Bill Erickson, 1st place winner

It happens every time registration rolls around: Students ask their friends what courses they should take, what kind of assignments they should expect and what teaching style from given professors.

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Categories: Featured Stories, Students

Group photo

The MBA group Students Helping Our Community worked Texas A&M’s Big Event this spring in two teams as part of the group’s efforts to increase community involvement and give back through service projects. They’re pictured here in March at one site.

As part of the Business Student Council’s first-ever Project Mays, MBAs planted trees to offset the environmental effects of community expansion. That was just one part of an expansive undergraduate-driven community service effort involving 700 man hours cleaning creekbeds, installing signs and building a disc golf course.

MBAs also volunteered with inmates soon to be released on parole in Bryan’s Hamilton Unit for the four-month Prison Entrepreneurship Program. MBAs reviewed and guided the development of business plans penned by the inmates, culminating in presentations of full business proposals before MBA and industry judges.

Categories: Students

As you may recall from the last issue, Dean Jerry Strawser has been asked to serve the university in the role of interim executive vice president and provost. This is a critical position, and the university is fortunate to have someone of Jerry’s caliber who is willing to step and perform this vital role on an interim basis while we continue our search for a new university president.

I have agreed, in turn, to serve as interim dean of Mays Business School. I joined the faculty at Texas A&M University in 1981 (there may even be a few of you who took one of my classes!). In more recent years I have served as director of the Center for Human Resource Management and as head of the Department of Management. For the past seven years I have served as executive associate dean of Mays Business School.

Jerry and I have worked closely over the past several years, and that has helped make this transition smooth and seamless. As we go forward, we will continue to follow the strategies and plans we have in place in our quest to become an acknowledged top 10 public business school. We cannot afford to stand still, nor is this a time for us to “wait and see what happens.”

These are exciting times for both Texas A&M University and for Mays Business School. We have strong academic programs that continue to grow in stature. We have a top-notch faculty that is recognized both nationally and internationally for its excellence. Our staff is second-to-none. And we have an amazing network of former students and friends who support in ways far too numerous to list here.

I truly look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.

Ricky W. Griffin
Interim Dean

Categories: Deanspeak

Students presenting their business at BCAP

After a week of lectures, Excel worksheets, late night meetings and good food, the soon-to-be high school seniors attending Business Career Awareness Program (BCAP) are tired. But their week isn’t over. They have to finish their biggest challenge of the week—presenting their ideas for a new restaurant in Bryan-College Station to a panel of judges.

The 7th annual BCAP this June was an Ernst & Young and Ford sponsored weeklong introduction to business for 48 of Texas’ highest achieving seniors. Mays faculty teach under-represented students what to expect both in the business world and as business students at Texas A&M. To give students a taste of business outside the classroom, groups of four or five are given the task of designing a mock business in the food industry, which is judged at the end of the week by Mays faculty.

bcap2.jpg“You kind of have to trust that people know what they’re doing. Everyone does their own part,” says BCAP student Claudia Roberts.

Each group teams up with a counselor and tutor, both current students at Mays. Counselors lodged with the students at the private dorm Traditions, and spent time with them throughout the week, giving help whenever needed. Tutors specifically helped with math, finances and the more technical side of starting a business. But BCAP students were ultimately in charge and accountable for the results.

“The projects that they do in the time they’re given is amazing. They didn’t come here for a week of vacation. They came here to work,” says Natalie Minshew, a BCAP tutor and senior accounting major.

Each group prepped financials, accounting and management plans and were required to shoot a commercial advertising their business. Business ideas ranged from Totally Twisted, a pretzel lounge, to Chocolate Paradise, a fondue stand for the College Station mall. Team members presented their financial means for starting the business, as well as their expected profit over the first few years. They also had to consider employee labor, property costs, and unit costs, to name a few.

Many of the current counselors were once BCAP participants themselves. “It’s grown a lot. It’s much more competitive, but they still teach the same concepts of business strategies and techniques,” says BCAP counselor and now sophomore business major Viridiana Sanchez.

When Sanchez attended BCAP in 2005, a total of 21 students attended. Now in BCAP’s seventh year, 48 students were selected to participate. And that’s after even tougher enrollment requirements. A total of 56 students who attended BCAP since 2001 have enrolled as freshmen at Mays, with six going on to graduate from Texas A&M. Three of those six have entered or plan to enter graduate school.

BCAP provides a great way to recruit the Class of 2012 for Texas A&M, even if it’s not as a business student. After a week on campus, BCAP student Dionna Budd of Katy noted that she had “never considered A&M until I came here. It’s got a lot of character.”

For other students, a week on campus with students and faculty helped erase doubts concerning the culture of Texas A&M. Gabrielle Smith of Austin worried she wouldn’t fit in. “This shows me that there is diversity. That there is a community and program I can look to.”

The winning business proposal for the 7th annual BCAP went to the Zen Den, a teahouse lounge where students and Bryan-College Station residents could enjoy a calming atmosphere while drinking exotic teas. Group members each received a winning $50 for their hard work.

— Lindsay Newcomer

Categories: Students

Judge's gavel

Management professor’s work part of Supreme Court justice’s dissenting opinion

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Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories