September, 2010 | Mays Impacts - Part 2

Three Mays faculty members and one former student recently received the KPMG 2010 Outstanding Published Manuscript Award from the American Accounting Association (AAA), Gender Issues and Work-Life Balance (GIWB) Section. Professors of accounting Stanley Kratchman and Murphy Smith, marketing lecturer Katherine T. Smith, and Fred Feucht ’04 (PhD in accounting) were recognized for their research achievement at the association’s annual meeting held in August in San Francisco. The authors received plaques and a $1,000 award, which was funded by the KPMG Foundation.

From left to right: Stanley Kratchman, Murphy Smith and Katherine T. Smith
From left to right: Stanley Kratchman, Murphy Smith and Katherine T. Smith

Their award-winning paper, “Changes in gender distribution among accounting academics,” was published in International Journal of Critical Accounting in 2009. Their study presents a longitudinal analysis spanning more than 20 years of the distribution of men and women in accounting academia, including university faculty positions and in leadership roles in the AAA. The study also examines women’s participation in accounting practice.

Their findings indicate that the proportion of faculty positions held by women has increased in all academic ranks and the proportion of AAA leadership positions held by women has increased, such as regional vice presidents and membership on editorial boards. Further, the proportion of women in accounting practice has also increased.

“The accounting field has been open to women from its beginning,” says Kratchman, who won a national award from the AAA in 2008 for mentoring women in accounting. Kratchman notes that the first CPA certificate was issued in 1896; three years later, the first woman earned a certificate. More recently, in October 2005, a woman became the chair of the American Institute of CPAs, the largest professional organization for accountants in the United States. Today, women make up about half of college accounting graduates and new entrants to the profession.

About the GIWB section of the American Accounting Association

The Gender Issues and Work-Life Balance Section of the American Accounting Association has the overall objective of facilitating interaction among association members regarding gender issues and work-life balance as they relate to accounting practice, research, and education.

Categories: Faculty

It is impossible to read the business press without recognizing the importance of small business in the United States and world economies. Through creation of jobs, opportunities, new products, and new services, we all rely on small businesses each and every day. Each of these small businesses starts with an owner, an idea, a dream, and a lot of hard work.

This summer, through our Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, Mays Business School faculty and students touched the lives of two special groups of entrepreneurs.

For the third year, we were proud to be one of six universities to host the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, bringing to our campus 18 courageous men and women who have served our country so admirably. A unique blend of faculty and entrepreneurs spent the week discussing budgets, market research, organizational design, and other facets of business teaching these veterans to prepare and refine their business plans. While short, the history of this program is proud. Of the first class in 2007, almost 70 percent of the students own their own businesses and four of those businesses generated revenues in excess of $1 million last year. While the 2007 class set a high bar, I believe the 2010 group is up to the challenge!

For the first year, three Mays students (Lauren Dunagan, Paul Morin, and Rishabh Mathur) participated in the Entrepreneurship Empowerment in South Africa program, which provides hands-on lessons as the students worked with small businesses in Cape Town, South Africa. During these six-weeks, our students were able to see a part of the world heretofore unknown to them more than 8,000 miles from our campus and meet and mentor people pursuing their dreams. While the students will pay huge dividends for those small businesses, the experiences and knowledge that Lauren, Paul, and Rishabh gained will surely pay dividends in their careers after college.

As always, I hope this issue of Mays Business Online finds you well. Please call or stop by if your future travels bring you to our campus.

Categories: Deanspeak

For the first 31 years of my life, I hated running. I really hated running. The notion that anyone would run on their own for recreation seemed absurd. In fact, I remember looking at the people jogging around our neighborhood and thinking that they had to be crazy. Who does that for fun? Certainly not me.

Well, now I am one of those crazy people. A few weeks ago I completed my first marathon—26.2 miles up and down the steep hills of San Francisco.

How did that happen?

It all started a little over a year ago — July 18, 2009, to be exact — when I decided it was time to start exercising regularly. I wanted to lose a few pounds (okay, maybe more than a few) so I could keep up with my two young children and generally enjoy the numerous benefits of a healthier lifestyle.

So that night I grabbed my iPod, hopped on the treadmill in our bedroom and started walking at a leisurely pace. Ten minutes and half a mile later, I had to stop. I was sweaty, tired and seemingly close to death. I could not go any further.

One of the great things about working on campus is that there's no shortage of 5Ks to run in on the weekends.
One of the great things about working on campus is that there’s no shortage of 5Ks to run in on the weekends.

