Mays Business School is one step away from final approval of differential tuition for our undergraduate students. This proposal will be considered by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents at its March meeting. The issue of differential tuition has been mentioned in the media several times of late, and will no doubt be the subject of further media attention. So, I thought it would be useful to let everyone know the specifics.
Differential tuition is a model under which students majoring in a particular college will be charged additional tuition above and beyond the tuition charged by the state and the university. If approved, our upper division students will start paying an additional $610 per semester in fall 2008. While this figure may seem high, I can assure you that even if differential tuition is passed our students will still be paying substantially less than students at comparable business schools across the state, including the University of Texas at Austin.
The funds generated by differential tuition will go directly toward improving the education of those students paying the differential—Mays undergraduate majors. Among other priorities, we intend to offer many more sections, smaller sections, and more electives. These enhancements, in turn, will improve the quality of our program, better prepare our students for their careers, and enhance our national rankings.
The proposal for differential tuition received the support of two different University Tuition Policy Advisory Committees (with strong student representation). Moreover, when we first started exploring this option a couple of years ago a majority of our own students who responded to a survey about differential tuition indicated that the benefits outweighed the costs. The executive committee of the Business Student Council has also endorsed our proposal.
If our board of regents approves the proposal for the Mays differential tuition, students will see an immediate benefit through the addition of almost 50 new sections of regular classes plus 30 special break-out sections of one of our large classes.
For our part, we will accept custodial responsibility for these funds with great seriousness of purpose. We pledge that the differential tuition will directly benefit the students who will pay it. Further, we will insure complete transparency as to how we allocate the differential tuition funds. And we accept full accountability as to the disposition of the differential tuition funds.
Ricky W. Griffin
Interim Dean, Mays Business School
As the spring semester rolls on, stressful thoughts of entering the “real world” and finding a job begin to take a toll on the student population. In the tradition of the “Aggie Network,” there is a new resource available to these harried scholar-job seekers: the ultimate job search website, created by an A&M graduate, of course.
Rony Kahan graduated from Texas A&M in 1989 with a degree in economics and went on to ride the cyber-business highway, creating the highly successful site Indeed.com. His site allows job seekers to search positions from thousands of websites simultaneously, including company websites, job boards and newspaper classifieds. His objective: to save the time and energy of those looking for a career.
A great jobâ€”in less time
“We created Indeed.com with the goal of putting the job seeker first,” says Kahan, whose website has recently been mentioned in articles in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, and was listed among the Top Ten Websites of 2007 by Time magazine.
Kahan adds, “It is true that the job search process is easierâ€”for everyone. Tools have evolved for both job seekers and employers so I believe the improved processes make it easier for the right employer and job seeker to find each other.”
With increasing numbers of job search engines and the growing success of websites such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, you might think that the sites threaten one another. This is not the case, according to Kahan. He says that there are two distinct types of job search sites that generally cooperate, rather than compete. Search engines such as Indeed.com provide a list of job opportunities, linking searchers to the larger sites (like Monster) that actually process resumes and create communication between companies and prospects.
However, just because you can apply for hundreds of jobs a day with a few keystrokes doesn’t mean that you should. According to the experts in the Mays Graduate Business Career Services office, it’s a combination of using this new technology along with traditional search techniques that offer the best results.
Tried and true and still working today
In the past, there were three key elements to a successful job search: a classy resume, a well-written cover letter, and networking. Today, many young people are overlooking these elements due to the ease of mass application-drops via the Internet. Experts are saying, however, these classic job-search methods are still vital.
Classic job-search methods such as networking are still important.
“It’s very important that in the process, people understand that you have to take the initiative and establish the relationship. Part of that relationship is getting up and getting out and doing [networking],” said Jim Dixey, director of Graduate Business Career Services.
Because the process is so simple, Kahan warns job seekers of the danger of limiting their search to Internet sites only. Often referred to as a “black hole,” cyberspace is massive, and when a resume is sent to a job site, the odds of an employer seeing it may be slim. In response to this concern, Kahan and other job search experts suggest narrowing the online search to a few preferred positions and creating a unique cover e-mail displaying knowledge of the selected firms.
