Mays Business School recognized three of its most accomplished graduates with the Outstanding Alumni Award. The 2015 recipients are Billy Atkinson ’72, retired audit partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers and current chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority; Monty Davis ’77, chief operating officer for Core Laboratories NV, and Kathy Milthorpe ’82; chief financial officer and treasurer for the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and The LPGA Foundation.

Atkinson, Davis and Milthorpe were honored at the 24th annual Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner, which took place at the Traditions Country Club in Bryan on Oct. 29. Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones ’82 welcomed the honorees and their family members and friends, along with past winners of the award who were in attendance. Also in attendance were members of the Mays Development Council, who were in town for a meeting the next day.

“In one respect, Mays is no more or no less than the sum of the impacts our alumni make on the world on any given day,” Jones said. “Day in and day out, our graduates step up to the challenge of introducing innovative products and processes. They serve on boards of directors as well as in elected offices. They make difficult decisions amid increasing complexity. They lead organizations to achieve tangible business results in the face of constant change. Through it all, they are guided by the core values instilled in them by their parents and families and reinforced through their experiences at Texas A&M. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the works of our 2015 Outstanding Alumni.”

thumbnailAfter earning his bachelor’s in accounting from Texas A&M in 1972, Billy M. Atkinson embarked on a 39-year career with PricewaterhouseCoopers (formerly Coopers & Lybrand) in the firm’s Dallas office. Two years later, as a senior audit associate, Atkinson relocated to the Houston office. He was admitted into the partnership as an audit partner in October 1982 and continued to serve in that role until his retirement in 2011. He also served as a risk management partner and was the lead recruiting partner for more than 20 years at Texas A&M. He currently serves as chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority, which issues state-supported debt to finance legislatively approved projects and facilities throughout Texas.

“My educational experience at Mays opened my eyes to the benefits of diversity of input to a team solution,” Atkinson said. “Ethical considerations were woven into each course which has paid tremendous dividends throughout my career. It also provided me with the confidence that in some small or large way, I could make a difference.”

Throughout his professional career, Atkinson has tirelessly supported his alma mater as well as the accounting profession and the Houston community. He served on the Texas A&M CBA Fellows Advisory Council, the Department of Accounting Advisory Council and the President’s Council of Advisors for many years. He also was president of the Houston Society of CPAs and held numerous leadership positions within the Texas Society of CPAs and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy. In addition, he served as board chair of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast and as a board member for the Boys/Girls Harbor and the Houston Society for the Performing Arts.

“Being acknowledged by one’s peers is always personally gratifying and humbling,” Atkinson noted. “However, the real significance to me is the satisfaction it brings to my family, friends and partners who have been so supportive and enabling to me over my career.”

He said the business school has maintained a positive reputation by educating students well and connecting them with good opportunities in internships and jobs. “An A&M education is indeed a full package,” he said.

Monty L. Davis graduated from the business school at Texas A&M University in 1977 with a bachelor’s in accounting. Davis then began his Daviscareer working in accounting at Dresser Industries Petroleum and Minerals Group in Houston. He quickly gravitated to the area of international business, working as regional controller for Dresser Atlas division in Aberdeen and London. When Dresser Atlas was merged into a joint venture company, Davis was promoted to the position of vice president of finance for Core Laboratories division, based in Dallas. He currently serves as the chief operating officer (COO) for Core Laboratories NV, a publicly traded oilfield service company with operations in more than 50 countries.

“My education at Texas A&M laid the foundation for my career in technical accounting knowledge and more importantly in leadership development,” Davis said. “I credit this education for giving me the foundation for my whole career development along with much of my life’s work.”

Since graduating from Texas A&M nearly four decades ago, Davis has been actively involved in the growth of his alma mater. He is currently a trustee for the 12th Man Foundation and serves on the Dean’s Development Council at Mays Business School. He and his wife also serve on the Executive Cabinet for Texas A&M University’s “Lead by Example” Campaign. They were the lead donors for the Davis Center for Football Player Development, the R. C. Slocum Nutritional Center, Kyle Field Redevelopment and the Davis Football Operations Center.

 “The Outstanding Alumni Award came as a total surprise and is the highest honor that I could have been given,” Davis said. “It is a recognition that I will cherish all of my days and one that I share with my parents who so desired that their sons would get the best education possible.”

