Financial Management Association (FMA) International has named the Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School student chapter of FMA a 2008-2009 Superior Chapter in recognition of excellence and dedication to the professional development of finance students. This is the highest level of recognition the more than 100 student chapters can attain.

“I’m very proud of them for aspiring to be the best at what they do. They work very hard,” says A&M chapter faculty sponsor Sally Guyton, a senior lecturer in the finance department. Guyton says that while she is very involved with the group, the students do much of the planning themselves.

FMA International is an organization for practitioners and academicians in finance that promotes research and professional interaction. The organization is responsible for The Journal of Applied Finance, Financial Management, and FMA Online.

The A&M chapter, which has approximately 60 active members, was formed to help students connect to those in the financial industry through networking, trips, and guest speaker events. “Our primary mission is to explore finance careers so that they have a better idea of what they want to do when they graduate,” said Guyton. Undergraduate business students make up the majority of the A&M chapter membership, but there are also graduate student members, and members from other majors with an interest in finance.

Katrina Coulter ’10, vice president of operations for the A&M FMA chapter, said that to achieve the “Superior” distinction their chapter consistently has done more than the FMA International standards required: they needed to have at least eight guest speakers in the year; they had more than six per semester. FMA International recommends two corporate tours per year; the A&M chapter visited Dallas, Austin, and New York City and toured multiple companies in each city.

The “Superior” distinction also recognizes the chapter’s community service, well-maintained website, and number of active members. The chapter also sponsors frequent networking events and encourages former members now in the financial world to connect with current members.

Each year the A&M chapter sponsors two trips to major cities in Texas and one trip to a more distant locale (usually New York City) to visit businesses and witness careers in finance first-hand. In addition to the Texas trips, the chapter has visited London, Toronto, Chicago, and San Francisco. This year, Coulter, a senior finance major, will plan the NYC trip, arranging all of the details from travel and accommodations to meetings with industry professionals and tours of the New York Stock Exchange and New York Mercantile Exchange.

Categories: Students

Doing the right thing is at the core of the business philosophy at Blue Bell Creameries, from using only the highest quality ingredients in their famous frozen desserts, to keeping carton sizes at a half-gallon in the face of downsizing and cost cutting by virtually every other major ice cream manufacturer in the country. Part of that philosophy also involves giving back to the people and organizations that have made Blue Bell a success. Recently, Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse ’77 announced that he and the company would jointly support another Texas icon: Texas A&M University. The gift of $500,000, matched by funds from Peggy and Lowry Mays ’57, will establish the Blue Bell Creameries Chair in Business at A&M’s Mays Business School in the total amount of $1 million.

“I believe in supporting an entity that is making a difference and Mays Business School is certainly doing that,” said Blue Bell Creameries CEO and president Paul Kruse ’77 (seen here talking with Mays students earlier this year).

“This kind of giving is something that I feel is important,” said Kruse, who holds an accounting degree from A&M. “A core group of our team, including the chief financial officer and controller, are Mays graduates. The college has had a direct impact on our business and we want to recognize that.” Kruse says that he hopes the gift will allow Mays to continue to grow and thrive.

“Attracting good students and attracting good faculty go hand in hand,” he said. “This chair will help the faculty end of the equation.” In addition to the funding the Blue Bell Chair professor will receive, Kruse says free ice cream will sweeten the recruiting effort.

“You cannot go anywhere on the Texas A&M campus without seeing the generosity of the Kruse family to our institution,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “While any endowed chair is a magnet to attract great faculty, having a chair tied to a great businessperson like Paul Kruse and a great success story like Blue Bell makes this particular position even more special.”

Blue Bell Creameries has a long history in Texas and with Texas A&M. The creamery opened in 1907 in Brenham, just 40 miles from the A&M campus, where many young Texan men interested in agriculture were being educated. Kruse’s grandfather, E.F. Kruse took over operations of the creamery in 1919, and his sons, Ed ’49 and Howard ’52 both majored in dairy science at A&M before joining the company in leadership positions.

Paul Kruse bucked family tradition by majoring in accounting before going on to law school at Baylor. He had a private law practice in Brenham for several years before being recruited by Blue Bell, where he has served in a number of capacities, from board member, to general counsel, to his current role at the helm of the company.

Blue Bell and individual members of the Kruse family have spread their support far and wide at A&M, giving generously to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Corps of Cadets, Bush Library, Association of Former Students, 12th Man Foundation, College of Veterinary Medicine, Singing Cadets, Century Council, Cushing Library, and scholarship funds.

This gift to Mays represents the largest single gift from Blue Bell, and is among the largest from one of the Kruses.

“I believe in supporting an entity that is making a difference and Mays Business School is certainly doing that,” said Kruse. Blue Bell also sponsors many community events in the local area and has given to children’s programs, such as 4-H and youth sports.

Kruse is a past chairman of the International Ice Cream Association, and has had previous leadership roles at Trinity Medical Center, the Blinn College Foundation and Dairy Products Institute of Texas. He is a member and past president of the Brenham Rotary Club and is a trustee of the Texas 4-H Youth Development Foundation and the Ron Stone Foundation.