“There are many applicants for jobs, but few applicants that take the time to create a personalized, well-written cover letter or e-mail,” offers Kahan.
The best advice is to never neglect the tried and true practice of networking, as these connections often lead to professional opportunities that may have otherwise been overlooked.
“You’re going to have more success using the traditional route of meeting people face to face,” says Cindy Billington, associate director of master’s career education and advising at Mays.
Billington adds that Internet job sites target the passive searcher, making the searching process less of a hassle. And less time spent filtering through job listings means more time for networking and perfecting a resume and cover letter.
Facebook: friend or foe?
“Networking? No problem!’ says many a current college student. However, their idea of networking is often in the virtual realm, rather than face to face. This can be both a blessing and a curse in a business setting.
Create a great resume and individual cover letters for each job you apply for, and be sure to have a proof-reader check your copy for typos before submitting your application materials
Use virtual and face-to-face networking to build your professional contacts
Remove undesirable elements from your social networking sites to put the best face forward for potential employers to see
The rise of virtual networks such as Facebook.com and MySpace.com provide yet another chance for job seekers to expand their group of “friends” and connect with prospective organizations that could lead to future employment. In addition to these social networking web pages, sites such as LinkedIn.com are targeted to display professional experience and make connections in the business world.
“On average each student has three to five virtual networks on which they spend at least one hour per day keeping up with friends online,” said Dixey.
These websites provide a method of using the Internet to build a professional network. Dixey explains that as these sites gain in popularity, more companies seek to enter the virtual world to recruit the “Millennials”â€”today’s talented college grads. This may prove highly beneficial to corporations, as online networks save travel dollars.
It’s not all good news for students, though: as employers gain more access to the networking sites, job seekers must be aware of the effect that items displayed on a profile may have on prospective corporations.
“The downside is you have to be judicious in how you use virtual networks. Anything a student puts online is public,” adds Dixey.
Mortgage foreclosures hit an all time high!
Lending institutions in trouble!
Housing market downturn leads U.S. economic recession!
National headlines like these have got Americans concerned, but the researchers at the Texas Real Estate Center say not to worry: the Texas real estate market is doing just fine.
Real Estate Center research economist James Gaines is projecting an economic boom for Texas.
“Some of the crazy things happening other places in the country, like California, just aren’t happening here,” says James Gaines, research economist for the center. In fact, after reviewing statistical models and projections, Gaines says Texas should be preparing for an economic explosion, not a recession.
“I’m projecting a boom for Texas in the next 25 years,” said Gaines, who cited information from the state demographer’s office that shows a significant increase in the population of Texas for that period. Gaines says in the next quarter century, “we’re going to add the equivalent population base of another metropolitan Dallas-Fort Worth, another metropolitan Houston, another metropolitan San Antonio, and enough left over for another Corpus Christi. That’s 14 million people,” or, more than half of the state’s current population of 23.5 million.
What is salient about this increase from Gaines perspective is that all of these people will need places to live, as well as places to shop, go to school, and workâ€”all of which will have a huge impact on the residential and commercial real estate market.
“We won’t be the fastest growing state in terms of percentage, because we’re already so bigâ€¦but we will be the fastest growing state in terms of numbers of people,” said Gaines. “Actually, we are already.”
Ready to answer the needs of those millions in the real estate industry or affected by it (which is, everyone in Texas), is the Real Estate Center at Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.
“Solutions through research”
Created by an act of the state legislature in 1971, the center’s purpose is to help Texans make informed decisions about real estate. The center accomplishes this goal through their two emphases: research and communication.
“All of our research is academic quality. We do it to the most rigorous academic standards, but we write it in such a way that the industry can apply it,” says Gary Maler, director of the center. “The industry isn’t as interested in theoretical research as they are in applied research. They want to know about what is affecting them today, and what the market Is going to look like tomorrow.”
Maler and his team rely heavily on the Internet to get their research in the public eye. Their website (http://recenter.tamu.edu) is updated with news and numbers from around the state on a daily basis, and was visited by more than two million people in 2007 alone. Their twice weekly e-newsletter, RECON, is received by 30,000 people worldwide.
