Rankings featured in Entrepreneur magazine

Mays Business School at Texas A&M University offers one of the best programs for students aspiring to launch their own businesses, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company named the school #18 on its list of “Top 25 Graduate Schools for Entrepreneurship of 2018.”

Mays broke into the top 20 among graduate programs this year after ranking 21st last year in that category and 20th among undergraduate programs. The Princeton Review’s lists of top schools for entrepreneurship education for 2018 was posted on Nov. 14. Texas A&M is one of 12 public schools on the list.

Entrepreneurship is one of the top areas of focus for Mays. “We strive to make it as easy as possible for students to launch their ideas,” said Richard Lester, executive director of the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays. “We draw from our supporters, alumni, and faculty and staff to provide business start-up acceleration, competitive opportunities, work experiences, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community and across the world.”

The McFerrin Center serves more than 3,000 students and more than 1,000 former students through 27 programs. It aims to enhance entrepreneurial student education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty, and alumni.

The Princeton Review tallied its lists of top 25 undergraduate and top 25 graduate schools based on a survey it conducted from June through August 2017. Out of more than 300 schools offering entrepreneurship studies that The Princeton Review surveyed, 38 institutions’ undergraduate and/or graduate programs made the roster of top schools for 2018.

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Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Rankings, Texas A&M

App acts as social media address book

Mays Business School’s focus on the entrepreneurial mindset is personified in the success of Mays marketing senior Dylan Secrest ’17, the CEO and creator of SyncLink.

Dylan SecrestSyncLink is a new iPhone application that allows users to consolidate friends on all social media platforms, as well as store other forms of contact information, in one place. His vision was to “simplify the way the world connects, and essentially create a social media address book.”

Once a user has downloaded the app and created an account, he can sync social media profiles onto the SyncLink account and share it with the world. From there, the user can connect with other SyncLink users on social media with the click of a button.

Secrest has released the app locally, and has garnered more than 400 users and plans to expand further. He and his business partners – Noah Kaplan of Cornell University and Jay Dickey ’17, who graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in political science and is now a prospective law student – recently joined Startup Aggieland, a business incubator on campus. They are working with several entrepreneurs-in-residence and software mentors, and have applied to MassChallenge Texas.

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Categories: Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Startup Aggieland, Students, Texas A&M

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School reflects the values of excellence revered by its namesake – Artie McFerrin, a long-time supporter of Texas A&M University and the name behind the $10 million gift that secured the center’s future.

An intimate group that included Artie McFerrin’s wife Dorothy, their daughter Jennifer, and a gathering of family, friends and university leaders attended a recent reception to celebrate the official naming of the center. The event at the Founders Club at Kyle Field served as a tribute to Artie McFerrin, and a thank-you to his family, who have supported Texas A&M for years.

Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Jr. ’65 (2016 photo)

“If you strive for success, if you dream of venturing into the unknown and emerging smarter and stronger, if you want to grow yourself so you can grow others, you not only have a place to go, but also a name forever attached to it,” Tyson Voelkel, president of the Texas A&M Foundation, said at the event.

The center, which serves more than 3,000 students and more than 1,000 former students through 27 programs, is an international leader in entrepreneurial education. It aims to enhance entrepreneurial student education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and alumni. With the support of a volunteer network, corporate supporters, faculty, and staff, the McFerrin Center has been able to provide business start-up acceleration, competitive opportunities, work experiences, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community and across the world.

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Categories: Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Selfless service, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M

Every year, the Mays Business Honors program takes a corporate trip to a U.S. city in an effort to learn from corporate businesses as well as learn about the culture of the city. This year, they traveled to Portland, Ore. to visit the Nike Headquarters and Nossa Familia Coffee on Oct. 18-22.

While in Portland, the students learned about the business strategies for both companies, and also had free time to explore the city however they pleased.

During the trip, students learned about not only the companies, but also about business as a whole. Frazer Mulugeta, Business Honors student class of 2019, said the trip “showed [him] that creating team buy-in is possible, and that communicating goals and motives can help foster a culture of excellence.” He also said being on the same page with others in order to serve a higher purpose can benefit not only the individuals, but also the group. Mulugeta plans on incorporating what he learned on the trip both in his professional career and his relationships with others.

