Mays Business School at Texas A&M University jumped to #44 in the world (up from #54 last year), and tied for the #21 U.S. program with Rice University (up from #33 last year) in the 2011 Financial Times rankings of full-time MBA programs. For programs offered by U.S. public universities, Mays ranks #6. Since 2007, the Mays program has risen 41 places in the Financial Times MBA ranking.

Kelli Kilpatrick, director of the MBA program at A&M, says the “significant upward movement” in the rankings places Mays among the most elite MBA programs in the world — “a tremendous accomplishment and, in my view, well-deserved recognition for our program.” The Mays MBA program broke into the Financial Times‘ top 10 U.S. public programs last year.

Kilpatrick says the repeated rise in rankings reflects the school’s dedication to excellence. “This ranking is an important indicator of the quality of our students and faculty,” she says, “and it also reflects that our graduates get outstanding career outcomes, including significant post graduation salary increases.” Kilpatrick says she is pleased with how Mays measures up against its counterparts in the U.S. market. On the percentage post-graduation salary increase, Mays ranks #3 among U.S. public programs (tied for #9 among all U.S. programs) in the Financial Times rankings.

“We work extremely hard to recruit the very best students and provide them a high-quality experience while they are at Texas A&M, both inside the classroom and outside the classroom,” she says.

Mays is committed to ensuring its MBA students leave with the ability to successfully manage their careers for a lifetime because of intense mentoring throughout the program from the Mays career services team. She adds, “and they take with them a tremendous resource worldwide in the Texas A&M alumni network.” This commitment to career services is reflected in the fact that 93 percent of Mays MBAs are employed within 90 days of graduation, a statistic that ranks the program tied for #4 among all U.S. programs.

Mays also fared well in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek report in early January, reaching the top 30 and ranked as the #11 U.S. public program. Both the Financial Times and Bloomberg BusinessWeek surveys highlight that the Mays program provides an outstanding “return on investment,” which means that Mays graduates recover the cost of their degree with post-graduation salary increases much faster than graduates of most other U.S. programs.

For more information, contact Kelli Kilpatrick at or (979) 845-4714.

Categories: Programs

Elizabeth and Anthony DeLuca ’84 and SCF Partners have committed to a gift of $50,000 to create an endowment at Mays, which will honor long time associate and friend Cynthia Taylor ’84 by providing scholarships.

Anthony DeLuca is a managing director at SCF Partners, a private equity firm managing a portfolio of energy service companies. Based in Houston, Texas, the firm also has offices in Calgary, Alberta and Aberdeen, Scotland.

Cynthia Taylor '84
Taylor ’84

In 2000, SCF merged four of its holdings to become a new company, Oil States International, Inc. Taylor led the merger effort, combining the dissimilar business lines into one cohesive oilfield services company, then took the combined entity public via an IPO in 2001. She was appointed senior vice president and CFO of the newly created company, then became president and COO (eventually CEO) in 2006 and 2007.

“She’s truly an exceptional person and businesswoman,” said Deluca. “The investment under her guidance has done exceedingly well.”

DeLuca said that he and SCF President L.E. Simmons have worked with Taylor for many years and both have high respect for her.

They also have high respect for Mays, which DeLuca says they are happy to support. “We are both big believers in supporting academic institutions,” he said. “Institutions that really do a good job of educating their students, we want to make sure that they have all the support possible so that they can continue.”

“Education is the foundation of the country,” he says.

Simmons, whose son is a student at Mays, has been involved previously at the school: in 2008 he and his wife Virginia established a $100,000 fund for honors scholarships.

“We are most appreciative of the DeLuca’s generous commitment to our school,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “Their support will allow us to continue to attract the very best students to our School and play a key role in supporting their education.”

Taylor says she was delighted to hear of the gift made in her name. As a dean’s development council member at Mays, she says it is a meaningful tribute. “I just couldn’t be happier that the school is going to be the recipient of that gift,” she says. “My passion is for scholarships—to enable other students to have a great education and share the good experience that I’ve had at Texas A&M.”