It wasn’t the greatest of starts, but I decided to come back and do it again the next night. I survived that second night too, and before I knew it, I began to pick up a little bit of speed. Eventually, it stopped feeling like each step might be my last.

When the treadmill broke, I decided to invest in a membership at the Texas A&M Rec Center. That was fantastic…until 40,000 students came back into town at the beginning of the fall semester and packed the gym wall to wall. As the semester progressed, it became harder and harder to find an open treadmill or exercise bike. Frustrated and tired of waiting around, I decided to do the unthinkable—run outdoors.

I knew I was going to hate it. Those people in my neighborhood always looked miserable. There was no air conditioning outdoors. No television to watch. No towel or water fountain handy when I needed a break. I mean, really, this is Texas. We do everything indoors if we have a choice.

Once I ran outside, though, something unexpected happened. Not only did I survive my first jogging excursion, I enjoyed it. It felt I was actually doing something instead of only mindlessly moving my legs to keep up with the treadmill. It gave me the chance to explore campus and see parts of Aggieland that I hadn’t seen since my days as an undergrad. Most importantly, it gave me an hour to think clearly without interruptions from phone calls, e-mail or other people. Running outdoors wasn’t tiring. It was relaxing. It was invigorating. I LIKED it. Maybe all those joggers weren’t crazy after all.

“When I got on that treadmill last summer, I didn’t want to finish a marathon. I just wanted to do more than I done the day before. It’s amazing how far that can take you.”

Throughout that fall, I ran in a number of 5Ks and smaller races here on campus. At the end of the year, I decided I was ready to take things to a new level and I signed up for the Austin Half-Marathon in February. I had a blast doing it, so I ran in two more half-marathons that spring. It was official: I was no longer a couch potato. I was a runner.

As the summer began, I faced the prospect of several hot months without a race to train for. I wasn’t excited about waiting until October for my next half-marathon in San Antonio and I was worried that I’d lose motivation as the temperature skyrocketed. I needed something to keep me going. Something big.

After a few weeks of careful contemplation and a sudden fit of insane overconfidence, I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon. Up until that point, the farthest I had run was about 18 miles (and all of that on the flat roads of Texas). I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to do it, but I had my goal for the summer — figure out some way to survive 26.2 miles of those famously steep hills by the bay.

Five hours and 42 minutes after I started, I crossed the finish line. (That's me on the left in the yellow.)
Five hours and 42 minutes after I started, I crossed the finish line. (That’s me on the left in the yellow.)

As the weeks of training went by, it wasn’t always easy or fun. Some days it was downright miserable. Minor pains began to linger on and pile up, the temperature continued to climb and the question of whether I could actually run that far increasingly weighed on my mind.

In running, there’s something called “the wall” — the point at which your body screams for you stop and the only thing that keeps you going is sheer willpower. It’s the point where runners succeed or fail, where the men are separated from the boys, so to speak. It’s commonly said that most people hit their wall at around the 20-mile mark — a distance that I had yet to achieve. I was terrified of reaching my wall and not being able to get past it.

Finally, on July 25, 2010, the big day arrived. My wife joined me in San Francisco (she ran in the half-marathon, a first for her as well) and we ran the first seven miles of the course together. As the race wound through Fisherman’s Wharf, out over the Golden Gate Bridge and back, through Golden Gate Park and then the narrow, steep streets of San Francisco, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the beauty of the city. Soon, the pressure of finishing dissipated as I stopped stressing out and instead took the time to appreciate my surroundings.

By the time I reached mile 20, I wasn’t worried about hitting the wall any more. I was determined to make it, even if it meant crawling those last six miles on hands and knees. It didn’t come to that, though, because with each step, I felt more and more sure of crossing the finish line.

Sometimes, 5,495th place isn't all that bad.
Sometimes, 5,495th place isn’t all that bad.

As I rounded the last turn and ran down the Embarcadero towards the finish line, one of the college-aged girls that had been running with me for the last few miles turned to me and said, “You know, old man, you’re awesome.”

And you know what? She was right (although perhaps not about the “old man” part). For that day at least, I was awesome. Not because I finished the race. Not because I had finished all those other races in the past year or because of the 1,239 miles of training I had done in twelve months.

I was awesome because I did something that I didn’t know I could do. For one brief moment, I surpassed my own expectations and discovered that my limit wasn’t where I thought it was. I still have room to grow as a person and achieve new goals, as long as I’m willing to put in the work. And that is truly awesome.

