The reach of Mays Business School throughout the world, and the world’s reach into the students, faculty and staff of Mays, is almost too vast to be measured. Mays is influencing and shaping the areas of cancer research, entrepreneurship, economic measurements and trail-blazing technologies. Within Mays, we are reimagining the roles that engagement, innovation and impact will play in the future of business education, while discovering Mays’ distinctive traits that we want to amplify. Here are just a few examples.


The Aggie core value of selfless service is personified by two petroleum engineers who invest in Aggies’ futures through their business, WildHorse Resources in Houston. Anthony Bahr ’91 and Jay Graham ’92 have invested $12 million to help students of Mays and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering. Launching in fall 2016, the Petroleum Ventures Program (PVP) is a certificate program that will give engineering students additional background in finance and give finance students additional knowledge of the oil and gas industry.


Anthony Bahr ’91 & Jay Graham ’92, WildHorse Resources

Business schools worldwide are exploring how to create value for society in areas that stretch the boundaries of the ways they have traditionally defined themselves. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which accredits business schools, requires them to show educational, commercial and social impacts, as well as intellectual contributions. The AACSB vision serves as a framework for business schools to create value for society. Mays kicked off a Strategic Planning Initiative in January with an off-site retreat among the college’s leaders, then moved to Town Hall meetings open to all faculty and staff. This spring, a new vision statement was unveiled with four themes that define Mays’ distinctive traits (see page 2).

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Categories: Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

lynx with nooodles

Startup Aggieland client Lynx Toys has announced a licensing deal with Swimways, the world’s number one pool toy company. Lynx Cofounders Madison Jones, Jared Knowles and Matt Kinsel, former students at Texas A&M University are Young Entrepreneurs-in-Residence at Startup Aggieland, powered by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE). The three entrepreneurs have helped out around Startup Aggieland while continuing to work on their venture.

For the past few months, they also have traveled out-of-state for several meetings with prospective manufacturers and distributors. Ultimately, Lynx opted to license Lynx Toys to Swimways, which has products in nearly 50,000 retail stores nationwide, including Walmart, Target and Toys R Us. Swimways will manufacture, retail and develop the Lynx product line for distribution to major retailers by 2017.

“We were so impressed with the professionalism and creativity of the Lynx Toys team that we knew we had to license their product from them. The fact that they came to us with a major sporting goods retailer already on board really sealed the deal. We look forward to working with Team Lynx for many years to come,” said Monica Jones, vice president of marketing, Swimways Corporation.

Swimways is a leader in the outdoor recreational category with offices in Hong Kong, Virginia Beach and Tarbooro, NC. The privately-owned company has an exclusive partnership with Disney and Marvel to feature classic characters. Swimways was also named “Vendor of the Year” by Toys R Us and Target.

“We owe so much to the leaders of CNVE and Startup Aggieland, as well as our mentors Shelly Brenckman, T. Getterman, Burl Haigwood, Kelli Hollinger, Justin Burgdorff, Russell White and Harlie Frost,” said Matt Kinsel of Lynx Toys. “The guidance we received and relationships we made as students at Texas A&M have proven invaluable to our journey as entrepreneurs. We are honored to partner with such a successful and reputable company as Swimways, and we look forward to watching the growth of Lynx Toys.”

From kiosk to commercialization

Less than a year ago, Lynx occupied a free retail space in Post Oak Mall – generating national headlines for participating in a pilot collaboration between CBL Management in Waco, Mays Center for Retailing Studies and Startup Aggieland. The “UPC” or University/Post Oak Mall Collaboratory gave Team Lynx an opportunity to validate their market at a free kiosk last summer that became a popular attraction for young children who played while their parents shopped.

Lynx is a subsidiary of Defy Matter, a limited liability company launched last year by Kinsel, Knowles and Jones with the goal of commercializing patented technologies. Defy Matter currently owns two patented products: Lynx and MultiRag.

“Through our IP commercialization company, Defy Matter, we will continue to help inventors bring products to market,” added  Knowles. “We have several projects in the pipeline, and we look forward to evaluating more in the near future.”

CNVE Executive Director Richard Lester and recently retired Academy Sports + Outdoors CEO Rodney Faldyn facilitated introductions to Swimways for Lynx Toys. Faldyn was a frequent speaker last year in Lester’s graduate management classes and at Startup Living Learning Community’s MGMT 289 class for freshmen.