Taylor is sharing that positive experience with two of her sons, whom are students at Mays. Matt ’12 is an accounting major, and Chris ’14 is a business honors student. Taylor has a third son, Greg, who is a sophomore in high school.

Taylor and DeLuca were both accounting majors of the same class year, however they were not acquainted until Taylor went to work for SCF in 1999. Taylor gained experience in public accounting with a focus on the energy industry while working at Ernst and Young. From that position, she moved to controller and then vice president roles at Cliffs Drilling Company before joining SCF Partners as the CFO.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

People and their impact on Linnet F. Deily provide the core of every story she shares about her successful careers as a businessperson and an ambassador. She calls her stories “maxims from a leadership prospective, but not Business Leadership 101. My business leadership, the lessons I learned in financial services and lessons in diplomacy.”

The Dallas native who lives in Houston was Deputy U.S. trade representative and U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization from 2001 to 2005. When she started in the 1970s financial world, she blazed a trail largely uncharted by women. She rose to the position of chairman of the board, CEO and president of First Interstate Bank.

“You can’t do it by yourself,” Linnet F. Deily told students during her visit to Mays. “The team around you, the whole environment today is so much more participatory, you just have to work together.”
(view more photos)

Earlier, she was vice chairman of the Charles Schwab Corp., president of the Schwab Retail Group and president of Schwab Institutional Services for Investment Managers.

“I looked at life as some kind of opportunity,” she recalls of her early career. “I attribute it a lot to my parents, who were both highly educated — master’s level — farmers and educators. They weren’t pushing me out to do what I did, but they also told me I was reasonably intelligent and ought to try whatever I wanted. I don’t think they knew how far I’d go with it.”

Relationships matter, she emphasized to the Mays students she met with on a recent visit to Texas A&M. “You can’t do it by yourself,” she said. “The team around you, the whole environment today is so much more participatory, you just have to work together. Then, after the work is done, you get the added advantage of building lifelong friendships.”

Deily emphasized the need to be open to learning, to accepting new challenges and to being unique. She pointed back to the importance of relationships, and said a key ingredient to any successful interaction is preparation. “Flying by the seat of your pants is fine,” she says, “but flying by the seat of your pants with a little groundwork will have you soaring instead of scrambling.”

Categories: Executive Speakers

“Mmm, that tastes more-ish,” grinned Grady Hughes, as he taste-tested his wife Edra’s savory home cooking. In the Hughes family, “more-ish” came to mean “so delicious, you want another bite.”

Two generations later, self-proclaimed foodist Erin Eisenrich ’11, the granddaughter of Grady and Edra, recently translated her passion for the culinary arts into an entrepreneurial venture. After deciding against spending the first part of her senior year studying for the LSAT, Eisenrich instead took on the production of More-ish, a magazine created to “point its readers to unique and meaningful dining experiences that are so yummy you want another bite.”

“There are a lot of unknown places around College Station that my friends hadn’t heard of,” Eisenrich said. As an enthusiast of local dining, she was well informed about area restaurants. She started a Facebook group to discuss restaurants with her friends and fellow foodists. “By the end of the night, it had over 200 members,” she recounted. That number eventually grew to over 1,000 people who logged in weekly to read Eisenrich’s reviews of local eateries.

Followers eventually began requesting access to past reviews, so Eisenrich turned to blogging, creating

She toyed with the idea of a book, then discussed the idea of a magazine with her family. “We took off from there.”

More-ish was produced in seven weeks, start to finish.

Rapid-rise challenges

Despite her eventual success, such a rapid turnaround time meant a significant set of challenges for Eisenrich and her small staff: sister and marketing director Emily Eisenrich ’12, photographer Emily Kiel ’09, and a pair of designers.

The first two challenges for the team were to choose a printer and a name. Once those issues were settled, they looked to a larger challenge looming ahead — selling advertisements to fund the magazine.

