The accounting program at Texas A&M University was recently ranked in the top 10 across all degrees by the Public Accounting Report. The undergraduate and doctoral accounting programs both ranked 9th, while the master’s program was cited as the 10th best in America.
“I was delighted that our programs were all ranked in the top 10 nationally by the Public Accounting Report,” commented James Benjamin, Deloitte Foundation Leadership Professor and Department Head of the Accounting Department at Mays. “Texas A&M was one of only five schools to rank in the top 10 for bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs. I believe that our ranking reflects the combination of high-quality students, a unique culture, dedicated faculty, and innovative programs.”
The Public Accounting Report rankings are the most commonly cited ranking of accounting programs, Benjamin said. The annual ranking is the only survey that allows well-respected accounting faculty to determine which accounting programs are most successful out of 200 universities.
Mays Business School CityCentre Houston facility will be closed until Monday, Sept. 4. Professional MBA classes are cancelled for the weekend of Sept.1-2. For any students experiencing severe hardships, including difficulty with returning to classes in the near future, please contact Student Assistance Services and the MBA Program Office: Executive MBA: Julie Orzabal email@example.com and Professional MBA: Mike Alexander firstname.lastname@example.org.
Texas A&M University-College Station officials announce that classes on the College Station campus will begin as planned on Wednesday, Aug. 30. For updates on the College Station campus, visit emergency.tamu.edu
Due to inclement weather, Mays Business School Executive MBA classes at CityCentre Houston are canceled at 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25 and all day on Saturday, Aug. 26. For updates on the College Station campus, visit emergency.tamu.edu.
The Texas A&M University Center for Retailing Studies will host its annual Retailing Summit on Oct. 12-13 at the Westin Galleria in Dallas.
Since its launch in 1985, the Retailing Summit has provided inspiring, original, content for retail executives. Hundreds of business leaders throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico attend the event.
“Most retailers can no longer differentiate on product or price alone. Experiences play a central role in brand perception,” says Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School. “The Retailing Summit’s speakers will address how their companies deliver engaging experiences successfully across both the physical and digital worlds to excite customers and drive sales.”
The 2017 Retailing Summit will include appearances from two CEO’s, two of America’s top five retail firms by sales volume, several top 100 retailers, and other beloved brands.
A new and exciting addition to this year’s conference features a session with founders from four start-up companies launched by current and former Texas A&M students. The presentations showcase Texas A&M and its students as sources of technical innovation and new consumer brands in the retailing industry. The start-ups include AI technology, a grocery app, a nutrition snack, and an apparel line.
This year’s conference speakers include:
Crayola – Victoria Lozano, SVP & GM, Attractions & Retail Zoës Kitchen – Kevin Miles, CEO Dollar General – Steve Sunderland, SVP – Store Operations Indochino – Drew Green, CEO Walgreens – Kenya Jackson, Corporate Vice President The Home Depot – William Bonnell, Senior Director of Site Reliability Engineering
“The disruption in retail justifies investing time away from the office to learn. The conference agenda is packed with insights valuable to traditional retailers and suppliers alike,” Hollinger adds.
Proceeds from the Retailing Summit support leadership programs and curriculum for students pursuing retail studies at Mays Business School.
Conference sponsors include Academy Sports + Outdoors, Alliance Data, BDO, brierley + partners, NectarOM, Protivix, REVTECH, ROOT, Shell, and Texas Retailers Association.
For further information on how to register for the 2017 Retailing Summit, visit retailingsummit.org.
Most people rely on gauging facial expressions to build rapport with a new acquaintance. However, Steven Maldonado ’18 knows firsthand that looks can be deceiving. He cannot make one of the most common friendly gestures – a smile – because of facial paralysis caused by Moebius syndrome.
Maldonado, who attends Mays Business School’s Professional MBA program in Houston’s CityCentre, is an emerging leader in the national Moebius community. As a featured speaker at Baylor College of Medicine’s 2017 Compassion and the Art of Medicine series in September, he will share the lessons he’s learned from living with this neurological disorder.
