The MBA program at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University is tied at 11th in the nation among public schools in the recently released 2009 U.S. News & World Report rankings for graduate programs. This is an improvement from last year’s rankings, which listed Mays’ program at 14th among public universities. In both the 2008 and 2009 rankings, the Mays MBA program was tied for 29th overall in the nation.

America's Best Gradaute Schools 2009

When ranked by placement alone, Mays is at the top of the list, as it is the only program in the nation to report a 100% placement rate for MBAs at three months after graduation.

“We’re definitely making positive progress toward reaching our goal and fulfilling our vision of becoming a top ten program in the nation,” said Kelli Kilpatrick, director of the MBA program. She attributes the continued rise in rankings to “strong students, committed faculty, and excellent recruitment and career placement efforts.”

“This combination is obviously getting recognition,” Kilpatrick said, citing the placement rate as a major indicator of success. “Our students are continuing to be placed at great companies and are being offered highly competitive salaries.”

Mays also can boast that is one of the most affordable programs to make the U.S. News‘ top 50 list. Out-of-state tuition at Mays is roughly half that of some competing schools. “We’ve always prided ourselves on being a great buy,” said Kilpatrick. “We’ve tried hard to manage our costs.”

The U.S. News rankings were based on two types of data: expert opinions about program quality, and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students. U.S. News surveyed more than 1,200 programs and 14,000 academics and professionals to arrive at these rankings. They considered measures of input (qualities of the students and faculty members, such as test scores and research) and output (graduates’ placement and salaries).

For a complete listing of these rankings and further information, please visit the U.S. News website at

About Mays

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. The Mays MBA curriculum emphasizes core business principles along with strategic thinking, business communications, teamwork, ethics, character and leadership.

For more information on the Mays MBA program, contact Kilpatrick at (979) 845-4717.

Categories: Programs

With the motto “a head for business, a heart for the world,” one of Texas A&M University’s most unique business-minded organizations encourages Aggies of all majors to stretch their creativity and better the community. Since its inception in late fall 2002, the A&M chapter of Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) has promoted community/university interaction through a variety of service projects. On March 17, the Mays-affiliated Aggie team compiled their work from the past year for presentation at the SIFE regional competition in Dallas. The 14-member SIFE team faced competing teams from universities across the state and brought home a first place trophy. They were also rewarded with $1,500 that will help get them to the national competition in Chicago on May 13-15.

SIFE members
The Texas A&M SIFE team combines creativity and core business concepts to create projects that benefit the local community.

Their projects range from selling t-shirts to raise money for cancer research to teaching the basics of job searching and financial independence to prison inmates. In all of their work, the Aggie chapter of SIFE makes it their goal to develop sustainable projects in various fields. “We went for projects that touched our hearts. We didn’t look for just a quick result,” said Cynthia Billington, associate director of Mays’ Graduate Business Career Services, whose role as a Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow allows her to serve as faculty advisor for the Aggie SIFE team.

The projects were created to meet judging criteria based on six SIFE values: global economics, success skills, entrepreneurship, financial literacy, business ethic, and sustainability. The presentation of Texas A&M’s work in these areas given by SIFE members Jared Noynaert, Arielle Robinson, Ashley Nix, Danielle Monogue, and Kathryn Keith was just what the judges were looking for. The group’s strategic focus on “Aggie ethics” and their relationship to the characteristics embodied in SIFE’s world mission received great praise from the panel of 20 judges representing district managers from top companies.

So what’s next for the SIFE team? Under leadership from student co-chairs Mimi Wilfong and Kendall Owens, they continue to build on their projects in preparation for the SIFE national competition. “It’s just like a business. You have products that must continually be expanded,” said Billington. Aggie SIFE continues to make a name for itself through its two newest developing projects, Kids2College and Peer Counseling programs. Partnering with the Sallie Mae Foundation and the Texas A&M financial aid office, with Kids2College, SIFE hopes to promote the importance of a college education to sixth grade students. In addition, SIFE also plans to partner with the financial aid office in their Peer Counseling project, designed to increase financial knowledge in today’s college student.