Creating More-ish “was sort of like eight different kinds of internships all in one,” says management major Erin Eisenrich ’11.

One of the first lessons that Eisenrich learned was that restaurant owners wanted to help, but with the demands of a quick turnaround, might not have the time or resources to buy an ad. However, she said, “If I could fully explain to them the vision of the magazine and help them to see that, then they would get really excited. Getting past that point…that was the hardest part.”

Eisenrich also had to reach out for help in other ways. Two weeks before the magazine went to print, she hired the design duo Drifting Creatives, Gavin Braman ’09 and Martin Hooper ’09, who worked intensely until the night before Hooper’s wedding. When the magazine came out, her parents helped with the distribution. In one weekend, Eisenrich’s team distributed 8,000 of the 10,000 copies.

Though she says there were hard moments, Eisenrich believes all the challenges she encountered were worthwhile. She learned valuable skills along the way about photography, print, layout, and advertising, sales, finance and management. “It was sort of like eight different kinds of internships all in one,” she says.

And despite all of the challenges, “Somebody always pulled through. Different people along the way got very excited and stuck with it.” Ultimately, she said, “It was just a lot of fun.”

Her just desserts

As a topping to all the great learning experiences, one of the huge rewards for Eisenrich has been the unexpected response to More-ish. “They are flying off the shelves,” she says. “We’ll stick them down in some obscure corner of a restaurant and they’re gone — 125 copies just disappear.”

In addition, she has received laudatory phone calls, gets frequent positive postings on the More-ish Facebook page and has had constructive feedback from the restaurants that she reviewed. Another issue is already in the works and many restaurant owners are asking what they need to do to be featured. You can’t buy your way into a good review, though, says Eisenrich. Her pen and her palate are not for hire so that she can maintain the integrity of her publication.

More food advocate than food critic, she explained, “If I don’t like a place, I don’t write about it. I want to give people great places and really good experiences.”

Eisenrich loves hearing that her readers carry a copy of the magazine in the car with them as a reference guide for when they want a quick bite somewhere new. Like a serving of tasty home cooking, it has left quite a few people with a desire for More-ish.

Categories: Students

The impact of learning directly from business leaders — and an impression made on a stormy day — inspired Larry B. Cochran ’91 and his wife Jody to fund scholarships for full-time students in the Fellows Program at Mays. Their commitment to provide $50,000 to establish an endowed scholarship fund.

“I appreciate those who opened the doors for me back then. They gave me an opportunity to get into a program I wouldn’t have had a chance to get in, from a strictly an academic direction,” Cochran says. “It made a tremendous impact on me, and it continues to today. That’s why I wanted to give to the Fellows Program, so others would have an opportunity to enjoy the experiences that I have.”

Larry B. Cochran '91
Cochran ’91

Mays Dean Jerry Strawser calls the Cochrans’ gift “so meaningful in so many ways.” He adds, “The fact that our Fellows Program had such an impact on his life that he wanted to provide other students with that same opportunity is what we hope all of our programs do — transform the lives of our students.”

Cochran describes his academic career at Texas A&M as bifurcated — divided between his years right out of high school and those after he returned and enrolled in Mays. In between, he worked for six years in the family business.

In 1988, after Cochran married his wife Jody, “it was time to get serious and finish school,” he recalls. He got serious, indeed — enrolling in a full load of 18 to 22 hours a semester while working in the dean’s office doing accounting work. “It’s a lot different when you’re 26 versus when you’re 18 or 19,” Cochran says. “You take things much more seriously.”

He got into Fellows a year after he returned to A&M, and he says the program played a large role in shaping his future. The four hours he spent each week with the business professionals made a positive impression on him.

Cochran also got a summer internship with Exxon his senior year, and worked in Hong Kong the summer of 1990.

Since leaving the oil and gas business and purchasing IAS Claim Services in 2006, Cochran has worked providing property and casualty adjusting services for insurance companies across the country.

Cochran says he hopes that their gift will inspire and help Fellows students, as he was.

