The annual Retailing Summit, hosted by Texas A&M University’s Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) at the Westin Galleria Dallas, united retailers from across the United States and Taiwan. The CRS is based at Mays Business School.
On Oct. 13-14, executives from PetSmart, Walmart, Fishpeople Seafood, Carter’s, the Dallas Cowboys, Learfield, Tuesday Morning, Bridgestone, CVS Health, Groove Jones and newly formed Mizzen+Main discussed “driving customer-centric retail.”
Becoming the trusted partner to pet parents and pets
Kicking off the first day, Eran Cohen, a 30+ year fashion veteran and current Executive Vice President of Customer Experience at PetSmart outlined the “big dog” retailer’s approach to creating a customer-centric world.
As the #1 specialty retailer in a $64 billion dollar pet industry, PetSmart has a wide portfolio that includes more than 1,500 stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Ben Keating ’94 and Don Whitaker ’96 believe in disrupting the marketplace and then strategically investing in their business. Their success in growing the Keating Auto Group — a family-owned company that includes a number of popular Texas dealerships selling domestic and foreign cars — underscores the wisdom of their approach.
Keating’s and Whitaker’s approach to entrepreneurship resonated with a group of Mays Business School Business Honor majors who listened to their recent presentation. “I learned how having a broad perspective, possessing strong analytical skills and thinking long-term were some of the key elements that enable them to thrive in such a competitive field,” said Bao Nguyen ’20. “As the lecture progressed, it dawned on me that there was more to their business than simply selling cars, trucks and other vehicles for profit.”…Read more
Aggieland Credit Union donated $10,000 to the Master of Science (MS) Business program at Texas A&M University to fund five new companies created by graduate students enrolled in the integrated business experience course. The course is a key component of the “learning business by doing business” approach of the program at Mays Business School.
In the first eight weeks of the fall 2016 semester, students in the course identified a product or service they would like to sell, conducted market research to determine how their product would be received, developed a business plan for a new company and requested up to $2,000 in start-up funds from loan officers of Aggieland Credit Union. The learning objective for the students is creation, refinement and delivery of a fundamentally sound business case. The measure of their success was the outcome of the loan decision.
Each of the five teams was successful with their respective pitches, and Aggieland Credit Union agreed to provide the necessary capital for each company to move forward in executing their business. “The integrated business experience is a remarkable opportunity for students to gain insights and perspectives about running a business that are difficult to obtain in a classroom setting. Our team is delighted to be part of making this experience possible for the students,” said Jason Goodman, senior vice president/COO at Aggieland Credit Union, who delivered the check on Oct. 7.
Julie Orzabal, director of the Executive MBA program at Mays, got the experience of a lifetime recently! Selected under the Navy’s Key Influencers program, Orzabal was able to fly as a backseat rider in the Blue Angel’s Jet Number 7 with Lt. Tyler Davies. She posed mid-air with the Executive MBA Class of 2018 Class Coin.
The Blue Angels celebrate their 70th anniversary this year and were in Houston Oct. 22-23 for the Wings Over Houston Airshow.
Few professionals can say they’ve been with the same company their entire career. But Gina Luna ’95, chairman of JPMorgan Chase in the Houston region, is an exception.
Luna has been with JPMorgan Chase since she graduated from Texas A&M in 1995. On her visit to Mays Business School, she had lunch with Business Honors students and shared how she has navigated such a large corporation for so many years. For more than 20 years, her willingness to plunge into new challenges and optimism about new relationships has guided her through positions in finance, recruiting, operations and marketing.
Luna leads the Middle Market Banking business and is active in recruiting, mentoring and leadership development within the organization. “I’ve held many challenging but rewarding roles at JPMorgan Chase,” Luna said, “Each one has taught me something new and has been a wonderful opportunity to build relationships.”
She believes the challenge is always worth it because of her coworkers. “Every day I get to work with such high-caliber, intelligent individuals.” …Read more
After seeing how much their daughter Grace learned in a new “Strategic Philanthropy” course at Mays Business School, Wil and Jennifer VanLoh donated money to fund the next two courses. A portion of their $140,000 gift to Mays through the Texas A&M Foundation will provide grants for students to distribute to local nonprofits through the course, while remaining funds will help cover operating costs.
