March, 2013 | Mays Impacts

Dr. Victoria Salin has been appointed director of the Master of Agribusiness program in the department of agricultural economics at Texas A&M University and chair of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Agribusiness.

Salin is an associate professor specializing in agribusiness management and finance. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the World Food Logistics Organization and serves on the board of directors of the State of Texas Agricultural Finance Authority. Recent research projects include microfinance and credit rationing, and risk exposure of lending institutions. She has been at Texas A&M since 1996.

“We are extremely pleased have Dr. Salin lead our MAB program,” said Dr. Parr Rosson, department head. “She has chaired graduate committees and teaches courses in the program. Having her experience and leadership for the program will be important in helping us strive for excellence and achieve our goals for the future.”

Salin grew up in Cincinnati and graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a degree in political science and history. She completed a master’s of arts from the University of Virginia in government and foreign affairs before moving to Washington, D.C., where she was an editor in private industry. She also worked with the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and served as an international trade analyst at the U.S. International Trade Commission before pursuing a degree in agricultural economics. She received her doctorate from Purdue University in 1996, with specialties in agribusiness finance and international trade.

The master of agribusiness is an intercollegiate degree offered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Mays Business School at Texas A&M.

The master of agribusiness program is a professional degree program that is uniquely focused on the food and agribusiness sector with an emphasis on combining economic and business analysis, and incorporating quantitative methods as the basis for decision-making. The program emphasizes oral and written communication and presentation skills.

In 2012 the program was ranked ninth out of 1,000 master’s programs worldwide by BestMasters.com.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Faculty

Rishika Rishika
Rishika Rishika

Ramkumar Janakiraman
Ramkumar Janakiraman

More fans on a company’s Facebook page can help generate more income, indicates a research study conducted by four professors, including two from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

The study shows social media participation helps strengthen the bond between the customer and the firm, generating 5.6 percent more revenue and about 5 percent more in-person visits than among non-participating customers.

The researchers were Rishika Rishika and Ramkumar Janakiraman, both marketing professors at Mays; Ashish Kumar from Aalto University; and Ram Bezawada from the University at Buffalo, N.Y.

This study has been published in a special issue of the journal Information Systems Research titled “Social Media and Business Transformation.”

Companies have long questioned the return on investment of resources needed to operate social media sites. Previously, there was no individual-level data connecting customers’ participation in a firm-hosted social media site and their actual purchase behaviors. This study gives business managers a better understanding of the return on their investment in social media. In particular, the study uses novel behavioral data and helps understand the link between social media participation and the number of customer purchases.

Building online communities, personalizing messages and encouraging contributions from online members enhances the customer experience. It also increases the frequency of customer shopping visits and promotes sales overall, the research indicated. The keys to success include maintaining a user-friendly site, sending regular updates about events, personalizing key messages to customers, and encouraging customer-firm interaction through these messages.

“Anyone can open a Facebook page and post, but good firms do something with that interaction – they capitalize on that engagement,” explains Janakiraman. Jason’s Deli, for instance, follows up on customer complaints posted on its social media sites, and large firms boast about the number of fans they have. “We argue social media is good for the business because it helps the customers. They have easy access to information, it pops up on their screens. And reviews come in from other fans in the community.”

By fostering an online relationship between the customer and the firm, customers can be segmented based on purchase history and their prior interactions with the firm. Market segmentation is essential, since not all customers respond to social media equally.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Research Notes, Texas A&M

Students and recruiters gave Mays Business School high marks in Bloomberg Businessweek’s recent ranking of undergraduate business programs. Mays tied for 12th among public universities (up from 15th) and tied for 33rd among all U.S. universities (up from 39th). Only 22 public universities were included in the magazine’s Top 50.

Businessweek judges business schools based on recruiter and student surveys, academic quality, teaching quality, and the starting salaries and career outcomes of graduates.

Recruiters ranked Mays 5th among public schools and 7th overall. Last year, Mays was ranked 14th and 34th, respectively.

