Mays graduates sitting for the challenging CPA exam made taking the test look just a little easier in 2005: They were ranked 6th in the nation with a 68.2 percent passing rate for first-time candidates without advanced degrees.

The rankings are tallied by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy as part of its 2006 edition of Candidate Performance of the Uniform CPA Examination. The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, the University of Iowa, UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin at both Whitewater and Madison round out the top 5 ahead of Texas A&M’s Mays Business School graduates.

The Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination assures that entrants to the accounting profession have demonstrated the entry-level knowledge and skills necessary to protect the public interest in a rapidly changing business and financial environment. The computer-based exam measures an accountant’s working knowledge of auditing, financial accounting and reporting, business environments and regulation.

Students typically celebrate if they pass all parts the first time they take the notoriously difficult exam, which certifies accountants to provide public attestation and auditing opinions on financial states of publicly traded companies. In addition to public practice, CPAs work as everything from Fortune 500 chief financial officers to advisors and consultants for businesses and organizations.

In a separate measure of Mays accountants’ success on the CPA exam, Mays graduates continued to best the state’s average performance on all parts of the CPA exam in this year’s third quarter, from July to September 2006. Aggie business graduates passed the auditing portion at a rate of 65 percent (compared to the Texas statewide average of 51 percent); 81 percent in business environment and concepts (compared to 50 percent); 64 percent in financial accounting and reporting (compared to 52 percent); and 72 percent in regulation (in relation to the statewide average of 49 percent).

Mays BBA and master’s accounting graduate Christopher Simpson ’05, now in lead tax services at Deloitte’s Dallas tax office, also earned a 2006 special award for outstanding achievement on the CPA exam from the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. The award means Simpson earned one of the top 10 highest cumulative scores in Texas in the past year on his first try on the CPA exam.

“Success on the national exam is particularly important for our program since approximately 90 percent of our graduates begin their careers with major public accounting firms,” says Andersen Professor James Benjamin, head of Mays’ accounting department. “I believe that our consistent performance on the CPA exam results from the combination of bright, highly motivated students, a dedicated faculty, and a rigorous, contemporary academic program.”

Categories: Programs, Students

Texas A&M accounting cum laude graduate David C. Fleig knows a good investment when he sees one.  With three decades of mortgage banking industry experience behind him, this successful Aggie is planning his own investment in Mays Business School with a gift valued at $100,000.

Fleig’s donation creates the David C. Fleig ’78 Fund in support of the strength and development of Mays’ faculty, students and programs.

“David’s generous gift allows us to continue to support excellence across our programs,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “It is only through the generous support of donors like David that we are able to provide our students with the unique learning experiences for which we are known.”

Fleig is a 1978 cum laude graduate of Texas A&M with a BBA in accounting. He was president of the Texas A&M Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi his senior year in Aggieland. Today, he is president of Sugar Land-based Access Lending, a nationwide specialty finance company he founded in 1997 to support the residential mortgage origination industry. Access became part of New Century Financial (NYSE:NEW) in February 2006.

Prior to founding Access, Fleig co-owned and operated First Nationwide Mortgage Partnership. At its peak, the partnership owned a $5 billion mortgage servicing portfolio and had total assets of more than $50 million. Fleig was also previously COO of Thornburg Funding Corporation, which later became an NYSE real estate investment trust, and was CFO of a middle market mortgage banking firm.  He started his career in Ernst & Young’s national mortgage banking practice area, where he spent nine years.

“It”s rewarding to be able to give something back to the university that I love so much,” Fleig said. “I am very proud of Mays Business School and the steadily increasing standard of excellence Jerry Strawser and his team have established.”

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

Distinguished Professor of Marketing Leonard L. Berry has been named the 2007 American Marketing Association/Irwin/McGraw-Hill Distinguished Marketing Educator, joining a who’s who in the history of marketing researchers. The award is considered the highest honor bestowed in the discipline.

The award recognizes Berry for his exemplary and sustained research, teaching and service. It also marks the first time in the 20-year history of the award that a Texas A&M Mays Business School marketing faculty member has been honored. Berry, also the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership, will be honored in February at the American Marketing Association Winter Educators’ Conference in San Diego.

Berry has devoted his career to services marketing and approaching business from the customers’ perspective. His current research focuses on the healthcare industry and service innovation. In 2001 and 2002, he immersed himself in a six-month research sabbatical at the Mayo Clinic to study healthcare service hands on. He continues research to uncover how to improve the kinds of services that are marketed, along with their quality, to enhance business performance and quality of life.