Davis said at the Oct. 29 banquet he is proud of the university and the business school, and he enjoys maintaining close ties to their leaders. “Hopefully in a few years we can retire in College Station,” he said. “In the meantime, we have a lot of work to do.”

After earning her bachelor of business administration from Texas A&M University in 1982, Kathryn (Kathy) Harris Milthorpe began her Milthorpecareer at Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers), where she served as a senior auditor for four years. Milthorpe then joined the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) in 1986, advancing to the position of vice president of finance and administration and serving in that role until 1997. During that time, she played a key leadership role in managing the LPGA’s relocation to Daytona Beach as well as the development of its national headquarters and golf facilities.

Since that time, Milthorpe has achieved success in a variety of leadership roles with increasing responsibilities, including serving as the tournament director for the PGA Champions Tour’s Lexus Challenge and as managing director of public affairs for the International Speedway Corporation. Since 2009, she has served as chief financial officer and treasurer for the LPGA and The LPGA Foundation.

“There is no question that my education at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School played a critical role in building the foundation for both my personal life and professional career,” Milthorpe noted. “But my Aggieland experience was more than rigorous academics—it provided the strategic framework for developing leadership skills, taught the value of effective communication and collaboration, generated an appreciation of life-long learning and fueled an enthusiasm for giving back to civic and charitable endeavors. As a student I did not fully appreciate the extraordinary opportunity I was provided, but it is now clear that selecting the Mays Business School was one of the most important investments I have made in my professional growth and development. I can safely say I would not be where I am today without my Aggie ring.”

 During the course of her 33-year career, Milthorpe has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting community, civic and philanthropic causes through service on numerous boards and committees. She has been chairman of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Lively Arts Center, the Central Florida Sports Commission and St. James Episcopal School. She also serves on the boards for the United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties, WORC Inc., Daytona Beach Community Foundation and the Texas A&M’s Women’s Former Student Network.

“When I received the telephone call from Mays Business School regarding this honor, my initial reaction was filled with great shock and surprise,” she said. “This award has been bestowed on so many talented and accomplished professionals, to be considered as part of this distinguished group was an extraordinary honor. Being a third-generation former student and the first female makes this even more special for both me and my family and a highlight of my professional career. My passion for Texas A&M runs very deep and I couldn’t be more grateful and proud of receiving this amazing recognition.”

At the banquet, Milthorpe said she was touched by the award. “This is certainly something I could not have imagined receiving.”

Dean Jones expressed his appreciation and that of the school to this year’s recipients. “Kathy Milthorpe, Billy Atkinson and Monty Davis have truly led lives of distinction as evidenced through the myriad contributions they have made to their organizations and their professions as well as to their communities, the nation and the global marketplace,” he noted. “All the while, they have remained steadfast in their affection and support for Mays and Texas A&M, and we are deeply grateful for the shining examples they have set for all our students and alumni.”

Categories: Alumni, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M


Sarah Stratta, Janet Parish and Ron Lamb

The Professional Selling Initiative (PSI) at Mays was launched mid-October, when PSI partners got to meet with faculty, staff, students and industry guests at a celebratory dinner at the Diamond Club at Bluebell Park. Mays Dean Eli Jones spoke, as well as Ron Lamb, president of Reynolds and Reynolds, Founding Partner of PSI. Representatives from the other partner companies – Altria, Pepsi, Phillips 66, AT&T and PepsiCo – also attended.

The next morning, there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil a donor recognition wall in the Wehner building, followed by a networking breakfast. Then, some of the PSI partners and industry guests spoke to students in classes, while others took the opportunity to tour the renovated Kyle Field.

Afterward, the PSI partners and industry guests participated in a discussion with Mark Houston, head of the Department of Marketing, about the needs of recruiters that could be met by students coming through the PSI programs. That meeting helped fulfill some of the goals of the PSI – to provide enhanced educational offerings for students, increase research opportunities for faculty and give the PSI’s corporate partners greater access to the top sales students.

Students in the program will learn more about the sales career path and its job and salary growth potential. Job placement of students will improve through enhanced sales training, including expanded course offerings and high-impact learning experiences outside the classroom.

Employers will have access to a growing pool of top sales talent as the number of students who complete the Professional Selling and Sales Management career tracks increases.

PSI facilities will be enhanced with the addition of more role-play rooms, which are supported by state-of-the-art technology. And the PSI lays the foundation for a self-sustaining funding model in which corporate partners help support a long-term PSI facility, faculty and programming costs.




Categories: Centers, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Startup Aggieland, the business incubator launched as an initiative of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship for Texas A&M University student entrepreneurs, has added a new partner to its roster: The College of Liberal Arts.

Startup Aggieland partnersStartup Aggieland is a cross-college collaboration with Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE); Texas A&M University’s Office of the Vice President in the Division of Research; the Dwight Look College of Engineering and Computer Science; and the College of Architecture. It started in January 2013 to provide qualified students of all majors with a peer-led startup community that helps students leverage public and private resources while launching early-stage ventures.

Startup Aggieland is administered by an advisory board that includes representatives from the Colleges of Engineering, Architecture and Mays. Now a Liberal Arts representative will be added. The partner entities also fund the program financially.

Pamela R. Matthews, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, said she is looking forward to her college having closer ties to Mays. “We are excited about the potential for new collaborations that will benefit our students and faculty,” she said. “We’re also excited about helping liberal arts students benefit from the CNVE/entrepreneurship initiatives that Startup Aggieland offers.”

The liberal arts contribution to the program extends into the classroom, as well, Matthews explained. A new faculty member – Patricia Thornton – will teach sociology and have an adjunct appointment in management. “She is a leader in entrepreneurship, and she will collaborate with others to develop curricular and co-curricular opportunities,” Matthews said. “This is an exciting time for our young entrepreneurs.”

Thornton previously was an adjunct professor and an affiliate of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Duke University Fuqua School of Business, where she taught entrepreneurship and new venture management. She is also visiting associate professor and affiliated faculty to the Program on Organizations, Business, and the Economy in the Department of Sociology at Stanford University, where she taught the social science of entrepreneurship.

Richard Lester, executive director of the CNVE, said he is pleased to increase the reach of the program. “Our goal from the beginning has been to engage as many current students as we can, regardless of their majors,” he said. “A good business is a good business, no matter what discipline the student originates from. We’re just here to help them get it to the next level.”

Startup Aggieland is a student-designed business incubator and accelerator. Mentors and coaches help qualified student-owned startups leverage Texas A&M University resources and private support without relinquishing equity ownership in their companies.

CNVE also offers a student-managed seed fund that can be used to cover certain business startup costs with no obligation for students to repay the money.

Startup Aggieland is open to students pursuing any major at any level of study at Texas A&M University. Six entrepreneurship courses for university credit meet each week at the Startup Aggieland facility.

Students retain ownership of any intellectual property they develop at Startup Aggieland, and are provided access to legal assistance to help protect student IPs or register their trademarks.

Startup Aggieland provides students with free or at-cost services such as accounting assistance, graphic design services, marketing support, $24,000 in free Rackspace webhosting, furnished student office space and free parking, and access to snacks and refreshments on site. Students also have opportunities to attend free out-of-town trips to companies, entrepreneurship events and pitch competitions.

Startup Aggieland has headquarters in Research Park on the western edge of campus. It is supported by several corporate and institutional sponsors. Some students qualify for residence in a Startup Living Learning Community, which is co-sponsored by Mays and Texas A&M Department of Residence Life.







Categories: Centers, Mays Business, News, Programs, Staff, Texas A&M, Uncategorized


The honorees were recognized by more than 700 attendees at an Oct. 23 luncheon held at The Zone Club at Texas A&M University’s football stadium, Kyle Field. This year’s list recognizes 32 companies in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. These entrepreneurs prove that despite recent economic challenges, nothing can hold back hard-working Aggie entrepreneurs.

With an average revenue of $2,126,186,333 and 253 percent growth, MODA Inc., of Portland, Ore., was named this year’s Aggie 100 Summit Award recipient. The Summit Award is presented to the Aggie company with the highest three-year average revenue (2012-2014).

The Top 10 companies on the Aggie 100 list combined to grow more than 1,505 percent in the past two years with the top company, Empact IT of Houston, experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 253 percent from 2012 to 2014. The complete Aggie 100 list can be found at

“As we enter our second decade honoring business excellence with the 11th Annual Aggie 100, we reflect on all the Aggie businesses that came before and look forward to the future success of Aggie entrepreneurs to come. From agriculture to technology and everything in between, this year’s list signifies that, no matter your background, the Aggie entrepreneurial spirit is alive and thriving,” said Richard H. Lester, Executive Director of Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship. “Our sense of entrepreneurial pride swells each year, as we recognize how successful businesses can become by keeping the Aggie Code of Honor at the heart of everything they do.”

