In 2014, Amy W. ’83 and James “Jim” R. Stolarski ’83 made a $100,000 gift to Mays Business School to endow a scholarship for students in the school’s MBA programs. The generous investment in the future of Mays represented the latest act in Jim Stolarski’s long history of alumni engagement and selfless service to the school.
In 1983, Stolarski graduated from Mays with a BBA in finance. During the next 27 years, he built a successful career at Accenture (beginning at Arthur Andersen & Co., from which the consulting part of the firm became Accenture), where he became a partner in 1999. In 2011, he retired from Accenture and later began providing consulting services as founding principal at Nextesse LLC.
Since graduating from Mays, Stolarski has spent more than 30 years consulting with clients on everything from business strategy and operations reengineering to mergers and acquisitions—and he attributes much of that success to the skills he developed as a student of Mays. “I built a strong foundation in financial analysis and accounting, learned how to really understand corporate financial statements and gained a serious appreciation for the details,” he said. “I also learned that doing the ‘extra credit’ homework is always really important if you want to succeed in competitive environments.”
Stolarski also expressed appreciation for the softer skills he acquired at Mays, such as learning to develop a professional network, as well as the lifelong friendships he began to forge while in school. “A&M was all about character and what we now refer to as ‘core values,’ but it just wasn’t as out in front as it is today,” he recalled. “Your character is your currency and if trust is ever lost, it is extremely difficult to regain.”
Since his first recruiting trip with Arthur Anderson & Co. in 1985, the skills, knowledge and values Stolarski learned at Texas A&M have compelled him to stay engaged with his alma mater. He has served as a guest speaker for current students on several occasions, including a making a presentation to graduate management students in 2012 as part of the Dean’s Distinguished Executive Speaker Series. He also serves as president of the Northern Nevada A&M Club, and is a member of the Dean’s Development Council for the George Bush School of Government and Public Service.
Today, Stolarski focuses most of his alumni energies with the Full-Time MBA program, serving as chair of the MBA Advisory Board. He travels to College Station from his Nevada residence several times per year to meet with the board and Full-Time MBA Director Patti Urbina. “Jim tirelessly promotes the development of the board and has overseen the introduction of a number of networking events to promote mentoring and address content needs of the students in areas such as sales skills, choosing a career or changing careers,” Urbina said. “He makes a point of giving his business card to each student he meets, and invites them to email or call him.”
Stolarski and his wife had been planning to make a major gift to Mays for some time; but it was the announcement of Former Dean Jerry Strawser’s departure to become CFO of Texas A&M that provided the final impetus for the Amy W. ’83 and James R. Stolarski ’83 Endowed MBA Scholarship. “Jerry did so much for Mays during his tenure as dean, and we wanted to honor him for that, especially since he’s a fellow member of the Class of 1983,” Stolarski said.
While Stolarski earned his BBA from Texas A&M, he explained his interest in and devotion to the school’s fulltime MBA program. “MBA programs are the flagships of nearly every university with a business school,” he said. “As goes the reputation of the MBA program, so goes the reputation of nearly all of a university’s business programs, deserved or not. That’s why I chose to rejoin the MBA Alumni Advisory Board when I found myself with the capacity to do so.”
For Stolarski, serving on the board is about more than writing a check, it’s about giving back in a personal manner, having the opportunity to mentor students, to build relationships and help the leadership achieve their mission. His return on this investment of time comes in the form of lasting friendships he has developed and his sense of staying connected to the university.
Stolarski offered some advice to fellow Mays alumni who are considering getting involved in the life of the school: “Pick up the phone and call somebody; a professor, an administrator, or the dean. That’s how I ended up back on the MBA Advisory Board. The opportunities for alumni to engage directly at A&M are many and widely varied.”
Categories: Mays Business, Spotlights