According to Allison Riffe, Business Honors ’20, Delaney Elliot at Nike revealed to her the emotional power of marketing. “I cried when she showed the video of the shoes made for individuals with disabilities,” Riffe said. “Nike was the first time that I have ever felt passionate about the power of marketing in a corporate setting.”

Augusto, the owner of Nossa Familia Coffee, enhanced George Smith’s perspective on implementing a value throughout an entire company. Smith, Business Honors ’19, said Augusto “truly embraced the essence of family” and “inspired [him] to dream big but never forget about [his] terminal values.” Swift said he will create a similar, value-centered atmosphere within his own teams, community, and family.

“The people I encountered in Portland were an example of how powerful a positive and purposeful mindset can be in achieving your goals, related to business or not,” said Chelsea Rios, Business Honors ’18. Rios mentioned that the people behind the organizations they visited took steps that aligned with their company’s values before anything else, despite any financial obstacles or competition, which was important to her.

Everett Francis, Business Honors ’19, captured the special moments, learnings, and fun of the trip in the following video. See for yourself the kind of impact this trip had on the Business Honors students who embarked on this journey.

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

HOUSTON – A student team from Purdue University won the $6,000 first-place prize in the inaugural Healthcare Analytics Case Competition sponsored by health and well-being company Humana Inc. and Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. It was held at Mays’ CityCentre Houston location.

More than 300 master’s-level students representing 109 teams from 19 major universities in the U.S. registered for the competition, which showcased students’ analytical abilities to solve a real-world business problem. Students enrolled full-time in accredited Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Information Systems, Master of Public Health, or Master of Business Administration programs at educational institutions based in the United States were eligible to enter.

Purdue students Hongxia Shi, Shenyang Yang, and Xiangyi Che received the top prize after a presentation Thursday, Nov. 9 to an executive panel of judges.

Purdue team members Hongxia Shi, Shenyang Yang, and Xiangyi Che won first place. They are flanked by Arvind Mahajan of Mays Business School, left, and Vipin Gopal of Humana, right.

The second-place prize of $3,000 was awarded to Martin Shapiro, Lianne Ho, and David Sung of the University of Southern California, and the third-place prize of $1,500 was presented to Yvonne Yu, David Proudman, and Christina Murphy of the University of California, Berkeley.

“The Mays MBA Program is pleased to partner with Humana to bring together the brightest graduate students in the country to use data analytics in solving a real-world business problem in health care, one of the three Grand Challenge areas of Mays Business School,” said Arvind Mahajan, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays.

The analytics case received by the students was designed to be ambiguous, similar to a real-world business problem. The students were asked to predict the likelihood of a newly-diagnosed Type II diabetes patient with a Medicare Advantage health plan being admitted to an inpatient facility within a year and then the likelihood of readmission within a year. Students had to evaluate more than 900 variables, including age of the patient, gender, geography, type of health plan, and patient medication adherence.

“We are very impressed with not only the number of entries to the competition but also the level of expertise shown by the students in response to our scenario,” said Vipin Gopal, Enterprise Vice President for Humana. “We hope this competition inspires the students to think about careers in health care and challenges them to use their analytical skills to help shape the way our industry delivers care.”

The teams were judged based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to establish key performance indicators aligned to business needs
  • Quantitative analysis identifying key business insights
  • Ability to provide unique insights for business improvements
  • Professionalism and visualization skills

For assistance, applicants were allowed to pick from an array of tools, including R. Python, SAS, SPSS, Matlab, and Excel to help solve the problem.

 

 

Categories: Featured Stories, Health Care, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School senior Leslie Bonorden was selected to compete for a National Merit Scholarship after winning a $5,000 Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) during the first round of the advanced retail case study. Only one student from each university could be submitted to compete for the next round of scholarships, and Bonorden’s work proved to be Texas A&M University’s best.

In the first round of the competition, competing students evaluated the recent partnership with Etsy, an online marketplace for buying and selling unique goods, and Macy’s, the 159-year-old retail chain. Students were asked to (1) identify the end-use customer the collaboration should target and (2) identify Etsy sellers who would create the most demand. They also developed a marketing campaign and six-month financial plan for The Etsy Shop. Each winner received a $5,000 scholarship. Eight Mays students were named 2017 YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Recipients, including Bonorden, winning a total of $40,000 in scholarships.

