November, 2007 | Mays Impacts

Continuing a tradition of support for Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, the Deloitte Foundation, a non-profit organization of Deloitte & Touche USA, has announced the largest individual gift during their 25-year history with the school, with a $500,000 endowed professorship.

This gift will create the Deloitte Leadership Professorship in Accounting, which will be used to provide financial support to enhance the teaching, service, and professional development activities of the head of the accounting department.

Professor James Benjamin, who has been on the faculty at Mays since 1974 and has headed the department since 1982 has been named as the first holder of this professorship. “I am particularly excited about this fund because it will help our school attract and retain outstanding leaders in the future,” he said.

“Mays Business School has had a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Deloitte & Touche,” said Ricky Griffin, interim dean of the school. “This gift is tangible recognition of the outstanding work of Jim Benjamin and the accounting faculty as they help prepare the business leaders of tomorrow. We are very grateful to Deloitte & Touche for their support and for their faith in our programs.”

Benjamin acknowledged the committed teamwork between the university and Deloitte, noting, “Deloitte has been very involved with the development of our program, including service on our advisory council, since its inception in 1982, and has continued to provide significant financial support for our programs,” he said. “Just as important, Deloitte is also significant as a leading recruiter of our students.”

Chip D’Andrea, managing partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Houston Audit Services, said, “We are especially thrilled that we can endow this professorship at a time when Jim Benjamin is leading the accounting department. Jim has been the constant and guiding force for the program’s continued ascent as a nationally recognized top tier accounting program. To have him be the first recipient of our professorship is extremely gratifying to Deloitte Aggies.”

Chris Patton, Deloitte’s partner in charge of recruiting at Texas A&M, also recognized this alliance. “We’ve found there to be a great fit between Mays students and Deloitte culture. We hire more candidates out of the Mays School than any other school in the area.”

In addition to this professorship, Deloitte has also endowed both a professorship in support of the Director of the Professional Program in Accounting at Mays and a significant scholarship fund for accounting majors.

About Mays Business School

Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. Mays is nationally ranked among public business schools for the quality of its undergraduate program, MBA program and the faculty scholarship of its 110 professors in five departments.

About the Deloitte Foundation

The Deloitte Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that supports teaching, research, and curriculum innovation in accounting, business, and related fields within the U.S. The Foundation, founded in 1928, supports an array of national programs, which are relevant to a variety of professional services, and which benefit undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. For more information, please visit the Deloitte Foundation web page at www.deloitte.com/us/df/.

About Deloitte

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte & Touche USA LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/about/ for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte & Touche USA LLP and its subsidiaries.

Categories: Departments, Donors Corner

Howard Horne ’47 knows about both business and personal success. He also knows that his success was enriched by his years at Texas A&M University. That’s why he recently included Mays Business School in his estate plan with a gift of $500,000.

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Horne

“I wanted to give back to the school what I felt it’s given to me,” said Horne. “I know that part of all the success I’ve had has ties to A&M.”

His gift will establish the Howard Horne ’47 Endowed Professorship in Commercial Real Estate, which will be used to recruit and develop a faculty member in the area where Horne himself has achieved so much.

“One of the most gratifying parts of my job is when successful former students recognize the importance of giving back to the institution that helped them become successful,” said Ricky Griffin, interim dean of Mays Business School. “We are very appreciative of Howard Horne’s generosity and know that his gift will help us advance our real estate program.”

Horne’s academic career was interrupted early on by World War II. After putting his corps training to use in the Air Force during that war, he returned to finish his degree in business administration. After graduation, he returned to his hometown of Houston to join his father’s business, the W.A. Horne Company.

With Horne’s help, the company flourished, growing from a three-man operation to a hugely profitable real estate brokerage staffed by 250 people. In this business, Horne says, “you have to learn to live by your wits.” That’s why he appreciated A&M’s emphasis on entrepreneurship, which taught him how to see opportunities and take measured risks. He hopes that, through his gift, the next generation can receive the training necessary to enter this exciting field.

Later on, Horne’s own son, Howard, Jr., joined the business, which eventually became The Horne Company. Recently Horne sold the company to Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate firm, but he still remains active in the organization.

Giving to causes and groups that are important to him is a big part of Horne’s life. “It’s necessary to provide for others what was provided for me…I was not born into wealth, and that’s why A&M was a godsend for me. It was affordable.”

“I get a great deal of enjoyment from reading about my classmates in the association’s magazine. I hope that what I’m doing, others will read about and be encouraged to do the same,” he said, in reference to his estate gift.

