Mays Dean Eli Jones ’82 enjoyed a welcome celebration Aug. 27, when about 150 current and former Full-Time, Professional and Executive MBA students gathered in Houston CityCentre. Dr. Jones’ wife Fern and Mays faculty and program staff were also in attendance.
The event was a way to introduce Jones and to reach out to Mays alumni, which are 58,470 strong.
Jones is recognized as a visionary leader, sales management expert, accomplished researcher and passionate teacher. His return to College Station is a homecoming for the Houston native and three-time alumnus. He earned his bachelor’s in journalism at Texas A&M and his MBA and Ph.D. in marketing at Mays, and he has strong family ties in the Lone Star State.
Jones assumed deanship of Mays on July 1, 2015, having previously served as dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Under his leadership, the Walton College of Business raised $32.9 million in FY2014, launched a 100 percent online General Business Degree, expanded the Executive MBA program and signed partnership agreements with schools in China, Brazil and Panama.
Jones returns to Mays at a time of growth and upward trajectory. The Executive MBA Program is 6th among U.S. public schools (Financial Times), the Full-Time MBA Program is 16th among U.S. public schools (U.S. News & World Report) and the Professional MBA program is ranked 21st among U.S. public universities (U.S. News & World Report).
Jones lauded the school’s strength and reputation, and said it was an honor to be invited back to work at his alma mater. He told the group assembled, “I can’t talk about it too much without getting emotional, but Mays changed me. The MBA program at Mays changed my life.”
In 2012, Mays planted the Aggie flag in Houston at CityCentre to serve area businesses, working professionals and former students with MBA and other business programs. CityCentre is home to the Executive MBA program, which requires at least 10 years of professional work experience, including seven years of managerial experience, and the Professional MBA Program, a 22-month program designed for working professionals. Mays also offers custom executive development programs at CityCentre through its Center for Executive Development.
Cynthia Klein ’15, who lives in Tyler and serves as chief strategy officer of Mentoring Minds, traveled to Houston for the Executive MBA program until she graduated last May. She returned for the reception to honor Jones and to reconnect with some of her classmates. “The most valuable part of the program is being in a classroom not only with top-notch professors – the most seasoned, typically – who bring the theoretical part of business, but also your class of real-world professionals who bring their experience and we talk about what’s really happening in the world and balance that with the theoretical part of business,” she explained. “What it has really done for me is enabled me to think in ways I’ve never thought and bring that to my own workplace.”