Categories: Perspectives

Mzuvukile “Rasta” Mfengwana’s silk screening business is a small operation: a modest workroom in a community of dilapidated shacks where he and his wife design and create items by hand to sell to tourists in Cape Town, South Africa.

Rasta leans over his worktable, brushing blue paint over a screen-covered tee shirt. He explains the process to several women who cluster around him. Some of the women are single mothers in the community; their children play nearby. Rasta, of limited means himself, is training the women in the hopes that providing them with a trade will help lift them out of poverty.

This summer, four Aggies joined students from three other universities to work with the Entrepreneurship Empowerment in South Africa (EESA) program.
This summer, four Aggies joined students from three other universities to work with the Entrepreneurship Empowerment in South Africa (EESA) program.

The other women watching Rasta work aren’t there to learn silk screening. They have travelled thousands of miles to offer the entrepreneur knowledge they’ve learned from textbooks in the hopes of improving his business, and through it, the whole community. One of these women is a Mays student.

In return, they will receive a hands-on lesson in small business operation they could never find in a classroom.

Lauren Dunagan ’11 was one of the students that worked with Rasta through the Entrepreneurship Empowerment in South Africa (EESA) program this summer. “It was a little overwhelming,” she recalls of her first visit to Old Crossroads Township, the impoverished area where Rasta lived and worked. “I felt like I was in over my head.” However, once she and teammates got to work, the experience went from overwhelming to amazing. “I learned an incredible amount. Way more than I could have gotten in a classroom.” By the end of the program, Dunagan had helped lay the groundwork for Rasta’s business to expand exponentially.

“My working with Lauren and her team opened new frontiers for me,” said Rasta. “This was an experience of a lifetime. Lauren and her team showed me ways and found paths I’d never even dreamt of. These guys made me identify my mistakes and showed ways to correct them. I’m now more confident than ever before.”

Now, Rasta is poised to do more than increase his sales—he’s also ready to offer work to the single mothers he’s trained.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
—Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa (1994-1999)

A brighter future

Though apartheid officially ended in 1994, black business owners in South Africa still struggle to find equal opportunities in the white-dominated society. Amid the economic boom now taking place in Cape Town, the country’s principal city, many are getting rich. For other businessmen and -women, education, funding, and success remain out of reach.

“You could see where apartheid had left its mark. You could see the strong division between the blacks and whites,” said Dunagan, who noted the great wealth disparities present: BMWs drive past rows of shacks where hungry children play.

But you can also see how people are moving past old prejudices and working toward a brighter future, she says.

Stimulating the economy by aiding the growth of the enterprises of these under-resourced small business owners is the goal of the EESA program, a joint effort of the University of the Western Cape, Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University, and the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado. This is the first year that the program was also offered through the Mays Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship. Three Mays students and one other Aggie participated in the highly selective course, learning valuable lessons about business and politics as they created value for others.

The South African entrepreneurs he worked with inspired Paul Morin “10, a student in the Professional Program, to think more about his own future. The business owners had taken great personal risks and overcome adversity to build a successful venture, he says.

“I have always hoped to start my own business one day, but I always run into so many doubts and end up making excuses. After seeing what these entrepreneurs are capable of in spite of everything working against them, there are no more excuses I or anyone else I know can make,” he said. “We learned more from these entrepreneurs than we could have ever shared with them.”

Social entrepreneurship, the future of non-profits

Kelly Kravitz ’13 was one of the other Aggie participants. A graduate student in the public service and administration program at the George Bush School of Public Policy at A&M, Kravitz says she didn’t know much about business when she began the six-week course in May. Half of each day of the EESA program was spent in a classroom in Cape Town, where Kravitz got a crash course in entrepreneurship, as well as learning the societal factors that hinder the small business owners she worked with. The other half of the day was spent in the field, working side by side with emerging entrepreneurs.


“I learned an incredible amount,” said Lauren Dunagan ’11 (pictured at far right) of her EESA experience. “Way more than I could have gotten in a classroom.”

Participating businesses must have been in operation for at least two years. Their ventures ranged from catering and arts and crafts businesses to community newspapers and small manufacturing operations.

Some of the business owners were skeptical at the onset of the course, and were not receptive to having their operations scrutinized by American college students.
By the end of the six-week program, however, all were won over as the students presented four “deliverables” to each business owner.

The deliverables, including websites, revamped bookkeeping systems, and marketing campaigns, were unveiled at a closing dinner event. “It was amazing. Some of the business owners cried,” said Kravitz. “They were so thankful. They told us “God sent you to me.’…We saw businesses transformed.”