One Aggie student Cochran encountered during his college days stands out in his memory. Riding his bike to campus on a rainy day and frustrated with his situation, Cochran was questioning why he was sacrificing so much to complete his education when he could easily be back in the secure confines of the family business. As he got closer to the building where his class was, he saw another student walking on two crutches, drenched — and smiling.

“I thought, “If he can do this, what do I have to complain about?'” Cochran recalls.

Later that night, as Cochran headed home, he saw the young man riding a three-wheeled bicycle, sporting a Domino’s hat, delivering pizza.

“That made a real impression on me, to see him working so hard,” he says. “I’m trying to find people who have that determination and that kind of attitude. That’s who I want to help.”

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students

David Booth credits hard work, good luck, and syzygy—the alignment of celestial bodies—for getting him to where he is today. “Being a successful entrepreneur is some part skill, some part luck,” he says. For Booth, CEO and co-founder of Dimensional Fund Advisors, planet alignment began when he took his first finance class at the University of Kansas, continued as he pursued an MBA at the University of Chicago and aligned perfectly in the early 1980s. Then he recognized the opportune timing, putting his business idea into practice.

“I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done,” Dimension Fund Advisors CEO David Booth told a room of Mays full-time MBA students. “Even mistakes I’ve made, I probably learned from them, and that contributed to my path.” (view more photos)

The story and complexity of Booth’s success, though, are more involved than the luck and cosmic bodies. Though Booth claims “most of this stuff was unplanned,” brainpower and strategy rule behind the forming of theories and practices at Dimensional, an investment firm dedicated to innovative investment strategies.

“In 1969, the field of finance was less an academic discipline and more an apprenticeship,” he tells. But that was soon to change as all the right people were at the University of Chicago at the same time as the finance discipline gained its footing.

When he left Chicago with an MBA in 1971, Booth’s next stop was Wells Fargo, where he became an innovator in indexing. He made a mark on the field, collaborating with John McQuown on the first index funds. His stars shifted to align with those of Rex Sinquefield. The two realized that that they had developed the same theory involving indexing small companies. Though their new philosophy was “an untried idea bordering on radical…and relying fully on academic theories,” both men believed in their ideas. They left successful, stable jobs in 1981 to start a company

Working from Booth’s New York City brownstone, the duo created a company that was based not on speculation, but on the science of capital markets. Dimensional Fund Advisors was born. The two worked years ahead of the industry and contrived a new way to invest, focusing on the stronger performance of small capital stocks. Though the idea seemed radical and many doubted the philosophy, the duo’s idea proved to be stellar and destined for success.

Jean Sinquefield, the company’s former head of portfolio management and trading explained that at the company, “There was a huge influence on how you design products, how you thought about things. You just didn’t do something; you did something because it was rigorously proved.” That focus on academic research would prove to be one of the company’s greatest strengths.

Now in its 29th year, the company has remained on the cutting edge in its field — it has no competitors. The reason? “Nobody else has chosen to trade the way we do,” says Booth. Dimensional remains dedicated to including relevant academic research to its operations, employing leaders in asset pricing to “find new sources of risk and return in advance of the market.” In addition, the company places high priority on customer feedback. Backed by solid theory and economic knowledge, the company has evolved and thrived beyond either of its founders’ wildest dreams.

Booth, seen here answering questions from an MBA student, has used a mix of cutting-edge theories and high research standards to make Dimensional Fund Advisors a leader in its field.
Booth, seen here answering questions from an MBA student, has used a mix of cutting-edge theories and high research standards to make Dimensional Fund Advisors a leader in its field. (view more photos)

Though cutting-edge theories and the highest research standards played a large part in the formation and success of Dimensional, Booth believes in the importance of timing and syzygy. “I wouldn’t change anything I’ve done,” he says. “Even mistakes I’ve made, I probably learned from them, and that contributed to my path. You never know why you were successful…Maybe it was doing poorly on that test somewhere that energized you, or maybe that rejection by a client, or somebody you were dating; who knows? I wouldn’t change anything.”

