In a recent ranking of top MBA programs from Bloomberg Businessweek, the Full-Time MBA program from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School is listed as 11th among public programs in the nation, and 30th among all schools, public and private.

The A&M program boasts one of the highest employment rates after three months—92 percent—and is one of the most affordable programs in the top 50 rankings. The program also ranked 13th overall (4th public) in the poll of corporate recruiters who were asked to rank programs based on the quality of the graduates.

Top 30 Business Schools

“While our mission is to produce leaders, not rankings, I am nonetheless very proud of this recognition,” said David Blackwell, associate dean of graduate programs at Mays Business School. “This ranking recognizes ten years of hard work by the MBA program faculty and staff, and reflects the high quality of our students and their accomplishments as business leaders.”

Bloomberg Businessweek‘s ranking of full-time MBA programs is based on three elements: a survey of newly minted MBAs, a poll of corporate recruiters, and an evaluation of faculty research output.

The MBA survey, which measures satisfaction with all aspects of the b-school experience, is combined with two previous MBA surveys. The corporate poll, which asks recruiters to identify the schools that produce the best graduates, is also combined with two previous recruiter surveys.

Finally, Bloomberg Businessweek tallies the number of articles published by each school’s faculty in top 20 journals and reviews of their books in three national publications. The total for faculty size is then adjusted and an intellectual-capital rating is assigned for each school. The MBA surveys and the recruiter polls each contribute 45 percent to the final ranking, with the intellectual-capital ranking contributing the final 10 percent.

“The quality of the program, strong alumni network, low cost, small class size, and campus culture make the Texas A&M MBA a steal,” said one former student, whose response to the rankings survey is part of the Mays profile on the BusinessWeek site.

“The faculty was outstanding, the small class size ensured that we all got individual attention and that the class interactions were good,” said another student responder. “The overall quality of students is high. The course content was fun and challenging at the same time.”

“The Best B-Schools” is featured in the November 15-21, 2010 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek.

Categories: Programs

David Booth, the co-founder and CEO of Dimensional Fund Advisors, and one of the pioneers of indexing, will soon share his insights at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. Booth will be on campus Thursday, November 11, where he will address MBA and undergraduate students.

David Booth

Booth’s visit is part of the Mays Dean’s Distinguished MBA Executive Speaker Series.

In the beginning of his career while working at Wells Fargo, Booth collaborated on the first index funds. In 1981, he founded Dimensional, focusing on investment strategies in the small capitalization dimension, which he felt was largely underrepresented. Many of the concepts he will speak about underpin Dimensional’s overall strategy, and his problem-solving innovations for clients that set the firm apart from its competitors.

Booth received his MBA from the University of Chicago in 1971. He also holds an MS and a BA from the University of Kansas. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business was named for Booth; he serves as a lifetime member of the school’s business advisory council.

Categories: Executive Speakers

Faculty, current students, prospective students, parents, and rating agencies all ask this question. As we think about how to measure the quality of what we do, factors such as student SAT scores, student GMAT scores, placement rates, faculty research, and many others are measured and evaluated. While these measures all have merit, one factor, while difficult to measure, stands the test of time — what level of success do our students experience after their graduation?

This issue of Mays Business Online features a number of our former students who have achieved remarkable success. From our three most recent Outstanding Alumni (Bruce Broussard, Robert Loeffler, and John Van Alystne), to our former students who have started their own businesses and were recognized in our sixth Aggie 100 event, to our Ph.D. student graduates who have achieved success in their academic careers and are educating the next generation of business leaders, it is very clear that our students are truly doing remarkable things following graduation. More importantly than just business success, they are contributing back to their communities to enhance the lives of others. Our former students truly exemplify the core value of “selfless service” that characterizes Texas A&M University and serve as a role model for our current students.

I hope this issue of Mays Business Online finds you well. Please stop by for a visit if your travels bring you to Aggieland.

Categories: Deanspeak

As I walk into the classroom, the children’s eyes light up. The room fills with every English greeting word they knew: “hello, good morning, how are you, hello teacher!” All of us Peace Corps trainees are overwhelmed. The kids in Chernigov, Ukraine are so excited to meet us!

