Eli Jones ’82, dean of Mays Business School, has been named the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Marketing Association’s Selling and Sales Management Special Interest Group.

The award honors the outstanding scholar who has made meaningful contributions to the field of sales through publications in top journals, teaching excellence, fostering professional development among others, and generally contributing to scholarship in the area of sales.


In addition to serving as dean of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, Jones is a professor of marketing and Lowry and Peggy Mays Eminent Scholar. His entire career has been devoted to the sales arena, where he has researched, taught, directed and led. He is a self-professed “hybrid” in the field of sales – traversing readily between the corporate and academic worlds, excelling in both. He continues in leadership roles that ensure a solid future for the sales field for generations to come.

He started his career in sales executive and sales manager roles at three Fortune 500 companies: Quaker Oats, Nabisco and Frito-Lay.

He was at the University of Houston for 11 years, where he served as Associate Dean for Executive Education Programs. Prior to that, he was the founding executive director of the Sales Excellence Institute at the University of Houston.

From July 1, 2008 until June 30, 2012, he served as dean of the E. J. Ourso College of Business and the E. J. Ourso Distinguished Professor of Business at Louisiana State University (LSU).

From July 1, 2012, until June 30, 2015, he was dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the Sam M. Walton Leadership Chair at the University of Arkansas.

Jones has published in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, Management Science and Journal of Applied Psychology, among others.

Jones responded to the news of his selection by saying, “What a wonderful surprise to be selected by my academic peers across the country for this prestigious award. For the record, winning this award does not mean that I’m finished!”

Paul Busch, a marketing professor at Mays who was Jones’ dissertation chair, said he was pleased but not surprised Jones was chosen. “Eli has made and continues to make enduring contributions of excellence in research, teaching and service to the field of personal selling and sales management,” he said. “It is most appropriate and gratifying to have the American Marketing Association recognize him with this prestigious award. I am confident that Eli will continue to contribute to the field for years to come.”

The award announcement described Jones’ contributions to the academic sales community as “far reaching.” “He has received Excellence in Teaching awards on the university, national and international levels. His service to the sales field is extensive. He has truly had an incredible impact on sales scholars from around the world.”

Leonard Berry, University Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Mays and Regents Professor at Texas A&M, said he and his colleagues are very proud of Jones. “Throughout his career, Eli Jones has been a champion for effective, professional personal selling and the contribution it makes to customers, companies and society,” he said. “He has encouraged many students through the years to pursue careers in personal selling.” An example of such encouragement came from Mark Houston, head of the marketing department: “It has always really impressed me that he has continued to mentor doctoral students – even as a dean. He still makes time to help his former students develop their abilities and publish their work. He is a good scholar and leader, but more importantly, he is a high quality human being.”

The Selling and Sales Management SIG serves members by providing programs designed to enhance selling and sales management scholarship, teaching, and practice in an inclusive and collegial environment. The Sales SIG Lifetime Achievement award is presented annually at the Sales SIG’s reception at Summer AMA. This year, Summer AMA 2016 will be Aug. 5-7 in Atlanta.



Categories: Faculty, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Mays Business School hosted the Wall Street Journal Challenge for the second year in a row Feb. 26-28. The challenge brings students from business schools across the nation together to test their knowledge of current events in 25318949381_e727e085c7_ka fast-paced competition.

In addition to Texas A&M University, the business schools represented came from Emory University, Miami University, Michigan State University, Providence College, The Ohio State University, University of Arizona, University of Kentucky, University of Michigan and the University of Texas.

To prepare for the competition, students spent five weeks studying the Wall Street Journal.

Representing Texas A&M were Business Honors students Tyler Pavlas ’16 and Josh Chacko ’16 and industrial engineering major Matt Baumgartner ’16. The team was coached by finance executive professor Ed White.

The competition consisted of both individual and team rounds. In the Individual Challenge, students tested their knowledge of the Wall Street Journal through written quizzes. In the Team Challenge, the teams of three competed in rapid, verbal question-and-answer rounds.

The champions this year were the students from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. In second place was the team from the Gatton College of Business at the University of Kentucky. In third place was the team representing Texas A&M University and Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

Chacko also placed third place in the Individual Challenge.

Mays was proud to host an event that encourages students to engage in high-impact WSJ Challengelearning and fosters connections that cross state boundaries, said Business Honors Assistant Director Eric Newman, who coordinated the event this year and coached Texas A&M’s team last year. “Overall, the weekend was a resounding success thanks to the hard work of a team of volunteers from around Mays and graduate student judges from MS Marketing and the Full-Time MBA programs,” he said.


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

In its first 25 years, the Professional Program (PPA) at Mays Business School has become one of the largest providers of CPAs nationally and by far the largest in Texas, producing about 4,500 graduates to date.

The Professional Program is an integrated five-year curriculum that offers students the opportunity to simultaneously earn a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s of science degree in any one of the business majors. Placement rates for graduates are nearly 100 percent, as the program is a leading source of prospects for the largest public accounting firms. PPA graduates are also sought after by companies in the consulting, investment banking and corporate accounting/finance, energy, financial services and technology arenas.

At a recent reunion and scholarship drive at Texas A&M University, about 200 former students, supporters and faculty members gathered at the Zone Club at Kyle Field to share stories and meet with former classmates and faculty members. They heard from inaugural program director Austin Daily and Accounting Department Head Jim Benjamin, and they donated funds for scholarships for fifth-year PPA students.

Annie McGowan and Austin Daley PPA Director Annie McGowan visited with Austin Daily, the program’s first director.

The program began in 1992 as the accounting profession began calling for increased education for CPA’s, and Texas added a requirement of 150 hours of education to sit for the CPA exam, Benjamin said. While the requirement did not mandate a master’s degree, Mays added non-traditional academic tracks providing the option of master’s degrees. Both degrees are awarded simultaneously at the end of the program. “Many peer schools now have integrated programs, but the formats vary considerably,” Benjamin said. “What makes our program truly unique from all others is the opportunity for students to get the MS degree in finance, MIS, marketing or entrepreneurship in the program. I am not aware of any other schools that have such an option.”

All PPA graduates are eligible to sit for the CPA exam, and most start their careers in public accounting, but Benjamin said Mays faculty and administrators believe that the master’s degree options give Mays graduates greater career opportunities – as evidenced through the success and career progression of the PPA graduates.

Mays is consistently ranked in the top 10 accounting programs nationally by a number of ranking services. The CPA exam pass rates of the Mays PPA students significantly exceed national averages, and the program is usually in the top 10 in that category among large accounting programs. Almost all of the PPA students have paid internships during their fourth year, and most have accepted jobs prior to graduation.

“Parents and students were initially somewhat skeptical of the need for accountants to have a graduate degree,” Benjamin added, “but the value proposition seemed to be accepted relatively quickly and the integrated concept became well branded quickly.”

PPA picks up, maintains steam

Annie McGowan, current director of the program, said it quickly earned a very positive reputation among employers and that most graduates have job offers prior to graduation. Most of the students have internships during their fourth year. The consensus among employers has been that the Professional Program adds value well beyond a traditional bachelor’s program coupled with a traditional stand-alone master’s program.

“The program was designed to focus on problem solving, teamwork, technology, leadership and communication, as well as other broader business issues,” McGowan said. “The success of the tracks required not only substantial cooperation among the departments involved, but also a seamless relationship between the program’s BBA and MS phases.”

For Brett Parrish ’93, one of the students in the first cohort, the PPA was a springboard for a successful career that led him to become a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He said the program helped him be a more well-rounded graduate. “I was much more qualified, both technically and professionally, than if I had not gone through the program,” he said. “Being a part of Group 1 was a neat experience, helping to establish something that has continued to grow and flourish. I enjoy getting to come back to campus and meet with students and recruit. It is always neat to see the students’ reactions when I tell them I’m from Group I.”


Brett Parrish, Group I, and Samantha Bates, Group XXV, with Brett’s wife and Samantha’s mother, Stacey Parrish.

Parrish said the internship was built into the program at a good time. “I was able to obtain career experience while still a student, then take that knowledge back for the rest of my schooling and apply what I learned,” he said. “Because of the experiences during my internship, I was much more focused on learning the skills and information that would benefit me going forward, instead of learning to achieve a grade.”

Parrish said the program has changed quite a bit since he was in it. For one thing, the program initially had no name, so that became one of the first tasks for the students. Also, when he began, there wasn’t a 150-hour requirement to receive a CPA license. “This made recruiting students into the program difficult since it wasn’t a necessity to have the master’s degree,” he said. “Additionally, we lost several folks after the internship when they decided to not come back for their fifth year. By the time we graduated, there were approximately 30-35 students. Now the program has grown to around 250.”