Other projects created by SIFE include Aggie for a Day, which teaches elementary-aged children the importance of ethical responsibility through an all-day campus experience. Their International Pencil Project gives 3rd and 4th graders the opportunity to learn about global economics in a college classroom setting, and their work with Phoebe’s Home in Bryan, Texas, teaches domestic violence victims the basics of simple banking and personal finance.

Categories: Programs, Students

In the wake of recent tragedies such as the Northern Illinois University shooting, exploring the causes and effects of everyday violence may help to prevent similar acts, particularly in the workplace. In their article “Workplace Violence, Employer Liability, and Implications for Organizational Research,” faculty members Ramona Paetzold and Ricky W. Griffin of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, along with Anne O’Leary-Kelly of the University of Arkansas provide insight on the relationship between employer liability and workplace violence.

According to the article, FBI statistics show that nearly one million people are victim to some form of work-related violence each year. From a business perspective, the time lost from victim recovery can cost employers as much as $55 million per year. By examining the basics of legal theory, the researchers attempt to create a dialogue about workplace violence and ways that employers may lessen the amount of these acts that continue to occur daily. With more understanding, supervisors may see a drop in their own liability.

“There are a lot of things we don’t know yet about workplace violence that will directly relate to when organizations may be held liable. We hope to answer some of these questions so that down the road organizations may be able to worry less about being liable for workplace violence,” said Paetzold.

In their paper, the researchers highlight the state negligence law and its relevance for violent acts on the job. According to Paetzold and colleagues, negligence can make supervisors directly liable for employee injuries. Under this theory, the employer is liable because its own negligence enables the perpetrator-employee to harm his coworker. To keep such claims from being made arbitrarily, however, the injured staff member must show evidence of harm.

“An employer breaches duty when he or she fails to take reasonable care to protect the employee under the circumstances,” say the scholars.

Paetzold, Griffin, and O’Leary-Kelly also examined workplace harassment, as it is often related to acts of violence. For harassment claims to be valid, employees must establish both that the act occurred and that the employer was responsible. According to the researchers, if a supervisor is responsible for the harassment and tangible job consequences occur, the employer is automatically liable.

Coworkers are just as likely to be the perpetrators of workplace sexual harassment, and in these cases, the victim-employee must be able to prove that the employer was aware of the harassment and failed to take action in order to hold the employer liable. Regardless of who is held responsible, maintaining safety involves awareness and cooperation from both the supervisor and the staff members.

“Having a clearly written anti-harassment policy with a viable complaint procedure can help to establish that the employer has exercised the needed reasonable care,” suggest the researchers.

“Ultimately, we need organizations to be better prepared so that they know how to handle potential problems when they arise and minimize acts of violence in the workplace,” said Paetzold.

The scholars also examined the relationship between workplace violence and the legal issues of Paetzold’s research specialty: mental disabilities and the workplace. Though the Americans with Disabilities Act provides opportunities for employees with disabilities, it sometimes makes the prevention of employer liability difficult. Concern about employing persons with mental disabilities is exaggerated, however, because of the well-known stereotype that people who suffer from a mental illness are more likely to become violent. Paetzold suggests that this stereotype is inaccurate, citing evidence that while there is a correlation between mental illness and acts of violence, it is no different from the relationship between violence and the general population.

“There can be less predictability in the behavior of someone with a mental illness, so they become an easy group to scapegoat. And if we think of ourselves as normal, it’s easy to say “well, we’re not like that’ and place the blame on someone who is different,” said Paetzold. She adds that this assumption was the chief cause for the attempt to pass new legislation regarding gun ownership after the Virginia Tech shootings, preventing the mentally ill from purchasing firearms. So the focus remains on the mentally ill, when in reality any person may be likely to resort to violent behavior, given a certain set of circumstances. Paetzold suggests that one source of power to cause and prevent acts of violence lies in the hands of the media.

