January, 2014 | Mays Impacts

The undergraduate accounting program at Mays Business School ranked 6th among U.S. public schools and 11th overall in the nation in the most recent analysis by The Accounting Degree Review, the leading accounting education website.

The Accounting Degree Review published the meta-ranking of the top 30 undergraduate accounting schools of 2014.

The 2014 Best Accounting School Super Ranking combines the three most influential undergraduate accounting school rankings from U.S. News & World Report, Bloomberg BusinessWeek and Public Accounting Report. Each of these accounting degree rankings uses a different methodology to select and rank accounting programs.

Jim Benjamin, head of the accounting department at Mays, considers the news very positive. “I am delighted with our consistently high rankings across multiple sources with very different methodologies,” he explained. “I believe these rankings affirm the dedication and ability of our faculty, the quality of our students, and the rigor and innovation in our programs.”

According the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as the economy improves and grows the demand for accountants is projected to grow as well. “Students who earn their accounting degree from a top-tier accounting program will be well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities in this growing field,” Adler said. “We believe this ranking provides prospective accounting students a useful starting point for their journey to the accounting degree program that is best for them.”

The Accounting Degree Review is an online publication dedicated to providing future accountants with the information they need to earn a degree in accounting. In addition to accounting program rankings and reviews, The Accounting Degree Review offers information on accounting scholarships, internship opportunities, career prospects, news, analysis and more.

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, Students, Texas A&M

Barry Minkow is a classic rags-to-riches American story. Or maybe it’s more like a rags to riches to orange jumpsuit to crime fighter to clerical collar to fraudulent short-seller to multimillion dollar church embezzlement story. He is currently serving a sentence for insider trading related to false accusations against homebuilder Lennar Corp. that drove its stock down while he shorted it.

Categories: Bottom Line Ethics

Travis Welwood, Business Honors
Travis Welwood, Business Honors
View more photos of his photos on Flickr

I am no stranger to travel. I would go so far as to say that I am immune to culture shock, I can’t say I know what it feels like. I have spent over a year of my life in countries outside the United States — about 4.4 percent of my time on earth. In that time, I have visited 27 countries in 5 continents, and have managed to build a network of friends spanning the globe. Although I had numerous experiences prior to my excursion this last semester, none of them have quite impacted me the way my time in Spain has. My five-month-long reciprocal exchange program exposed me to differing worldviews, ideas, and lifestyles, and has allowed me to enter the lives of the most wonderful people. Each and every moment of the last five months has enriched my own cultural growth and international business and relational understanding.

Something that no longer surprises me, but nonetheless always leads to interesting conversations, are the many differing worldviews, values and opinions of people.  Meeting these people from Spain, the UK, F er rance, Mexico, Korea, Sweden, Brazil and several other nations, was a much-needed breath of fresh air. Several of these people live their lives completely differently that I live my own, and I love them all the more for it. Taking the time to listen, comprehend, and relate back has made all the difference in my own cultural and relational development. Meeting and befriending people completely different than yourself is not to be avoided — it offers each party a valuable learning opportunity and leaves you both more relatable and more understanding of other people in the end.

The single most annoying and difficult thing to adapt to in the beginning was the slow, relaxed lifestyle of the Spanish.  I came into the experience with a relatively negative stigma regarding the Spanish, considering them lazy and less intelligent than other modern societies, what with their insanely high unemployment rate at 27 percent and lax work days.  Restaurants would always shut down at 4 p.m. for the siesta, to re-open at 8:30 p.m. at the earliest. On Sundays, nothing was open but McDonald’s. After a few weeks, the Spanish culture finally broke me and forced me to eat later, take midday naps, and let go of the notion that I could do everything to my own convenience. It dawned on me that the Spanish people do things slowly, spontaneously and carefree, however this does not make them lazy. Although they do live a more carefree life than I am used to, they are very serious about their passions and loves, whether that be art, film, economic or simply people. This culture has encouraged me to take myself less seriously, and inspired me to continue developing and practicing my own passions with previously underutilized time.