Philanthropy is a way of life for the VanLoh family – from left, Grace, Mary, Wil, Jennifer and Sarah.
The course that debuted last spring gives undergraduate students at Mays first-hand experience in the world of nonprofit work. In the first program of its kind to be offered at an SEC school and the first at a business school, students get the chance to learn about various facets of philanthropy, hear from philanthropic leaders and experience the grant-making process from a foundation’s perspective.
Wil VanLoh, founder and CEO of Quantum Energy Partners, said his family routinely holds meetings to make philanthropic decisions for their family foundation. “My wife and I are intentional about including our kids in our decisions,” he said. “We think being good stewards of the resources we are given is a big responsibility, and something we don’t think a lot of people take seriously enough.
“We believe modeling generosity for our kids is one of the greatest gifts we can give them as it helps them understand that one is more blessed to give than to receive. We get tremendous joy out of giving and we want them to experience that at a young age to set the tone for the rest of their life.”
VanLoh said he was impressed with the course, which he said should be offered across the university – and not just at the business school. “This is an all-around great set of skills for these students, and it benefits the community they live in while they’re attending college, so it has a significant ripple effect,” he said.…Read more
Keeping the focus on the patients is the best strategy for succeeding in the healthcare industry, and person-to-person interaction is a powerful tool in any industry, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard ’84 said recently at Mays Business School. Broussard shared life stories and advice with more than 400 students and community members on Sept. 29. [Watch the full video of his presentation.]
“At the end of the day, people are motivated by people, not by technology,” he said. “Someone who has walked that path before is more influential than either or a nurse or a doctor.” Also, those working in health care are more motivated when they are working with patients than when they are removed from interacting with them, he said.
Broussard, a Texas A&M University graduate in finance and accounting, has a wide range of executive leadership experience in publicly traded and private organizations. He started his career as a consultant at Arthur Anderson, then was treasurer and CFO of various public companies and CEO of U.S. Oncology before joining Humana.…Read more
TriFusion Devices, the winner of the 2016 Rice Business Plan Competition (RBPC), the world’s richest and largest student startup competition, was invited to ring the opening bell Monday at the NASDAQ Stock Market in New York City. Cofounders Blake Teipel and Brandon Sweeney participated in the morning ceremony, along with representatives from RBPC and Texas A&M University, including Philippe Hercot, executive professor and director of Aggies on Wall Street at Mays Business School.
TriFusion Devices was the first Texas A&M team to win the Rice competition, the world’s largest student-centered business plan competition. The team received checks totalling nearly $400,000.
The team illustrates a collaboration between several colleges at Texas A&M, and it bolsters the arena of health care – a priority at Texas A&M and at Mays. “So many faculty and staff members invested in these young people. The team’s success is a beautiful example of collaborating across the university and beyond,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones. “It aligns nicely with our primary mission of advancing the world’s prosperity by developing such areas as entrepreneurship and health care.”
Their project was based on breakthrough additive manufacturing products and services aimed at simplifying and expediting the process of manufacturing custom prosthetic devices. The team applies a revolutionary, patent-pending process that fuses together 3D printed parts to next-generation biomedical devices. The result is a durable, lightweight, custom-fit prosthetic device created within 48 hours, saving time, labor, and materials by eliminating the residual limb plaster-casting process and the current need for test-fit sockets.
TriFusion Devices got their start through Startup Aggieland, a globally recognized, award-winning business incubator and accelerator program at Texas A&M. Through the mentorship and experience provided by Startup Aggieland and other university initiatives, such as the National Science Foundation I-Corps program, TriFusion’s founders were able to incubate their ideas and prepare for the commercial world. In addition to the Rice University Business Plan Competition, TriFusion Devices has received several other top honors, including winning the 2016 Baylor New Venture Competition, the Raymond Ideas Challenge at Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, and the SEC Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition.