Horne has been married to his bride, Carrie, for 51 years. They have two children and three grandchildren.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

The doctoral accounting program at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University moved up from 21st to 15th while the undergraduate and master’s programs in accounting were again ranked at 6th in the nation according to the 2007 rankings from the Public Accounting Report.

“The annual Public Accounting Report school rankings are clearly the most widely recognized and cited measure of the quality of accounting programs,” commented James Benjamin, long-time head of the accounting department at Mays. “Our ranking is consistent with the success of our graduates in the profession and validates the overall quality of our faculty, curricula, and students.”

The PhD program rankings focused on the quality of the accounting professors produced. While the undergraduate and master’s rankings include only schools with degrees in accounting, the PhD rankings also include schools with concentrations in accounting or no designation (including Michigan, Chicago, Stanford, Wharton, and North Carolina in the top ten).

The top six in the undergraduate and master’s rankings remained the same in 2006 and 2007. Indiana University and Michigan State were the only other schools besides Texas A&M to rank in the top ten for both programs.

This annual ranking lists the top 25 schools in each category (plus several with honorable mention) from the accounting programs at the more than 400 accredited business schools in the country. The results are based on responses from a survey of accounting faculty and department chairs, focusing on the quality of graduates and their potential for success in the accounting profession.

Categories: Departments

Citi recently announced the appointment of Jorge A. Bermudez “73 as chief risk officer, with responsibility for market, credit, and operational risk, and compliance around the world for Citi and all of its subsidiary companies. The appointment is effective immediately, and Bermudez will report directly to acting CEO Sir Win Bischoff.

Bermudez
Bermudez

“Jorge brings extensive experience in managing risk and a deep understanding of our complex businesses. We welcome him to this role, and look forward to his contributions in enhancing Citi’s risk management and compliance,” said Bischoff.

Citi also has formed an advisory committee of senior leaders from across the company that will provide input on ways to strengthen Citi’s risk management processes. Bermudez has appointed three initial members to this committee.

During his 30-year career at Citi, Bermudez has served in a wide range of senior leadership roles. His risk management experience includes: head of risk for the corporate banking division in North America; head of risk for the International Banking & Finance Group, where he was responsible for credit and market risk across the investment, corporate and commercial banking areas; and head of credit policy for Latin America. During his career at Citi, Bermudez also was chief executive officer of Citi Latin America, where he was responsible for the consumer, private banking, asset management, and corporate and investment banking businesses. His most recent assignment was as chief executive officer and president of Citi’s commercial business group in North America and Citibank Texas. Bermudez also serves as a member of Citi’s operating and management committees.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Citi’s major brand names include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney and Banamex. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.

Certain statements in this document are “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements are based on management’s current expectations and are subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances. Actual results may differ materially from those included in these statements due to a variety of factors. More information about these factors is contained in Citigroup’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

For more information, please contact Christina Pretto at Citi at (212) 559-9560.

Categories: Former Students

Vipin Sethi, a sophomore at Mays Business School, has won the third annual Texas A&M Inter-University Forex Competition, with the highest overall rate of return on investment of 78.64 percent. This month-long international competition drew 137 students from 13 colleges and universities to compete for the grand prize of a $10,000 forex trading account from Global Forex Trading (GFT).

Global Forex Trading“The competition gives students incredible hands-on experience,” said Detlef Hallermann, Director of the Reliant Energy Securities & Commodities Center and assistant clinical professor of finance, who organized the event.

Participating students each received an account with $50,000 of simulated capital to use for speculation in the forex market. Students had available to them all the same tools as professional traders, provided by GFT, a leading online forex dealing company that sponsored the event and provided the trading platform (DealBook® 360) that the students used to access the market.

Undergraduate and graduate students competed to earn the highest rate of return on their $50,000 account. Participating schools included: Texas A&M University, Penn State University, Villanova University, Oklahoma State University, University of Toronto, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Alberta, North Carolina A&T State University, Fairfield University, Siena College, Rollins College, Concordia University and China Europe International Business School. Villanova University won the overall competition, as their students as a team had the highest averaged return.

All students were required to keep a trade journal listing each trade placed, the reason for placing the trade and the result after closing out the trade. For many students, this journal was also part of a classroom grade, as many schools have incorporated the competition into their finance students’ curriculum.

Sethi, with his 78.64 percent rate of return, finished the competition with almost $90,000 of simulated capital in his account. For this success, he has received the grand prize of a $10,000 GFT account, which he can trade on for six months and keep any profits he makes. He also received a cash prize of $900 from BP and a private hedge fund, who were additional sponsors.

“This has opened a new door,” said Sethi, who is from the Dallas area. Prior to the competition, he had planned to study management, followed by law school, and then pursue a career as a sports agent. Now, he’s thinking finance is the way to go. “I had never even thought about trading before, and now I’m thinking about that for a career,” he said.

