July, 2013 | Mays Impacts

Shilo Harris and family
Shilo Harris and family

A 2011 graduate of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) will serve as the keynote speaker Saturday night for the program at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School.

Shilo A. Harris began his public speaking career after completing the boot camp, and is writing a book, Steel Will, with a contact he met while he was in the program. He and his family received a house through ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Helping a Hero” in 2012.

The EBV offers training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country.  The EBV at Texas A&M is a collaboration between the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship and the Center for Executive Development at Mays.

On Aug. 3, the participants will hear from an alumni panel, give their final venture pitches and participate in a closing reception. The speaker at the closing ceremony will be Frederick D. McClure of the George Bush Foundation.

Of this year’s 25 participants, eight are from out of state — Missouri, Florida, Georgia and Oklahoma. The Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force are all represented.

The cost is about $5,000 per participant, but corporate sponsors and private individuals provide funding so that the veterans are allowed to attend the entire program — including tuition, travel and accommodations — at no cost.

About the EBV

The EBV Consortium was formed in 2008 as a national educational initiative designed to help veterans with disabilities to make the transition to self-employment, develop professional networks and ultimately start and grow sustainable businesses. The EBV Consortium is composed of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, the College of Business at The Florida State University, the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, the College of Business at the University of Connecticut, the E. J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University and the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.

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: Centers, Former Students, Programs, Texas A&M

MBA students at CityCentre
MBA students at CityCentre

In business, technical knowledge is critical. But to effectively lead, students need to also be experts in communications, leadership, problem-solving and team building. The course work in Mays’ MBA programs provides leadership training by placing students in the role of decision makers during case analyses, team projects and class discussion. By building leadership concepts and experiences into the core courses, the program combines foundational business knowledge with strategies for influencing, motivating, guiding and supporting others in achieving a common purpose.

Janet Marcantonio, a Mays MBA graduate, oversees the signature consulting projects course. In the Full-Time MBA Program, the students complete semester-long capstone projects to address real-world problems for outside organizations. In addition to applying their MBA knowledge and skills, students learn to design a sound project plan and execute it effectively.

“Students consider their strengths, values, skills and developmental goals in defining roles and responsibilities,” says Marcantonio. “This forms the foundation for high-performing teams that create real value for our client companies.”

In the Executive MBA Program, participants identify a significant problem facing their organizations,” says Marcantonio. “Over a period of 18 months, they complete an individualized project designed to develop a data-driven solution.

“Participants integrate and apply what they learn in the classroom, while learning valuable lessons about creating successful change. Above all, the capstone project is a leadership journey.”

Professional MBA students have the option to complete an individual project for their organizations or a team project for an outside company. “By offering this choice,” says Marcantonio, “we allow students to align their project experience with their developmental needs and goals.”

Mary Lea McAnally, associate dean of graduate programs, says Marcantonio has “revolutionized the class, adding much content and structure.”

“Her contributions along with those of John Krajicek (assistant director of Business Communications Studies), are among the most significant things that distinguish our Full-Time MBA program from our competitors,” she explains.

Krajicek covers many important topics in the communication realm — for example, how to deliver effective PowerPoint presentations. “Contrary to the usual “death by PowerPoint’ approach, presentations don’t have to be boring,” he explains. “The key is restraint, avoiding information overload on every slide.”

Students’ writing skills are consistently tested and refined as part of their coursework, allowing them to be prepared for the challenge of successfully navigating the modern business environment, which places intensive scrutiny on effective communications. As Krajicek tells his students, “it really doesn’t matter how much you know if you can’t communicate it effectively. Excellent communication skills won’t guarantee you a successful career, but poor communication skills will undoubtedly hamper your career.”

Mays also has been recognized for its success in training students to be ethical leaders. In 2013, Mays was ranked seventh in the world in Bloomberg Businessweek’s “top schools for ethics” specialty report. The scores came from feedback from the MBA Class of 2012. McAnally says the topic of ethics is woven into the fabric of Mays, particularly in the Full-Time MBA program. “We don’t offer stand-alone ethics classes; we include frameworks for ethical decision-making in each course we teach.”

By providing students the opportunity to develop themselves as leaders, in addition to expand their core knowledge and skills, Mays’ MBA Programs are producing leaders who add immediate and significant value to their organizations.
But more importantly, such leaders have long-term impact. McAnally summed it up when she said, “Unlike accounting or finance or other subjects that can be learned in a semester, learning to lead is a lifelong process. Our hope is that we inspire our graduates to continue to develop as leaders. If we produce students who are continually evolving, learning and growing, we will have produced leaders with vision and longevity.”