We are teaching English in the local school systems. My class consists of sixteen 12- and 13-year-olds. They are all very attentive and respectful. As I walk through the hallways, kids stare at me and recite any English words they know. A local teacher recently told me that one of the students said her dream has always been to meet a real American and hear how we speak. It is comments like this that get me excited about the work we are doing here.

My Ukranian host mom and me.
My Ukranian host mom and me.

Howdy! My name is Jeramie Heflin. I am a 2010 management major from Mission, Texas, and I am currently serving in the Peace Corps in Ukraine. There are 80 volunteers in my group. Ukraine currently has the greatest amount of Peace Corps volunteers in one country, with over 300 Americans serving.

These first three months in Ukraine I am in training—Russian language training, technical training on teaching, and cross-cultural training—all in the city of Chernigov.

The city has a population of 350,000, so there is good transportation, an Internet café, a university, nice parks, and as my host family likes to tell me almost daily, McDonalds!

My host family consists of a woman named Sveta and her 16-year-old daughter, Nadia. When I first met them, I was greeted with a warm, Ukrainian welcome, including a large meal: salad, fresh cut vegetables, meat and noodles. Then the main course: Ukrainian borsch—beets, onions, tomatoes and carrots, fresh from the family’s summerhouse. It was delicious.

It is common for families here in Ukraine to have a small summerhouse outside of the city where they grow their own produce. Sveta and Nadia have been so nice to me these first few weeks. I am amazed by their hospitality and their patience as they help me to learn Russian.

Every day I ride the bus to my language teacher’s house for a four- to five-hour Russian lesson. Learning Russian is very difficult; every noun is either feminine or masculine, so every other word in the sentence must change to match the gender of the noun. This is a hard concept for me to wrap my mind around, but I am determined to learn the language so that I can be effective in my service.

It is a Ukrainian welcoming tradition to break off a piece of this special bread and dip it in salt. The Peace Corps did this with us when we arrived.
It is a Ukrainian welcoming tradition to break off a piece of this special bread and dip it in salt. The Peace Corps did this with us when we arrived.

I have always been told that you can learn a lot about yourself through the eyes of others. Even though it is only my fourth week here, I am amazed at the reputation we as Americans have here in Ukraine. We volunteers feel the weight of this reputation. Many of us are the first Americans the citizens have ever met. To these people, we are America. Every action, every word is automatically associated with the United States.

My host mom talks on the phone about me daily—in Russian, so I can’t understand all of what she says, but I hear my name. She discusses everything—what I ate, what I am doing, how I have a hard time pronouncing certain Russian words. I experienced some of this American novelty while I was on a study abroad trip in Denmark, but not to the extent that I am experiencing here in Ukraine. It is a huge deal to these people that we are Americans living in their country; I just hope we can live up to the reputation our great country has set before us.

In December I will swear in to service for a two-year commitment to teach English in a Ukrainian school. Every day I am reminded of how blessed I am to have been born and raised in The United States. I am looking forward to giving back to my country by serving in Ukraine. In the end, I expect that I will learn more from the people here than I could ever teach.

Categories: Perspectives

Crisis creates opportunity, and never before had Ethan Penner seen such opportunity as he did in 2007 and 2008 as he watched the events of the financial collapse unfold. The real estate professional had taken some time away from the industry to pursue other career options, but “I was tantalized by what I saw happening in the spring and summer of 2007 and I couldn’t miss out on being part of it,” he said when he spoke to students at Mays recently. “That’s really what drew me back into the business world. I saw the cracks in the system beginning to reveal themselves…I was able to anticipate what those cracks would ultimately bring about.”

Penner, who is widely recognized as a pioneer and innovator in real estate finance, joined CB Richard Ellis Investors in 2008 as an executive managing director and member of the firm’s executive committee.

“From an intellectual standpoint, we are living in an unbelievably challenging and interesting time,” said Penner. He spoke to MBA and master’s in real estate students about the economic ramifications of having so much national debt. “We are in an historic pickle right now as a country,” he said.