In 2006, Kruse received the Soaring Eagle Award from the International Dairy Foods Association. This year he will serve as the chairman of that organization. In 2007 he was inducted into the Dairy Products Institute of Texas Hall of Fame and in 2008 he was recognized by Mays Business School with an Outstanding Alumni Award, the highest honor given by the school.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

Recently released rankings from Forbes confirm that once again, the Texas A&M Full Time MBA program is ranked in the top ten for U.S. public schools. In the 2009 rankings, the A&M program places 9th among U.S. publics, and 24th for all U.S. schools, public and private.

The bi-annual ranking includes the top 75 programs in the U.S., as well as the top 11 international programs, separated into one-year and two-year programs. For the U.S. rankings, only two-year programs were ranked.

The return on investment of graduates is the determining factor in these rankings. Forbes surveyed thousands of alumni from MBA programs around the world to find their pre-MBA salary as well as compensation figures for several years following graduation. They compared these numbers and adjusted for opportunity cost (tuition and foregone salary while in school) to arrive at the rankings.

“This ranking again illustrates the value of an MBA degree from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University,” said Kelli Kilpatrick, director of the MBA program. “We strive to provide a world class education to our students that prepares them for significant career success, while keeping our program costs affordable. It is a powerful combination that results in significant ROI for Texas A&M MBAs.”

About Mays Business School

Mays Business School currently enrolls more than 4,000 undergraduate students and 875 graduate students. The full-time MBA program is highly selective, with an acceptance rate of 26 percent. Currently there are 159 MBA students in their intensive 16-month program.

Categories: Programs

How do you teach teamwork, crisis management, creative problem solving, communication, and leadership—those soft skills that are essential to any top-level business position? The Texas A&M University Executive MBA Program at Mays Business School has a unique answer to that question: send the students for a day of exercises at Disaster City, the premiere crisis training facility in the nation, located in College Station, Texas.

Disaster City is a full-scale mock community designed to simulate various levels of disaster and wreckage, such as a train derailment and building collapse. Rescue workers from around the world use the facility for training purposes. The A&M Executive MBA students took part in a specialized day of training that tested their leadership skills instead of their business acumen on August 5, 2009.

Disaster City is a full-scale mock community designed to simulate various levels of disaster and wreckage. In this 2008 photo, MBA students participate in drills designed to test leadership and management skills during a crisis.
Disaster City is a full-scale mock community designed to simulate various levels of disaster and wreckage. In this 2008 photo, MBA students participate in drills designed to test leadership and management skills during a crisis.

Incorporating this exercise into the EMBA curriculum was inspired by the students’ involvement in crisis management for their companies during Hurricane Ike in September 2008. During the exercise, the EMBA students were divided into teams to complete tasks such as rescuing “victims” from a train wreck, a high speed GPS scavenger hunt, and a “slab drag,” moving a 1,200-pound block of concrete with team effort and pulleys. They also practiced responding to the media and other external audiences during crisis.

As they learned how to respond during a physical crisis, the expectation is that those skills will transfer to a business setting—from natural disasters like Ike, to stock crashes and business take-overs.

“The Disaster City experience is about putting our Executive MBA students in a physically challenging, high stress environment that will test them in every way,” said Julie Orzabal, director of the Executive MBA program. “The lessons they learn through these exercises will translate into how they work together in their teams, how they communicate, and how they lead their organizations.  We are excited about incorporating this unique opportunity into our curriculum.”

Top local and national response experts instructed and facilitated the EMBA challenge. These instructors have responded to some of the largest disasters in U.S. history, including the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, and the space shuttle Columbia incident.

The EMBA training at Disaster City is part of their “Residency Week” program, which introduces the new class of students to the A&M program and campus. After Residency Week, all EMBA classes are held in The Woodlands, near Houston, Texas.

For more information about Disaster City and the Texas A&M University Executive MBA Program at Mays Business School, contact Kristin Cooper at (979) 458-4571 or

About the Texas A&M Executive MBA Program

The Executive MBA Program equips today’s working leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in a rapidly changing organizational environment. The unique program is built around an ongoing study of how value is created in all aspects of an organization’s operations. Peer discussion and real-world case studies replace the typical lecture-driven classroom format. The result is a highly interactive learning environment that provides each participant with knowledge they can put to work immediately. The 18-month program begins a new class each August. For more information, please contact the Executive MBA office at

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 105 professors in five departments.

Categories: Programs

Two PhD students from the Texas A&M University Mays Business School Department of Information and Operations Management were singled out for praise at a recent International System Dynamics Conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Mays student Emre Demirezen was one of the honorees of the Lupina Young Researchers Award, which is granted every year by the Health Policy Special Interest Group of the System Dynamics Society for work in health system dynamics. The award is sponsored by the Lupina Foundation of Toronto, Canada, and is accompanied by a check in the amount of $5,000 (Canada). This award is given to researchers early in their careers to encourage further work in health system dynamics.

Mays student Howard Chuang received an honorary mention (i.e., his was one of the top three papers) for the Dana Meadows Award. This award is given annually for the best paper by a student presented at the annual conference and recognizes high quality student work in the field of system dynamics.

Additionally, the winner of the Dana Meadows Award was another Aggie, Timothy Taylor, a PhD student from the Civil Engineering Department. Only five students were recognized for awards during the conference, three of whom were students at Texas A&M.

For more information

Categories: Students