Whether it is a lucky lining-up of the stars or not, David Booth, with the help of sound scientific research and dedication to a theory he believed in, pioneered the way for small capital fund investing.

David Booth shared his insights at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School on Thursday, November 11, 2010. His visit was part of the Mays Dean’s Distinguished MBA Executive Speaker Series. He addressed MBA and undergraduate students, sharing thoughts that 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 in recognition of the $300 million gift he made to the school. He serves as a lifetime member of the school’s business advisory council.

Categories: Executive Speakers, Programs

Of all of the people in the oil and gas industry in the U.S., Morris Foster ’65 is one of the best known. He’s left his mark on the field through a variety of leadership positions, including president of ExxonMobil Production Company in Houston.

Foster also holds a meaningful leadership position at A&M: he is chairman of the board of regents.

Morris Foster '65
Foster ’65

In recognition of his impact on both the energy industry and A&M, Foster is being honored with a named scholarship fund at Mays, provided by Tidewater Inc. The scholarship will support students in the Full-Time MBA Program. Tidewater has committed to a gift of $150,000, which will be matched to create an endowment of $300,000.

Tidewater Inc. owns 396 vessels, making it the world’s largest fleet of vessels serving the global offshore energy industry. Company Chairman, President and CEO Dean Taylor says Tidewater’s involvement at Mays makes sense because of the culture fit between the two organizations. Taylor says he appreciates the Aggie dedication to hard work and integrity, and recognizes the quality of the employees produced by Mays.

“Without integrity, it doesn’t matter how hard someone works, they are not going to be successful,” said Taylor. “A&M produces people of integrity.”

Taylor says Tidewater’s worldwide presence also makes Mays a good fit for the company, as the Full-Time MBA Program has an emphasis on international business.

“We are very pleased that Tidewater chose to invest in Mays, and to double the impact of the action by using it as an opportunity to honor a great Aggie, Morris Foster,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “Without corporate partners like Tidewater, we could not provide the world-class education we are known for at Mays. We are very thankful for this gift.”

Foster currently serves as the chairman of Stagecoach/Millcreek Resort. A native of Belton, Texas, he received his BS in mechanical engineering from A&M. Upon graduation, he joined Exxon and served in a number of production engineering and management assignments in California, Louisiana, and Texas.

Foster was inducted into A&M’s Academy of Distinguished Graduates in 1993. In 1995, he returned to Houston and was appointed a senior vice president and a member of the management committee of Exxon Company, USA, with responsibility for the company’s upstream business. He was appointed president of Exxon Upstream Development Company in 1998; and, following the merger of Exxon and Mobil, was named to the position of president, ExxonMobil Development Company.

He was named to the position of president, ExxonMobil Production Company and vice president, Exxon Mobil Corporation in 2004.

Foster is on the Board of Scott & White Medical Institute, United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast, Greater Houston Partnership and First State Bank of Temple, Texas. He is also a member of the American Petroleum Institute, the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Texas Oil and Gas Association.

Categories: Donors Corner, Former Students, Texas A&M

The fashion world is often perceived as one of the elite, the beautiful, the artistic … one that is not easily penetrated. Different fashion competitions abound, with hordes of hopefuls vying for their chance to enter the industry. Getting one’s shoe in the door to compete in one of these prestigious competitions is a feat; catwalking away with multiple awards is another. Mays Business School students in Sandi Lampo’s advanced retailing class accomplished both at this year’s Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) national scholarship competition.