In addition, Mays scored well in the factors that contribute to the experience of the undergraduates. Senior students gave Mays an A in teaching quality, an A in facilities and services, and an A+ in job placement. Only 12 public universities in the nation received A’s in each of these categories.

“While improving the quality of the education and services we provide, we have managed to hold the line on cost, and remain one of the “best value’ schools in the state and nation,” said Martha L. Loudder, associate dean for undergraduate programs at May. “We are especially proud that our graduating seniors gave Mays such high marks. Student satisfaction, starting salaries and job placement rates are among the highest of our peers.”

Learn more about the Businessweek rankings at http://www.businessweek.com/business-schools.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Programs

Mays Business School was ranked as one of the top 10 U.S. public universities in the “Best Global MBAs for Mexicans” category of Expansión magazine’s latest rankings.

The program at Texas A&M University ranked 44th worldwide and 27th in the United States.

This is the sixth year Mays was ranked in Mexico’s leading business magazine.

Kelli Kilpatrick, director of the Full-Time MBA Program at Mays, says the acknowledgement is encouraging. “This is the kind of recognition that gives us confidence we are doing the right things for the right reasons. It is a combination of recruiting the very best students who study from outstanding faculty and who enjoy success in their careers. Being included among this ranking is truly an honor.”

Complete results are available at www.cnnexpansion.com/rankings.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Programs

The Full-Time MBA program at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School continues to place well in the rankings, coming in at #14 among public universities (#35 overall), in this year’s U.S. News & World Report “Best Business Schools” ranking of graduate business schools. Last year, Mays tied for 12th among U.S. public schools (and tied 32nd overall).

The U.S. News rankings are based on two types of data: expert opinions about program quality and statistical indicators that measure the quality of a school’s faculty, research, and students. U.S. News surveyed thousands of academics and professionals to arrive at these rankings. For further information, visit the U.S. News “Best Business Schools” website.

In addition, Mays’ program ranked 1st among U.S. public schools (11th overall) for employment at three months after graduation, highlighting the program’s commitment to students’ professional development and career management, especially during tough economic times.

Mary Lea McAnally, Mays associate dean for graduate programs, said she is happy but not surprised. “We are pleased with these rankings from U.S. News & World Report. While our rank declined slightly, we continue to be included among the top programs in the U.S. I am particularly impressed that we are #1 among all public schools for jobs at the 3-month mark and our students’ average starting salary is above $100,000 for the first time. We continue to graduate highly qualified students who are valued by employers.”

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Texas A&M

Randy Tomlin graduated from Texas A&M University on a Friday, then started his job the next Monday at Southwestern Bell in Houston. In the 31 years since then, the changes in the telecommunications industry have kept his career path fresh.

Randy Tomlin '81, Senior Vice President Uverse Field Operations
Randy Tomlin ’81, Senior Vice President
Uverse Field Operations

Tomlin thrives on a balanced life that encompasses personal time, work, family and physical fitness. “Sometimes it’s a triangle, sometimes it’s a circle, but all of those elements are always in the mix,” he told a group of undergraduate students at Mays. “I have a PhD in bleacher butt, in coaching, in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts — anything our kids were involved in.”

He says he has always followed the opportunities, moving 14 times and traversing positions ranging from human resources to engineering, accounting and finance to education. The moves have helped instill in Tomlin and in his family openness to new things. “When my kids went to college there was no transition at all. We built it into their lives and their experience, so they don’t know anything else.”

Now Tomlin is senior vice president of U-verse field operations at the company that is now AT&T, a position he has held since 2008.

Tomlin touts the company’s Code of Business Conduct as a clear guide for his actions along the way. “It’s as true as the Code of Honor at Texas A&M,” he explains. Like the Aggie honor code, AT&T’s code of conduct recognizes that every choice impacts others. “We develop the people who come into AT&T,” Tomlin says, “not the company. People have kids who get sick and cars that break down, and the decisions you make affect lives of others in the family. You have to remember that.”

