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.
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.”