Learning to connect with others
The Houston native was born with Moebius syndrome, but doctors did not diagnosis the rarely-seen condition until he was a child. Researchers estimate the non-progressive condition affects fewer than 20 in every 1 million people. Besides facial paralysis, this condition in some cases can result in respiratory problems, speech and swallowing disorders, visual impairment, sensory integration dysfunction, sleep disorders, weak upper body strength and autism spectrum disorders.
Maldonado said the condition contributed to his being socially awkward during his early years. The shy and reserved child had to learn to use different skills, such as humor, to build rapport. However, with practice, he was able to forge strong friendships.
Over the years, the condition has led to many life lessons. “Everyone is different in their own way,” Maldonado said. “Having compassion for others is a great thing. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t judge people on their looks, how they talk or where they come from.”
A drive to excel personally and professionally
After earning a business degree from the University of Houston, Maldonado worked for a company that did consulting on environmental issues. Eventually he switched industries and joined Baylor College of Medicine’s Department of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology. The administrative coordinator works with the department’s research grants, financial budgeting, and special projects.
Maldonado’s decision to pursue a master’s degree was based on his desire to advance professionally and grow as an individual. Mays’ Professional MBA program stood out for a variety of reasons. “The faculty and the staff made me feel like I was the only person applying for the program,” he said. “They were really personable and always ready to address my concerns. They really made me feel that I was going to be adding value to the program by coming to Mays.”
He credits the graduate program with helping him increase his confidence, become a better speaker and have the knowledge to tackle complex problems. He will use these skills as he prepares to give his first formal speech at the Baylor College of Medicine event.
Raising awareness and helping others
Maldonado also is planning to increase his involvement with the Moebius Syndrome Foundation. After attending his first conference in 2014, Maldonado now serves as the first point of contact for young adults who have Moebius syndrome. In that volunteer role, he helps them connect with other people with the condition.
Eventually, Maldonado hopes to serve on the organization’s board of directors. “Moebius has its challenges and obstacles,” he said. “However, I believe people with Moebius can lead pretty normal lives.”
The entrepreneurial spirit of longtime Texas A&M University benefactor Arthur “Artie” McFerrin Jr. will continue to inspire future generations of Aggies through the renaming of Mays Business School’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) in his honor.
McFerrin, who passed away Aug. 8 after a long battle with leukemia, consistently supported Texas A&M’s academic and athletic programs with major gifts. The 1965 graduate of Texas A&M University is the namesake of the McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, the McFerrin Athletic Center (the indoor football complex and track stadium) and the Cox-McFerrin Basketball Center.
“Widely known as one of the most generous, humble and understated leaders in business, Artie gave more in his life than he ever took,” said Texas A&M Foundation President Tyson Voelkel. “He set a standard few others will ever achieve as a man of character and conviction focused on the future. It is fitting that the newly renamed McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship will bear the name of someone so focused on giving others opportunities.”
The CNVE’s renaming was made possible through a $10 million gift from McFerrin and his wife, Dorothy. These funds will advance the center’s work as an international leader in entrepreneurial education. “We are truly grateful to the McFerrin family,” said Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “Artie’s spirit lives on through the thousands of lives he has influenced and will continue to influence. His heart for Texas A&M and entrepreneurship beats in the hearts of those Aggies who choose to be courageous enough to create solutions to the world’s biggest problems—those who are indeed fearless.”
Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Jr. ’65
Funds will further help the center more effectively prepare aspiring entrepreneurs to succeed in a turbulent global economy. “Our goal is to create a state-of-the-art center that equips young people for starting and growing their ventures,” said Richard Lester, the center’s executive director. “With this support, we can expand our reach and impact while linking existing programs for a cohesive experience. More than grooming specific skills, we hope to train students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset: to believe they can achieve and not give up when the going gets tough.”
Patients often exhibit hostage-like behaviors when dealing with their medical caregivers – underplaying serious symptoms, reluctant to ask questions, and fearful to express concerns about treatments – says Leonard Berry, a marketing professor from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.