In an environment where fraud, corruption, and poverty are prevalent, Kravitz says she learned a lot about what it takes to create a sustainable business. She hopes to use the experience and her degree from A&M to pursue work in the non-profit sector developing a social entrepreneurial venture—a business that is dedicated to serving a needy population by giving them a sustainable source of work and income. “I see that as being the future of non-profits,” says Kravitz. They will find ways to be independent of donations and will become profit-generating businesses with a mission to improve lives.

“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
—Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa (1994-1999)

Beyond the basics

Students in the program were split into teams of four to act as consultants; each team had two entrepreneur clients. Rishabh Mathur, an MS-MIS student at Mays, hopes to go into business for himself as a consultant after he graduates in December, so the experience was particularly instructive for him.

One of the clients Mathur’s team worked with was LM Tax Consultants. The three partner/owners are the only employees, but Mathur says they are planning expansion, including new hires and a second location.

EESA students also took a little time to enjoy the festivities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
EESA students also took a little time to enjoy the festivities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

At LM, growth was happening so rapidly that owners could scarcely keep up with the workload, let alone take time to evaluate their business and create a workable infrastructure. The EESA students examined all of their operations and then set to work to provide them with immediate solutions in IT, marketing, operations, and HR.

Mathur and teammates overhauled the company’s website, adding web marketing initiatives, SEO, and analytics. They collected information from invoices to create a warehouse of data, which they analyzed and segmented to determine a targeted marketing strategy. Finally, they created printed marketing materials.

One of their most significant achievements was the creation of HR document templates, such as leave requests and time sheets, so that when the company is ready to hire employees, the owners will be prepared to track their time and pay them appropriately.

“It was a great, great experience,” says Mathur, who appreciated that he learned about many areas of business through the program.

The other education

Along with all the work, the students had a little fun. They took advantage of their free time by attending two World Cup soccer games (“I know people complained about the vuvuzelas, but they were so much fun,” said Dunagan of the noisemakers), swam with sharks, toured Robben Island (where President Nelson Mandela was a prisoner for 18 years), and hiked Table Mountain. “It was a once in a lifetime experience,” said Dungan.

The introduction to South African culture made a large impact on the A&M students: each mentioned the desire to do business in the country in the future. Mathur and an EESA student from OSU are creating a business plan now that includes a South African component. He’s excited about the business, which involves automotive accessory manufacturing, and is excited about providing jobs in South Africa. “It’s a rapidly growing economy,” he says. “This experience has given me more confidence in starting my own business there.”

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
—Nelson Mandela, President of South Africa (1994-1999)

Categories: Featured Stories, Students

When you’re jumping from a plane, there’s no stopping in the open doorway to reflect. You follow the soldier in front of you. They jump, then you jump. A second after that, the soldier behind you jumps. The planeload of paratroopers plummets toward earth, opening the lifesaving parachutes at a specific point—a mere 500 feet from the ground in a combat scenario. Higher up if there’s no one shooting at you, because the closer you are to landing when you open your chute, the less time you are a slowly drifting target.

Charles McKellar, a sergeant in the 82nd Airborne division, had completed nearly 50 jumps in his career without incident. Then, on a routine jump simulating combat conditions, he was involved in what the Army called a “high-altitude entanglement”: he was sucked out of the aircraft with another paratrooper. McKellar remembers seeing the tail of the plane rushing toward him, knowing he was probably going to die, praying that he would be spared. His parachute collapsed and he was knocked unconscious.

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Class of 2010
The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Class of 2010 (view more photos from EBV 2010)

“I hit the earth and the next thing I remember was some beautiful woman looking at me saying, “Can you hear me now?'” he chuckles as he recounts his brush with death.

Along with the personal motto, “Everyday you wake up is a good day,” the incident left him with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Frequently caused by bomb blasts, TBIs can affect thinking, sensation, movement, language, and emotions. Like hundreds of thousands of other U.S. soldiers, McKellar will struggle with the effects of this injury, perhaps for the rest of his life. The extent of his wound led to medical discharge from the Army, ending his eight-year career in the military.

Today, he works at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, teaching IT classes to wounded warriors. While McKellar is fortunate to have a job, many soldiers with TBIs, and the more common and similarly disruptive post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), find traditional employment extremely challenging. A down economy and a scarcity of job opportunities only add to the difficulty.