Sethi is excited about his $10,000 account with GFT. “If I get lucky and it’s like last time…I turned $50,000 into about $90,000 within a month. Just something like that in six months would be amazing. But I’d be happy with any kind of gain,” he said.

He acknowledges that luck has a lot to do with his success. “I tried to follow the trends and use the past to predict the future…I just got a little lucky and caught the right trends,” he said.

About GFT

Founded in 1997, Global Forex Trading (GFT) is a world-leading provider of real-time currency dealing, pricing and comprehensive services for retail and institutional foreign exchange traders. GFT has served a global customer base in more than 120 countries through its DealBook® 360, DealBook® WEB and DealBook® Mobile trading software and 24—hour dealing desk operation. The company’s world headquarters is based in Ada, Mich., with global offices located in Chicago, New York, Tokyo, Sydney, Australia and London (London office operated through GFT Global Markets UK Ltd.).

GFT adheres to strict regulatory guidelines and principles of integrity, and is a member of the National Futures Association (NFA) and is regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in the United States. Globally, GFT is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) in Australia, the Financial Supervisory Agency (FSA) in Japan, and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the U.K. More information about GFT can be found at www.gftforex.com/?aid=412.

About Mays Business School

Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. Mays is nationally ranked among public business schools for the quality of its undergraduate program, MBA program and the faculty scholarship of its 110 professors in five departments.

Categories: Students

Jeff Conant, professor of marketing at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School, was recently honored by the Society for Marketing Advances (SMA) with their 2007 Sherwin-Williams Distinguished Teaching Professor Award. Despite the prestige of this award and the numerous others he has received for his superior teaching skills, Conant says it’s not the accolades that drive him to excel in the classroom.

Conant
Conant

“I’m motivated to create good leaders who are persuasive communicators and analytical thinkers and are ethically sensitive,” he says. “The exciting moment for me in the classroom is when students exceed their own expectations and I get to be a part of it.”

Conant is a Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence and holder of the Eppright University Professorship in Undergraduate Teaching Excellence. He is also the head of the marketing department and has been teaching at A&M for 21 years.

“Jeff Conant is one of Texas A&M University’s greatest teachers,” says Ricky Griffin, interim dean of Mays. “His innovative teaching methods and the passion and enthusiasm he brings to the classroom are legendary. I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of this recognition than Jeff.”

Conant was presented with the SMA award at their annual meeting in San Antonio, which was held November 8-20. Now in its tenth year, the selection process for this award begins in the spring when business schools from around the globe are invited to nominate one marketing professor for consideration. From the pool of nominees, four finalists are then invited to participate in the Sherwin-Williams Distinguished Teaching Professor Competition. Speaking before a panel of six judges and many of their peers at the SMA annual meeting, the finalists are given the opportunity to talk about and model how they teach. The winner is then announced and recognized at the SMA Awards Luncheon the following day. The other finalists were Gary Geissler (University of Arkansas-Little Rock), Mike Brady (Florida State University), and Christian Dussart (HEC Montreal).

Conant was also a finalist for this award in 2005. His classroom efforts have been recognized specifically because of his research in marketing education, for which he has received four best article awards in the last three decades.

“Doing this research has helped me learn a lot from the best educators in the world,” said Conant, who believes his real strengths are his interactive style based on the Socratic method, empowering students to take responsibility for their own education, and providing fast feed back in a caring environment.

Conant’s students say that his efforts are not in vain. “Dr. Conant is a distinguished educator because he pushes his students to think differently,” says Kari Kelley, and MS in marketing student from Houston. “During my time in his class I learned about marketing strategy, as well as how to approach problems from different perspectives. Dr. Conant taught me how to confidently speak my opinion and express it in an efficient manner.”

Categories: Faculty

Students from Texas A&M’s Mays Business School scored the highest overall pass rate in the state on the CPA exam at 73.2 percent, according to recently released statistics from the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. This overall pass rate nationwide is less than 44 percent while the average pass rate in Texas is 54.8 percent.

This information is from the July/August 2007 test period (the four sections of the test are offered quarterly) and reflects all three test periods already administered this year. The Mays students’ pass rate of 73.2 percent is an improvement of almost ten percent from last year during this period.

“It is very important to our employers to have their new staff finished or nearly finished with the exam before starting work,” said Jim Benjamin, head of the Department of Accounting at Mays. “Since many new hires have not completed the exam, this gives many A&M graduates an early career advantage over others.”