“From an intellectual standpoint, we are living in an unbelievably challenging and interesting time,” real estate pioneer Ethan Penner told a room full of Full-Time MBA students. (view more photos)

Though the government is trying to avoid calamity through quantitative easing, the burden of all that debt cannot be avoided. To his student audience, Penner said there’s not much need for concern. They’ll be fine. Those that will be hit hardest by these government “solutions” will be retirees, who are no longer building wealth but drawing on their reserves, which are losing value rapidly.

The financial crisis has deeply impacted commercial real estate, a highly leveraged industry. Equity has been wiped out in the U.S.—most property owners now owe more than their holdings are worth. That means everything in America is for sale at extremely low prices. “The whole market is for sale. The whole market is sitting in weak hands.”

Government missteps have only worsened the problems, in Penner’s opinion. Years ago, he wasn’t a political man. Today, he encourages young people to vote, because “Right now, the American dream is at risk.”

How does he think the government should fix the economy? By getting out of the way and letting the market fix itself. There are lumps that need to be taken before the economy can truly recover. We can’t keep living in this inflated state permanently, he says. However, politicians that are more concerned with reelection than long term financial health will not allow the recession to worsen, even if it would be in the best interest of the economy overall.

“I believe in the future of America. I believe that this flirtation with socialism will fail horribly—it already is—and I think we will have a renewed understanding in this country about what made America great in the first place. That will position us to be great going forward.”

Ethan Penner has 24 years of experience in the real estate sector. He earned a BA in finance from New York University. He is currently a board member of The League, an organization aimed at encouraging youth to engage in community service through the use of a competition-based model.

Categories: Executive Speakers

The barrios marginales where Jorge Mahomar spends his days are not safe.

Well-educated men from wealthy families, like Mahomar, don’t go there. They would be assaulted, robbed, maybe killed.

The streets of Unidad y Fuerza on the outskirts of Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras, are full of gangs, drugs, guns…and children. Children who have no place to go, no safe place to play, little food in their stomachs and often no shoes on their feet.

Jorge is not afraid of these neighborhoods, not even at night when the policia won’t go there. He is the one you call when you need something.

He gets a lot of calls. My daughter is sick, we have no food, we need a place to stay…Will you help me?

Gang leaders, covered in tattoos and used to the quick justice of a handgun, would not think of harming Jorge. He has devoted more than 30 years of his life as well as all his resources to the children of this city. Some he is able to rescue, see them go to school, find jobs, make a good life. Others he has lost to gangs, drugs, and an early death. He is not an old man, only in his 50s, but he looks tired, worn.

He cannot do this work on his own forever. There are too many needs and not enough resources.

Global impact

It is fall 2003. Robert Furr ’04 and Jorge Mahomar’s son, Jose “04, begin their final year at Mays. Both accept the invitation to participate in the Academy for Future International Leaders (AFIL), an interdisciplinary program at A&M that allows outstanding undergraduates the opportunity to focus on global issues. One program requirement is to complete a project of global significance that applies their international leadership skills within the campus community. Students are paired based on their interests and asked to complete a sustainable project that promotes international awareness.

Four Mays graduates have spearheaded an effort to help families in Honduras.
Four Mays graduates have spearheaded an effort to help families in Honduras.

Robert, a management of information systems major, wants to support an orphanage or school.

Jose, a finance major, knows of an immediate need—the children his father works with in Honduras. Perhaps he could organize an A&M clothing drive?

Program advisor Susan Mallet introduces Robert and Jose, suggesting they combine efforts. With input from Jorge, the project evolves ambitiously: a family center in Honduras that serves children and their parents.

Robert and Jose are full of excitement. If every third student on campus gives $1, they will meet their fundraising goal of $15,000; enough to build and supply a simple, one-story facility. Easy!

As they begin the campaign, however, obstacles mount. They are in competition with every student organization on the A&M campus, all raising money for their own causes. Due to university regulation, there are restrictions on their solicitations on campus, as they are not affiliated with a recognized student group nor are they an established non-profit.

Full of passion, they raise some initial funds and plan to continue the work after graduation. Jose lands a job with an investment bank in New York City. Robert deploys with his National Guard unit to Iraq. Both become increasingly busy as the demands of the post graduation “real world” clamor for attention.