“I think violence is on the rise now, especially at universities, because you get copy cat scenarios fueled by publicity. All of the media attention is attractive to certain people who are likely to engage in violence, especially if they are feeling alone. Many of these people feel lost, and this is a way for them to be found,” offers Paetzold. “At the same time,” she adds, “the media negatively stereotype the perpetrators as being mentally ill and fail to look for other explanations for the violence.” So what is the solution? According to Paetzold, as the media begins to present mental illness as something that can be treated like any other disease, the public can develop more of an understanding and lessen the stigma attached to mental disorders.

The complete research essay can be found in the December 2007 issue of the Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol. 16, No. 4.

Categories: Research Notes

Smith accepting award
Murphy Smith (left) is congratulated on his Distinguished Paper Award by American Accounting Association President-Elect Susan Haka.

Murphy Smith, accounting professor at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, was presented with the Distinguished Paper Award by the American Accounting Association southwest region at its annual conference in Houston in March 2008. Smith’s paper is titled “Does Corporate Reputation Translate into Higher Market Value?” and was coauthored with Mays PhD graduate Kun Wang, now an assistant professor of accounting at Texas Southern University.

Smith gives much of the credit for his success to faculty colleagues and students with whom he works at Texas A&M. In 2005, two of his former PhD students whose dissertations he chaired or co-chaired, received national awards for outstanding dissertations. Smith is nationally recognized for his research in international accounting and business ethics. Regarding his research interest, Smith says, “a good corporate reputation is essential for long-term success in today’s global economy. Doing business requires trust, fair dealings, and honest communication.” In 2002, Smith testified at a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. regarding business and accounting ethics.

For more information, contact Smith at (979) 845-3108 or

Categories: Faculty

Terry Hatchett went to work for a Big Eight accounting firm right after leaving Texas A&M with his BBA in 1968. In the following years, Hatchett climbed the corporate ladder, starting as a CPA and moving to the upper echelons of management. With each promotion, he was entrusted with larger territories and budgets, eventually achieving the status of managing partner and COO of North America, responsible for $4.3 billion in revenue and 28,000 employees. The future looked bright for this Aggie, however, as he told students at Mays Business School recently, in 2002, his 34-year career “came to an abrupt end” when his firm, Arthur Andersen, was suddenly forced to surrender its license.

Hatchett shared interesting details and insights from his remarkable career journey as a guest lecturer on a recent campus visit. The business students in the classroom were attentive as Hatchett chronicled his career highlights from the past forty years, examining his challenges and adventures as a partner with Andersen.

Hatchett speaking to students
Terry Hatchett ’68 recently returned to College Station to share his business and life experiences with Mays students.

During his years with the firm, Hatchett had the opportunity to gain a global perspective, as he took positions in Barcelona, Shanghai, and Tokyo, as well as Dallas, Houston, and Chicago. “It was a wonderful career,” he said, citing Thailand as his favorite of all the places he’s lived and worked. (Hatchett boasts that he has 4.6 million frequent flier miles accumulated, most of which came from his three years as managing partner of the Asia Pacific region.) Hatchett encouraged students to consider job opportunities outside of Texas and to not be afraid of adventures abroad.

Hatchett says he intended to stay with Andersen until his retirement, however that turned out not to be an option. “When all of that happened, it was like I had been moving ahead at a hundred miles an hour and went to a full stop….so like any reasonable person, I went to a golf course and felt sorry for myself,” he joked. Hatchett said he felt it was important to move on without bitterness, so when a new opportunity arose, he took a position with the largest law firm in the world, London-based Clifford Chance. Hatchett served as the regional chief operating officer for the Americas from 2003-2007, helping the firm to become one of the most profitable in the world.

From all his years in business, Hatchett says that one of the most important lessons he’s learned is to focus on “the desired state” or the big picture. “What do you want to be when you get there? Don’t start worrying about tactics and roadblocks,” he told students. “The hardest thing for most American companies is to have a clear desired state.”

Hatchett is now retired, but has not stopped globe hopping. He and his wife of 39 years, Kathy, recently took a yearlong trip to some of the most interesting locations in the world, such as Egypt, China, and Galapagos. They now reside in Houston.