Entrepreneurship offers these self-sacrificing men and women an opportunity to work on their own terms. Although small business ownership is challenging and risky, the rewards can be great.

Those potential rewards brought McKellar to the A&M campus last month. He was one of 18 participants in the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities program, which offers free training in small business ownership and operation to vets wounded in service after 9/11.

Fed through the fire hose

Piloted by the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University four years ago, the program is now offered in consortium with Mays and four other schools across the nation. It provides participants with the practical skills necessary to make a new venture a success, and an exceptional support network that will be vital as they launch their new ideas.

Participants came from all branches of the military and all parts of the country. With a variety of experiences and ideas, the common theme among the soldiers was a desire to make a difference—in their own lives, in the lives of other veterans, in their communities—through their proposed business ventures.


During their week on campus, three of this year’s EBV participants recorded daily video updates. (see more video blogs)

Some participants already had a business in operation at the time of the program and were able to apply EBV course materials directly to improve their ventures, from private security to clothing design.

For others, the week helped them to shape an idea and turn it into a concrete plan of action.

Stephanie Bowers was one such participant. An Army medic, sergeant Bowers doesn’t look like a woman who has seen action in Iraq and Afghanistan. She’s petite and perpetually smiling, with a pleasant southern drawl that gives her away as a native of Tennessee. She currently works at a VA hospital, caring for veterans in much the same way as she did when she was in the military. Her business idea was born out of her experiences as a caregiver and a wounded soldier.

“When I came [to A&M], I knew I wanted to create a patient advocacy business in my hometown,” she said. Over the course of the three-week online training and nine-day residency period on campus, Bowers learned about financial planning, accounting basics, management, intellectual property laws, marketing, personal selling, and other topics. “We were fed through the fire hose,” she says, commenting that it felt like two semesters of business school crammed into one short period.

More important than any one concept mastered during the experience, Bowers says EBV has given her the confidence she needed to be successful. “The biggest thing that I didn’t have when I came that I have now…is the confidence to actually take that leap of faith to start the business.”

Striving for greatness

Likewise, McKellar says the information provided through the EBV program has empowered him. “This program has given me energy beyond my wildest dreams. I know that my business idea will soon become a business reality,” he says. “I know this. I can feel it in my gut. I am so confident about what I’m doing right now.” Currently, he operates a computer repair and web design business in addition to his duties at Fort Bragg. In the near future, he plans to launch a venture called Winners Information Technology Training and Consulting, which will provide IT training and job skills to diverse demographics, from at-risk youth, to injured soldiers, to the elderly.

The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Class of 2010
“This program has given me energy beyond my wildest dreams,” said EBV participant Charles McKellar. “I know that my business idea will soon become a business reality,”

A large guy, McKellar might look intimidating if not for his kind eyes and the jokes and smiles constantly on his lips. Quick with a word of heartfelt encouragement for anyone in need, it is entirely appropriate that his venture is people-focused. He is especially passionate about helping at-risk youth. “I am going to save somebody’s life with education and job stabilization,” he says. “I want to train them because some of them are underprivileged and live in rural or dangerous environments. They have given up on hope. I want to teach them to dream big and to strive for greatness!”

McKellar will lead by example. “You can’t get anywhere by staying where you are. You’ve got to get up and you’ve got to do something. I’m so glad to be [at EBV] because [the instructors] have encouraged me to get up and do something,” he says.

You can see more about McKellar, Bowers, and one other participant, Andrea Carlton, by watching video blogs created during their residency week at A&M.

Thanks to the generous support of corporate sponsors and private individuals, the entire program—including tuition, travel, and accommodations—is offered at no cost to the veterans. This year, PepsiCo joined the program as a corporate sponsor, giving $1.5 million to EBV nationwide. To donate to the Mays EBV program, visit the Texas A&M Foundation.

Contact the Mays EBV Program Director, Richard Lester, for more information at rlester@mays.tamu.edu or (979) 862-7091.

Categories: Centers, Featured Stories, Programs

I read a very interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about who young people turn to for advice. In short, the answer is that they largely turn to their peers, for a number of reasons. Being old, I have the sense that this is a really bad idea. But reading the article opened my eyes to a few things.

In general, I think people are well served by listening to older and more experienced people. Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished by how much he’d learned in seven years.” Nowadays, it seems that the sense that parents are out of touch extends well into adulthood.