Tragedy leads to blessing

The project might have stalled there, had it not been for a tragic accident: their advisor, Mallet, drowned while on vacation in the summer of 2004. “She had done so much to encourage us. We wanted to do this to honor her,” says Jose.

With renewed fervor, the pair continue planning for the family center. They approach the next class of AFIL about teaming with them and receive initial interest. Then the day after Christmas 2004, the Indian Ocean tsunami devastates millions in India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The AFIL students instead turn toward that crisis.

Jose and Robert do not give up.

In 2005, a new class of AFIL students is approached with the opportunity to partner with “Building a Future.” Jordan Baucum ’06, a marketing major, joins the cause and begins looking for grant opportunities, including his internship employer: Chevron.

Suddenly, the project is propelled light years ahead: Chevron provides a $30,000 grant for the construction of the facility, grander than the Aggies’ original plans. By 2006, the Texaco Family Support Center is constructed in Unidad y Fuerza. (Texaco is the Chevron brand in Latin America.)

A beacon of hope

Robert was still in Iraq when the center was being constructed. He describes his first visit to see the finished product: driving over unpaved, pothole-cratered roads, past tattered shacks, then pulling up to the brightly painted family center, so vibrantly different from all its surroundings. “It was amazing…I could feel the good that was happening…The building is one of the nicest ones in the community.” It’s also one of the tallest, he says, so you can see it from a distance, a beacon of hope amid the poverty.

The center now serves 60-100 people per day, supporting the continuing education of both children and their families.
The center now serves 60-100 people per day, supporting the continuing education of both children and their families.

Today the center serves 60-100 people per day. It’s not a daycare, stresses Robert, but a place that serves the whole family. For kids, it offers a safe place where they can play and receive supplemental education and meals. For adults, it’s a place to hone essential skills like reading and writing. Recently the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture provided an introduction to the Junior Master Gardener program, teaching children and adults basics about nutrition and growing food.

Many of the children who spend time at the center come from single parent households, says Jordan. Fathers are often absent: some have left for the U.S. to seek work; some are in jail; others have been killed due to gang activity. In this circumstance, a mother has to choose between working to provide for her family or staying home to care for her children. The center allows these women to work, giving them the pride of earning a paycheck, as well as the peace of mind of knowing their kids are not roaming the streets, easy targets for gangs.

The kids at the center “are in love with learning,” says Robert. “They love to draw and to read, or have someone read with them.” Unlike American kids who complain about school work, these pupils are eager for the extra lessons they learn at the center, especially when it’s their turn to use one of the Chevron-provided computers, stocked with educational games.

“We hope it encourages them to continue with school,” says Jordan.

The work is important to Jordan. He knows the role educational opportunities have had on his own success: as a child, he struggled with learning. Without years of speech therapy and tutoring in reading, and the help of dedicated parents and teachers, he would have fallen behind his peers, and been labeled a “special education” student. “But because I had all the best, I was able to succeed and thrive, in high school and at A&M.” He wants to provide children in Honduras with opportunities for the same kind of success.

“It doesn’t have to be big. You just have to get started.”

Building a Future added a fourth board member in David Clayton “07, a fellow AFIL student. Each of the board members lives in a different part of the world (Dallas, New York City, San Francisco, and South Africa). They communicate often as they make plans to expand the presence of the nonprofit. In addition to seeking funding from corporations and individuals, they also promote Building a Future in another way: by coordinating visits for student groups from A&M and other colleges that visit Honduras for service trips. The Aggie Men’s Club has made several trips to Unidad y Fuerza and the surrounding area. Recently, a group of these students built three houses for impoverished families there.

Organizing student trips is an important function of Building a Future, say Robert and Jordan. It’s an opportunity for a life-changing experience for students, as they are exposed to new cultures and environments. More than a learning experience, it’s a gateway for involvement in global humanitarian efforts.

The board members say that they hope one of them will eventually be able to devote their efforts to the foundation full-time, instead of each giving a few hours a week, and a few weeks each year. The organization is currently seeking to hire a full-time coordinator on site in Honduras to expand their operations and help at the center, which is minimally staffed by one teacher and several volunteers. Jorge Mahomar is their partner in the effort and their liaison on site, helping them match needs in Honduras with resources from the U.S.

