What’s that racket in the gym across the schoolyard? Two hundred fourth and fifth graders are anxious to meet their new classmates and teacher. Some students naturally tease the nervous and quiet students, getting into trouble before the first bell rings. I turn on the relaxing music, write my name on the board, and tape chart paper on the wall. I am as nervous as the 18 fifth grade students that walk into my portable classroom ready to start the year off with a bang.

Fonseca with students
Fonseca’s class during the first week of school, when they still met in the portable classroom. Fonseca called her class the Buccaneers “because I wanted them to sail around the world to success, a theme for learning for the year!”

“Good morning, class. Buenos dias, clase,” I say with a strong, confident voice. Smile. No, don’t smile. Wait, should I start out with an inspiring, motivational speech? Should we do a get-to-know-you activity first? Should I have them write an essay about their expectations for the year? Or should I read them a story?

It’s the first day of school. I’ve prepared an agenda and must accomplish several mini-lessons. I must explain our class procedures, what I expect from the students, and then practice those procedures for weeks. I know I will see results. It just takes patience and time.

This first day is unique from all the other days of school that will follow because the students are not talking to each other. I give my students a tour of the room: taped homemade posters for reading, math, science, social studies, and language arts to display student work on the wall. Our year’s goal is the most important part of the day, so that students can invest in what they will work toward and know why it is imperative to attend school daily. Our class goal is to earn 90% or higher on weekly assessments and, ultimately, on the TAKS exams toward the end of the school year. (I have many issues with standardized testing I will not mention but, since that is how the state determines the achievement of students, that is a goal my class worked toward.)

Students playing outside
Students exercising on Walking Wednesday for PE. Teachers were encouraged to walk with their students and have time outside the classroom to exercise.

I share with the students my favorite classroom fixture: a map of the world. I want to share my knowledge of the world with them. I refer back to the map during more than one lesson daily, demonstrating how our reading, math and science contributions came from different countries. My goal is for them to know what other students their age experience in a different culture and inspire them to travel one day to foreign lands. How will they get there? Through hard work, determination, and an education.

During that first day of school, we got to know each other: our favorite subjects, food, music, sport, television show. To my surprise only three students had a favorite book. That was another goal of mine, for students to love books and to develop good reading habits. The students made the class rules themselves; they contributed to the foundation of the classroom. I explained the consequences and rewards systems. There were many tasks that kept the class organized, so managers were elected by their classmates. Managers would lose the leadership privilege if behavior was poor.

I tried to run my class like a company, using good grades and hard work to earn bonuses, and a democratic system to keep leaders in check. Teaching is like creative services marketing, relaying a message to fifth grade students, a market hungry for a wealth of knowledge, seeking fun-filled lessons with an energetic, supportive environment.

Students learning about the solar system on the playground
Fonseca’s students learn about the solar system by pretending to be the planets, rotating and revolving to understand season cycles and movements. Anna is holding a yellow umbrella representing the sun.

I am in Brownsville, Texas, five minutes from the Mexican border, to teach students all that I can. I decided to join Teach For America after attending an informational session at the Career Services Center at Texas A&M. Teach For America is an organization I had to join with a personal goal to serve others and share the education I had received from amazing teachers, professors, and mentors. TFA is a non-profit organization affiliated with the AmeriCorp program. TFA’s mission is to enlist the nation’s most promising future leaders in the movement to eliminate educational inequality, recruiting people of all academic majors and career interests—who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools in our nation’s lowest-income communities and become lifelong leaders for expanding educational opportunity.

My placement was bilingual kindergarten. To prepare, I taught in a month-long Houston summer school institute, planning lessons until 11 p.m. daily with two team members. Time was spent practicing those lessons, preparing worksheets, trying out hands-on mini-lessons, and receiving guidance, evaluations, and support from other teachers. Intense is the only way to describe that experience. The training program is very challenging since the majority of TFA teachers are not education majors. In reality, you must learn in a month what education majors study for four years.

When I arrived, my principal had other plans for my teaching position, so I accepted an offer to teach fifth grade bilingual elementary. It would not be anything like my Houston summer school experience, but I would take those lessons of classroom management, lesson planning, and keeping a young mind’s attention with me into an upper elementary classroom setting. It was a blessing to have another TFA teacher next door to my room. Ali Turro was a great support; we planned units of study together and shared resources.