Although my exchange felt like a long vacation, and in many ways was, it proved to be one of the most challenging semesters academically I have experienced in university. I decided to challenge myself, taking three out of five courses in Spanish and the remaining two in upper-level economics courses — a subject only vaguely related to my own major. The courses in Spanish greatly increased my affinity and fluency for the Spanish language, and my quantitative economics courses sharpened my strategic processing and planning skills.  Combining the knowledge I gained from my courses and my cultural immersion, I gained a better understanding of how and why business is done the way it is in Spain.

The Mays reciprocal exchange to Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Madrid, Spain has been the single best experience of my life. It is the perfect capstone to what has been the most formative four and a half years of life — I would recommend a semester exchange to anyone. In the five months I spent in Madrid, I learned to see the world through a different lens.

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, Students, Texas A&M

National Retail Federation Student Challenge winners
National Retail Federation Student Challenge winners

Children are twelve times more distracting than mobile phones. They can also be messy as their Cheerios spill on floors and stuffed toys roll under seats. To solve parental problems of car safety and organization, Mays Business School students developed a proposal for the “Backseat Bib” as part of the National Retail Federation Student Challenge, a national competition to bring a new product to the retail market. The team for four Aggies won against 13 universities and schools, and gained the attention of Babies”R”Us, America’s leading retailer for baby products and safety.

The competition began in September 2013 with the critical step to come up with a big idea that customers will buy. Next, the team created a 90-second video pitch and 10-page business plan demonstrating its understanding of target market, trends, competitors, marketing, finance and retail concepts. Over a dozen retail executive judges from companies like H-E-B, REI, Sur La Table, and others critiqued the business plan and advanced the Aggies to Round II. In November, a different panel of judges grilled through group via a phone Q&A session about their business plan. Two days after exams ended, the team learned they advanced to the final round and would have a lot of work to do over the winter break!

Four M.B. Zale Leadership Scholars, or student ambassadors of Mays retail education program, competed. They included: Christina Tharp ’14, Allie Miller ’14, Diandra Esparza ’15 and Jamie Roy ’15. Last year, Christina and Allie won top presenter awards in the Stanley Marcus Retail Audit competition, though they did not know each other going into this competition. Allie is president of the Student Retailing Association; Diandra and Jamie are officers in the organization and both juniors. All are earning the Certificate in Retailing through the Department of Marketing, and aspire for professional retail careers.

By advancing to the final round, the team netted $10,000 to cover their travel to New York City and participation in the National Retail Federation Big Show, retail’s largest educational and trade show event attracting an international audience of 30,000. On January 10, 2014, the team pitched the Backseat Bib product to executives from STORY, Shop.org and HSNi. On Sunday, competition sponsor careerbuilder.com announced that Texas A&M University won first prize in front of a general session audience of 5,000. The top finish earned each student an additional $2,500 in scholarships.

Kelli Hollinger, Associate Director of the Center for Retailing Studies, coached the team and said she was impressed with their creativity, passion, depth of research and competitive spirit. “The Backseat Bib is a truly original product.”

Christina Tharp, who delivered the original video pitch, said, “We all brought different strengths to the table, and learned to work so well as a team.”

The group is not finished. With an invitation from Toys”R”Us to “call us” about the Backseat Bib, the team is reaching out to Aggieland Startup for guidance in applying for a provisional patent. They now also think about retail careers not just as store operations and merchandising, but entrepreneurship. Tharp said, “We fully expect the Backseat Bib to be a must-have baby registry item.”

Additionally, Allie Miller received a $10,000 Next Generation Scholarship through the National Retail Federation. Only five retailing students across America were nominated for this prestigious award.

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, Featured Stories, Students, Texas A&M

2014 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund recipients
2014 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund recipients

In today’s fierce economic environment, new product lines are as likely come from business schools as “Project Runway.” In a national competition through the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, five Aggies won major scholarships for envisioning fresh merchandise assortments targeting the millennial customers that JCPenney wants to attract. This generation is over 80 million strong and wields more than $200 billion in annual buying power, so every retailer is competing for this enormous customer segment.