Jordan invites everyone to visit the Building a Future website to learn more about the effort in Honduras, make a donation, or find an opportunity to volunteer. You don’t even have to have a passport or speak Spanish to be involved, says Jordan: Being an advocate for social change in your own community—speaking out for children who lack access to education, health care, and nutrition is a great place to start. “What you do doesn’t have to be big. You just have to get started.”

Categories: Featured Stories, Former Students

After the BP/ Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the entire industry is facing new challenges, one of the greatest being public sentiment. Is deep water drilling too dangerous? Is it essential? Has the industry gone beyond its technical capabilities? These are the questions John Hollowell ’79, executive vice president of Shell Upstream Americas, hears daily.

He addressed those common concerns when he spoke at Mays recently. Yes, deep water drilling is necessary, and yes, it is safe to continue, Hollowell told students.

John Hollowell'79, executive vice president of Shell Upstream Americas, sat down with a group of Mays Business Honors students to talk about the necessity of continued deep water drilling.
John Hollowell’79, executive vice president of Shell Upstream Americas, sat down with a group of Mays Business Honors students to talk about the necessity of continued deep water drilling. (view more photos)

World energy demand is projected to increase by 50 percent over the next 20 years and could double by 2050. Currently, one in four cars in the U.S. is fueled by Gulf of Mexico deep water oil—oil harvested from depths of more than 1,500 feet. A robust review of offshore regulatory requirements and their enforcement processes is critical, but new regulations should not create a more difficult exploration and production environment. The result would continue to be an increased demand for energy resources from other nations, resulting in higher costs for energy in the U.S. For that reason, offshore deep-water exploration and production is essential to the U.S. economy, said Hollowell.

“The BP spill was a highly unlikely event, not the sort of occurrence that is likely to occur ever again,” says Hollowell. “A number of barriers failed during the Deepwater Horizon incident.”

The event was an outlier he stressed, not in any way the norm.

However, if another deep-water incident were to occur, industry would be more prepared to respond quickly and effectively than before. ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell are teaming forces to create a subsea well containment system that would be quickly available in the unlikely event of another deep water well blowout.

Our goal is to never have a use for this equipment, says Hollowell. However, it will serve an important function: reassuring the public that it is safe to continue deep water drilling.

Shell continues to invest heavily in R&D so that their practices are efficient, cost effective, safe, and sustainable. Not only is it best for the environment and citizens of the Gulf Coast, it is also best for their shareholders.

Hollowell has been with Shell his entire career. He joined the company shortly after graduating from A&M with a degree in chemical engineering in 1979. He has worked in many different areas of production in a variety of locations. In his current position in New Orleans, he has responsibility for Shell’s ventures in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and governance of additional South American joint ventures. He serves on the industry board of the Texas A&M Petroleum Engineering department and oversees recruitment of Aggies for Shell.

Categories: Executive Speakers, Former Students

Knowing how to navigate the sometimes-choppy waters of one’s career is not a lesson that is usually taught in the classroom. Kelly (Heape) Parsons ’85, CFO of North America for Mosaic, says that while she learned many things during her years earning her accounting degree at A&M, how to manage a career was not part of the curriculum. Parsons recently visited Mays to share with students lessons she’s gleaned from a successful career.

Set a goal, then plan

It’s important to set a long-term career goal, even though that goal is likely change over time, says Parsons. Equally essential is the plan you must create for its attainment.

Mosaic CFO Kelly Parsons '85 recently visited Mays to share her experience and advice with undergraduate business students.
Mosaic CFO Kelly Parsons ’85 recently visited Mays to share her experience and advice with undergraduate business students. (view more photos)

Parsons shared that her initial goal was to be a partner at a Big 8 firm. A few years of audit work at Arthur Andersen in Houston, however, convinced her that it wasn’t her best career choice. She set a new goal: become a CFO. Her plan was to gather experience in many different areas of finance and management to bolster her skills. After working in many capacities with different companies in Australia, Canada, and the U.S., she made it to the C-suite, 15 years after she’d set her goal.