Students dancing
Fonseca helped at a few practices for the ballroom dance team. The students did very well at the competition, with two couples placing fourth in the Meringue.

I also taught music history and composition, and coached a few practices of ballroom dancing for the fifth grade team. Teaching after school tutorial was rewarding as well; we were able to focus on specific skills and weaknesses in a smaller group setting, with one-on-one practice.

My principal had the challenge of opening the newest elementary school, so he warned that the beginning of the year would not be easy. What a blessing it was to move to a new building in the middle of the year, when we started out the term with little resources and space, no music, library, or technology classes, or on-site support. Our new facility had a library, Internet access, computers and projectors, and accommodations any faculty member or student in Brownsville would be elated to have. The school was very grateful to receive so many luxuries after coming from portables in the backyard of another elementary school.

Realizing the lack of exposure to books, lack of support, and lack of resources to support learning in a low socio-economic environment has made me want to dedicate a part of my life to increasing educational opportunities for children, whether I am a school teacher, global marketer, or graduate student. Whatever the future holds, I will always be working toward improving education. It is what opens doors and gets you ahead in life. I am grateful to have experienced a life of higher education, literacy, and constant learning.

Fonseca and her class
“My homeroom class. I dressed up for Charro Days, a Mexican celebration. They are all smiles because they would miss two days of school for the holiday before taking the TAKS test.”

My first year with TFA was a reciprocal exchange of knowledge. I extended my range of Spanish vocabulary and conversation skills, teaching three of my students reading, math, and science in Spanish, while teaching 14 others in English at the same time. It was the most challenging task I had ever experienced. I learned that a teacher takes on many roles in a student’s life: mentor, role model, a person that will listen and give the attention to their creative ideas. The students achieved their personal goals of going on to the sixth grade, and many accomplished the class goal of 90% or more on their reading, math, and science TAKS exams. In the last two weeks of school, we read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and completed research projects on the Internet. Each student chose a country to learn about and designed a passport to their country to present to the class the last week of school. From The Alchemist, the students learned that taking the road less traveled, facing challenges, persevering, and learning from mistakes makes you a stronger person and ends in a well-rounded education.

I will take many lessons from my two years with TFA into the next career I pursue. In my second year, I will have the opportunity to teach pre-kindergarten and develop these young minds with a foundation of literacy in English. I hope to enter a graduate program in global/multicultural marketing in August 2008 and work for an international organization promoting free-trade and higher education to students in developing countries.

The value of today may not be apparent. Learning is not just knowing information, it is using it and living the information learned. It’s more than an education, it’s life.

For more information:
Teach for America: www.teachforamerica.org

Categories: Former Students, Perspectives

Mays Business School at Texas A&M University has been ranked again this year among the top ten public schools for MBA programs in the nation, according to Forbes‘ biennial ranking process. The program was listed at #8 for public schools and at #22 overall.

Mays has moved up in the rankings since Forbes‘ last survey in 2005. At that time, Mays was listed at #9 for public schools and #24 overall.

Forbes also listed the Mays MBA program at #3 in the country in the areas of cost, graduates’ years to payback, and graduates’ five-year gain as compared to their expenses.

Kelli Kilpatrick, director of the Mays MBA program, attributes this accomplishment to the “high quality of the faculty and staff, and the continuing strong commitment of the administration in supporting the MBA program.”

“If you do the right things, it attracts the right students, and that is reflected in the rankings,” said Kilpatrick.

The Forbes rankings are based on the students’ return on investment, meaning compensation five years after graduation minus tuition and the forgone salary during school. MBA graduates were asked about their pre-MBA salaries as well as their compensation for three of the first five years after getting their degrees. Forbes then compared the post-MBA compensation with their opportunity cost (tuition and forgone salary while in school) and what they would have made had they stayed in their old jobs.

“Our strategic plan is to focus on doing things that will help us to be consistently recognized among the top programs in the country,” said Kilpatrick. “We continue to keep our costs low and placement rates high so that our students get a quick return on their investment.”

For a complete listing of these rankings, please see the September 3 issue of Forbes Magazine.

Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. The MBA program is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 29.8%. Currently there are 148 MBA students in their intensive 16-month program.