Mays Business School has participated in this competition since 2011; this is the second time the school garnered five winners. Only five students from each of 46 competing schools can win, which means the Aggies bested competitors from Harvard, FIT and Wharton. In total, 136 students earned $5,000 each.

The competition’s mission is to advance the fashion industry by providing promising students with financial and career resources. Member companies such as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Lacoste and many others guarantee internship and mentoring opportunities to winners. All four of Texas A&M’s 2013 winners interned in New York City after completing this program; two started full-time careers in the city with Kenneth Cole and Macy’s Merchandising Group.

The 2014 scholarship recipients are Holly Vogel, Kailie Flores, Christina Tharp, Krystin Sessions and Shelby Zamzow. All are M.B. Zale Leadership Scholars earning the Certificate in Retailing through the Department of Marketing. Their project coach was Cheryl Bridges, who spent 25 years in the industry and currently serves as director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School.

Projects were evaluated by four retailing executives and scored by strict metrics. Bridges said, “We were told by the executives attending the gala that the Aggie projects “set the standard.’ Each of these students should be tremendously proud of her work.” The product lines include women’s career and kid’s designer apparel, a fitness line, runway-inspired housewares and a hip jean bar for guys seeking fashion advice while shopping.

In addition to recognition in front of the 1,200 people attending the fundraising event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the Aggies were profiled in the Sunday Style Section of the New York Times. Famed Times photographer Bill Cunningham captured them, alongside celebrities attending the event.

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, Departments, Students, Texas A&M

Mays students at Deloitte's FanTAXtic tax case competition
Mays students at Deloitte’s
FanTAXtic tax case competition

A student team from Mays Business School came in second place in the national finals of Deloitte’s FanTAXtic tax case competition. The Aggie team members were sophomores Sam Richter and Andrew Winker, seniors Shawn Morgan and William Cummings, and graduate student Cameron Doe.

Kevin Roach was the faculty advisor that accompanied the team to the finals competition that was held at the Deloitte University complex just outside Dallas. Dennis Lassilla also served as a faculty advisor.

The Aggie team earned the right to compete in the national finals by winning the regional competition last fall, where 71 teams participated.

The other eight teams that qualified for the national finals were Brigham Young University, University of Southern California, William & Mary, Fordham, North Carolina State, St. John Fischer, Northern Colorado and Wisconsin, the first-place winners.

The Deloitte FanTAXtic finals competition featured a reality-based case and team presentations to a Deloitte judging panel. The Aggie team distinguished themselves by their critical thinking in an intense timeframe. However, their strong presentation skills carried the day as they exhibited exceptional team chemistry, persuasive solution presentation and incisive responses to questions from the judges.

For their second place achievement, each team member received $1,000 and the Mays Business School will receive $5,000.

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: Students, Texas A&M

Kiki McLean
Kiki McLean, Counsel for Porter Novelli
View more photos on Flickr

HOUSTON – National public affairs strategist Catherine “Kiki” McLean breathed belief into nearly 100 women who gathered in the CityCentre campus on Jan. 15. Her interactive presentation, “Making It In a Man’s World — A View from Inside the Beltway,” elicited laughter, groans and applause.

“Women have always been capable, but not necessarily qualified, to rise to the top of public service,” McLean said. “It has evolved to common culture for women to have a place at the table, but not always to be a leader. We now have women who can run for the top offices — governors and president — and we have women running those campaigns and serving as a separate marketplace in bigger numbers than ever before.”

McLean’s presentation was the second in a series of seminars known as the “Women’s Leadership Initiative,” hosted by the MBA Programs Office at Mays Business School’s Houston CityCentre location. The series by and for women is the brainchild of Dr. Mary Lea McAnally, assistant dean for graduate programs, who noted that the percentage of women in business school drops from 53 percent at the undergraduate level to around 30 percent in MBA programs and that fewer than 5 percent in top leadership positions at Fortune 500 firms are held by women. “This initiative provides an opportunity for female leaders to become aware of the issues we face, to build connections and gain the tools for continued success,” McAnally explained at the onset of the series.

The speaker at the first event was strategy consultant and executive coach Rebecca Cooke, who is scheduled to present again on the topic of exercising power and influence on April 2 and next fall on the topic of defining effective roles. “This is a program we have long needed,” Cooke said. “This energy is exciting.”