Don’t be afraid to refocus your career, she told students. If you have the opportunity to stretch your skills, put your hand up and volunteer, because that’s the best way to grow your career and discover what it is that you love.

Seize opportunities

When opportunity comes, leap and see where it will take you, says Parsons. Though daunting, in her experience it’s always been worthwhile.

Parsons left Arthur Andersen for PepsiCo in New York when she was 23 years old. With no apartment, no car, and no friends in the city, she strode off the plane with nothing but a suitcase and a job. It was scary, she admits as she’d hardly been out of Texas.

A few years later, she saw career potential in the company’s Australian office. When she expressed interest in it, her supervisors said no. Not willing to accept that answer, she landed the job when she applied directly through a contact in the Australian office.

She was nervous about such a big move, but it was easier because of her previous experience in moving to New York.

Both times, her willingness to seize on opportunity was rewarded with career enhancing experiences that helped her toward her goal of CFO.

The path may not be smooth

Sometimes achieving your career goal requires a step to the side, or even a step backward. It may make sense to take a job that seems like a regression, either in salary or responsibility. Sometimes a job lower on the ladder can be an opportunity to increase a different set of skills that can help toward your ultimate goal. This might include moving to a smaller firm or taking a pay cut for a position that promises new experience. Be open to trying it, Parsons told students.

She related an incident from her personal experience: Once, she was nearing her goal of the CFO spot, but all was not well. Her immediate supervisor was acting unethically. She reported him. When the company took no action, she left the company with her integrity intact. Her personal integrity was more important to her than a shot at the corner office.

Sacrifice: a necessary component

Making sacrifices is part of one’s career, Parsons said. Just as when she resigned for the sake of her integrity, sometimes doing what’s right is at odds with your career ambitions.

When she finally had the chance to be a CFO, it was in London, and her husband had a job he liked in Dallas. They agreed to sacrifices for her to accept the job. She commuted, returning home every few weeks over the span of two-and-a-half years.

She’ll soon step down as Mosaic’s CFO. What is Parsons new goal? She’s not sure yet. She’s examining her opportunities, so that she can approach the next phase of her career with a goal and a plan for success.

Categories: Executive Speakers, Former Students

There are many ways to measure success in business: wealth created, people influenced, new products developed. Mays Business School recently recognized three former students for their successes, which go far deeper than a credit and debit sheet could ever reveal.

John A. Van Alstyne ’66 (Lt. Gen. Ret.), director of the Mays Fellows program; Robert “Bob” Loeffler ’77, chief administrative officer of H-E-B; and Bruce Broussard “84, chairman and CEO of US Oncology, were celebrated for their lives of service to A&M, their businesses, and their communities. In recognition of their achievements, these men were given the highest honor at Mays, the Outstanding Alumni Award.

“Congratulations on a job well done, a life well lived, and an example well set. You are truly a role model to our students,” said Dean Jerry Strawser to the honorees at the banquet, held at the Miramont Country Club in Bryan on October 7. More than 100 people attended the event, including top officials from Mays and A&M, past award recipients, former students, and many current students, including a few Ross Volunteers and Singing Cadets.

Now in its 19th year, the event recognizes business former students whose careers reflect the Aggie core values: loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, selfless service, and respect.

Each honoree briefly spoke that evening, crediting their education at A&M for part of their career success. “I got a degree, but what I think Texas A&M brings more than any thing else, it brought me principles,” remarked Broussard, who said those principles prepared him for a life of success.

John A. Van Alstyne ’66

Service to the nation and leading and developing young Americans, both soldiers and civilians, have been the hallmarks Lieutenant General John Van Alstyne’s career.

John A. Van Alstyne '66
Van Alstyne ’66

Before he became a decorated officer, he was known simply as fish Van Alstyne in the Corps of Cadets at A&M. He graduated, received a commission in the U.S. Army, and traveled the world in the service of his country. In 2002, he returned to campus to serve as the 38th Commandant of Cadets and Head of the School of Military Sciences. Today, he puts his leadership expertise to work as the director of the Mays Business Fellows program.

In addition to a degree in marketing from A&M, Van Alstyne holds a master’s degree in military science from the Army Command and General Staff College, and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College.

