculty members’ ability to consistently publish research in the leading management journals demonstrates their commitment to generating new knowledge that enhances the management field’s understanding of different organizational phenomena,” says R. Duane Ireland, head of Mays’ Department of Management and Bennett Chair holder. “Being ranked second among North America’s most prominent research institutions demonstrates our faculty’s professionalism and dedication to conducting high-quality research on critically important topics.”

The Texas A&M management faculty has long been considered a leading group of scholars in terms of research productivity and most-cited scholarly works. In 2000, the Academy of Management Journal ranked Mays’ management researchers 10th in research productivity. And in a fall 2006 retrospective article in the Journal of Management, Mays faculty members were among the most cited authors and most frequent contributors in the 30-year life of the journal.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Research Notes

Nike has an edge in athletic and sports-culture merchandise because its product designers are always focused on the needs of athletes, said David Heath ’76, Nike’s vice president of U.S. sales and customer service.

The sales chief for the world’s biggest athletic-shoe maker spent Oct. 2 with marketing graduate and undergraduate students at the invitation of Mays’ Center for Retailing Studies. But Nike is about much more than footwear—Heath told students that marketing and product creation teams work together to craft new and better equipment for athletes.

Fans at Aggie football games might notice one of those innovations: rolling maroon coolers on the sidelines. They don’t hold iced drinks, but they do ice down linebackers, thanks to Nike. Before each game, linemen don a vest under their uniforms, and when they take breaks on the bench in the heat, athletic trainers pump the vest full of icy fluids through a spigot near their shoulder pads.

The result? A rested-up, cooled-down player ready to get back in the game. And, Heath says, a competitive advantage for any Nike-sponsored team.

“That came from athletic insights,” Heath explained. And he would know. The A&M graduate earned both a bachelor’s and master’s in physical education and was the first full-time assistant athletic trainer for all Aggie athletics—handling what is today accomplished by a staff of 18.

Heath spent eight years with Adidas before joining Nike as a regional apparel sales manager in Dallas in 1990. He directed U.S. territory sales, managed the U.S. equipment division and directed commerce in the Americas region before he became vice president for U.S. sales in 2004. Heath is responsible for the wholesale business of Nike branded footwear, apparel and equipment sales in the U.S.

The distinction between Nike and other brands in the market also comes from the company’s focus on sports performance. “If you don’t stay grounded in performance, then you’re at the whim of fashion,” he said. “Consumer insights tell us where we want to play, and grounding all of our products in sports keeps us true to our name.”

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Categories: Centers, Former Students

Two distinguished marketing professors are among the most-cited and most-published authors in the past 25 years of research in the top-tier Journal of Marketing. Both measures are key indicators of the influence and pervasiveness of scholarly research.

A recent University of Oklahoma study by marketing scholar Jeffrey Schmidt examined the past quarter century of scholarship in the Journal of Marketing to determine the authors who have contributed the most to the journal and whose work has helped make the journal a background source for future investigations in the field.

The Journal of Marketing is commonly regarded among the top 5 research journals in the marketing discipline.

Distinguished Professor of Marketing and M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership Leonard L. Berry had the most-cited article in the journal’s life from 1980-2004. That article, “A Conceptual Model of Service Quality and Its Implications for Future Research,” is co-authored by former Mays faculty members Valerie Zeithaml, now at the UNC-Chapel Hill, and A. Parasuraman, now on faculty at the Univeristy of Miami, in the fall 1985 issue.

Distinguished Professor and Ford Chair in Markeitng & E-Commerce Rajan Varadarajan is also top of the most prolific list, tied for first with Texas Tech Professor Shelby Hunt for having published the most articles (14) in the journal in the past 25 years.

The marketing department is already known for its contributions to scholarship. The American Marketing Association has ranked the department 25th for faculty research impact in 2003. School-wide, Mays faculty is ranked 8th U.S. public and 26th in the world for research by the London-based Financial Times, and 12th U.S. public by the Social Science Research Network in terms of the number of research items downloaded by other scholars as resource material for their work.

In additional news for marketing scholars in October, Brandon C. Colemnan, Jr. ’78 Chair in Marketing Venkatesh Shankar was named among the top 20 area editors of Marketing Science during the last two and four years.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Research Notes

They came together in twos and fours, grouping with friends new and old and posing for photos outside the Zone Club with Kyle Field in the background. The Singing Cadets serenaded them with traditional songs as, for the second time in history, Texas A&M honored the elbow grease and perseverance of the 100 fastest-growing Aggie-owned and -operated businesses.

It was a new sort of graduation ceremony for the former student representatives of the 2006 Aggie 100. Thatà s how Richard Scruggs, director of the Aggie 100 creator Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, phrased it as he welcomed the companies into the fold. And as Aggie 100 sponsor Balous Miller of Bill Miller BBQ said in welcome to the top-rated company, GEODynamics, Inc: “You have opened the door for game-changing solutions.”

Overall, the top 100 companies posted an average growth rate of 52 percent. And in total, the Aggie 100 provide jobs for 20,000 employees in four countries and generate more than $5 billion in revenue.

The 2006 Aggie 100 includes 35 companies owned or managed by business graduates. Four of the top 10 on the list are run by business school alumni, including Marvin P. Tate II ’75, whose Vernon, Texas, company Marvin Tate Communications ranked No. 4 with a 2-year compounded growth rate of 117.73 percent.

To see who else made the list, visit http://aggie100.com.


Categories: Centers, Former Students

Laura Stanley ’03 never thought her Marketing 325 project in Spring 2003 about a Northgate eatery could get her a job, but the award-winning project that was worth an “A” then is paying the bills now. As the marketing director of Freebirds World Burrito, Stanley can be credited for earning the corporation national publicity—and for landing a career that’s taken flight.

The foil-man commercials featuring stories of Freebirds “fanatics” and what they’ve done to get a burrito (illustrated by people made of foil) are part of Freebirds’ “it’s not normal” campaign that has caught the attention of more than local burrito buffs. In October, Nation’s Restaurant Newsawarded Freebirds the Excellence in Television Advertising (EAT) Award for producing the best TV commercial under $10,000. Stanley, in collaboration with Lyon Advertising/MediaCentric and PR firm BlabberMouth, made the commercial campaign possible.

Stanley also promotes the “it’s not normal” campaign by participating in Freebirds’ Freebikes program, bike to work day, monster fling, united we roll, Northgate Music Festival, feeding the NFL and open casting calls for “Amazing Race.” Freebirds’ renovated 1972 VW bus is also a marketing tool Stanley uses as she makes appearances at the Kids and Kars campaign in Austin and the Rot Rally Parade.

“Freebirds was a cool place to eat, but also distinguished itself from competition through ways of marketing and participating in the community,” Stanley said. “As I gathered information about the company and interviewed employees for my class project, I knew it was a place that was indeed “not normal.'”

Because of her quick entry into the corporate world, Stanley had to rely heavily on what she learned at Mays. “The education I received at Texas A&M definitely prepared me for the ‘real world’ working experience,” she said. “Freebirds is a great company to grow with.”

Since she started working for Freebirds in 2004, Stanley has been involved in the opening of seven stores, helping “the bird” migrate across Texas. With its 16 locations, people are flocking to Freebirds in Lubbock, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, Austin and College Station.

And while Stanley has played a large role in helping Freebirds soar, she’s managed to stay grounded, spreading the word about “the bird”—one fanatic at a time.

Categories: Former Students

Three business doctoral graduates who have gone on to build fascinating careers and lives with their degrees shared war stories and laughter with a roomful of their former teachers and current PhD students as Mays honored its first-ever Distinguished Doctoral Alumni on Oct. 5.

This year’s honorees are K. Michele “Micki” Kacmar ’90, Durr-Fillauer Chair of Business Ethics at the University of Alabama; Anil Menon ’89, vice president of marketing and strategy for IBM Systems and Technology Group; and Krish Muralidhar ’86, Gatton Research Professor in the School of Management at the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky.

Crowding the seats of the Cocanougher Special Events Center at Mays, the trio put their career paths under the microscope of role model inquiry for today’s business PhD students. Among the biggest motivations for completing their rigorous degrees? The life of an academic, as Kacmar explained: “The job you’re about to accept is the best in the world. You get to do what you love, research to your heart’s content, and you get flexible hours to suit your schedule.”

And among the biggest hints for succcess: don’t pass up an opportunity to revise and resubmit research to a journal. Muralidhar shared his pleasure at having surprised more than one journal’s reviewers with a resubmitted research article they couldn’t deny. “If you get your first chance with a good journal, don’t let it go,” he advised. “Research is passion, it’s the problem you want to solve in the world. Publications will come naturally after that.”

After enough conferences in which Ivy League pedigreed professors tended to rule the roost, the trio agreed doctoral graduates must define their own success—and not let their broad-based education roots at Texas A&M be trampled by others.

“You might not have that Ivy League thoroughbred reputation coming out, but at least we don’t break our legs the first moment it starts raining,” Menon said. “The training you get at A&M prepares you to take on the best.”

Categories: Faculty, Former Students, Programs

The MBA Program, with its 98 percent placement rate, has been rated among the top 10 nationwide in terms of its competitive students, campus facilities and program administration, according to Princeton Review’s Best 282 Business Schools.

In the report, released Oct. 3, Mays’ MBA was ranked 8th best administered in the country and 8th best for its campus facilities.  The program also ranked 10th for “most competitive students.”

The Princeton Review, known for its test-prep courses, education programs and admissions services, compiled the rankings list based on surveys of 18,000 business students. The survey asked students 80 questions about their career plans and their school’s academics, student body and campus life.

General results found that Mays gave a solid preparation in accounting, teamwork and presentation skills.

“To be in the top 10 in Princeton Review rankings is a reflection of the outstanding students, faculty and staff that we enjoy at Mays Business School,” says MBA Director Kelli Kilpatrick. “We are committed to providing a high quality educational experience at a reasonable cost resulting in a premium return on investment for the students. We know that our students are among the best in the world and this recognition by Princeton Review supports that belief.”


Categories: Programs