The program continues to be proactive in providing its students with options to expand the breadth of available opportunities. The program partners with the Bush School to offer students the option to integrate a transfer pricing or non-profit certificate into their course of study. Students are also offered an opportunity to participate in a global immersion program to Australia.

PPA’s next generation

Sometimes a good thing comes full circle, and such is the case with PPA. Samantha Bates ’17 is a current student in Group XXV of the program. She said she knew she wanted to study business, but was undecided on what field to pursue. She was strongly influenced by her stepfather, Brett Parrish, and Bates set her goal during her freshman year to get admitted to the program.

She said she knew of the program’s good reputation and advantages, which open many doors in the business world. She liked the idea of getting a master’s degree and being able to sit for the CPA exam before graduating, as well as the opportunity to interview and intern with the most prestigious accounting firms. “In my opinion, the program really sets you up for success and gives you all the tools you need to excel in the ‘real world,’” Bates said. “I hope to gain experience and connections in the industry as well as continue to learn and expand my knowledge base through the master’s degree.”

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

The job of a financial advisor encompasses multiple elements of business – marketing and sales, management of staff and clients, and analysis of finance, capital markets and portfolios. But for Tom Jenkins ’92, it also means telling stories.

25386562385_6c7c1941ac_kAs Senior Vice President of Wealth Management at Jenkins & Associates of UBS Financial Services, Jenkins manages more than $200 million for 75 wealthy families and individuals. Managing wealth is a sensitive topic, and Jenkins has learned that stories can help him convey important advice in a way that both educates and resonates with his clients. He showed Business Honors students at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School how storytelling can be a powerful tool not just in financial advising, but in life as well.

“It’s important to have a story with everything – be it with a recruiter, interviewer, whomever you encounter,” he advised. “Stories help define who you are. Have those and practice those, and always be prepared to share them.”

Jenkins shared his own story with the students. He began his education at Texas A&M, where he studied marketing and enjoyed success on campus as a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Business Student Council. Also heavily involved in summer internships, he received multiple job offers and accepted a marketing position at NationsBank. Things were going well.

But within just 10 months of starting his new job, he was laid off. He was jobless and faced with a dire financial situation due in part, he admits, to poor financial management during those first months after college. To make ends meet, he took jobs selling suits and delivering pizzas.

Take ownership of your career

“That was a real shocker for me. I was so discouraged from having gone from where I was in college to balancing those two jobs at once. I didn’t foresee it happening,” he recalled. Yet Jenkins had a plan. Knowing his ultimate goal, he decided to open his own financial advising business while holding the other two jobs. Though it was difficult holding multiple jobs at once, he said the lesson was that he was learning to take ownership of his career through hard work and financial responsibility.

“Things aren’t always going to go our way,” he said. “But think about and plan what you’re going to do – what you’re willing to do – to work hard and get where you need to be and want to be.”

Seek others’ wisdom

To grow his business, Jenkins said he harnessed the power of networking. “I had a shoebox full of business cards I had collected from recruiters during college, and I began calling the people on the cards,” he said. His contacts gave him guidance on how to succeed in the industry and referred people who became Jenkins’ newest clients.

“I really learned importance of finding mentors and seeking others’ advice and input,” he said. “Always ask yourself, ‘Who can I seek advice from?’”

To whom much was given, of him much will be required

For five years, Jenkins worked hard running his own financial planning practice before Merrill Lynch took an interest and approached him about moving his practice to join the company. He accepted and worked there for 12 years. During that time he participated in graduate work through the Harvard University Extension School and received the Certified Investment Management Analyst ® designation from Wharton’s Business School of Executive Education, a certification held by only a small percentage of his colleagues in the industry. In 2010, he joined UBS.

Jenkins explained how he appreciates the flexibility of picking his own clients, developing relationships with them and tailoring a portfolio that is best fit for their needs. “I take a lot of pride in helping people be good stewards of their money,” Jenkins said. “You’ve heard the saying ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’ If you have intelligence, financial luxuries, whatever it may be, you have an obligation to use those gifts to help others.”

Advice for Millennials and financial wisdom

One student wanted to know what Jenkins would advise today’s college students. “Millennials have a greater access to information than those in times in times past. Unfortunately, they don’t always value the input of a financial advisor as much as previous generations.” Jenkins added: “Remember that you should always outsource areas that are not your expertise to those who can help you; invite them to be on your team.”