Van Alstyne’s long career in the Army provided him with a variety of leadership experiences. He led troops in Germany, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, and at a number of posts in the United States. His final military assignment was as deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy at the Pentagon, where he worked with displaced military families after 9/11. It was that kind of experience that impressed current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, then president of A&M; Gates described Van Alstyne as “a no-nonsense person” when he put him in charge of the disaster relief efforts at A&M after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita brought hundreds of refugees to campus.

In the course of his long military career, Van Alstyne has received a number of awards: three Defense Distinguished Service Medals, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, four awards of the Legion of Merit, two Air Medals, and five Army Commendation Medals. He also holds the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
During his seven-and-half years as Commandant of the Corps, Van Alstyne worked to emphasize leadership and academics. Now at Mays, he is working with top students through the Fellows program, a premier leadership opportunity for business Aggies.

“I enjoy very much working with the Fellows program,” he says, noting that the students he works with are intelligent and interested in service. “Their optimism and enthusiasm are encouraging.”

Van Alstyne and his wife, Anita, reside in College Station. They have three children and six grandchildren.

Robert D. Loeffler ’77

From his small town start to his role at the helm of a Texas-sized, Texas-based company, Robert Dean (Bob) Loeffler has worked diligently to develop a career and a life of significance.

Robert D. Loeffler '77
Loeffler ’77

Loeffler attended the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1972. He then served as an officer on a destroyer, including combat duty in Vietnam. His military experience became a leadership training ground: at 22-years-old, had 40 men under his command. His sphere of influence continued to grow as, after six years in the Navy, he proceeded to A&M where he taught naval science courses. While teaching, he also earned an MBA at Mays, which he completed in 1977.

After a brief experience in the oil and gas industry, Loeffler began work for H-E-B in 1979 as a systems designer in the management of information systems department. He held several positions in that area, which eventually led to his appointment as the vice president of the department.

In 1990, Loeffler became the leader of the burgeoning Pantry Foods division as vice president and general manager. In 1994 he added to his bank of knowledge and skills by attending the advanced management program at Harvard Business School. In 1996, he was promoted to senior vice president/general manager of H-E-B Pantry Foods and in 1998 was promoted to president of the division.

The following year, Loeffler moved to H-E-B headquarters in San Antonio, where he served as president of the Dallas region and Pantry Foods division and also as the interim chief information officer. In an impressive initiative, Loeffler commenced a major enterprise resource planning program, beginning in 2000, which remains in use today. Loeffler was named president of H-E-B in January 2003 and served in the position until, beginning the retirement process, he stepped down early in 2010.

He continues to work for H-E-B part-time as chief administrative officer and will serve in that capacity until 2012, when he plans to retire completely.

Earlier this year, he received the M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award, presented annually to a retailer who is celebrated for their innovation in the field. While on campus to receive the award, Loeffler impacted hundreds of students as a guest lecturer, sharing lessons learned from a long career in retail leadership.

Loeffler was chairman of the San Antonio/Bexar County United Way Campaign for 2009, is a member of the board and executive committee of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, and a member of the San Antonio USO advisory board.

In addition to a successful career, Loeffler has achieved a deal of success in his personal life. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Janet. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.

Bruce D. Broussard ’84

Striving to create and maintain a balance between the business and the personal as well as the financial and the philanthropic arenas of life, Bruce Broussard’s desire to balance a life of accomplishments with a legacy of service is evident in the way he lives.

Bruce D. Broussard '84
Broussard ’84

As chairman and CEO of US Oncology, Broussard is leading the company in doubling its size during one of the most uncertain times for the healthcare industry. Broussard is passionate about improving the company and its work environment. A family man himself, he encourages employees to take advantage of the company’s flexible work arrangements, empowering them to achieve balance between their professional and personal lives.

Cancer, the enemy US Oncology battles everyday, impacts communities in addition to individuals. That’s why the company and its CEO are heavily involved in supporting cancer related charities, giving to the communities where the business operates. Broussard directed the creation of the Life Beyond Cancer Foundation in 2008, among his many charitable works. The foundation is US Oncology’s primary philanthropic vehicle, advancing cancer care in local communities by removing the barriers to prevention, education, early detection, treatment and survivorship. The foundation also sponsors a survivors’ retreat and provides financial support to patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Janine, Broussard’s wife of 17 years and a former operating room nurse, shares his commitment to serving the community. It is a family affair as they involve their two children, ages 11 and 15.