Don Lewis, the team’s mentor and coach at Startup Aggieland, said the team has a promising future. “Be on the lookout for this company,” he said. “They are a team to watch because of what they do. They’ve created a revolutionary way to 3D print plastics that are extremely durable and strong, and they are crafting them into very useful objects, like the prosthetics.”
The students plan to open a manufacturing production facility within the next few months in the Bryan-College Station area, Lewis said. Britton Eastburn, a Mays Business School MD/MBA student who was on the team at the time of the victory, has resumed medical school.
TriFusion Devices competed against more than 750 applicants on 42 teams from the world’s top universities before 300 judges over a three-day period to emerge as the top startup company at RBPC.
“We are grateful for the support, guidance, and encouragement that we’ve received from the Texas A&M University and Rice University programs,” Teipel said. “The experience and coaching we have received as we’ve launched our venture have proven immensely valuable to our success.”
Sandi Lampo, clinical associate professor of marketing at Mays Business School, was invited to be a panelist for the Pedagogy Project, a recently launched initiative at Texas A&M University.
The Pedagogy Project aims to improve student success and retention through implementation of motivating and engaging classroom instruction. It will include a series of lunch forums featuring faculty members who already exemplify pedagogy in their classrooms. Lampo will be among the five panelists at the first lunch forum “Focus on Large Classes” on Oct. 14 in Rudder 601.
Marketing department head Mark Houston called Lampo a role model of a professor who knows how to fully engage students. “Part of her success is due to how she structures her courses,” Houston said. “But a bigger part is the combination of care that she invests in the students as individuals along with her high expectations that encourage students to take ownership. Being selected for the Pedagogy Project panel for large classes is a real honor for Sandi and a testament to the respect that her students have for her. Her colleagues and I are really proud!”
Lampo has served at Mays for over 13 years, as a marketing lecturer from 2002 to 2008 and as a senior marketing lecturer from 2008 to 2013. She was marketing director for Christopher’s World Grille in Bryan from 2013 to 2015. She returned to Mays as a clinical associate professor of marketing in 2015.
Lampo has taught multiple courses in the Mays Department of Marketing, including Principles of Marketing, Marketing Research, Retail Concepts and Policies, Strategic Retailing, Advertising, Advanced Retail Case Competition and graduate-level Survey of Marketing. She received a bachelor’s degree in marketing at Mays in 1993, an MBA from SMU in 1995 and a Ph.D. in marketing from Mays in 2001.
Mays Business School’s Full-Time MBA team, representing Texas A&M University, tied for first place with the University of Central Florida at the Prospanica Case Competition.
To fulfill its mission to empower Hispanic professionals, Prospanica hosts an annual conference and career expo attended by MBA students across the nation. The students’ hard work researching and compiling their solution were recognized at the Prospanica Gala in Houston at the end of the conference and career expo on Sept. 30.
The competition was hosted in partnership with PepsiCo. The students were tasked with helping PepsiCo leverage new and emerging technologies to drive consumer engagement, sales and improve operating efficiencies in global markets.
Teams from across the country were given the case in advance and prepared a written solution that was sent to the judges. The Texas A&M team was among the four finalists, selected from the written submission, to present during the conference and career expo. The other finalists were Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Houston. The finalists presented before a panel of judges from PepsiCo. Team members from Mays were Arko Basu, Emily Klein, Alec Krance and Thomas Sovereign.
The Mays MBA program started several initiatives this year focused on problem solving. Mays students participated in two internal case competitions this year – one at the end of orientation and one focused on specific functional areas in mid-September. Through rigorous career management preparation, Mays MBAs have received 18+ hours of case training from MBACASE and will sit for a case certification exam at the end of October.
Program Director Shannon Deer said, “We are excited to see our students excelling in the problem solving, team work, presentation, and technical skills our faculty and staff work so hard to deliver. Our students had an excellent opportunity to represent Mays and themselves in front of many national employers and we are so proud they rose to the occasion as Aggies are known to do.”