Benjamin attributes this increase in success on the exam to the school’s curriculum, which is structured to include time to prepare for the exam. Also, many students participate in a formal review course prior to taking the exam.

“Our student success on the exam suggests that they are well prepared and highly motivated,” said Benjamin.

Categories: Departments

Sujan Dan, a doctoral student at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, has recently been named a finalist in the 2007 Institute for the Study of Business Markets (ISBM) Doctoral Dissertation Award Competition.

Dan
Dan

From the set of finalists, up to five winners will be chosen by January 20, 2008. Each winner will be awarded up to $7,500 for direct expenses incurred in the development, execution and presentation of their research from the ISBM. Also, an overall winner may be selected for an additional award of $2,000. Each entry will be judged for its value both to the theory and practice of business marketing. An important consideration in the award is not simply the academic and practical value of the work, but how central the work is to the business market’s domain.

Dan’s research focuses on the consumer electronics industry, specifically examining the role of alliance, partner and format characteristics in the market acceptance of formats, and their eventual establishment as standards.

Categories: Students

“Successful leaders are not pessimistic or optimistic—they are realistic. Seeing things for what they really are is a hallmark of a good leader,” said Bob Loeffler ’77, COO of H-E-B grocery stores. Loeffler, who received his MBA from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, returned to campus recently to share with current Mays MBA students about his company, his career journey, and most importantly, about becoming an effective leader.

Loeffler speaking
Bob Loeffler ’77 recently returned to campus to speak to current Mays MBA students.

Loeffler suggested to students that one way to learn leadership is to seek out different experiences with a single employer and to “use the whole company as your playground.” He has worked for H-E-B for 28 years in a number of capacities, from IT to warehouse management to president of e-commerce. Prior to joining H-E-B he also spent several years in the Navy. These experiences have shaped him into the dynamic people manager that he is today.

Loeffler explained to students that he used to have a problem with conflict avoidance that was a stumbling block to his career. He stressed the importance of communication with team members about good things and bad things—as it is only by addressing the areas of weakness that a team can improve. He says the door swings both ways, though. “Constantly assess yourself and ask others to assess…that way you’ll get better.”

In all areas of management, Loeffler stressed the importance of being team oriented and motivating your employee team by making work a game. This way team members work together for a common goal with measurable results.

Loeffler also talked about H-E-B and the innovations the Texas mega-chain store is experimenting with, such as the creation of new store brand products and labels, and opening niche stores like Mi Tienda and Central Market. He also mentioned H-E-B’s shift in focus from a traditional grocery store to adding other goods and services, like cell phone plans and insurance.

“We’ve said, ‘let’s rethink who we are. We’re not just a great food market. We are a great retailer,’ ” he said of their growth.

Despite their changes, H-E-B’s commitment to community service is unwavering. “We want the communities we’re in to be better because we’re there,” said Loeffler, stating that H-E-B donates 5% of pre-tax earnings to public and charitable programs.

Categories: Executive Speakers, Former Students

Giving back to Texas A&M University has been a priority for Mikal Harn ’88 for many years but, on a recent campus visit, he gave students something more valuable than endowment dollars: he shared his wisdom, acquired through twenty years of corporate experience.

Harn, the vice president and general manager of AT&T Southwest, spoke to both graduate and undergraduate business students about the process of corporate rebranding and the marketing of a new product.

Harn lecturing
AT&T Southwest Vice President and General Manager Mikal Harn ’88 speaks to Mays students.

The multimedia savvy students were all ears as Harn talked about U-Verse , AT&T’s new product offering which combines Internet and TV usage. Harn engaged students by discussing the future of media consumption and AT&T’s role in that platform, reaching far beyond their traditional stereotype as a phone service provider.

“We had a big job on our hands. Our brand needed to be resurrected,” said Harn, who has been with the company for 10 years.

To get the word out about the new technology offered in U-Verse, Harn and his team are using some surprisingly low-tech methods of communication: home demo parties, neighborhood events, door-to-door and retail sales, and even branded ice-cream trucks featuring sweet treats and flat-screen displays.

This grassroots method is unorthodox in today’s fast-paced consumer market, but so far, they are seeing big results. “It’s a brand new technology…and there are a lot of naysayers,” said Harn. “But really it’s all about service and how you differentiate yourself.”

Harn also shared more general business advice with the students, encouraging them to find a job they love, but also to gain a variety of job experiences to continue to grow. He commented that in the 20 years since he was a student, some things have not changed at Texas A&M—most importantly, the strong Aggie work ethic is still evident.

Harn received his BBA in marketing from Texas A&M University. He also holds an MBA from Incarnate Word University in San Antonio.

Categories: Executive Speakers, Former Students