Business Honors major Casey Gattshall ’15 said he found it refreshing to hear that the corporate culture is shifting toward an emphasis on people rather than on numbers/results. “If you take care of the people in your organization and set them up for success, the positive results will follow,” Gattshall summarized.

Mentors are valuable to employees, Tomlin told the students. On his job interview, he told his recruiter, “All I ever wanted was a family, and a job is a way to a family.” Joe Walkoviak, who has been Tomlin’s mentor ever since, drove Tomlin through a nice neighborhood and told him with the position he was considering, he could buy a house in that neighborhood. “Joe made a difference in my life then, and 35 years later, I am still friends with him. We all need someone like that. It helps us keep things in balance.”

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Executive Speakers

Getting to college is a challenge for almost anyone, and freshman Corps member Veronica Bahena faced additional challenges on her way to obtaining an education. As a Latina, the numbers were against her. According to a report by The National Women’s Law Center and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, roughly 42 percent of Hispanic females never graduate from high school, let alone go to college.

Veronica Bahena
Veronica Bahena

When she did start thinking about college her junior year of high school, Bahena says the process seemed complicated and the school too expensive.

That year she met Officer Javier Hernandez, who had started an organization in the Manor school district to help young Latinos reach their full potential as middle school and high school students. “He changed my life,” Bahena says of Hernandez and the Latino Leaders of America. In LLA, students attend regular meetings and get the opportunity to meet Hispanic leaders, such as Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. Recently, the group visited College Station to learn about life as a student at Texas A&M.

“The LLA has a very clear mission: empowering students,” says Henry Musoma, a professor of Veronica’s in Mays Business School who helped organize the LLA’s trip to Texas A&M. “They help students to see the possibilities, not the limitations.”

A large part of what Bahena learned from the LLA was to be proud of her heritage, and to prevent any potential stigmas from holding her back. “The LLA focuses on teaching you about your culture, and that’s how you start,” explains Bahena. “You start building yourself up to where you know your background and you know where you came from, and you’re not afraid to say, “Yes I’m Mexican, and I can do more than just working in construction or cleaning restrooms or working in a restaurant.’ It gave me the idea that I can be a Latina who can make an impact in my community and be a role model for the younger girls.”

Once Bahena had built up confidence in herself and her heritage, she started taking the necessary steps to prepare herself for college. She says she decided to challenge herself and started taking a full load of AP classes. Her GPA dropped at first, she says, but she was able to bring it back up. Bahena graduated 12th out of 222 in her class, and admits if she had continued to take easier classes, she might have been able to graduate higher, but said “it wouldn’t have been the same feeling to graduate in the top 10 percent knowing that I didn’t fully challenge myself.”

Now at Texas A&M, Bahena continues to challenge herself as a member of the Corps of Cadets. Women make up about 10 percent of the Corps, making Bahena a double minority.

At times when things get rough and an easier life seems attractive, Bahena reminds herself she has to be a voice for women in the Corps. She says her sergeant also tells her that over the next few years she has the opportunity to be a leader for the incoming classes of women in the Corps. Bahena is also a Regents Scholar, which is reserved for students whose parents do not hold four-year degrees and whose income is below a certain threshold.

“Her drive is strong,” Hernandez says of Bahena. “There’s nothing that’s going to stop her from reaching her goals.”

Though Bahena is currently undecided in her major, she is very much aware of what she wants to do with whatever degree she gets. “The point of coming to college is to create an impact in the community, not just for ourselves,” Bahena says. “I want to be a part of a corporation that is helping in the community.”

Bahena is already making an impact. Last semester she met with girls on the soccer team from her high school who aren’t members of the LLA, and she is working with Hernandez to possibly set up something over the summer to share what she learned in the LLA. Bahena also says she wants to talk to girls at the middle-school level, because she believes that is where the desire to go to college should first be cultivated.

“Everything I’m doing right now, I’m doing for them,” says Bahena of the younger members of the LLA. “From my perspective, everybody’s smart; you just have to want it and be determined to get it. Don’t let anybody tell you you’re not smart or you can’t do it, because you can.”

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Featured Stories, Students

Categories: Perspectives