“Patients and families often hold back from openly engaging clinicians in the thorough discussions that true shared decision making requires,” Berry explains. “We refer to this phenomenon as ‘hostage bargaining syndrome’ (HBS) because, in the presence of clinicians, patients and their families may behave like hostages negotiating, from a position of fear and confusion, for their health.”
HBS is most likely to occur in cases of serious illness.
Clinicians are unlikely to want their patients to feel like hostages, and many will actively encourage the patient’s involvement in shared decision-making. They encourage respect and collaboration in health-care scenarios.
In a video of Berry, he describes the phenomenon of HBS, offers clinical vignettes to clinicians to assist them with identifying it, and emphasizes the value of fostering shared decision-making with patients in their care.
Berry is a Regents’ Professor at Texas A&M University, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and a University Distinguished Professor of Marketing at Texas A&M.
Berry is the lead author of the paper. His co-authors are Tracey S. Danaher, a marketing professor at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia; Dan Beckham, president of The Beckham Company; Dr. Rana L.A. Awdish, director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program and medical director of Care Experience at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit; and Dr. Kedar S. Mate, senior vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass.
The Survey of Marketing class (Marketing 621) taught by Professor Paul Busch recently welcomed guest speakers Dallas Shipp ’03 and Nicole Morten Lamb. Shipp runs a marketing strategy company called 6 Shooter Marketing and Lamb owns the video production company Water to Wine Productions.
The class focuses on developing marketing strategies including product, pricing, distribution, and promotion decisions. The pair’s presentation connected those principles by speaking on the “Power of Video.”
Shipp and Lamb reinforced the idea that even though facts are important, the emotion and storytelling behind marketing can sometimes leave a more lasting impression. Shipp introduced students to the idea that people want to do business with companies they feel connected to. Through marketing strategies, including video, you can relay emotion, explain difficult concepts, and make a connection with an audience, creating that vital relationship. His simple mantra “facts tell, and stories sell” summarizes that idea. As for videos specifically, he emphasized the importance of quality video advertisement by sharing that use of an effective embedded video typically increases customer conversion by 80 percent.
Lamb focused on how to go about telling your story. She creates video projects for weddings, businesses, social media, and for clients in many different industries. Her passion resides with storytelling and bringing her clients vision’s to life. Understanding that so much work goes into creating a business, her hope is to communicate that idea and the finished result through professional, creative, and engaging videos. Lamb showed students a few videos she had produced advertising for businesses in Downtown Brenham.
Students were also shown the current and typical written information found on the Brenham website. When asked to compare the two, students instantly felt more connected to the experiences and emotion depicted the video instead of the written advertisements. This demonstration proved that it is possible to be informative and get the point across without sacrificing creativity and connection.
Their approach to marketing and advertising disproves the idea that there is only “one silver bullet for marketing success.” They encouraged focusing on constructing the right combination of practices to achieve the best marketing strategy for each client.
Odin Clack ’02 was just looking for a hobby that would spur his creativity, but his entrepreneurial spirit turned what began as a pastime into Odin Leather Goods, a thriving regional brand.
The seeds of the small business were planted in 2012 when Clack, a corporate director of online marketing, went into a leather shop on a whim and picked up the tools and materials he needed to make a laptop sleeve.
Soon, his experiment bloomed into a hobby that began to consume a good portion of his evenings and weekends. “Hobbies are expensive,” he said. “I started wondering, ‘How can I get a return?’”
The Dallas-area resident quickly figured out how to turn his passion for leatherworking into a business and now makes a significant side income from his creations. He also has leveraged a small budget, his contacts, and social media to double his business and gain loyal customers around the world.
Clack – who handles all of the production, marketing and shipping – primarily focused on improving his processes in order to increase production. When he started working with leather, he made two to three wallets a week. Now he produces more than 50 wallets along with other types of leather goods in that time span. “I ship 20-30 orders per week. Half are outside the state of Texas,” he said. “It is also normal for me to have bulk orders each week that consist of 50-100 pieces. I would have thought this was impossible four years ago given that I’m a one man shop. By focusing on efficiently managing resources and my processes I’ve been able to dramatically improve production speed.”