He also gave financial advice, drawing on principles he uses in his own practice:

  • Have an emergency reserve of cash for three to six months
  • Prioritize giving and saving with Dave Ramsey’s “out of sight, out of mind” principles
  • Allocate money to spend guilt-free on things you enjoy, but only after you handle all of your goals
  • Be careful with debt – only use it as leverage for a greater return in the future

Categories: Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Yan Liu, an assistant professor of finance at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, received the 17th Annual Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy Award with colleague Campbell R. Harvey. Their article, “Backtesting,” was published in the Fall 2015 issue of The Journal of Portfolio Management. The awards were announced by Institutional Investor Journals, the leading publisher of practical research in investment management and finance.

Liu said he was thrilled to receive the award. “We know that there has been intense data mining both in academia and


the financial industry,” he said. “The fact that my paper is well-received by the profession, especially by finance practitioners, tells me that we are starting to realize the severity of data mining bias. I hope that the analytical tools provided in my paper can be useful to researchers and practitioners when they try to evaluate the real significance of an investment strategy.”

The Bernstein Fabozzi/Jacobs Levy awards were established in 1999 to honor the journal’s editors, Peter L. Bernstein and Frank Fabozzi, and promote research excellence in the theory and practice of portfolio management.

In their article, Liu and Harvey, a professor at Fuqua School of Business at Duke University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass., offer an analysis on backtesting. This is the practice of applying strategy and analytics to historical trading data to determine how well real trading results could have been predicted.

Harvey said it is a great honor to receive the award. “We are in an investment environment where there is intense pressure to produce something that looks good. Unfortunately, this leads to extensive data mining,” he said. “This, in turn, results in impressive backtests that convince many investors to put their money into products that have the propensity to disappoint. I am encouraged by the reception my paper has received in the investment management community. Managers don’t want to disappoint clients, and my paper provides new tools to help them make sure they don’t.”

According to Bruce Jacobs, principal and co-founder of Jacobs Levy Equity Management, Harvey and Liu, who also took the top prize last year, “continue to contribute vital insights into a very important issue: how to tell if the findings obtained from research ‘in the lab’ will hold up to deliver like results in the real world.”


Categories: Departments, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Some say the value of the written word is lost among millennials. This is not true, however, for Mays Business School student Holly Melvin ’17. She has always been fascinated by her family’s history. Years of exploring ancestry.com has led her to some interesting discoveries, but nothing could compare to what she found in her attic the summer before her freshman year – a trunk belonging to her great-grandmother Mary Lou. Inside the trunk were various mementos, including more than 100 letters Mary Lou had written to her husband Fred while she was away at college. Holly was amazed that these letters, written 85 years before, told stories of the activities that she was looking forward to participating in during her own college experience.


This gave her an idea…

Holly decided to write one letter each week to her parents back home in Columbus, Texas. At the beginning, the project was tough and some days she was simply writing out of obligation to her parents. But she reached a turning point about half-way through the first semester of freshman year when she began to see the true value in writing the letters. Taking an hour each Sunday to sit down and write about everything that happened during the week – the accomplishments and the disappointments – gave Holly the opportunity to refocus and reflect. After writing, she often thought to herself, “If I’ve accomplished all of this in one week, what can I accomplish in the next seven days? The next seven months? The next seven years?” This motivated her to continue taking steps toward achieving her ultimate academic and career goals.

Gifts along the way

This project has given Holly many priceless gifts – the opportunity to remain close to her family, the motivation to accomplish her goals and the time to reflect on her stories from the week. One of the most special gifts, however, is one that is still to come. Years into the future, when Holly has a life that looks different from the way it is now, she will be able to read these letters and revisit the experiences and lessons that shaped her into the woman she is today. “You’re not going to remember every emotion or every feeling that you felt, but I can tell you, through writing, you’ll be able to look back and feel like you were there,” Holly said.

Holly Melvin

For Mays students, learning happens in the desks of Wehner, but also in the stands of Kyle Field, the seats at Muster and the dorm rooms in Hullaballoo Hall. All of these moments have shaped each Aggie’s journey and will continue to guide their futures. Through her letter-writing project Holly now has a written record of her time at Texas A&M, a road map of where she’s been and where she hopes to go.

Holly encourages everyone to spend 49 cents and an hour of time per week to write letters of their own. Take a look at Holly’s blog to read more about her project.


Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M