In 2005, Hatchett was honored with an Outstanding Alumni Award for Mays Business School. Formerly, he has served on the board of advisors of Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business, taught a class at Rice University for ten years, and was a member of the Andersen Worldwide Board and the Andersen Global Leadership team.

Categories: Former Students

Is child labor down the supply chain more cost than benefit? What’s the best advice in such a case? This was the challenge presented during the second annual Aggie Case Competition hosted by Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. Thirty-six undergraduates, with majors ranging from finance to biomedical engineering, took up the challenge for a two-day period in March, which included research, developing solutions, and responding on the fly to tough questions from a panel of judges.

Top consulting firms Alvarez & Marsal, and McKinsey & Co. sponsored the two-day event, challenging participants in teams of four to create a “crisis management” solution for a well-known firm facing possible negative press attention. In the challenge scenario, a film producer was preparing to release a documentary exposing the abuse of child laborers in India, specifically focusing on the company IKEA. But there was a twist: IKEA had no idea that their products were the result of mistreated child workers. With the company being blind-sided by such a dilemma and forced to come up with the right solution in a short time period, students were asked to determine if the company should continue the supplier relationship or end it, and explain the costs and benefits of either action. Open to any student interested in a possible career in consulting, the event provided hands on experience through the simulation of a real-life corporate case. Teams had 24 hours to come up with a solution and present it to the judges.

The team “Aggie Capitalists” had an innovative approach to the problem. They proposed an educational program within the Indian manufacturing facilities. Group members Jeremy Knop, Travis Cocke, Omar Khan, and Ahmad Mouneimne chose to maintain child labor because of the fact that the practice is deeply rooted in the country’s culture; most children must work to supplement their family’s income. In the Capitalists point of view, bringing manufacturing to a halt would not solve the problem in the long run. Their solution involved setting up a school at the factory site, splitting child workers into groups, and rotating them through school and work stations.

The group’s unique solution fostered support from the judges, placing them among the three winning teams. Interestingly, the Aggie Capitalists strategy came very close to the real-life solution employed by IKEA, who incorporated education into the children’s workday.

The panel of judges included Mays faculty as well as top consultants, such as Charles Goodman, Alvarez & Marsal business consulting manager and former Mays faculty member. Goodman explained the two objectives of the case competition: expose students to the consulting profession, and give them practice with case interviewing, a method used by many companies when selecting their employees. “My generation never had this opportunity as undergrads. It’s so important because it’s better to learn and be prepared now than to be exposed to case interviewing for the first time when applying for your first job,” said Goodman.

The judges further challenged the participants by asking tough questions during presentations about each group’s suggestions, creating situations where the students were forced to come up with an answer on the spot.

“The competition helps you become a better problem solver, which is essential to any aspect of business. You really have to be able to think on your feet,” said Jeremy Knop, a sophomore finance major and one of the competition’s winners.

KPMG associate Clark Bosslet ’06, one of three recent Mays graduates involved in organizing the competition, feels that the event provides more than a hands-on learning experience for participants; it also opens doors to potential career opportunities. “It brings in consulting firms who do not often come to A&M’s campus and exposes them to some of our brightest students. Each of the consulting firms from last year ultimately extended an offer to at least one student who participated in the event, and we hope that trend continues,” said Bosslet.

The winners of the Aggie Case Competition were: Jason Knight, Vineet Tiruvadi, Rhys Davis, Mark Browning, Marcus Pennington, Todd A. Hunter Jr., Laura Grace Robinson, John Martin, Jeremy Knop, Travis Cocke, Omar Khan, and Ahmad Mouneimne. Winning teams received a jump drive and $25 American Express gift card.

Categories: Students

The Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School has announced that Payless ShoeSource CEO and President Matt Rubel will receive the 2008 M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award. The award, which recognizes vision and outstanding achievements in retailing, will be presented on April 2 and is part of the center’s 25th anniversary celebration.