“I’m projecting a boom for Texas in the next 25 yearsâ€¦we’re going to add the equivalent population base of another metropolitan Dallas-Fort Worth, another metropolitan Houston, another metropolitan San Antonio, and enough left over for another Corpus Christi. That’s 14 million people.”
They also use more old-fashioned methods of communication: their quarterly print publication, Tierra Grande magazine, has a readership of more than 147,000, and has won many awards for its quality. Maler says their staff of researchers breaks away from the mold of most academics, as they occasionally are published in refereed journals, but that isn’t their main focus. Instead they strive to get noticed in publications that ordinary people are reading, such as newspapers and trade magazines.
And their research is getting noticed, thanks in part to all the negative media attention about real estate elsewhere in the nation. Center economists have been quoted recently in The Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Tribune, as well as on high-profile websites such as Morningstar Mutual Funds, CNNMoney.com, MSNBC.com, and MSN Money. Additionally, the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS invited Mark Dotzour, the center’s chief economist, to join a panel from around the country for a segment on regional housing markets.
“We reached the potential of 151 million households this past year,” said Maler, combining the circulation of all of the publications in which the center’s research was featured.
Maler and his staff also spend a lot of time on the road, presenting their research to groups involved in many areas of real estate, such as financers, developers, and brokers. Maler says not only does this get their message to influential people in the industry, it also helps direct their future research.
“When we’re out speaking to industry groups, we interface with thousands of people every year. We’re constantly asking “what’s on your mind?’…that way we make sure our research is in tune with the heartbeat of the industry and the people of the state of Texas,” he said.
Big state, little staff
Funding for the staff of 20 researchers and communicators the center employs is provided by the licensing fees of those in the real estate sales industry in the state. This is significant, as even though the center is a part of Texas A&M University, they are not funded through the university budget. They do, however, answer to the university’s board of regents, as well as their own advisory board. Maler says that this relationship is unique among real estate centers, which are often funded by state universities, and therefore have more of an academic focus.
Resources Available through the Real Estate Center
The center employs seven full-time researchers, and Maler says they have enough work to do that they could easily hire two more, if the funds were available. “It’s just amazing what we do, the amount of territory and the broad range of topics we cover with only 20 people,” he said, noting the different areas of specialty of his staff members which range from rural land, to public policy, to commercial and residential trends.
Maler says part of what makes the center’s research so valuable is the entities that are using it. “The center’s reputation has grown enormously over the yearsâ€¦I’m sure there are hundreds if not thousands of companies that use our information and we don’t even know about it,” he said, mentioning that Taco Bell is among their constituents, as the fast food chain uses information on the center’s website to determine locations for new stores. The center does not, however, do research specifically for corporate clients, as that would skew their objectivity, a trait that Gaines says they “guard jealously.”
One useful bit of research the center is working on currently is energy ratings for houses. Just like an efficiency rating for an appliance or automobile, the center’s staff is researching the viability of such rankings for homes and how it might impact the real estate industry.
Also of interest to average homeowners is the fact that government agencies such as HUD (U.S. Housing and Urban Development) and FHA (the Federal Housing Administration) use information from the center to determine loan limits. “That frees up a lot more money for people to buy homes in Texas,” said Maler.
Maler says that currently, the center is conducting comparative research to see how cities in Texas measure against cities of similar size in other states. They are looking at cost of living, average income, and cost of median housing for cities such as Dallas and Philadelphia. “That’s what people need to know, ” said Maler. “How does Texas stack up with these other places?”
Gaines continued this thought. “Affordable housing is, I think, going to be one of the most critical issues of the next decade. It’s one of the reasons why we’re predicting a boom for Texas,” he said. “Texas is a very affordable housing state. The price of housing is two-thirds the national median home price, and it’s only 25 percent of the cost of housing in Californiaâ€¦.and the income differentials between the places are not that big.”
Gaines says that Texas’s four major urban markets, proximity to Mexico, and highly affordable cost of living make it part of the final frontier for high growth states that people are flocking to. In essence, the center’s research shows that the future looks very bright for the economy of the Lone Star state.
On Valentine’s Day 2008, Lorraine Eden, professor of management at Mays, became a U.S. citizen. Here are excerpts from the speech she gave at the naturalization ceremony.