Female influence in the political arena continues to rise, McLean asserted, citing numerous examples. The 2012 election represented a significant battle for the presidential nomination, and 2014 will be a year of solidifying that momentum. She described such organizations as Burning Glass, an organization charged with getting the women’s vote, and the Walmart Moms research project, which gauges opinions of women with children age 18 or younger at home and who shopped at Walmart at least once in the past month. “With 14 to 17 percent of the electorate, Walmart Moms are the swing vote.”

McLean is a veteran of six presidential campaigns, including the historic 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign. During the 2008 election season, she was senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. McLean’s approach is non-partisan. She co-founded No Labels, a national grassroots movement dedicated to solving problems by engaging people of all party affiliations.

McLean shared this advice for women:

  • Model leadership behaviors for other women
  • Mentor another woman
  • Get involved in politics at the local level, such as city council, school board and homeowners associations
  • Keep up with major issues
  • Watch candidate debates, then act on what is said
  • Drive other voters to a polling place

“I have this to say to all of you: Urgency creates opportunity, and there is no place that is more urgent than politics,” McLean exhorted the women in attendance at the Jan. 15 event in Houston. “Not everyone is ready for state and national politics, but we can all cheer on those who are. If you know a woman who gets a place at the table, encourage her to stay there, not walk away. It’s the walking away that kills us.”

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, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Ken Bouyer
Ken Bouyer

Ken Bouyer spends his time looking for ways to support diversity in his company, EY (formerly Ernst & Young). Bouyer is the Americas Director of Inclusiveness Recruiting for EY and a passionate supporter of diversity who has spent years contributing to a corporate culture that empowers diverse hires to succeed. According to Bouyer, one of the most important factors that contributes to that success is a global mindset. In a globally connected business environment, clients of professional services firms like EY expect innovative solutions that succeed on a global level. In order to deliver that, businesses need to help their people cultivate a global mindset and develop inclusive leaders who make the diverse mix and perspectives of its people work to achieve better results.

“Challenge the way you think,” Bouyer recently told a standing-room-only Mays Business School crowd and at least 100 others looking on. “Diversity of thought and perspective drives innovation. This is the magic of diversity.”

EY has 175,000 employees in 150 countries and reported $25.8 billion in FY13 global revenues. Globalization, in fact, is one of the megatrends shaping EY’s business. In 2005 there were 47 companies listed in the Fortune Global 500 that were headquartered in emerging markets. Today, just 8 years later, that number is 135. Globalization means that the world of work that students are entering is more interconnected than ever before — bound by complex supply chains and where customers and competitors can be found the world over … often just a mouse click away.

Like many large, globally integrated companies, EY is looking to hire future leaders who demonstrate a willingness to think and work beyond their own perspectives and borders. “For our high-performing teams, our people need the knowledge and skills to understand our global business environment, be agile and innovative, deal with ambiguity, influence others and lead inclusively,” Bouyer told the Mays crowd.

In the presentation, he also explained one global mindset model that discusses three key components: intellectual, psychological and social capital.

  • Intellectual capital encompasses global business savvy, cognitive complexity, a cosmopolitan outlook and knowledge of cultures around the world and their economic and political issues, concerns and hot topics. To explain this concept, Bouyer described how he has worked with different clients, many of which have grown their businesses outside the U.S. Over time, these companies have come to understand the cultural nuances, and have corrected course to ensure their global operations achieve success.
  • Psychological capital springs from a passion for exploring other parts of the world and the ability to adapt to uncomfortable situations. “Travel,” Bouyer advised the crowd. “You’ll be amazed at what you find.”
  •  Social capital consists of diplomacy, engagement and interpersonal impact among strong networks with people from other cultures. Those who have a natural sense of curiosity and genuine respect can build trust and forge strong relationships with people from different countries and even people on their own teams with very different backgrounds and perspectives right here in the U.S., Bouyer said.

He also stressed the importance of inclusive leadership, which is critical in an organization that serves multinational clients. Inclusive leaders leverage the different perspectives on their teams.  This drives innovation, whether it’s selling to a new market segment or creating a new product.