“I am excited to see the innovation and future success of the Lynx Toys brand come to market as they enter into a licensing agreement with Swimways,” Faldyn said. “The agreement will allow access to a vast array of retail to get the product to market quicker and into the hands of families for some family fun.”

lynx box

Professor Don Lewis, assistant director of Startup Aggieland, has had a strong influence on the young founders through his business advice and by making sure they participated in the entrepreneurial ecosystem that supported them by representing the business accelerator and CNVE. He provided them with speaking opportunities on campus, as well as at meetings of the Federation of A&M Mothers Clubs and A&M Clubs statewide. Professor Lewis allowed the team to remain in their office after graduation.

Retired Supercuts Southwest CFO T. Getterman has served as an advisory CPA for Lynx and has been instrumental in getting the team’s financial reporting in order. Lynx Toys’ Lead Mentor is Startup Aggieland Marketing Coordinator Shelly Brenckman, who brought the team together in summer 2014 and arranged funding for their company’s patents, travel and EIR appointments. The team also was coached in 2014-2015 by former mentors Burl Haigwood and Justin Burgdorff; and assisted by Kelli Hollinger, executive director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School.

Hollinger and David Wesson, founding chairman of Aggie Angel Network, made it possible for the three Lynx founders to travel to and participate in the National Retail Federation Conference in Seattle. Financial investments from Russell White, Harlie Frost and David Heath greatly contributed to the team’s success.

“We’ve been in the loop and trying to provide a little guidance and assistance all along. The guys did a great job and they learned a lot,” said White. “Harlie and I are glad the experiment was so successful for A&M, provided such a wonderful opportunity for the students and gave Startup Aggieland a great story to tell its’ stakeholders and prospective students.”

Other important advisers include Chris Westfall, official pitch coach for Startup Aggieland; and Startup Aggieland Associate Chris Valletta, an Aggie 100 member and Cofounder of Mission Athlete Care. Aggie IP Attorney Kevin Klughart with the Law Firm of Carstens & Cahoon and Bryan Bulte of Seed Sumo.

In all, 15 of Startup Aggieland’s mentors worked with Defy Matter over the course of two years to help the cofounders with their two patented products – Lynx Toys and MultiRag. Lynx Toys will be sold in 214 Academy Sports + Outdoors stores by summer 2017. MultiRag is ready to go into production.

“This has set us on a path we are very excited about,” noted Madison Jones, inventor of MultiRag and several other inventions that Defy Matter is working on from their office in Startup Aggieland. “None of this would be possible without the advice and encouragement we received through Startup Aggieland.”

Categories: Mays Business, News, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M

Mays Business School hosted an inaugural visit to Texas A&M University of distinguished faculty from The University of Havana in Cuba. After meeting with Mays Professor Don Lewis, assistant director of Startup Aggieland, and with Professor Richard Lester, executive director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), through Mays’ Center for International Business Studies, faculty were invited by CNVE to visit Lewis and Lester this summer in Aggieland. Lewis and Lester met the faculty in January while leading Texas A&M’s first study abroad trip to Cuba.
Three professors from The University of Havana accepted CNVE’s offer, including Anicia Garcia Alvarez, Jose Luis Perello Cabrera and Humberto Blanco Rosales. Alvarez and Rosales are expert economists, while Cabrera is a tourism expert. The cadre arrived in Texas from New York on May 31, but not without challenges as airplanes were late or diverted to different airports and required last-minute, late pickups.

During their first day on campus, Lewis introduced his Cuban guests to representatives with the Association of Former Students (AFS). The AFS provided a tour of campus, including visits to the George Bush Presidential Library, Kyle Field and Memorial Student Center. On the second day, Cuban faculty toured Mays Business School with management faculty members, including Department Head Wendy Boswell and Professor David Flint. Katy Lane with the Center for International Business Studies also joined the tour.

“This inaugural visit by faculty from The University of Havana is the start of a new global collaboration for Texas A&M with a country that has been closed off to Americans for a half-century,” explained Lewis. “The opportunities for both universities are endless and exciting. We look forward to sharing research and innovations with the Cubans and helping each other through joint initiatives.”

Former AFS Chair Jorge Bermudez, a retired Citibank executive and Cuban-born immigrant to the U.S., hosted Cuban faculty on a tour of the Federal Reserve Bank. Lewis’ students from his 2015 study abroad class and Startup Aggieland joined the visiting faculty membesr in Downtown Historic Bryan for the monthly “First Friday” event. AFS President-Elect Phil Miner, founder of The Miner Corporation in San Antonio, hosted the visitors on a tour of NASA and the Port of Houston – then attended an Astros game at Reliant Stadium.

