What started as a casual conversation between friends in a business honors course in November 2013 ultimately resulted in the founding of MSC Bethancourt – a program aimed at preparing students for a dynamic society through exposure to global perspectives, critical thinking challenges, and professional insights.

Their first event: hosting former First Lady Laura Bush and Razia Jan in Rudder Theater March 11.

The foundation of the organization began with a significant endowment from John ’74 and Debbie ’76 Bethancourt to establish a quality organization based on three criteria; high impact, prestigious and fills a niche.

When seniors, Clayton Alan (BHNRS), Kyle Murphy (BHNRS/FINC) and Peter Rozanski (CE) questioned what enhancements would have rounded out their college experience, they deduced that students were more likely to be focused on the graduate requirements of their majors than exposing themselves to a variety of subject matter – an essential element for the creation of the well-rounded academic thinker.

“We decided to attempt building a learning environment for people who loved learning about everything, even random things,” Clayton said. “The people who would be perfect for this organization, were like us – students who watched TedTalks for fun. We truly believed there was a demand for this.”

As MSC Bethancourt progressed, the committee finalized a student leadership team composed of Rozanski as chair, Clayton as vice chair and Murphy as internal development officer. They then added business honors juniors Alin Piranian as external relations officer and John Schomburger as finance officer and from the Bush school, senior political science major Samantha Krouse.

“The situation couldn’t have been any more ripe for delivering a quality organization. We not only had the latitude to create whatever we wanted (within the boundaries of the criteria), but we also could count on significant funding, and we were doing so as best friends,” Clayton said. “It takes a lot of trust from the MSC to give students the ability to spend a significant donor’s money, and we took our role as stewards very seriously.”

They plan to host “Professional Development Evenings” with professionals from various backgrounds to facilitate hands-on learning and interactive engagements. The featured guest provides the Bethancourt Associates with insights into their professional journeys and guides them through a case study or personal experience in their line of work. Additionally, the group will hold small events known as “Last Lectures,” in which distinguished professors are asked to speak about their topic of expertise in the form of their favorite lecture they would give to students if it were, in fact, their last lecture ever.

Finally, associates will take “Vision Trips,” which are best described as intimate, small group encounters with established professionals at their place of work. In this setting, students get to ask questions to important influencers of various industries. Typically, the setting for the conversations is in a conference room, and it often includes a tour of the organization.

The March 11 program with Laura Bush and Razia Jan is themed “Global Education.” It will explore the strides that education has taken throughout the world, as well as some educational challenges facing the international community.

Tickets for the event are on sale through the MSC Box Office (http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?orgid=326&pid=7978440)
as well as online. Prices are $5 for students and educators (with valid ID), and $10 for general admission.


Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 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.