For more information, please contact Kelli Kilpatrick at (979) 845-4714 or at kkilpatrick@mays.tamu.edu.

Categories: Programs

Management adds three new journal editors

Management adds three new journal editors, for a record four in one department

Mays’ Department of Management is experiencing a rare occurrence of four professors serving as editors for top-rated management journals concurrently, three added just recently. …Read more

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories

One of the “scorecards” by which business schools are evaluated is a handful of key national and international ranking services. Some of these rankings look at MBA programs, some look at undergraduate programs, and still others focus on faculty research. Regardless of the metric being used, however, Mays Business School continues to shine.

Some of our more notable recent rankings include:

  • Top 8 public MBA program (Forbes)
  • Top 15 public MBA programs (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Top 20 public undergraduate business program, with special distinctions for Management (9th best public) and Accounting (14th best public) (U.S. News & World Report)
  • Top 15 EMBA program (Financial Times)
  • Top 9 Ph.D. program (Financial Times)
  • Top 13 in faculty research (Financial Times)

I think by any measure these rankings demonstrate excellence across the board. Of course, let me hasten to add that these rankings are not perfect, nor are they the only indicators we monitor to assess the quality of our programs. But it does make a compelling case for excellence when our accomplishments are recognized across so many programs and by multiple ranking services.

So, where do we go from here? Well, we still have room for improvement. We want to be a consensus top 10 public business school across all programs and all ranking services. Our faculty, our staff, and our students will continue to strive for excellence so long as there is room for improvement. To paraphrase an old adage, if it were easy to be top 10, everyone would do it. But it’s not easy—it’s a constant challenge. We’re narrowing the gap, and we’ll get there soon. And we’re having fun doing it!

Ricky W. Griffin
Interim Dean, Mays Business School

Categories: Deanspeak

New faculty for Fall 2007

At Mays Business School our outstanding faculty are consistently recognized for their research and teaching accomplishments. As new professors join our ranks, our team of researchers and educators gains greater depth. This year, we introduce 15 new faculty members, whose areas of interest and expertise range from management practices to magic tricks. …Read more

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories

Two programs at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University have climbed in the list of rankings from US News & World Report. The management program is now the 9th rated public school and the 13th overall, and accounting is now tied for 14th for public schools and tied for 19th overall.

Last year, the management program was listed at 12th public and 17th overall. Accounting was at 18th for public schools and 25th overall.

“Mays Business School strives for excellence in all areas. The fact that two of our programs are so highly regarded is strong evidence that our efforts are being recognized across the country,” said Dean Ricky Griffin. “These rankings are a real testament to the efforts of our faculty, our staff, and our students.”

US News surveyed deans and senior faculty at undergraduate business programs accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Participants were asked to rate the quality of all programs they are familiar with on a scale of 1 (marginal) to 5 (distinguished). The rankings are based solely on this peer survey.

Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. Mays is nationally ranked among public business schools not only for the quality of its undergraduate program, but also its MBA program and the faculty scholarship of its 105 professors in five departments.

For more information, please contact Chrystal Houston at chrystal.houston@tamu.edu or (979) 845-3167.

– Staff Reports

Categories: Programs

Manjit Yadav
There’s good news for stockholders: researchers have determined a new way to foretell a company’s future innovations. The key is in what the CEO has to say.

Counting the number of future oriented sentences in annual reports is an accurate predictor of future innovation by that firm, according to the paper “Managing the Future: CEO Attention and Innovation Outcomes,” which will be published in The Journal of Marketing.

Manjit Yadav, associate professor of marketing at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School co-authored the study with Rajesh Chandy, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and Jaideep Prabhu of Imperial College, London University.

The research shows that CEOs who speak to future events and external activities lead their firms to earlier adoption and invention of new technologies and greater and faster development of innovations.

More on this story can be found in Science Daily at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070814150611.htm.

– Staff Reports

Categories: Research Notes

Three months after graduation, the December 2006 Mays Business School MBAs had more than their diplomas to shout about: Every member of the class also had a great job.

These most recent MBA graduates are demonstrating the value of an education at Mays, celebrating a placement rate of 100%–the best in the United States.