The Aggie 100 focuses on growth as an indicator of job creation, product and service acceptance, and entrepreneurial vision. Those companies on the Aggie 100 list were selected based on compound annual revenue growth rate for the 2012 to 2014 period. In all, companies from nine states were honored at the event. The oldest company earning a spot on the list was founded in 1936.


Categories: Alumni, Centers, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Mays Business School’s Full-Time MBA program ranked 22nd overall and 8th among U.S.-based public universities in rankings released by Bloomberg Businessweek. Those were enormous strides over last year, when Mays was ranked 42nd overall and 17th among U.S. public schools.

Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School, said the program’s inclusion in the top 10 among U.S. public programs is confirmation that Mays faculty and staff members are stepping up to prepare leaders that recruiters prefer to hire. “The lessons learned at Mays are priceless, and the specific skills are organic to each class,” he said. “Through group projects and presentations, our students learn to become more than businesspeople, they learn to become leaders.”

The Mays program is considered a leader in academics and in return on investment. The accelerated pace of the 16-month Full-Time MBA program and Mays’ commitment to providing competitive scholarship awards result in a high-caliber MBA experience at an affordable cost. The Full-Time MBA Program is offered at Texas A&M University’s main campus in College Station.

Mays fared well in other areas, as well:

  • In the survey among alumni, Mays ranked 16th overall and 5th among U.S. public schools.
  • In the survey of employers, Mays ranked 24th overall and 10th among U.S. public schools.
  • In placement rate, Mays ranked 4th overall and 2nd among U.S. public schools. Currently, 94 percent of Mays Full-Time MBA graduates attain jobs within three months of graduation.

The MBA programs at Mays Business School are designed to mold individuals who will guide their organizations with vision and integrity – men and women who will create lasting corporate legacies and reshape their markets, Jones said.

Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked Full-Time MBA programs since 1988. Over time, the methodology has shifted to focus on how well the programs prepare their graduates for job success. The Employer Survey, which measures recruiter opinions on how well MBA programs equip their graduates with relevant skills, and the Student Survey, which records student feedback on how thoroughly they’ve been prepared for the workforce, are the cornerstones of the rankings.

This year Bloomberg Businessweek also unveiled several new components that reflect a focus on jobs in the 2015 Full-Time MBA Rankings: a first-ever Alumni Survey of MBAs who graduated six to eight years ago, and the most recently available data on job placement and starting salaries.

For more information on the rankings methodology, visit

In the 2015 Forbes “Best Business Schools” ranking, the Mays Full-Time MBA program was ranked 24th overall and 9th among U.S. public universities. The Forbes ranking reflects return on investment – the salary alumni earn over five years as compared to the cost of the MBA program.


Categories: Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Texas A&M University’s Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School hosted campuswide H-E-B Day on Oct. 20. Executive leaders from the San Antonio-based retailer, including presidents, vice presidents and directors, will address more than 3,000 students in more than 30 classrooms across campus during the event.

“There is a tremendous culture match between H-E-B and Texas A&M. We both value history, service to others, excellence, people, respect, and leadership. Aggies who begin careers at H-E-B, both in stores and in corporate roles, thrive because behaviors that often motivate them to succeed personally and professionally are encouraged, even expected, at H-E-B,” says Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies (CRS).

hebday2015-2As one of H-E-B’s top university partners serving as a pipeline to talent, this interdisciplinary and educational event will also introduce students to various career opportunities at the retailer, which is also Texas’s largest privately-held company.

Freshmen through graduate students heard from H-E-B’s business leaders as they share day-to-day solutions for diverse, real-world workplace challenges for grocers, such as constructing stores, evaluating meat, globally sourcing products and managing technical systems.

According to Hollinger, the mission at CRS and through this event is to “showcase the many rewarding career paths that enable great retail companies to introduce unique products to their customers at the right time and place that encourages shoppers to return to stores as loyal, profitable customers.”

Executives from H-E-B coordinate with hosting professors to customize content for each class based on what students have been studying throughout the fall semester. By addressing classes across different majors – including marketing, agri-business, management, horticulture and information systems – the event communicates to students that the multibillion-dollar grocery chain encompasses all academic and business fields.