While on campus, Rubel will present a keynote address to business students on the topic of his reinvention of the Payless brand through the addition of major designer brands and new marketing campaigns. He will also have a private round-table discussion with the Zale Leadership Scholars, May’s top retailing students. Rubel’s presentation will be the highlight of the center’s annual Sponsor Forum and Zale Lecture event, which will bring senior executives from more than 20 sponsoring companies into the classroom to address business students on April 1 and 2.

Payless ShoeSource CEO and president Matt Rubel, seen here at last fall’s Retailing Summit, has been named as the 2008 recipient of the M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award.

Rubel took over the reigns of Payless’ 4,900 stores in July 2005. Since that time, he has spearheaded the dramatic expansion of Collective Brands, the parent company of Payless, including the recent acquisition of Stride Rite. His mission at Payless has been to “democratize fashion,” making great shoes accessible to millions at a budget price. Rubel’s management in the last three years has strengthened Payless’ position as the #1 shoe retailer in the western hemisphere. The top spot at Payless is the latest achievement in his prestigious career, which has included leadership positions with brands such as Cole Haan, J. Crew, Pepe Jeans USA, and Revlon.

The award is named after M.B. Zale, founder of the Zale Corporation, which has been a corporate sponsor of the center since its opening in 1983. A grant from M.B. and Edna Zale established the center twenty five years ago.

About the center

The Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) is a bridge between the academic and business communities. Committed to excellence in retail education, research, and service, the center’s programs prepare students for careers in retailing and provide retailers with outstanding graduates. The CRS was the first retailing center partnered with a business school and it remains the nation’s premier institution of retailing education. Housed in the Department of Marketing at Mays, the center is privately funded by more than 35 sponsor companies from throughout the nation.

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 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.

Categories: Centers

Watch out, guys—the information technology sector is no longer your domain. In response to the increasing population of women entering the field, the Center for the Management of Information Systems (CMIS) in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University held its ninth annual Women in Information Technology (WIT) conference February 21 at Reed Arena. Combining beauty and brains, WIT is the idea of Dr. Evan Anderson, the E.D. Brockett Professor of Information and Operations Management at Mays.

At its inception in 2000, WIT was a small and informal event to acquaint female students with the range of career choices open to them in IT. This year, corporate leaders ConocoPhillips, Dell, EDS, Chevron, Deloitte, ExxonMobil and Anadarko Petroleum donated funds for the event, making it the most sponsored WIT conference thus far. The event’s theme was “Managing Your Career,” and featured an interactive workshop panel facilitated by Lori Williamson, strategist for DBI IT (Design, Build and Integrate) Retail and Reseller Programs at Dell. The keynote address was delivered by Lynette Graversen, director of Enterprise Systems Management at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

Company representatives at the WIT conference were welcomed by a audience of bright young women, thirsty for knowledge about how top firms address some of the issues women face in the industry today. As professionals discussed concerns of future job candidates, participants were able to grasp a better understanding of the IT industry while simultaneously creating a network of future contacts and mentors. Senior executives, managers, professionals, and newly hired women in the workforce presented on topics such as finding a job, building a career path, career expectations, finding a mentor, networking, and work-life balance. The event was also a valuable networking and learning opportunity for the professionals.

Ninety students from College Station and four other A&M campuses (Corpus Christi, Kingsville, International, and Prairie View) participated, as well as students from Bryan High School. Forty professional women hailing from CMIS board member companies took part in the conference. Participants interacted in roundtable discussions featuring personal experiences from women working in the information technology sector. WIT presented a unique opportunity for students to have their questions answered by professionals at all stages of their careers.

Thanks to CMIS and the corporate sponsors, WIT provided participants with several scholarship opportunities and door prizes. Congratulations to the following recipients of a $100 scholarship: Kristi Tipton, Prairie View A&M; Melissa Bueno, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sowmya Vinta, Texas A&M International (Laredo); Sarah Hartman, Texas A&M University; and Daryela Sarabia, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Additionally, two companies brought door prizes for the students, including an iPod Nano from Chevron and an Inspiron writing journal from Dell.