The placement rates for this program are usually very high (about 98%) but this is the first time in many years that it has been at 100%.

“There are many reasons why we are experiencing the best placement rates in the country. This is just one more indication of the high quality of the students we attract to our program,” said Kelli Kilpatrick, director of the MBA program. “Additionally, the satisfaction of companies with placements that have been made historically creates a strong pipeline between us.”

Kilpatrick also credits the student’s job-seeking success with the small size of the program—this graduating class had just 69 students, of which 65 were seeking career opportunities. “We know our students so well that we can connect employers with students that have the characteristics they are looking for,” she said. “Our size is a tremendous advantage.”

Jim Dixey, director of Graduate Business Career Services, attributes this high placement rate with the strong work ethic of the class. “We don’t find them jobs…our responsibility is to enhance their management of their career,” said Dixey, who also notes that his staff works with students one-on-one to develop a career plan—as well as a back-up plan, just in case. “There are always going to be jobs available, but if you only have one focus, you’ll be unprepared for unforeseen changes,” said Dixey.

Dixey and his staff work with MBA students on their résumés, cover letters, defining their transferable skills, developing their professional network, creating an effective networking strategy, and being proactive in their search for the right job opportunity.

The performance and reputation of Mays alumni also plays a role in the program’s high placement rates. “Companies are satisfied with our former students, so they come back each year looking for more,” said Kilpatrick. Dixey says former students placed within an organization are a great networking resource for current students seeking employment.

Mays MBAs are employed with a variety of major corporations worldwide. This most recent class has members working for Boeing, Hewlett Packard, BearingPoint, Citigroup, and Microsoft, to name but a few.

Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. The MBA program is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 29.8 percent. Currently there are 148 students in its intensive 16-month program.

– Staff Reports

For more information:
Download: Employment Statistics for the MBA Class of 2007 (pdf)

Categories: Programs

There are many student organizations at Texas A&M University, but one group consistently outshines the rest. The Texas A&M chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) recently won the Student Chapter Outstanding Performance Award (SCOPA) for the 19th time. Gaining this kind of national recognition hasn’t been easy, but the Texas A&M students have shown their dedication to excellence year after year.

Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP)“This didn’t just happen with one set [of students]—it’s been continuous,” says George Fowler, director and faculty advisor for the Center for the Management of Information Systems. “I sit back and I’m amazed at what the students have done.”

The Texas A&M chapter is one of six student chapters to receive the SCOPA for the 2006-2007 school year. Each chapter must meet requirements in five areas: education, membership, public relations, meetings, and association participation. The Texas A&M chapter not only increased its membership numbers in the past year, but also actively participated in meetings and events of AITP.

For Jennifer Smith, president of the Texas A&M chapter and senior information and operations management major, AITP has helped her set goals for her career. “Having a degree in INFO opens you up to so many career options in many different industries. AITP helped me to understand my options and it also gave me access to people who could help me reach my goals,” she says.

AITP is built with professional and student chapters striving to stay up-to-date on relevant issues in information technology. The Texas A&M chapter takes two field trips each year to visit information systems corporations. Past trips have included Texas Instruments and FedEx.

Perhaps the greatest strength of AITP is its networking community. “It’s good experience for the students—getting involved with their profession,” Fowler says. “When they graduate, they can go to Houston, Dallas, Chicago, or wherever and join the professional chapter there.”

For more information contact George Fowler at 979.845.1618 or Fowler@tamu.edu.

– Lindsay Newcomer

Categories: Students

Starting this fall, a new international business policy course will be offered as part of the core curriculum for MBAs. An international business policy class was offered a few years ago, but now has been updated with a non-traditional twist.

Mays administrators asked Christian Seelos from the prestigious IESE Business School in Barcelona to teach eight weeks of the 10-week course. Seelos is originally from Austria and has traveled across the world, teaching international business and strategy in Europe, Africa and the United States. His background is unique—not only has he worked with the United Nations, but he also has a master’s and a PhD in molecular biology.

Two of Mays’ own faculty will teach the course also. Michael Hitt, Distinguished Professor in Management, will teach one week on China, incorporating his own experience from strategy work in China. Venkatesh Shankar, Coleman Chair Professor in Marketing, will teach one week about his home country, India.

– Staff Reports

Categories: Programs