Ross Giambalvo, director of Manufacturing and Supply Chain Strategy explained H-E-B’s operational and financial decision making that go into justifying major capital investments. He challenged Supply Chain Management CMT students to evaluate expansion plans for an existing distribution center. To improve supply chain efficiency, H-E-B needs more space. Limited facility expansion would support two to three years of growth, however major expansion – planning five to seven years out – incurs interim financial losses from the facility being overbuilt for awhile.

Giambalvo reminded students that supply chain timelines in grocery are short, saying, “to preserve the freshness of eggs and milk, stock is maintained to only a half-day supply.”

Vic Nivens advised students to “be yourself” when applying for careers or internships. “Keep it real. It’s okay to be nervous, but take time to stop and think through interview questions for the best answer.” Nivens, the director of recruitment for the San Antonio Division, said that he looks for candidates to be engaging, energized, and with a great smile.

As a leader in H-E-B’s human resources department, Nivens said he believes H-E-B’s focus on its people makes the company unique. Store managers are given flexibility and autonomy to make decisions based on local needs. For example, his team met with partners (the term H-E-B uses for store employees) affected by the fires in Bastrop, Texas, to identify ways the best ways to aid them, such as hotels, supplies, food, insurance or mortgage advice. In a company that values people and community, Nivens concluded that his greatest accomplishment during his 20 years at H-E-B was “helping them get back on their feet after tragedy. At H-E-B we are a family, and that’s what families do.”




Categories: Centers, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

The Executive MBA program at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School is the top public university in Texas and maintains its place among the top 10 programs offered by U.S. public universities, according to rankings released Monday by Financial Times.

“We are proud to be ranked as the top public Executive MBA Program in the state of Texas and a Top 10 program in the nation,” said Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “This significant achievement reflects the strength and dedication of the Mays Business School faculty and staff, along with the strong accomplishments of our seasoned executives. Mays is indeed making a positive impact on the communities we serve.”

This year’s rankings are based on feedback from the Class of 2012. The Mays EMBA Program ranked 4th among public schools located exclusively in the U.S and 13th among public/private schools in the U.S. In addition, the Mays program ranked 1st in work experience among U.S. public institutions (2nd among public/private), and 4th in career goals achieved among U.S. public institutions (8th among public/private).

Mays fared well in the 2015 Financial Times rankings in other areas as well. Based on the research productivity in the top 45 journals in business, Mays faculty ranked 8th among U.S. public schools and 15th among U.S. public/private. The Mays doctoral program placed 8th among U.S. public schools and 13th among U.S. public/private – up from 14th and 23rd in 2014. Ranking of doctoral programs is based on the placement of graduates as faculty at the top business schools worldwide.


Categories: Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

The 2015 Retailing Summit celebrated its 30th year by focusing on innovation, the empowered customer and omnichannel retailing. The Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School hosted the Oct. 8-9 event at the Westin Galleria in Dallas.

Over two days, nearly 275 attendees explored how to make retail better through improved customer interactions, one-to-one marketing and store enhancements. Executives from JCPenney, Bluemercury, Mission Athletecare, The Futures Company, UPS, Pinot’s Palette, MasterCard Advisors and NatureBox headlined the conference, which also included two panels on technology innovation and retaining top talent.


Former U.S. Navy Blue Angel pilot John Foley kicked off the Retailing Summit conference with the empowering “Glad To Be Here®” mantra. His enthusiasm radiated as he recalled stories from his precision flying days, where he was nicknamed “Gucci” by fellow pilots.

In order to achieve their peak performance, Foley advised attendees to:

  1. Examine their present situation
  2. Define where they would like to be
  3. Focus on the positives that can help guide them there

Former U.S. Navy Blue Angels pilot John Foley with Katie Burroughs, Haley Gooch and Lindsay La Rosa from the Master’s in Marketing program.

According to Foley, research confirms that when a person feels satisfaction with where they are, they become more grateful, positive and productive. Companies can also foster teamwork by channeling positive visualization techniques.


Youth marketing to the millennial customer is officially over.

Erik Medina, vice president of The Futures Company, defined millennials as the age group of 19- to 34-year-olds. His research through the TRU Youth Monitor dubbed the up-and-coming generation of those between 12 and 18 years of age as “centennials.”

Compared to their predecessors, centennials are more focused on mobile versus the internet, have faced financial upheaval and want to take a stand for something by supporting companies associated with a cause.