“I want to use my background and skills I’ve gained in my career as a services researcher to develop new models for improving the quality and effectiveness of healthcare service and reducing its cost,” he says.

Known as one of the most frequent contributors to the services marketing literature in the world, Berry is the founder of the 25-year-old Center for Retailing Studies and a former national president of the American Marketing Association. He has published 12 books and more than 100 articles in prestigious journals such as Journal of Marketing and Harvard Business Review. Berry, who also received the 2006 Academy of Marketing Science Outstanding Teacher Award, has been teaching and researching as a professor since 1968. He joined the business and marketing faculty at Texas A&M in 1982.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Research Notes

The Department of Accounting scored two 6th-place nationwide rankings for the quality of its undergraduate and graduate degree programs, according to the Public Accounting Report‘s 25th Annual Professor’s Survey, released in November.

That’s a bump up for both programs over previous Public Accounting Report findings, which put the graduate program at 8th in the nation and the undergraduate degree at 7th in 2005. The annual peer-institution survey gauges the strengths and qualities of U.S. accounting programs based on the responses of accounting professors nationwide. Mays’ programs have shown a steady climb in the peer survey: in 2004, the BBA program was ranked 13th and the master’s program had just secured a spot in the top 10.

“It is really gratifying to be ranked so high by our peers in the academic world,” says James Benjamin, Andersen Professor and head of the accounting department. “It is also important for the reputation of our program, as the Public Accounting Report rankings are widely discussed in the accounting profession.”

Ahead of Mays’ accounting degrees in both BBA and master’s rankings for 2006 are the University of Texas, Brigham Young University, the University of Illinois, Notre Dame and Southern California.  Highly regarded programs including Indiana University, Ohio State, North Carolina—Chapel Hill and Wisconsin are also in the top ten.

Categories: Departments

Texas A&M has long been known for the spirit of support, generosity and service found in its graduates. One Aggie couple has been actively working for more than a decade to embody each of those values, setting an incredible goal to contribute 5,000 hours of service and $1 million to their alma mater.

Nearly 4,000 hours of committee work, mentorship and class lectures, and $900,000 later, Jack ’71 and Nancy ’73 Matz are close to that goal—and threatening to set another.

Their most recent commitment, a $600,000 planned gift called the Jack ’71 and Nancy ’73 Matz Scholarship Matching Fund, establishes scholarship programs for units throughout Texas A&M and the Texas A&M Health Science Center’s College of Medicine. Among those is a $250,000 gift in support of students at Mays Business School.

“Jack and Nancy Matz truly set a high bar for other Aggies,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “They are true examples of giving time, talent and treasure to assist Texas A&M University. Their interest in meeting and mentoring students who have benefited from their generous giving simply adds to the richness of what they do for our school.”

The Matzes’ contributions have always run deeper than the financial support that is the lifeblood of every successful component at the university. The Matzes spend about a week out of each month in College Station, leading efforts to guide and develop programs at Texas A&M.

The top-ranked business school is a natural recipient of the couple’s energy and support, management graduate Jack Matz explains: Mays has rapidly moved to the front of the pack, cracking the top 50 or 25 in major rankings around the world including the standby U.S. News & World Report.

“What Texas A&M and places like the Mays Business School provide is a very well-rounded, very hard-working, conservative look at business and education where ethics and morals are paramount to success,” he says. “Long before it became fashionable, A&M had an honor code and the respect of its students. Mays has really figured out a way to incorporate that throughout the mission of its disciplines.”

The Matzes’ story has long been an Aggie story: they first met at Texas A&M in 1970.
They married in 1972 at All Faith’s Chapel on campus and spent the next 34 years raising two children, Catherine ’03 and Christina ’09, and traveling the world. They built an incredible portfolio of entrepreneurial ventures, watching six of the businesses Jack launched go public in the U.S., Canada and Europe. Jack was recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives for his work opening the business market in Russia immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In the late 90s, Jack retired from corporate life, founding consulting firm Strategic Growth in McKinney, Texas, to harness his expertise in public growth capital fund raising, developing growth strategies and identifying emerging business opportunities. Nancy is founder and president of her own nationally recognized software corporation, McKinney-based Dynamic Energy Systems, Inc. In 2005, Dynamic Energy was named among the top 100 fastest-growing Aggie owned businesses in the world as part of the inaugural Aggie 100.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students