Out of the eight scholarship recipients, she was chosen to compete for scholarships that were as high as $35,000 in the next round of the competition. She worked on the case study throughout the summer while doing an internship with Kohl’s.

Only eight finalists out of all the universities across the nation were selected, and although Bonorden was not selected as a finalist, the process was a great learning experience for her. She said that this project “taught [her] how to clearly communicate [her] thoughts and ideas in a fun and creative way,” and it also taught her that if she works hard at anything, she will be proud no matter what the result.

Cheryl Bridges, a professor of marketing at Mays, teaches the Advanced Retail Case Study course. She said she could not be prouder of Bonorden’s work, and how well she represented Mays Business School and Texas A&M in this highly competitive national competition. “When Leslie won the first-round scholarship last year, the Fashion Scholarship Fund Organization selected her paper as an example of a perfect one,” said Bridges. “I think this is a really good story about how our business school students compete and represent us so well in the fashion and retailing industries.”

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

David Williams ’79, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of Noble Corporation PLC, kicked off the Mays Transformational Leaders Speaker Series with an overview of his industry and some advice for Aggies. He spoke to MBA students, undergraduate students, and faculty and staff members.

Mays Dean Eli Jones said when introducing Williams that he was a good fit for the series. “A Mays transformational leader is someone who has an ethical mindset, a global mindset, is analytical, and has the ability to embrace change and to try new things,” he said. “That’s what you are, Mays students, and that’s what Mr. Williams is. He is one of us.”

Williams obtained his bachelor’s degree in marketing at Texas A&M University. He was selected one of Mays’ Outstanding Alumni in 2009 for his career achievements, as well as his service and dedication to Texas A&M. His first job out of college was in a shipyard in 1979, and he has been in the offshore drilling service industry since 1981.

“I have traveled just about everywhere except Antarctica, and I wouldn’t trade my job for anything,” Williams said.  “It’s hard sometimes, it’s volatile sometimes and our work is complex, but our business model is really pretty simple:  We punch holes in the ground for money – that’s it. Our oil company clients hire us to drill wells below the oceans of the world for a fee.” …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Energy, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

By Venky Shankar

11/11 or November 11 is celebrated as the World’s Singles Day. It is an entertaining event widely popular among Chinese people. November 11 was chosen because it contains multiple instances of the number one that best represents an individual alone. In recent times, it has also become the day with the biggest single day sales. Promoted by giant Chinese e-commerce retailer Alibaba as a mega sales day event, revenues from the Singles Day has grown exponentially from just $100 million in 2009 to $18 billion in 2016. This year, Alibaba’s Singles Day sales are expected to reach $22 billion.

But Alibaba is not alone in this journey. JD.com, its main Chinese online rival, has teamed up with Tencent, another Chinese online behemoth, and Walmart to cash in on the binge buying that takes place that day. Although Alibaba cornered about 71 percent of overall single day revenues last year, its competitors may be able to bite into more of its share this year.

Such is the volume of online sales on Singles Day that it trounces sales done on other mega event days, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Amazon Prime Day, which are also expected to rise this year. By comparison, Black Friday and Cyber Monday online sales totaled $6.8 billion in 2016.

Why is Singles Day important for the future? By 2022, Chinese middle-class shoppers are predicted to surpass U.S. shoppers both in number (550 million vs. 340 million) and spending. Because it is online, Singles Day offers the potential of tapping into global shoppers for maximizing sales revenue for many U.S. retailers as well.

With all these online excitement, where is retail headed? Globally, more commerce is moving rapidly online as shoppers use more of their mobile devices and online channels to browse, compare, click, purchase and return items, and communicate with others and retailers.