Centennials are also more inclined to want to buy niche products. They are interested in the “maker movement,” alongside the rise of Etsy and customized product choices. They view the future with wariness and grasp that personal success is not a guarantee in life. They are less concerned with fitting in and they value individual uniqueness.

Medina praised GameStop as a retailer effectively serving the centennial customer with fun, tech-savvy and personalized shopping experiences.


Fittingly, the 2015 Retailing Summit featured the man behind GameStop’s store innovations: Jeff Donaldson, SVP of the GameStop Technology Institute. Donaldson led a panel discussion, which profiled companies that are revolutionizing their businesses through technology.

Moderated by Debbie Hauss, editor in chief of Retail TouchPoints, the panel also included Scott Emmons, enterprise architect for Neiman Marcus, and Michelle Bogan, partner at Kurt Salmon.

When defining what innovation meant to them, Emmons said building stronger customer relationships and Donaldson said innovation can either be a new idea or a reinvention of something old, by creating a novel approach. For example, a low-tech solution that customers embraced at Neiman Marcus included in-store charging stations, which encouraged customers to stay and shop longer.

Each also agreed that innovation directly correlates with growth.  “The pace of change internally must exceed the pace of change externally,” Donaldson said.

The panel also briefly touched on incubator communities like REVTECH in Dallas — places where mentors guide entrepreneurs who are looking to refine their startup business ideas.

Forecasting hot trends, Bogan highlighted the increase of “buy” buttons on social media. She also mentioned the rise of subscription box offerings, including Birchbox. Donaldson said GameStop will look to crowdsourcing as it develops new products.


Combining the wine and DIY art industries, Craig Ceccanti, co-founder and CEO of Pinot’s Palette launched his entrepreneurial and franchise concept in 2009. With more than 150 locations in 33 states, Ceccanti credits integrating innovation into his business plan and company culture as key to his success.

Franchise owners are expected to introduce new sales promotions, painting designs, and process improvements by reviewing customer surveys, asking for direct feedback, and effectively using customer data to stay relevant. Because, as Ceccanti concluded, complacency and “becoming a fad [will] make you vigorously prepared to not become one.”


Sarah Quinlan, VP of Market Insights at MasterCard Advisors, debunked several retail myths by analyzing economic data from 2015 credit card transactions.

According to Quinlan, increased competitiveness from small businesses who provide superior customer service and specialized product offerings has driven down retail sales at department stores and other mass merchants. With reduced gas prices, consumers have additional disposable income that they have opted to spend on travel, at restaurants and on durable goods instead of apparel or more “stuff.”

Although ecommerce companies like Amazon are forcing traditional, physical stores to expand their offerings online, online-only companies like Warby Parker and Rent the Runway are opening brick-and-mortar stores to more personally engage with shoppers.

The store is and will always be the emotional heart and financial core of retail.


The Retailing Summit also featured healthy snacking subscription provider NatureBox, led by one of Inc.’s “30 under 30,” co-founder and CEO Gautam Gupta. Providing customers an algorithm-curated assortment based on previous purchases, NatureBox has become a leader using the business model of monthly replenishment.

Eighty percent of the nearly 5,000 new products introduced every quarter fail.

By mining its extraordinary data warehouse of customer flavor preferences, ingredients, etc. NatureBox reduced the product development cycle from 12 months to 12 weeks and increased its percentage of successful product launches.


RetailingSummit2015-48Newly named JCPenney CEO Marvin Ellison inspired the audience by detailing his career path at Target and Home Depot, and vision for JCPenney’s turnaround. JCPenney’s decline did not result from increased or new competition, a revolutionary technology or fewer customers, he said, but from a disaster in leadership.

To reverse the damage, Ellison pledged to attack differently. He started by plugging as many holes as possible and simplified the company’s strategic focus. Moving forward, each business decision will be evaluated on how it benefits JCPenney’s omnichannel strategy, growth of private brands and increase in revenue per customer.

JCPenney has turned the corner, and its future success hinges on a pledge for clarity of purpose and balance between the art and science of retail, he said


Newly acquired by Macy’s, Bluemercury—a friendly neighborhood store where customers can seek advice from “self-proclaimed beauty junkies who love people”—has high hopes of becoming the next “Starbucks of the makeup industry.”

Celebrating the mom-and-pop shopping experience, co-founder and chief operating officer Barry Beck described the company’s foundation as built on the three P’s: people, product and place.