The dictionary defines “citizen” as “a person owing allegiance to a state where sovereign power is retained by the people and where the person shares in the political rights of the people.” ((http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/citizen)) A citizen is a member of a community. Citizens “belong to”, “are part of”, “are accepted as”; in other words, citizenship is all about “belonging”. Citizens are insiders.
Mays professor Lorraine Eden became a U.S. citizen on Valentine’s Day 2008.
The Department of Homeland Security’s most recent Yearbook of Immigration Statistics states that 702,589 people became naturalized citizens of the United States in 2006 (the newest available data). Almost three-quarters of a million people chose membership in the U.S. communityâ€”to become insiders.
They came fromâ€”I counted!â€”192 different countries. In other words, there were new naturalized U.S. citizens in 2006 from every country that is a country in the world.
I am from Canada. As you might expect, given its small population, there weren’t a lot of Canadians in the group — about 1% of the total. The top five sending countries were: Mexico (12% of the total), India, Philippines, China and Vietnam.
Where do these new U.S. citizens live? In every state in the union. The top five receiving states were: California, New York, Florida, New Jersey, and Texas (5% of the total).
Immigrants are applying for U.S. citizenship in record numbers. Almost 1.5 million legal immigrants applied for U.S. citizenship in fiscal year 2007. More than one million applications are still pending. ((Houston Chronicle, Jan 28, 2008. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/politics/5500956.html))
While the naturalization ceremonies in Bryan/College Station are small, this is not the case in larger cities. In Los Angeles, naturalization ceremonies are running almost monthly. On February 21st two ceremonies are scheduledâ€”for 6,000 people each! Website instructions warn new citizens and their families to set up specific locations for meeting after the ceremony because of the huge crowds. ((“Due to the large size of the naturalization facilities and the fact that applicants and guests are separated during processing, it is a good idea to have the applicant and guest designate a specific location to meet after the ceremony. Too often, individuals cannot locate each other at the conclusion of the ceremony.” See http://www.cacd.uscourts.gov/CACD/GenInfo.nsf/5f050bfbacb399fd882567c8005ad845/4e345f626837d38788256815005aa932?OpenDocument )) In Houston, almost 4,000 immigrants were naturalized in January 2008 and over a dozen more ceremonies are scheduled through September. A Houston radio station compared the mass ceremonies to basketball games: “a full parking lot, 5,000 people in the seats, ushers, security guards and even music playing over the public address system”. ((http://www.kuhf.org/site/News2?JServSessionIdr004=okrdrsg6m2.app1b&page=NewsArticle&id=21086&security=2665&news_iv_ctrl=1043))
What is clear from these statistics is the overwhelming desire of people from all walks of life, across all countries, races and ethnicities, to migrate to the United States and become naturalized U.S. citizens. Some individuals came here fleeing from persecution in their home countries; others simply looking for a better life. Some (like me) came here through marriage to a U.S. native-born citizen.
“Physically, mentally and emotionally, we have moved to the United States and put down roots. Our allegiance is here.”
Let me tell you a bit about my own personal journey to becoming a U.S. citizen.
I am a “border child.” My father was Canadian and my mother was British. They met in London during the Blitz and married after the war. Both of my parents spent part of their childhoods in orphanages so I know little about my own roots. I am the eldest of three children. I was born and raised in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, a small town of 3,000 people on the Canadian side of the U.S.-Canada border. Many of my childhood memories involve crossing the bridge to visit Calais, Maine on the U.S. side of the border. ((http://www.businessintheeyeofthestorm.com/articles/Episode6/UHY_BES_october.pdf#page=10))
The United States was ever present when I was growing up. My earliest TV memories are of Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans, The Mickey Mouse Club, Spanky and Our Gang, The Lone Ranger, Laurel and Hardy, the Three Stooges, The Ed Sullivan Showâ€”all American shows. I loved Walt Disney movies and Warner Brothers cartoons, and devoured Nancy Drew, The Bobbsey Twins and Zane Gray books. As a teenager, I listened to New York radio stations (WPTR, WABC, Wolfman Jack), spent my allowance on teen movie magazines, and listened to Top 40 Hits (the Beach Boys) while dreaming about what it would be like to live in California.