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: Departments, Faculty, Programs

Connie Weaver, KPMG Professor in accounting and Mays Fellow
Connie Weaver, KPMG Professor
in accounting and Mays Fellow

Connie Weaver is a KPMG Professor in accounting and a Mays Fellow. She is also a recipient of the 2010 David and Denise Baggett Teaching Award and the 2006 American Taxation Association/Deloitte Teaching Innovations Award.

I am reading… The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Congress passed new legislation that affects both individuals and businesses. The Act is 154 pages long and I’m gaining a better understanding of how these changes in the tax law will affect investment and business decisions. On a more personal level, I am reading A Memory of Light, the 14th and final book in a series written by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. My son got me started on the series years ago when the first book was released (2002), and after all this time I am committed to finishing it.

I recommend… expanding one’s horizon. In being a tax accounting professor, I spend so much time thinking about the tax law and numbers that I often remind myself that there is much more to learn than this narrow perspective allows. So, I try to read in broader areas. For example, I listened to one of “The Great Courses” on philosophy and found it to be very valuable in framing the way I teach and research.

To keep up with business trends, I do a lot of reading primarily the Wall Street Journal and The Economist. In terms of my specific discipline, I also teach tax professionals at some of the national accounting firms. My interactions with these professionals help me stay current with the transactions and events that the professionals are tackling.

I think research and teaching are… synergistic. I often bring in research studies to my classroom to help students see where we are in our understanding of a particular topic. Similarly, my research benefits from the insights students provide in class discussion on current tax topics.

My teaching philosophy is… centered on helping students develop skills that will enable them to understand the material taught in class and to extend that understanding to problems they face later in their careers even if they have never seen that particular issue before. With that in mind, I focus on the process necessary to understand the tax law and to find solutions to complex tax and accounting issues.

My current research is… focused on how firms’ business models influence their reporting choices for both financial and tax purposes. Policymakers are concerned about earnings management and aggressive tax strategies and have ascribed this behavior to poor accounting quality and the downward trend in firms’ effective tax rates. This research, coauthored with a doctoral student and a colleague, shows that these concerns may be misplaced. That these trends are associated with the business model a firm uses to operate.

During my time off, you will find me running the streets of College Station and Austin. I am an avid runner and have completed three marathons so far. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

I’m interested in… experiencing different cultures. I love to travel and at the top of my list would be a trip to Macchu Picchu or New Zealand.

If I were not a professor, I would be… a winemaker. I’d enjoy being outdoors among the grapes and trying to understand how different grapes produce different wine types.

My one piece of advice for my students when they graduate from A&M is… to try new things, enjoy the journey as well as the destination. Those paths we think of as diversions may just be the path to happiness.

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

Jorge Bermudez '73
Jorge Bermudez ’73

Jorge Bermudez says an affinity for Mays Business School dating back to his college days prompted him to donate $250,000 to establish the Jorge Bermudez ’73 Business Honors Endowed Scholarship fund.

Bermudez’s undergraduate and graduate degrees were in agricultural economics, but he said he knew from early on that he wanted to be a banker, so he took several finance, accounting and management classes in the business school. “The great thing about my experience was the flexibility of both the school of business and the agriculture economics department provided me,” he said. “As a result of my studies, it led me to New York and my career with the largest financial institution in the world. It gave me the tools to do what I wanted to do with my life.”

Bermudez says he wanted to assist the Business Honors program in particular because of its rigor and reputation. “My sense is that it’s becoming more and more competitive to attract top students to A&M’s Mays Business School, so I wanted to help Jerry (Strawser, dean of the business school) attract these students in whatever way I could.” He particularly wants to support students in the Corps of Cadets, which he said is “central to the culture of Texas A&M.”

Bermudez was not in the Corps while at Texas A&M. He hails from Cuba and said his first introduction to Texas was College Station. He left Texas upon graduation, moving throughout the world for various assignments at Citigroup over a 34-year span. He held positions in New York, Houston, Venezuela and Argentina. Among his titles were CEO of Citigroup Latin America, CEO and president of Citigroup’s Commercial Business Group in North America and Citibank Texas, then the Chief Risk Officer for Citigroup.

“We are most appreciative of Jorge’s most generous support of our students,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “While his financial support is so important to our students, the ability of our students to meet him, learn from him and follow his life example will provide them with the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Now Bermudez has come back to College Station. He now serves on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Moody’s Corporation, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and the Community Foundation of the Brazos Valley. He serves Texas A&M, on the International Board, the development councils of both Mays and the College of Agriculture and is past chair of the board of the Association of Former Students. He feels he owes a lot to Texas A&M and the surrounding community.

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: Donors Corner, Former Students, Texas A&M

After spending an eventful, memorable and bizarre week in Moscow, we headed for St. Petersburg for yet again another eventful, memorable, and bizarre week.

Categories: Perspectives, Students, Texas A&M