Though Broussard is known for his compelling work ethic, he makes time for the activities that renew his spirit. An outdoor enthusiast, he enjoys saltwater fishing, cycling, and any outdoor activities that he can participate in with his family.

He has lived in many areas of the country, but Broussard is a Texan at heart. He earned a double major in accounting and finance from A&M and an MBA in finance from the University of Houston.

Prior to joining US Oncology, he was CFO of two publicly traded healthcare companies and CEO of a $20 million private company. He joined US Oncology in August 2000 as the CFO. In November 2005, he was appointed president of US Oncology Holdings and US Oncology and served as CFO of each. In February 2008, Broussard began serving as CEO and a board member and was named chairman of the board of US Oncology in September 2009. He also serves on the board of US Physical Therapy.

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Categories: Former Students, Texas A&M

As a parent, one of the hardest things to do well is to transfer values into free-thinking individuals. Raising children requires establishing boundaries and helping them understand why it is important to think and behave in particular ways. The boundaries are enforced regularly when they are small, and they grow to believe, for a period of time, that this is the way life will always be. And then something scary for all parents kicks in—the notion of choice.

Sometimes it happens early, but most often it happens as children enter adolescence and watch others make choices against their parents’ wishes. Sometimes as parents we tighten the screws to make sure that our kids comply with our standards. This is often important in preventing harm. But at some point, the transition has to be made to our children making their own choices.

For our first four kids, this has largely taken place when they left for college, with high school serving as a transition period. They received progressive freedom over their last four years at home, and since all four went away to college, they were then launched to fend largely for themselves on a day-to-day basis. We have been available, and we have been praying, but they have been making the decisions.

Our fourth is a freshman in college, and I don’t like the process much better with her than I did with the first. But I know that it is necessary. We have had people tell us that we have “good children” during the years they were living at home. But children who have their decisions made for them are not really “good.” They are obedient, or well behaved, or compliant, all descriptions that are mostly positive in my mind while they live at home. But they can only truly be good when they are free to choose.

Since I teach ethics, I am aware that there are a wide variety of classroom approaches to the subject. In teaching auditing and accounting ethics, I need to explain the constraints on professionals’ behavior that are important because of the trust placed in them by others. I teach them rules that they must follow or expect sanctions from the profession or the public. I teach them compliance.

But what is interesting is that I have observed much more progress in ethical thinking since I started giving my students significant freedom in what they choose as outside reading for my course. They have to summarize for others’ review what they are learning from the material, and I have found that they take the material much more seriously, including trying to apply what they have learned. In fact, at least one group of students is continuing to meet weekly, six months after the course was over.

In the end, I ask them to develop ten or fewer principles to guide their professional lives. I have made plaques of their principles for a few of them because I want them to know how important their self-chosen principles are to living out the kind of life they envision. I hope that each of them will choose, freely, to be good and to do good.

What do I mean by good? I mean they will choose to value others the way they do themselves, and sometimes even more. I mean they will not violate a trust for their convenience or their gain. I mean they will speak truth when they speak, but they will not simply speak it to be hurtful. I mean they will help those less fortunate, not because they get a t-shirt or others command it, but because they value individual lives.

In many ways, I see this as a national conversation. There are well-intentioned people who want us to be good, and there are others who want us to be free. Those who want people to be good do not always define it the way I do, but they often picture those who want to be free as selfish, and rational self-interest as evil. Those who value freedom see their counterparts as “do gooders” who only want compliant behavior and are willing to enforce it, usually through the law or government intervention.

There are laws and rules that must be complied with for the common good. But I am convinced, from my experience as a parent and a professor, that in the end people must be free to choose how to live, especially when the choice does not cause harm.

After all, in the end, the goal is not compliance, but a life well lived. The end in mind is that someone will be good and will do good.

And you cannot be good unless you are free.

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics