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.”