That doesn’t mean physical stores are getting irrelevant. True, some of the predominantly brick-and-mortar retailers such as Sears and Macy’s are struggling. However, omnichannel retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy are thriving. Even pure e-commerce retailers such as Amazon are moving offline. Amazon is opening physical bookstores, bought Wholefoods, partnering with Kohl’s to handle product returns, and is testing a new self-scanning and electronic paying store concept called Amazon Go. Even Alibaba has acquired In-Time department stores and has its own experimental He Ma supermarket stores. In addition, it has enabled 100,000 convenience stores to become smart centers. Shoppers want 360-degree access to retail from multiple touchpoints and demand a seamless experience. The retail universe is becoming an increasingly mobile-led omnichannel universe.

Whatever the prediction for the future, one thing is clear: Sales on Singles day is going to get only bigger this year.

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Venky Shankar is the Coleman Chair Professor in Marketing at Mays Business School as well as director of research at Texas A&M University’s Center for Retailing Studies. His areas of specialization include digital business, marketing strategy, innovation, retailing, international marketing, and pricing.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M

Eleven M.B. Zale Leadership Scholars traveled to the Houston headquarters of francesca’s® on Oct. 27 to learn about the company first-hand and further solidify the school’s partnership with the company.

President and CEO Steve Lawrence kicked off the morning. He explained the launch of francesca’s® in 1999 as a single boutique store in Houston, and its rapid rise to becoming a publicly traded company in 2012. Today the fashion chain operates 670 boutiques in 48 states across the country.

Lawrence also talked about the company’s decision to move its headquarters to an industrial park. Every department operates in one building, including its distribution center. He added that having everyone at the same location made it much simpler to work collaboratively, access samples, and troubleshoot problems.

Gift, home & beauty Senior Buyer Sadie Price addressed common misconceptions on what people typically think a buyer’s role is. It is not easy or glamorous as portrayed on television, and not about free merchandise or runway shows. “Success as a buyer requires loving product, creativity, innovation, data analysis, trend research, and thinking outside the box,” Price explained. She praised francesca’s® work culture, adding that it supports career growth and provides a fun environment. Employees can wear jeans every day and workout clothes a couple times a week.

The group also heard from Katelin Pollock, Manager of Visual, at francesca’s®. The company recently rolled out updates to brighten stores, highlight merchandise, increase capacity, and enhance window presentations. Pollock pointed out that 53 percent of francesca’s® traffic comes from walk-by onlookers attracted by each boutique’s visual appeal. She also explained how they have personalized boutiques to better fit their local region. For example, stores in Texas carry more artwork emphasizing the state of Texas, and the College Station store features maroon merchandise during football season.

Senior Planner Maurizio Menchaca ’09, EVP, eCommerce/CMO Erik Lautier, EVP – Chief Boutiques Officer David Minnix, and Senior Director of Real Estate Michael Stanley also addressed the group.

After hearing from each department, the students participated in a facilities tour of francesca’s®. They saw the warehouse, distribution center, in-house marketing, and photography studio. SVP of Supply Chain Ray Birden and Senior Buyer Cassie Schirra led the tour. Birden described how the warehouse can package all of the materials needed to open a new store into a single trailer, from flooring, chandeliers, dressing rooms, and more. The students also observed the process for online order fulfillment and store replenishment shipments.

Mays Business School is francesca’s® top collegiate partner in hiring. Two of the three interns last year were Aggies, and all interns will join francesca’s® after graduation. Unlike many brick-and-mortar retailers, francesca’s® is growing – and rich with career opportunities for students.

Senior marketing major and Zale Scholar Aricka Anderson ’18 added, “Opportunities like these can be rare to come by for students, and francesca’s® truly gave me an authentic preview of a day-in-the-life working for one of our nation’s top retailers!”

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School’s Department of Management hosted an extension conference Oct. 26-27 that explored new directions in international corporate governance research. The event, which was an extension of the main Strategic Management Society’s (SMS) annual conference in Houston, took place at the Mays CityCentre facility. The extension conference built on the SMS Annual Conference theme of “Convergence and Intensity of Global Competition.” It focused on the continued importance of new directions in research on international corporate governance.

Professors Laszlo Tihanyi and Mike Withers served as co-organizers of the event. During the conference, a number of panel discussions, featuring leading scholars whose research has helped move the international corporate governance literature to its current prominent position in the strategic management discipline, were available to conference attendees.

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Categories: Departments, Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Texas A&M