Beck claims that Bluemercury’s people strategy is the chain’s secret weapon. By offering real career paths and higher wages, Bluemercury hires style consultants who have genuine client focus. Like “human Googlers,” they provide beauty solutions for customers, not just product recommendations.

The company, headquartered in Georgetown/Washington, D.C. has intentionally placed 14 stores within a 28-mile radius to increase brand awareness in the area.

According to Beck, innovation is important because “it’s a winner-takes-all game.”


With the expansion of ecommerce, home delivery is now integral to the customer experience. Steve Brill, Vice President for Global B2C Strategy for UPS, described the importance of strengthening relationships between retailers and delivery providers like UPS who interact directly with the purchaser.

Choice, control, and convenience top what customers want in efficient distance delivery. UPS recently created the “My Choice” program to allow people to select the most convenient delivery option when receiving a package, including flexibility on shipment date, delivery, location, etc. Brill identified this as an innovative response to the “situational need” that always accompanies shipping.

No single size delivery option fits all in an omnichannel world where options now include ship to store, ship from store and ecommerce returns.


The second panel at the Retailing Summit, moderated by the Center for Retailing Studies’ Director Kelli Hollinger, sought to identify characteristics of high performing individuals and tactics for how companies can retain them.

Karyn Maynard, recruiting director at The Container Store, quoted the company’s philosophy that “one great person equals three good people.” She said it is essential when hiring to select the right candidate who can:

  • Speak up and contribute
  • Show perseverance
  • Nurture others

Karla Waddleton, division vice president at ALDI, Inc., said the German grocery chain tests the resiliency of new hires by challenging them with real responsibility. “We want to see their potential for leadership.”

According to Jennifer Lustig, senior director of human resources at PetSmart, employees want to feel valued. They also become more motivated when the career path for growth within the company is clearly outlined.


Aggie graduate and football star Chris Valletta propelled himself from the NFL to the Apprentice to head entrepreneur and co-founder of Mission Athletecare. Inspired by basketball legend Michael Jordan, Valletta used his failures to work harder and perform under pressure—what he describes as being “clutch.”

Talent and motivation are not enough to set you apart, he explained. Having emotional intelligence or the ability to hold tight to your emotions while making decisions is key.

Being “clutch” requires being obsessed with details because the little things matter greatly.

Similar to a game of football, the retail landscape is constantly changing. You have to be able to adapt, think quickly and execute during the hard moments, he explained.


Attendees also heard from breakout session leaders Matt Schmitt, President and Chief Innovation Strategy Officer at Reflect, with Lee Summers, Manager of Marketing and Technology at Nebraska Furniture Mart; Mathew Sweezy, Vice President of Marketing and Insights at Salesforce, with Aaron Stevens, Senior Sales Manager, Carrier Indirect & Regional Carrier at OtterBox; and, Jim Sturm, President and Chief Executive Officer at Brierley+Partners with representatives from Half-Price Books.


The 2016 Retailing Summit will take place on Oct. 13-14 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas.

Visit for more information.

Categories: Centers, Departments, Mays Business, News, Staff, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Mays is launching a recently approved Master of Science in Business degree (MS Business) in 2016. It will provide students who did not major in business with core business knowledge, solid critical thinking skills and a basic understanding of leadership best practices—with emphases on experiential learning, teamwork and career preparation.

The plan is to accept the first class of 50 students in the summer of 2016. This program will provide one avenue to showcase innovation in education, which aligns with Dean Eli Jones’ goal of enhancing innovation in the business school.

The MS Business classes will not be offered in the traditional format of meeting twice per week for 15 weeks across a semester. Instead, the 17 courses for the program will be divided into five educational blocks. Courses in the first block are planned for three or four weeks in July and August. The remaining four blocks are planned to be seven weeks long with two blocks in the regular fall semester and two blocks in the regular spring semester. In addition, faculty who teach MS Business courses will be expected to look for innovative ways such as role playing, business simulations, games, and flipped classrooms to deliver their course material.

`Jon (Sean) Jastudnetssperson, academic director for the new program, says the program will showcase some of the latest innovations in higher education. “We plan to build a challenging, innovative learning environment for the MS Business students that incorporates educational best practices into the classroom,” he said. “The concentrated, block delivery schedule for the courses combined with role play, simulations, and flipped classroom active learning techniques will provide better engagement for students in the learning process.”