Many years later, I was a professor of international affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa when I met a professor of political science at Ohio State. We fell in love, commuted for a couple of years, and then went on the market together. Texas A&M hired both of us and that changed everything. My husband, Chuck Hermann, became the founding director of the George Bush School of Government and Public Service; I became a faculty member in the management department at Mays. We arrived here in July 1995 to a Texas summerâ€”over 100 degrees outsideâ€”and a house with the air conditioning off.
More than 700,000 people became naturalized citizens of the United States in 2006 alone.
Over the past 13 years, Bryan/College Station has become our home and Texas A&M our university. We have many friends here and have put down roots. We have a good life. Our three children are now all married, and we have our first grandson. The Bush School is a thriving institution with dozens of faculty and hundreds of graduates. My department is ranked one of the best in the country.
In June 2007, I applied for U.S. citizenship, with the help of Esther Del Toro, my immigration lawyer. My reasons for moving from a “permanent resident” (or, as my husband calls me, his “resident alien”) to a naturalized U.S. citizen were simple. There were two primary ones:
First, I had become “Americanized”, but was not an American. I have been physically inside the United States since 1995, but still internally saw myself as an outsider. I couldn’t vote. I couldn’t serve in jury duty. I couldn’t run for elective office. It was time to assume these citizenship responsibilities. It was time to show my allegiance to the community by pulling my own weight as a citizen. It was time to become an insider. It felt right.
Second, November 2007 was the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Bush School and the Bush Library/Museum. Applying for U.S. citizenship in June 2007 was my own personal way of marking this overwhelmingly important event in Chuck’s and my life. The 10th anniversary was time. It felt right.
Canada will always be the country where I was born and raised. Canada gave me a wonderful education. My side of the family all live in Canada. Canada is a beautiful country. However, I do not see myself ever returning to Canada to live. Physically, mentally and emotionally, I have moved to the United States and put down roots. My allegiance is here. It is time for me to assume my new identity as an American citizen, to become an insider.
Mays Business School at Texas A&M University is joining a consortium led by Syracuse University in a new program designed to assist veterans with disabilities. Called Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EVB), this program will offer training in small business start-up and management to service men and women injured in the line of duty since 2001. Also in the consortium are the business schools of UCLA and Florida State.
“Agreeing to join this consortium was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made,” said Ricky Griffin, interim dean at Mays. “I believe that EBV has the potential to truly impact our society. I’m proud that Mays Business School will be a part of this.”
As the war in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, it is estimated that the number of service people wounded in the war on terror is now nearly 40,000. Additionally, the number of soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress and other psychological challenges resulting from their service suggests the number of Americans disabled supporting military operations since 9/11 has exceeded 100,000. For many of these Americans, traditional employment may represent a lifelong challenge.
“Our involvement in this very special program is a reflection of the values we hold dear at the Mays Business School and the priority we place upon entrepreneurship education,” said Richard Lester, clinical associate professor and director of academic entrepreneurship programs at Mays. Lester says there is an “impending crisis looming for disabled veteransâ€¦as regards long-term employment opportunities,” and he hopes that Mays involvement in this innovative program will help the student-veterans “to take charge of their futures” through owning their own businesses.
In response to the needs of this population of self-sacrificing Americans, Syracuse University created the EVB program and enrolled their first class of 20 participants in the summer of 2007. The program integrates world-class faculty, entrepreneurs, disability experts and business professionals in an educational program focused on training veterans in the competencies associated with small business ownership.
The four-university EBV partnership will dramatically expand the reach of the program started at Syracuse. At all four institutions, the EBV curriculum will be standardized, ensuring that all participants receive a consistent, high-quality experience. This consortium represents one of the first, significant partnerships since World War II among some of the country’s most prestigious business schools focused specifically on opening the doors of America’s colleges and universities to veterans motivated by business ownership.