Historically, people have thought wisdom was linked to age. I am not sure the research bears this out, though it is inherent and explicit in most authoritative religious literature. Perhaps the research results vary from the assumptions because it is so difficult to live wisely for a long period of time. Longevity and consistency in relationships is all too rare, and we are regularly greeted by examples of middle- or older-aged moral collapse.

As I have written, wisdom seems to include dialogical and dialectical thinking at a minimum, the ability to consider others’ perspectives and to think long-term. Reading the Wall Street Journal article made me consider that perhaps people of my generation have different strengths and vulnerabilities than those of the generation of students I teach. Each has the potential for great wisdom, and also the opportunity to make crash-and-burn decisions.

I think what I have noticed is that my students, and my children, are far more dialogical than I am. They are incessantly communicating with one another and sharing their perspectives. They are getting input from all over—from best friends, from strangers, from Facebook, from authority figures, from the media. Though, to older people, they sometimes seem to have trouble distinguishing the relative reliability of the sources, they are listening.

That is the weakness of people like me. I become entrenched in my position, and I often fail to listen respectfully the way I should. In closing myself to those sources I consider to be of questionable reliability, I find that I have often failed to listen to unique viewpoints that may help me get closer to truth. More painfully, this can be true of me as a father. I want my children to see me as the expert, and I don’t always enter the conversation listening. Or worse, I wait for the weakness in their arguments to emerge, and I pounce. They rightly cut me off as a source of advice. Even when I am right, I am not to be trusted.

But my young friends have a weakness too, and that comes in the difficulty they have thinking dialectically. There is no way they can be expected to have a long-term perspective, when they have not had a life experience of major failings and mistakes, or of fruitful choices that paid off. Of course they underestimate long-term negative consequences of their decisions. Why wouldn’t they, unless they have experienced those consequences directly in the form of fallout from their parents’ lack of wisdom?

Where is wisdom to be found? I think it is in recognizing our vulnerability to these tendencies, and in engaging each other in conversations respectfully. For my part, I am working on becoming a better listener and not trying to solve problems before I even hear them. If that meets up with young people who really want to develop a long-term perspective, there is potential for real conversation. Even more, it may lead a few steps down the road to wisdom.

They say a father is someone who carries pictures in his wallet where his money used to be. That money is spent in hopes that his children will make wise decisions that lead to a good life. For me, it always seemed that financial investment, and my commitment to my kids, earned me the right to be heard, and listened to.

But I think, instead, it is an investment that must be combined with the kind of character in my own life that allows me to listen, even when it is hard to sit still. If I want to be wise, and to help my children grow in wisdom, I will need to engage them humbly and learn from them as well. And that is what I intend to do.

So, reader, to whom do you turn for wisdom? And why is it that you see that person as wise?

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics

Engineering students are prepared by their degree to design and build most anything, from cities to computers, but one basic component to success is barely mentioned in their classes: business concepts. A familiarity with business, especially management concepts, can turn an engineer into an entrepreneur, or a technical expert into a manager.

To meet this need, the Center for Executive Development at Mays began offering an accelerated certificate program in business management created specifically for the needs of engineers. The course, offered each August, is three weeks of 8-to-5 days in the classroom. The 50 student participants cram in 120 hours, or the equivalent of three 3-hour courses in that short span. The students are drilled in the basic principles of accounting, finance, management, and marketing.

It’s intense and exhausting, but a worthwhile investment in their future careers.

Max Leutermann ’12, a computer engineering major, says that though he knows about leadership as a member of the Corps of Cadets, he wanted to learn more specifically about management in a business setting. He hopes that the certificate from Mays will help him gain admission into an MBA program in the future.

“Engineers with MBAs are really sought after,” echoes Matt Fransted ’10, a nuclear engineering major and naval officer. He graduates soon and will continue his position with the Navy, working on nuclear reactors. He’s looking ahead, making plans to earn an MBA, and after his military career is finished, start his own business.

Chemical engineering student Kelsey Fuller “10 is preparing for a career with ExxonMobil after graduation. She was interested in the certificate program, as she will soon be working in a corporate environment—something she knows little about. A firm grounding in the basics of business will be helpful as she makes workplace decisions, especially as she aspires to be a manager. While some of the material covered in the course, such as team building, was not new to her, she appreciated the finance and accounting lessons, as they provided practical information she’d never encountered before. Beyond the corporate applications, Fuller says that the material will also serve her well as she considers matters of personal finance.

Several MBA programs around the country, including Harvard’s, offer similar certificates, but offering such a course to undergraduates is a unique feature of the Mays program.

Categories: Centers, Texas A&M