The MS Business program is 10 months long and is designed for non-business majors with less than 18 months of work experience after completing their undergraduate degree. Students coming directly from their undergraduate degree programs will be able to earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.

The program provides students with a strong business foundation and the ability to excel as a leader in team environments. As a result, graduates of this program will have an accelerated career path. For instance, Jasperson said, if an aerospace engineering undergraduate student graduates from this program and begins his first job on a project team at an aeronautics company, he will be likely become the project team lead more quickly than his peers because of the knowledge and skills he developed in the MS Business program.

The 17 MS Business courses, equaling 36 credits hours, have been uniquely created for this program. The first block of courses will be considered the program bootcamp and include three courses covering the topics of value creation, career management and business collaboration. “Right from the start, students will learn how to create value in business, how to market themselves as they begin their search for a full-time job in the fall, and will learn Excel and other personal productivity tools,” Jasperson said. The remaining courses will be taught across the next three blocks and include coursework in the functional areas of business as well as courses in ethical decision making and international business. A business communications course will span the length of the program, and the capstone business experience course will continue throughout the spring semester.






Categories: Departments, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School leaders recognized two former students for academic excellence by giving them the Outstanding Doctoral Alumni Awards. One excels in marketing, another in information management.

The 2015 recipients are Glen B. Voss ’94 and Anandhi Bharadwaj ’93. Voss is the Marilyn and Leo Corrigan Endowed Professor of Marketing at the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, and the Research Director for the SMU National Center for Arts Research. Bharadwaj is a professor of Information Systems & Operations Management at Goizueta Business School at Emory University.


Each recipient spoke about their career, its beginnings, and how they have succeeded. Following their presentations was a question-and-answer session and then a reception. In the evening, the honorees and their spouses gathered for dinner at Madden’s in downtown Bryan, with members of their dissertation committees, as well as Eli Jones, Dean of Mays Business School; Bala Shetty, Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Programs; and Duane Ireland, Interim Executive Associate Dean.

Every year, the award honors doctoral graduates who have achieved significant distinction in their fields and serve as role models for current students. Among the characteristics demonstrated by current and past recipients of this prestigious award are:

  • sustained research productivity and visibility in the field;
  • service to the profession as editor of a major scholarly journal;
  • recipient of major awards for excellence in research, teaching and/or service;
  • academic and administrative leadership as dean or associate dean of a business school;
  • successful career progression at a peer or aspirant school; and
  • holder of an endowed position.

Voss received his Ph.D. in marketing from Mays in 1994. His research interests include innovation and organizational learning, satisfaction and relationship management, and retail pricing strategies. His work has been published in a variety of journals including Organization Science, Marketing Intelligence Review, Journal of Marketing, and The Economist’s Executive Briefing. Voss received the Faculty Recognition Award for Research Excellence at SMU for 2008-09, and was recognized as a Top-100 Cutting Edge Marketing Faculty by the American Marketing Association for the years 2000-2007. He is also the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Reviewer Award for Journal of Service Research and twice recipient of the Outstanding Reviewer Award for Journal of Retailing in 2006 and 2010. Prior to his time SMU, Voss spent 12 years at North Carolina State University. Voss received a Bachelor in Communications at Rowan University, M.P.S in Hotel Administration from Cornell University and master’s in economics from University of California, Riverside.

Bharadwaj received her Ph.D. in Management Information Systems from Mays in 1993. Her specializations include organizational impacts of informational technology, business value of IT, Internet commerce, and effect of knowledge management technologies. She is currently a Goizueta Term Professor of Information Systems at Emory University, where she has worked for 20 years.  Bharadwaj is the recipient of the Runner Up for 2012 Best Published Paper Award of ICIS, the 2009 Best Paper Award of Journal of Strategic Information Systems and the 2007 Best Associate Editor Award, Information Systems Research. She received the Caldwell Faculty Fellowship Award at Goizueta Business School in 1997 and she was the recipient of the Doctoral Student Research Excellence Award at Texas A&M University. Prior to academia, Bharadwaj worked as a Senior Systems Executive at NIIT and a Deputy Manager at Aavin/Tamilnadu Milk Cooperative. In 1985, she received PGDRM from the Institute of Rural Management in Gujarat, India and a bachelor’s in mathematics from Madras University in Tamil Nadu, India in 1983.

Two previous winners have gone on to become deans of Mays: Jerry Strawser and Eli Jones.

Categories: Alumni, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Texas A&M