Left to right: Dr. Sandi Lampo, Marisol Hernandez '11, Alexandra Sinatra '11, Mary Colligan '11, Kristin Shelley '11 and YuJin Yong '11
Left to right: Dr. Sandi Lampo, Marisol Hernandez ’11, Alexandra Sinatra ’11, Mary Colligan ’11, Kristin Shelley ’11 and YuJin Yong ’11

Texas A&M University was accepted to participate in the competition for the first time this year. The FSF is a national nonprofit association of influential members of the fashion community including CEOs, presidents, designers and manufacturers. Member companies include Kenneth Cole, Ralph Lauren, Macy’s and other recognizable leaders in the world of fashion. In efforts to recruit talented individuals and advance the fashion industry, the group awards 75 scholarships each year to students attending selected universities. In early 2010, the Center for Retailing Studies began the rigorous vetting process to be included in the competition. Center director Cheryl Holland Bridges said, “Given the strength of our retailing program and the talents of our students, we knew Aggies needed to be involved.” The nation-wide competition includes 33 schools; A&M students competed against students from the likes of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Cornell, Parsons The New School for Design and The Wharton School.

This fall, Lampo, Mays senior lecturer in marketing, created an advanced retailing course, part of which was to conduct a case study on private brand labels. As more information became available about the FSF, several students tailored their term projects to fit the requirements of the scholarship competition. Lampo chose the best ones to enter. “It was all individual work,” she explained. “They created a new private label brand for an existing retailer, created a merchandising plan, and a mobile commerce campaign.”

Told that a maximum of five A&M students could be selected, the group held its breath and hoped for one person to receive the prestigious recognition. True to Mays Business School excellence, they were elated to find out that five A&M students were awarded scholarships. “I am so excited and so proud,” Lampo said. In addition to winning the scholarships, the recipients and Lampo will be treated to a trip to New York City in January, where they will attend the awards ceremony at the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel. “Considering it is our first year to compete, this is an enormous accomplishment,” said Lampo. “The students will meet the board for the scholarship fund and interact with leaders in the retailing and fashion industry. Ralph Lauren himself will be there.” The ceremony is timed to overlap retailing’s major annual trade show, the National Retail Federation BIG Show. Bridges will attend the 100th annual NRF event and also be able to cheer on the students. .

Each student won a $5,000 scholarship and the chance to compete in the next phase of the competition, which will award three $25,000 scholarships. All five Aggie winners are guaranteed internships with New York City fashion designers.

The scholarship winners are:

  • Mary Colligan ’11
  • Marisol Hernandez ’11
  • Kristin Shelley ’11
  • Alexandra Sinatra ’11
  • YuJin Yong ’11

Categories: Centers, Students

From money management tips to themed camps and festivals, Mays business students have enriched the lives of the youngsters who frequent the Lincoln Recreation Center in College Station. To recognize those contributions, the program is being given the “Keeping the Dream Alive” award at the Lincoln Center’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and Musical Tribute on Saturday (Jan. 15).

The award is part of the tribute to King held each year at the center at 1000 Eleanor St. in College Station.

The award is being given to honor and show appreciation for the contributions of the sophomore business majors who take the required BUSN 205 course in which teams of students pursue service-learning projects with local nonprofit community agencies.

The students learn to communicate with the business leaders and come up with a plan, to work on teams and to see the impact of their projects on their young clients. The business partners learn first-hand how the Aggie spirit can come to life.

The semester-long projects are valued at about $1,000, but Cheletia M. Johnson, the Lincoln Center’s assistant supervisor, says she can’t possibly put a price on the benefits the students have brought to the center. “There have been so many projects, it has just been overwhelming,” she said, laughing. “We like to give them a lot of freedom on what they come up with, so they are only limited by their own imaginations.”

Fall festivals, Easter egg hunts, art camps, sports camps, science camps, a “Little Event” in which students create greeting cards, a gardening project and renovation of a nearby historical building are just some of the examples Johnson recalls.

More important than the projects are the people behind them, Johnson says.
“We’ve formed so many good relationships through the program and met so many good people who truly care,” she says. “They still come and still volunteer. They really have gotten the meaning of giving back.”

The faculty members involved in the projects include Risa Bierman, Nancy Simpson, Bharathi Shetty, Carol McBryde, Lesley Tomaszewski, Manda Rosser, Misti Hill Carter, Shontarius Aikens and Martha Loudder.

Categories: Faculty, Students