The Cuban faculty members toured the Engineering Innovation Center on June 6 with engineering faculty Magda Lagoudas and Rodney Boehm, then enjoyed dinner at Christopher’s. The next day, they visited the College of Architecture, where Dean Jorge Vanegas hosted a tour of the Live Lab and Viz Arts programs, in addition to the BIM Cave. Faculty later visited the Corps of Cadets Museum and Miramont Country Club, then celebrated new faculty friends from architecture and Mays at Sodolack’s Original Steakhouse, where Rosales was surprised with a “Texas-sized” steak that hung over the serving platter.

On June 9, the day before the end of their 11-day visit, visiting faculty delivered presentations on tourism and the economy in Cuba for a classroom of Texas A&M University faculty, students and former students after a breakfast at Startup Aggieland. Upon their return to Cuba, Cabrera wrote Lewis a note:
“Dear Don. I want to thank all (for) their attention and efforts on the days we were there, where we learned the ways to achieve greater development. The days we stayed, were exploited to the maximum, at least for me. Convey my thanks to all (who) shared their time and chores: Shelly, Abby, Phil, Richard; and others. It is painful for us not to correspond with the same attention. At least for now…see you soon!”

Lewis will return to Havana in January 2017 with another group of students from Texas A&M for a two-week immersion experience in Cuban culture and entrepreneurship. Students will stay mostly in hostels. For more information about the trip, email Lewis at or go to

Read a past student participant’s blog here:

Categories: Centers, Departments, Faculty, Mays Business, News, Programs, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M

Eli Jones ’82, dean of Mays Business School, was recently appointed to IBERIABANK Corporation’s Board of Directors. The board oversees the Lafayette, La.-based corporation and holding company for the 129-year-old IBERIABANK.

9149_036-EJ-2-e1435721572279The appointment is Jones’ latest in a career that has encompassed both academic and professional roles. He has served on multiple boards, including: the Advisory Board of Arvest Bank; Mary Bird Perkins Board of Directors; Beta Gamma Sigma Board of Governors; University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation Board of Directors; and served on the board of directors and chaired the Compensation Committee for Administaff/Insperity.

Currently, Jones is a director on the International Board of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and a director on the Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Board of Governors. Recently, he was appointed to the boards of trustees of the Invesco Funds Group.

Jones has served in numerous academic capacities prior to becoming dean of Mays Business School. He was dean of Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas and before that, of E.J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University. He also served at the University of Houston for 11 years, where he was assistant professor, associate professor with tenure, full professor, associate dean for executive education programs and, prior to that, the founding executive director of the Sales Excellence Institute at the University of Houston.

As a professor, Jones has taught strategic selling, advanced professional selling, key accounts selling, sales leadership and marketing strategy at the undergraduate and MBA levels, and a Ph.D. seminar on marketing strategy.

Before academia, Jones worked in sales and sales management for three Fortune 100 companies: Quaker Oats, Nabisco and Frito-Lay.

Categories: Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

One of the most rewarding aspects of my position as a career adviser is watching students develop personally and professionally.There have been many opportunities to witness this happening with our students first-hand while on the Marketing Study Abroad program, with which I have been able to assist for four years.

For those not familiar with this trip, 80 students travel throughout seven countries in Europe during a 28-day period. Marketing Professor Stephen McDaniel is program director.

During the trip, the students make professional and cultural Dr. Mac at Johnson & Johnsonvisits to gain an understanding of international business and marketing practices as well as increase cultural awareness. Days are filled with company visits that can range from a behind-the-scenes look at Harrods in London to watching customers take delivery of their new BMW in Munich.  But it’s not all business. Students are also introduced to the culture and the history of the areas visited with bike tours which highlight significant landmarks and events, as well as visits to places such as the Palace of Versailles and Dachau Concentration Camp. Students who complete this course are transformed by this experience with several skills that are highly desirable to employers including creative problem solving, and increased communication and public speaking skills, among many others.

Discussion of marketing practices is a major part of the company presentations that we attend. One of the most surprising lessons for our students was that Americans are not Monte Carlo Casinonecessarily the most lucrative market for many European businesses. Understanding what motivates customers from countries like China and India and using targeted marketing strategies is what has made companies like Bucherer in Switzerland so successful. Learning how to appeal to lucrative segments in other markets is valuable to our students as they learn to navigate the business world in a global environment.