Clack currently is focusing on making Odin Leather Goods into a significant regional brand. He also is starting to do co-branded work with a variety of well-established companies, including Southwest Airlines, Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion, Jack Mason watches, Renaissance Hotels, and Rolls Royce.
Adding fuel to the entrepreneurial spirit
Clack, who earned a degree in marketing, credits Mays and Texas A&M University for instilling a strong work ethic and fueling his entrepreneurial spirit. He especially appreciates Mays internships, which gave him the opportunity to get real-world experience.
As a student, he held a staff position in Texas A&M’s Department of Multicultural Services Department and served as co-chair for the Southwestern Black Leadership Conference. During his time in school, Clack also started a few businesses, including a small company in which he created web designs. “I came out of Texas A&M with a resume that showed a history of production, a history of work, and a history of success,” he said. “And I had numbers to back it up instead of just having a resume full of activities.”
New horizons opening up
Unlike many entrepreneurs who have a side business, Clack doesn’t want to eliminate his day job. “I enjoy what I do, and I’ve put the last 10-15 years into building my professional career,” he said. “My side business is a way to keep my creativity going, generate some additional income, and network.”
In an unexpected turn, Clack is beginning to share what he has learned from Mays, his day job and his small business with other entrepreneurs who are part of the maker’s movement. “I have met a whole lot of great people and worked with a ton of great businesses in the area (through Odin Leather Goods),” he said. “Some of those contacts now are turning into consulting gigs. They’re looking at how I have grown my business and they’re asking, ‘How can I grow my business too?’”
Clack believes the combination of entrepreneurship and creativity offers a very viable way to earn a living. “In this day and age, with very little money in your pocket and a little bit of determination, you can generate significant income just off of good ideas, focus and a lot of hustle.”
Louis “Lou” Paletta, a founding partner and the chief operating officer of Kildare Partners, joined the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees on July 1.
Paletta, originally from San Antonio, earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University in 1978. Prior to joining Kildare—a $4 billion private equity firm organized in 2013 to target distressed European commercial real estate-related opportunities—Paletta spent 20 years with Lone Star Funds, holding a variety of leadership positions. Paletta’s career has taken him to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
During his tenure at Lone Star, he was responsible for coordinating the formation of 10 private equity funds, representing $34 billion in capital commitments from a variety of global institutional investors including public pension funds, corporate pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, and foundations.
Before Lone Star, he served as director of internal audit for Brazos Asset Management Inc. and senior audit manager of American Savings Bank. He spent the first 12 years of his career with Deloitte specializing in attestation, business reorganization and litigation support.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve Texas A&M University and am privileged to be working with an outstanding group of proven professionals that ‘lead by example’ in distinguishing Texas A&M from its peers,” Paletta said.
He has remained active in the Texas A&M community, serving in volunteer leadership roles for Mays Business School and the 12th Man Foundation. He and his wife, Wanda, are longtime benefactors to Texas A&M and are members of The Association of Former Students’ Century Club, the A&M Legacy Society and the 12th Man Foundation’s Diamond Champions Council. Paletta also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays Business School and was honored as an Outstanding Alumnus in 2017.
Paletta also serves as chairman of the Board of Managers of Cerebrum Health Centers, a nationally recognized brain rehabilitation center. He has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Aggie Golf Association and the Vaquero Club in Westlake, as well as captain of the Dallas Area Champions Council. He has regularly visited campus to speak to business honors students about his experience in the finance and investment worlds. In 2016, he was recognized with an Outstanding Alumni Award from Mays Business School.
“Lou and Wanda are action-oriented volunteers who live by our Aggie core values,” said Tyson Voelkel ’96, president of the Texas A&M Foundation. “They embody the Aggie spirit and consistently support athletics and academics. I am proud to welcome Lou to our exceptional Board of Trustees and look forward to his influence on our endowment performance and impact on the university’s ‘Lead by Example’ campaign.”
Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities.