Hughes and students
Joseph Hughes, Jr. ’75 recently met with a group of business honors students to discuss the ins and outs of the business world.

Joseph Hughes, Jr. ’75 recently gave back to his alma mater in an important way: he came to campus to meet with students and gave them advice from his own experience. Hughes spoke about how his education prepared him for a highly successful career in accounting and later as a small business owner.

“The presentation was very useful, as it was primarily a question and answer session,” said Kayla Allen, a sophomore accounting major. “He was able to explain his industry in terms we could understand. He did a wonderful job and I think everyone there learned something.”

Hughes engaged the 14 business honors students present in a round table format over lunch. He shared stories from his life and work, and dispensed invaluable advice: whether you’re digging a ditch or presiding over a company, you must practice your job with integrity. “You have to be the standard,” he told the students.

He also recommended that students not spend all of their time studying, but rather get involved in campus and community activities. “It’s important to have other activities, rather than be someone who has a license on one of the study carousels in the library,” said Hughes, who founded the Diamond Darlings while he was a student.

Hughes and students
Hughes shared his stories and imparted some advice to the students over lunch.

After graduating from A&M with his BBA in 1975, Hughes went on to work for Touche Ross & Company for four years. He then spent one year with Bright & Bright before forming his own CPA business, Hughes & Company, in 1980. He also formed Spindletop Exploration Company in 1982, and worked long hours getting both businesses off the ground. In 1988, he sold his CPA business and focused solely on Spindletop’s ventures, which involve purchasing oil and mineral royalties.

Hughes had the students’ full attention as he talked about his mistakes and successes, as well as his overall business strategies.

“The luncheon was incredibly interesting,” said Zach Neal, senior accounting major. “It is always a good thing to hear how smart people make money.”

Categories: Executive Speakers, Former Students

Texas A&M University is the top-ranked institution in The Washington Monthly‘s new “College Guide,” which its editors say focuses on “tangible contributions to the public interest.”

The publication, based in Washington, D. C., has consistently ranked Texas A&M among the top five institutions in its annual rankings, but this year’s guide is the first to rank it No. 1.

In the magazine’s announcement of its new rankings, the editors say they rate individual schools on such factors as the degree to which they encourage students to serve in ROTC programs, the Peace Corps and other service programs, along with their emphasis on research that drives economic growth.

“While other guides ask, “What can colleges do for you?’ The Washington Monthly asks, “What are colleges doing for the country?’,” its editors say.

The Washington Monthly ranking is the latest in which Texas A&M fares well, especially on the basis of “value” or “best buy.” Earlier this month, Texas A&M was ranked third nationally among public universities in the “Great Schools, Great Prices” category in the 2008 edition of U.S. News & World Report‘s “America’s Best Colleges.” The Princeton Review, also out this month with its annual college guide, included Texas A&M in its “best values” listings. Kiplinger’s and Barron’s also have listed Texas A&M in similar ratings in their most recent guides.

For more information, contact Lane Stephenson at (979) 845-4662 or e-mail

Read all about it: The Washington Monthly‘s Third Annual College Rankings 

Categories: Texas A&M

In recent rankings released by the Wall Street Journal, the Mays MBA program made a significant jump in regional rankings to 11th among public schools (23rd overall) from 16th public (31st overall.) The rankings are based on recruitment activity by major corporations. …Read more

Categories: Programs

The Society of Industrial and Office Realtors (SIOR) Foundation and its Houston Gulf Coast Chapter recently chose four graduate students at Mays Business School at Texas A&M Univeristy to receive $14,000 in scholarships.

Real estate students James Harris, Gregory Collins, and Kristen Parker and MBA student Jesse Durden, were selected on a basis of their academic pursuits, community service, and GPA.

“Our hope is that these students will gravitate toward Houston and will become active SIOR members after leaving school,” said David Carter, vice president of Yancey-Hausman Commercial Real Estate Services and secretary/treasurer of the SIOR Houston Gulf Coast chapter.

“For over 30 years our master of real estate program has been committed to producing tomorrow’s real estate leaders and we are extraordinarily pleased that the Houston Gulf Coast Chapter of SIOR is recognizing students with these career aspirations,” said Cydney Donnell, director of real estate programs.

The master of real estate program integrates the studies of real estate and business through a broad curriculum, including accounting, finance, law, and a professional internship. Each year, Mays Business School graduates approximately 45 real estate students. For the past several years, those in the program have experienced 100% job placement within 90 days of graduation.

For more information, please contact Cydney Donnell at or at (979) 458-4104.

Categories: Programs, Students

A few short weeks ago, many freshmen made an important decision: they picked their major. Regardless of the initial decision, many students will have a change of heart or spark different interests before leaving college.

For engineers who experience that change of heart, there’s a great option: the Business Leadership Management Certificate Program for Engineering Students. Created by faculty at Mays Business School in 2005, this three-week program covers everything from consumer buyer behavior and marketing environments to developing budget estimates. Class meets 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, so although it’s a jam-packed few weeks, those lectures equal approximately nine hours worth of class credit. This year’s program met August 6-24, with 33 students earning a certificate.

“I had very little knowledge about business prior to the program,” says senior civil engineering major Mary Oates.  “I’m thinking about going into land development, so I’m hoping what I’ve learned will give me a head start in my profession.”

Many engineering students decide during college that they want to alter their engineering plans toward the business realm: they want to start their own company or use their strong mathematical background working in finance. Mechanical engineering graduate Joshua Grizzle ’07 earned a Business Leadership Management Certificate during his undergraduate years at Texas A&M, and after completing his master’s in mechanical engineering in July 2008, he will join the Goldman Sachs’ Commodities Sales desk.

“By far the most valuable aspect of the program was that it added to my conviction that I should pursue business as a career, and it inspired me to enroll in Dr. Hallermann’s risk management class,” Grizzle says. “The Business Leadership Management Certificate can give engineers the confidence to pursue a career in business straight out of undergrad.”

The certificate program wasn’t around when assistant clinical professor in finance Detlef Hallermann ’89 was a student at Texas A&M. Hallermann earned a bachelor’s in petroleum engineering, but pursued a MBA and PhD in finance after working in drilling and property evaluation acquisition.  After his PhD he worked in the energy trading industry and now teaches derivatives at Mays.

“The synergies between an engineering background and finance are fantastic.  An engineering background is excellent preparation for understanding the complexities of the business world, in particular commodities trading,” Hallermann says.  “If I would have had the opportunity of participating in a program like this, I would have entered the business side ten years sooner.”

Categories: Programs

What leads to international diversification? Is globalization good for both small and big firms? These were the complex questions that brought Michael Hitt, Laszlo Tihanyi, Toyah Miller, and Brian Connelly together. The quartet researched together for two years and wrote International Diversification: Antecedents, Outcomes, and Moderators, which recently received the Journal of Management 2006 Best Paper Award. …Read more

Categories: Faculty

“I caught the international bug early on,” said Brad Almond ’89, who spent several years of his youth in Indonesia due to his father’s job. Almond went on to have his own international experience when he did a study abroad program in Helsinki, Finland as a graduate student, and then took jobs for multi-national companies working in Paris and Tokyo. …Read more

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

Venkatesh Shankar
One word set Texas A&M University’s Professor of Marketing Venkatesh (Venky) Shankar apart from all the other speakers at his speaking engagements and meetings in Singapore, India, and Malaysia this summer. One word let people know where he was from and what he was about. One word became his trademark: “Howdy!” …Read more

Categories: Faculty

Five faculty members from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University were honored recently for the excellence of their efforts in the classroom. The announcement of these awards was made at the fall faculty/staff meeting held on Friday, August 31. …Read more

Categories: Faculty

Paul Dwyer
Somewhere between a firm’s advertising efforts and consumers actually making a purchase, influential people in social networks are sharing word-of-mouth news and information in a process that is notoriously difficult to measure.

But identifying opinion leaders and capturing the “buzz” surrounding products and services may have just gotten a lot easier. Marketers can track developing conversations in online communities that form around the goods that a company offers—from TV show fans to Harley Davidson lovers. Texas A&M University researcher Paul Dwyer, a doctoral student in marketing at Mays Business School, proposes a new theoretical model in this spring’s Journal of Interactive Marketing that lets firms identify how popular a particular word-of-mouth instance is and how influential the online users who originate such posts.

Dwyer begins his new metric approach with an adaptation of Google’s “PageRank” measure. Google judges each site we search for as important—listing it higher in our search results—based on the number of Web sites that it links to, and in return the number of Web pages that link back to it. In Dwyer’s model, the more users that comment on a post on an online message board, the more “value” the internet community assigns to the post.

Communities tend to rely on all-comers as potential experts in a social network characterized by knowledge exchange, in which users value posts based on information content. Those posters who frequently generate responses from other users are more highly valued, thus becoming the missing link of past marketing puzzles: the opinion leader.

“In the past, we’ve had a problem finding those instances of word-of-mouth that attract the most attention,” Dwyer said. “The internet makes it so we can do a better job of finding the most influential people in consumer communities. If we can find that, then we can pay more attention to the messages that draw a crowd.”

And if marketers know what ideas are generating the most attention, they can capture an idea just as it goes mainstream—adapting products and tactics to consumer needs as a result.

Dwyer’s Adapted PageRank metric may also point to a concept known as product involvement. That’s the elusive factor or combination of factors that maintains consumer engagement with and conversation about a product or brand, and holds their interest long enough to encourage repeat purchases. As product involvement grows, so does product knowledge and an interest in sharing information in online product fan communities, Dwyer theorizes. And as it wanes, likewise do the number of contributions and messages to online sites.

Within his model, Dwyer calculates that high-value content—the kind of messages that draw a crowd of responding comments—can explain 10 percent of social network growth.

Firms may consider taking steps to ensure they create or capitalize on just that community of consumers who want to share news and views about their products, such as hosting company blogs.

“We live in an evolutionary economy,” Dwyer explains. “Those who can recognize and adapt to ideas are the ones whose firms survive.”

— Staff Reports

Categories: Research Notes