So how do future leaders develop a global mindset and an inclusive leadership style? Bouyer had many tips to offer the Mays students in attendance. He encouraged students to understand how their life experiences frame how they might view a situation; to have real and authentic conversations; to build relationships with people who have different experiences and viewpoints; and to work on projects with people who have different backgrounds and perspectives.

Organizations like EY expect their employees to bring their own unique perspectives with them. But what differentiates them is their ability to interact and work with all types of people, Bouyer added. “You have to ask yourself if you are ready to serve companies around the world. The world is different than what you’re seeing at A&M. My message to you … prepare now!

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: Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Nathan P. Moore '89
Nathan P. Moore ’89

It is no surprise that cosmetics and pink Cadillacs describe Dallas-based Mary Kay. However, many might be surprised to know that this company hosts the dream job of Nathan P. Moore ’89. Moore, who serves as the company’s Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, says he couldn’t imagine working anywhere else.

“It’s a great environment that encourages people to maximize their potential,” Moore said during a recent speech to a group of Mays Business Honors students. “Everyone comes ready to work, ready to be their best and ready to help others become their best — just as Mary Kay expected.”

Along with overseeing Mary Kay’s legal functions around the world, several other groups report to Moore, including Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Communications, Risk Management, Government Relations and The Mary Kay Foundation.

When Moore started at Mary Kay in 1995, the company sold products in 10 countries. Today, the company operates in more than 35 countries. More than 3 million people around the world have Mary Kay businesses, and a large part of Moore’s job is navigating the legal issues that stem from the company’s rapid growth worldwide.

Mary Kay celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013 with the best year in company history. Moore credits the success of the company to the strong culture which follows the standards set by founder Mary Kay Ash.

“Mary Kay truly used the Golden Rule as her guiding philosophy in business,” Moore said. “She believed that you can’t go wrong if you treat others as you would like to be treated. She also believed in working hard and rewarding others for their efforts. Plus, she was known for having a big heart and for giving back.”

In addition to promoting beauty products and providing a business opportunity, Mary Kay also has outreach programs that have provided millions of dollars to organizations that help women and children. Some of the recipients include breast cancer research and educational campaigns to reduce abuse against women. The company lobbies for laws that benefit women, and it participates in sustainability efforts such as planting trees and creating outdoor classrooms at women’s shelters.

Moore said Ash’s book “On People Management,” written in 1984 and updated in 2008 and released as “The Mary Kay Way,” is a personal favorite because the values outlined in the book closely match his personal philosophy as a leader. Moore’s advice to the Mays students in seeking future employment was to look for companies where they can align their personal principles and values.

“Have a passion for your company and your job,” Moore said. “You own your personal development and your career path, so never stop setting goals. Mary Kay would often encourage people to decide to take leadership over your future and set goals. The difference between top and bottom people is the difference between the goals that they set. Strive to become a goal-setting, goal-inspired, goal-achieving person. And, one more thing — up that goal a little. It doesn’t cost any more to dream a little bigger.”

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, Texas A&M

Nick Brennan and Will Sames of Aggi3D
Nick Brennan and Will Sames of Aggi3D

From shorts complete with built-in fanny pack to an affordable 3D printer, Aggies are coming up with new ideas and Texas A&M University encourages their ingenuity both through education and practice. One example is the university’s first-ever elevator pitch competition, a fun and fast-paced contest where students pitched their business startups to a panel of expert investors who judged which businesses would take home a variety of cash prizes, and a Grand Prize trip to pitch to investors in Silicon Valley.

In the business world, the term “elevator pitch” is used to describe a brief summary that explains an idea for a product, service or project in the short time it takes for an elevator ride, say 30-60 seconds.

Organized by Startup Aggieland, the university’s student-run business accelerator, the elevator pitch competition was sponsored by Silicon Valley Bank and hosted by Chris Westfall, the 2011 National Elevator Pitch Competition winner and coach for the ABC television show “Shark Tank.”

“In business, whoever tells the best story wins,” Westfall told the crowd at Rudder Theatre. Westfall, a former Hollywood stuntman, went on to describe how he made his business dreams come true by “going from the green room to the boardroom. As I changed my story, I was able to change my results.”

Special guest, former Texas A&M and NFL football player-turned-serial entrepreneur, Chris Valletta ’01, welcomed Aggie student entrepreneurs to pitch their startup ideas to a panel of experts that included high-level business executives, several of whom are former Texas A&M students.

One-by-one student teams pitched their ideas, often bringing their products on stage for display.

The grand prize-winning team was Aggi3D, founded by nuclear engineering Ph.D. candidate Will Sames and Master’s in electrical engineering student Nick Brennan. Both earned their bachelor’s degrees at Texas A&M and are working to launch their idea for an inexpensive, tabletop 3D printer that creates metal machine parts such as drill bits.

Often compared to the replicator on “Star Trek,” 3D printers are being used to create everything from working guns, musical instruments, toys and food to, maybe someday, replacement body parts. The machines work like two-dimensional printers, but instead of printing with ink, 3D printers create three-dimensional objects by layering sheets of material such as plastic or wood, or in the case of Aggi3D − metal.

Sames, who is from San Antonio, and Brennan of Shoreline, Wash., met as freshmen at Texas A&M and together took an interest in 3D printing technology. They noticed that the 3D printers available at reasonable costs to ordinary people all printed exclusively in plastic and often had quality and reliability issues.

“We came to the realization that there are no inexpensive metal printers on the market,” says Brennan. “The cheapest metal printing systems cost upwards of $500,000. When Will first suggested we try to build our own inexpensive metal 3D printer, I was a bit dubious, but as we investigated the technology further, it seemed more and more achievable.”

The team is currently working on a prototype and hopes to have a beta model ready in less than a year. “Our plan is to launch on a crowd-funding site like KickStarter with a fairly simple design and get it into the hands of hobbyists, enthusiasts and educators,” Brennan notes. “We hope to use revenue from this launch to fund the development of a much slicker, plug-and-play printer we can then use to target the mass market.”

As the grand prize winners, Sames and Brennan will be treated this summer to an expenses-paid trip to Silicon Valley, Calif., sponsored by Silicon Valley Financial Group. There they hope to further develop their business plan, set goals for product release and pitch for funding.

The first-place winner at the competition was Notequill, a software startup pitched by its CEO, computer science major Graham Leslie. Notequill is a software program that allows students to take notes, typed or handwritten, on a variety of devices and stores the information online in “the cloud” where classmates can share and contribute, and where documents, photos and files can never be lost. “We are bringing the Notequill platform to school districts to improve the ease of learning in their new “bring your own technology’ programs for students and teachers,” Leslie adds.

If you thought fanny packs were a thing of the past, senior finance major Kyler Ferris begs to differ. He placed second for his startup idea called Chutes Shorts which are shorts made out of a fast-drying, parachute-like fabric that feature an insertable, waterproof pouch to hold personal items.

And third place at the competition was awarded to university studies major Brian Lamb whose mission to provide clean water to people around the world has resulted in a not-for-profit bottled water organization called Replenish. For every bottle sold, the organization donates a water purification tablet that provides an individual with a liter of clean water. For every case sold, the organization donates a “life straw,” a portable filter that is worn like a necklace and can purify enough water to last a person three years. “Rather than donating water so that people are dependent, we give them the resources to clean the water they already have,” Lamb notes.

The winning teams, along with all the other competitors, are entrepreneurs-in-residence at Startup Aggieland, located in Texas A&M’s Research Park. Open to any Texas A&M student operating a business, with a strong business idea or who is simply curious about entrepreneurship, Startup Aggieland provides free business resources including workspace, mentoring and networking opportunities. A seed fund is available and every startup receives $24,000 in web hosting. Visit startupaggieland.tamu.edu to learn more and find out when the 2014 elevator pitch competition will occur.

Event coordinators included the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School. Prior to the competition, the student teams presented their pitches to members of the Aggie 100, an organization that recognizes and celebrates the 100 fastest growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world.

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, Students, Texas A&M