In addition to learning about business practices, our students had the opportunity to experience different cultures since we travel throughout Europe. People in Britain were more reserved than those in Italy. Monaco is extremely safe due to increased police presence to ensure the protection of the high net worth people who live there. In Germany, beer is considered a food. Austrians live their lives in the outdoors by hiking, skiing and enjoying the beauty and terrain of the mountains. Each country had its own identity and customs, and awareness of that was very helpful to our students. They quickly adapted to the culture of each country and learned to flourish in unfamiliar surroundings.

Watching students figure out how to invoke creative problem solving is always a highlight for me. They had to learn new transportation systems, budget for spending and food money, and cross the communication barrier successfully. Reading maps, buying groceries as opposed to eating out and learning simple phrases in each country’s native language were just a few of the ways they did this. But they not only had to communicate with people who may not speak English, they also had to educate their fellow students on highlights of each city or the companies and cultural sites we visited. The students’ ability to transform facts and details into creative presentations was amazing. We had a group that demonstrated the glass making process to replicate the work of the artisans at Riedel Glass, by using balloons! Other groups used a game-show format, skit or race. The end result was not only informative, but also entertaining.

There were several skills that were not developed, but rather demonstrated during the study abroad and those were Texas A&M’s core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service. Arranging a special prayer service, buying and giving a sandwich to a homeless person on the street, watching out for each other, listening attentively and participating for our hosts are only a few examples.

Being able to witness, guide and advise students on how to use the skills developed while on the study abroad is one of the best parts of my job. Watching them transform from cautious newcomers to confident travelers is phenomenal. They did this by experiencing and learning, and they will be able to capitalize on these skills when seeking career opportunities.

Touring Versailles

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

A magazine, podcast, and annual report produced by the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University won top business communication honors in Houston. The center is part of Mays Business School.

Each won a Bronze Quill Award of Excellence from the Houston chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) .

The Center was recognized for its quarterly periodical Tierra Grande magazine, its weekly Red Zone podcast, and its unique annual report/calendar combination.

The awards came less than two weeks after Tierra Grande was honored with the top international award, a Gold Quill, which was presented at IABC’s  global conference in New Orleans.

Forty-five awards were presented at the IABC/Houston gala. Coincidentally, the Real Estate Center is 45 years old this year. Center communications have received 213 local, state, regional and international awards since its founding in 1971.

Funded primarily by Texas real estate licensee fees, the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University was created by the state legislature to meet the needs of many audiences, including the real estate industry, instructors, researchers and the general public.

Categories: Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Tara Blasor, an accounting lecturer and assistant department head at Mays Business School, was selected as the 2016 recipient of the David Baggett Endowed Teaching Excellence Award.

Tara Blasor

Blasor is coordinator of the Internal Audit Certificate program and is responsible for developing a course for the MS-HRM program.

The annual award is intended to recognize extraordinary efforts and innovation in teaching effectiveness, curriculum development and student services in the accounting department.

The recipients receive a plaque and a cash award. The award ismade possible through an endowment created by Denise and David Baggett ’81. David, who graduated with honors with an accounting degree, is the senior partner of Opportune LLP.

Previous awards went to Kevin Roach in 2015, Joan Sanders in 2014, Karen Farmer in 2013, Shannon Deer in 2012 and Christopher Wolfe in 2011.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Blackstone Charitable Foundation has expanded its campus entrepreneurship program, Blackstone LaunchPad, to three Texas universities: Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin and The University of Texas at Dallas. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s three-year, $3 million grant will establish a partnership between the three institutions to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career option and offer opportunities to the universities’ 130,000 students, regardless of major, with a network of venture coaches and an entrepreneurial support system.
Blackstone photo2“Texas has a strong business environment and is a hub for entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman, CEO and co-founder. “As universities look to the private sector to expand their capabilities and provide experiential opportunities to their students, we are pleased to help meet that need and deliver the tools and resources to build strong enterprises rooted in the state and connected to a global network of entrepreneurs.”
The announcement was made at the UT Dallas Visitor Center Atrium, and speakers included Blackstone Chairman, CEO and co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman; co-founder and CEO of Vengo Labs (a Blackstone LaunchPad venture) Brian Shimmerlik; and executive director of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation Amy Stursberg. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Britt Harris, chief investment officer at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, were also scheduled to deliver remarks, but were unable to attend due to severe weather.
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Categories: Centers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Startup Aggieland, Students, Texas A&M