The EBV program is offered in three phases. Phase I is a self-study session in which the veterans complete courses through online discussions moderated by university faculty. Phase II requires that participants travel to their participating EBV university, where they will become immersed in a nine-day residency, learning to develop their own business concepts and understanding the basic elements of small business management. Phase III involves 12 months of ongoing support and mentorship provided to the veterans from the faculty experts at the EBV universities. Throughout the EBV experience, students engage in experimental workshops to write business plans, raise capital, attract customers, and develop a marketing strategy that is most effective for their business model.
For the participating veterans, the program will be entirely free, including travel and accommodations.
In a world full of technological breakthroughs and innovative ideas, Texas A&M continues to make its mark. Though every invention shows promise, marketing new technology to the average person can be a difficult task, and that’s where the Mays MBA Program steps in. On February 15, 77 first-year MBA students participated in the Tech Transfer Challenge, developing real-world applications for A&M’s newest innovations.
James Lancaster (center), General Manager of The Research Valley Partnership, served as one of the judges for this year’s Tech Transfer Challenge.
Presented by Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures in Entrepreneurship, MBA students kicked off the challenge with a week of research and analysis on an unfamiliar potential product. The teams of students then presented ideas for commercializing each item to a panel of judges, including representatives from today’s top corporations. With little preparation time and the task of creating a presentation fit for the boardroom, the students’ leadership, teamwork, and research skills were put to the test. Tech Transfer enabled the students to incorporate management principles while sizing up the potential of patents and other raw technologies. The diverse technology made the event even more challenging, as research was required on random topics such as beetle pesticide.
Kristen Robinson, a first-year MBA student and member of the first-place winning team, feels that despite the challenging time crunch, the event provided her and the other participants with a unique opportunity to synthesize their classroom experience as well as practice their networking skills. “It helps you learn how to make important contacts with big names in the business world. It’s really encouraging because this process is often very intimidating,” said Robinson.
While the Tech Transfer competition is a required activity for Mays MBA students, the $6,000 prize money split among the top three teams is plenty of motivation for students to maximize their creativity and produce a quality presentation. The students definitely succeeded in this aspect, proving their corporate capabilities through their professional presentations reflecting organized research.
This year’s first place team presented research on “Compositions, Methods, and Uses for a Novel Family of Peptides.”
Clinching the first place spot, Alayne Bomba, Jesse Jones, Elliot Battles, Kristen Robinson, and Amy Heintz presented research on “Compositions, Methods, and Uses for a Novel Family of Peptides.” In second place, Kyle Klein, Vickram Gopaal, Lisa Sun, Scott Bradford, and Josephine Hodge displayed their newfound knowledge of an “Improved Vaccine Against Brucella Abortus,” and third place went to Taylor Robertson, Brian Wiggins, David Ball, Hemanth Babu Shakar, and Robin Hawkins’ presentation, “Attractant for Monitoring the Control of Adult Scarabs.”
Lenae Huebner, assistant director for the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, feels that the challenge benefits everyone involved. “For the corporate representatives, participation in the event is more than just an opportunity to give back to the community and support our educational efforts. Judges over the last few years have hired students, licensed technologies and expanded their personal networks as a direct result of the challenge. Serving as a judge can be as rewarding to the judges as it is for the students,” said Huebner.
Judges agree. John Andersen, representative of Merrill Lynch feels that the Tech Transfer is a fantastic opportunity for venture capitalists seeking new business endeavors. “They love this sort of thing. And when you interact with young minds like this, it’s reassuring to know that these young people are in our society, they are the future of business. This is an outstanding network opportunity,” said Andersen.
About the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship
The Texas A&M Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship provides encouragement, education, networking and assistance to entrepreneurially-minded students, faculty and Texas businesses. Founded in 1999, the center is part of Mays Business School’s Department of Management. The center enhances student education through campus speakers, competitions, work experiences and financial support. The Texas A&M faculty and Office of Technology Commercialization benefit from the center’s educational programs, extensive business community network and the entrepreneurial services.
The center also reaches out to the state’s business community offering educational programs, business assistance and access to university resources. The center is supported by corporate and individual members and sponsors who believe in the value of an entrepreneurial education program and the value of Texas businesses working with Texas A&M University.
About the Mays MBA program
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 to its intensive 16-month program and a placement rate of 100 percent within three months of graduation.