“We’re excited about the continued success of WIT and the support it has received from companies and individuals involved in the IT industry,” said George Fowler, director of CMIS and professor at Mays. “The conference serves a very important function for our female INFO majors, because it deals with aspects of leadership and career building specific to women, including balancing family and work-life. However, we’re also cognizant of the fact that all business professionals face these issues, and we’re working to include all our students,” Fowler added.

For more information regarding the Women in Information Technology Symposium, please call the CMIS office at (979) 845-1618 or visit their website at

Categories: Centers

He’s been called a spoiler and a political gadfly as often as he’s been called a visionary and a consumer advocate, but no matter what your opinion is on his political views, one thing is for certain: Ralph Nader had a deep impact on the 2000 presidential election. Analysts acknowledge that if he had left the race, Nader-backers would have thrown their support behind Al Gore, who would likely have then won the contest.

According to new research by Allan Chen, professor of marketing at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, this “Nader effect” is highly relevant in marketing as well as politics. In a soon-to-be-published paper, Chen and co-authors argue that the introduction of a third option that later becomes unavailable (called a “phantom decoy” or “phantom alternative”) has a surprising and consistent effect on consumer behavior.


Chen’s findings are relatively new, as many researchers have considered the implication of how the introduction of a third option affects consumer choice, but no one else has focused how the removal of that option impacts the original choice set.

Here’s an example: a consumer wants to purchase a new car and has narrowed the field to two models. Car A gets better gas mileage, but car B has more horsepower. The customer must grapple with the choice to determine which of the two factors is a higher priority. Now a third option is introduced: car C, which gets better gas mileage but has similar horsepower as A. As you might assume, research says the customer will most often go for this dominating option.

What’s interesting is what happens when that third alternative disappears — in the instance of the cars, say the third option is out of stock. The researchers found that the entrance and exit of the third option causes a shift in the consumer’s preferences. Since car C got better gas mileage than either car, when that option is removed, the mileage has become the dominant factor, and the consumer will most likely select car A, which performs better on mileage. Also, car A is more similar to car C, the consumer’s car of choice, so that also increases it’s likelihood of being chosen over car B. With car C out of the picture, consumers often pick the option that is similar to their original choice, even though it means picking the one that was dominated.

In fact, Chen says that, if the numbers in his research can be generalized, the phantom decoy car could make option A 10-20 percent more attractive in the eyes of the consumer. That kind of increase is huge in the political arena, where elections are often determined by very tight margins.

In politics, this phenomenon can be seen when a candidate pulls out of a race and his or her followers must choose a new contender to support. Chen’s take on “the Nader Effect” is that if Nader had quit his presidential bid before the final election in 2000, his followers would have been left with a decision between Gore and Bush. Most would then have selected Gore, as he was the candidate whose platform more closely aligned with Nader’s.

This research is significant in today’s political mêlée as well, as Nader is once again on the ballot. Chen says that if Nader drops out before election time, it will benefit the democratic candidate more than if Nader had not run at all because of this psychological effect.

For more information

For further details, watch for Chen’s paper “Could Ralph Nader’s entrance and exit have helped Al Gore? The impact of decoy dynamics on consumer choice” in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Marketing Research. The paper was authored with Bill Hedgcock and Akshay Rao, both of the University of Minnesota.

Categories: Research Notes

In recently released rankings from BusinessWeek, Mays Business School has climbed to 10th in the nation among other public undergraduate business schools and 31st in the nation overall. This is a significant improvement from the 2007 rankings, in which Mays was listed at 21st among public schools and 50th overall in the U.S.

“It is a great honor to be listed among the most prestigious public business schools in the nation,” said Martha Loudder, associate dean and professor. “We are extremely pleased to see that the many improvements in our undergraduate program over the last two years are being recognized by our students and recruiters.”

These rankings were determined by an equation factoring five elements: a student satisfaction survey administered to graduating seniors at ranked institutions; a survey of recruiters from top corporations seeking recent b-school graduates; starting salaries; placement in one of the top 35 MBA programs in the nation; and academic quality as evidenced by class-size and average SAT scores, among other things.

In 2008, 96 schools made BusinessWeek‘s rankings list. For more information, or to see the complete rankings, go to

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.

Categories: Programs