Texas A&M’s Mays Business School was featured at the 2017 International Conference and Annual meeting (ICAM), held by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) April 23-25 in Houston. The conference attracted over 1,400 attendees representing business schools from 55 countries – the largest gathering of business school leaders from around the world.

Mays Business School was highlighted in a session titled “Innovating Curriculum Through Interdisciplinary Collaborations” for the Texas A&M University Petroleum Ventures Program (PVP), a bold new entrepreneurial training program that better prepares students to be leaders in the oil and gas industry. By connecting the curriculum with industry needs, PVP gives students a competitive advantage in an interdisciplinary way.

Anthony Bahr ’91, president of WildHorse Resource Development and one of the business partners who funded the program, provided insight into the need for PVP. “There is an explosion of private equity in the oil and gas industry that has created many small companies. This has created a need for more qualified engineers and business people,” says Bahr. He and his business partner Jay Graham ’92 said they saw a shortage of talent able to wear a lot of different hats.

Launched in fall 2016 as a certificate program between Mays Business School and the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering, PVP will celebrate its first anniversary in May with seven graduates and a 100 percent placement rate. Bahr stated that the PVP certificate shows employers they have “something extra,” including initiative and willingness to learn business aspects. He added, “The reality of the world is that it will require business acumen at some point of their career. Knowing what they don’t know will keep them from running off the cliff one day.”

Mary Lea McAnally, director of innovation and strategic planning at Mays, provided an overview of the results for the school. She highlighted the program’s role in helping to fulfill the school’s vision to advance the world’s prosperity. As part of the school’s new strategic plan, Mays aims to build the school’s research presence in the Mays Grand Challenge area of Energy. As noted by Bahr, “We sit in the energy capital of the world and Texas A&M is only 70 miles away. A lot of Texas A&M graduates will work in the energy industry.”

McAnally cited other PVP benefits for the school, including increased goodwill with employers and alumni, increased external visibility for the school, integration across Texas  A&M colleges, and groundwork for other innovation programs.

Bahr concluded, “We have been excited to fund PVP and are pleased with the growth of program so far. We are excited about the possibilities down the road.”

In February, Mays was recognized by the AACSB for driving innovation in business education worldwide with the 2016 Innovations that Inspire award.  In addition to being featured at the academic session with Yan Zhao of East China University of Science and Technology, Mays sponsored the 2017 ICAM welcome reception and showcased the school during the conference exhibition. Mays Dean Eli Jones currently serves on the AACSB Board of Directors.

Mays received initial AACSB accreditation in 1972. Founded in 1916, AACSB is a global association of more than 1,500 member organizations in over 90 countries and territories, with headquarters in North America, Asia Pacific, and Europe. With more than 760 business schools accredited worldwide, AACSB ensures the highest quality standard in business education to prepare the next generation of business leaders.