Providing 14 promising junior faculty members and advanced Ph.D. students from around the country the chance to showcase their academic work and receive constructive feedback from their peers as well as an elite group of 15 senior scholars brought in for the event, the Department of Finance at Mays Business School hosted the third annual Young Scholars Finance Consortium March 22-24. The first two consortiums were hosted at Mays’ CityCentre facility in Houston.
The consortium’s topic alternates each year among corporate finance / financial intermediation and asset pricing/investments. The 2018 Consortium focused on corporate finance and financial intermediation.
Activities at the three-day event at the George Hotel and Mays included a cocktail party, 1.5 days of presentation, a keynote address, and a networking dinner. Mays Executive Associate Dean Duane Ireland kicked off the event Friday morning. The keynote speaker was Peter M. DeMarzo, a chaired professor from Stanford University. From all of the Ph.D. student submissions, MIT student Daniel Green was the winner of the Best Ph.D. Student Paper Award.
Participants – many of whom had never been to College Station – said they were “impressed with our facilities, our faculty, the quality of the program, and how well it was organized,” said one of the organizers, Mays Associate Professor of Finance Christa Bouwman.
“Our event is truly unique,” Bouwman said of the rich opportunity for the Ph.D. students and junior faculty members to present and hear feedback from such renowned scholars in the audience.
After working together for 23 years, Ben Guill and Joseph “Joe Bob” Edwards know how to use their passions and healthy relationships to build a successful private equity firm. Although neither graduated from Texas A&M University, they both feel they share a unique bond with the school that has led them to speak on behalf of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series, which recognizes business leaders in today’s society and gives them the opportunity to share their professional advice and expertise with the Mays community.
Guill holds an MBA in finance from Wharton School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in English from Princeton University. After receiving a bachelor’s degree with a focus in finance from the University of Texas at Austin, Edwards moved to Houston to start working for Simmons & Company International, where he met Guill. Three years later they both moved on to work for First Reserve Corporation, where they opened the firm’s Houston office and led First Reserve’s investment efforts in the oilfield services sector. The pair eventually left to start White Deer Energy, where Guill serves as managing partner.
Guill started out the session at Mays by giving one key piece of advice before jumping into discussions of White Deer Energy and opening up the floor for students to ask questions. “If you are lucky enough to get a job before business graduate school, do not think you have to go back,” he said. “Business school is not for everyone, so do not go to grad school just because you don’t know what to do.”…Read more
Companies need to continually look for different ways to engage employees in order to compete in today’s rapidly changing world. Multinational professional services firm EY, which was named Mays Business School’s 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year, uses a number of strategies to involve and retain employees and improve their performance.
As part of Mays’ EY Day on March 22, EY Southwest Talent Leader Allison Allen spoke to graduate students who are studying human resource management. During her presentation, Allen described the importance of flexible scheduling, mentoring, sponsorships, and employee engagement to EY’s efforts.
Allen, who leads a 48-member HR team at the global services company, stressed that the company’s business agenda and people agenda need to be the same thing. “You always need people to drive your business agenda so you need to think like a business person. You need to make sure that human resources is always at the table so that you know what the business agenda is and are able to drive it through your people.”
She is a strong advocate for always communicating the reasons for business decisions to employees. “We often tell people what to do, but we don’t always tell them why it is important,” she said.
Allen noted that the Southwest Region has taken this approach one step further through actively seeking employee feedback and engagement. “When we are developing our HR strategy, we’re going to co-develop it with the people who work for this company and they’re going to help us implement it and we’re going to collaborate,” she said. “The insight that I’ve gotten from that has been mind-blowing in terms of the humility of thinking what I and the HR team would have done on our own if we had not partnered with our clients.”
She credits this level of employee engagement with EY’s Southwest Region consistently having higher employee satisfaction ratings than the company’s other North and South America regions.
Helping employees find balance
One of EY’s primary strategies to energize and retain its workforce is through offering a flexible work schedule. “With the advent of the iPhone and all these devices where you’re always connected, the days when people’s personal and professional lives are starkly different are gone,” said Allen, who has 18 years of experience in HR. “If you don’t allow people to do what they love to do and do it in a way that’s comfortable to them, you’re not going to be able retain them.”
Allen, who was named EY’s 2017 Working Mother of the Year, has personally experienced the benefits of workplace flexibility. “One of the things that really channels me and gives me the focus to work really, really hard is the flexibility that EY gives me to be with my family,” she said. “One of the things that I’ve found in myself and seen in our firm is that when people have the ability to do what they love personally – whether it’s running a marathon, raising children, or volunteering in the community – and you give them the opportunity to do that activity fully, they are so thankful, appreciative, and renewed that they do a much better job day-to-day.”
An empowering culture
Allen also believes that successful organizations offer a sense of belonging and pride for its staff. She pointed to one of her own defining experiences: a college internship at Southwest Airlines. “(I appreciated the opportunity) to work for a company that is similar to Texas A&M in the fact that there is tremendous pride in working there and an incredibly strong culture built on a sense of belonging,” she said. “You are looking at how that culture and sense of belonging empowers people to do the very best job they can do every day. I saw the power of that and what it can do for people.”
She noted that EY is building a culture that not only encourages a sense of belonging, but also provides employees with new professional challenges. “People in the future are going to go to a job based on the experiences they’re going to get; they’re not getting bored because they are challenged and being inspired,” Allen said.
Allen believes that mentors and sponsors are critical in helping employees, especially women and minorities, reach their potential. “A mentor is like a counselor who is giving you career insight and guidance. They are there to help you move through different stages in your career and help you achieve what you want to achieve,” she said. “A sponsor is in a position of influence and is willing to use that influence or their political capital on your behalf.”
She believes that companies need to place more emphasis on engaging sponsors to help employees. “You can give somebody all the great advice, insight and tutelage possible, but if you don’t give them the opportunity to implement that information, then a lot of those lessons are for naught,” she said, adding that sponsors also often can see the person’s talent and identify new opportunities before the employee does. “Sponsors know your worth when you don’t know it.”
A bright future for HR
Allen is optimistic about the future role that corporate human resources can play in making employees’ lives more meaningful. “If we take out some of the mundane day-to-day things that people do, whether that’s data entry or some of the routine things that a software program can do, that actually gives humans the opportunity to do what they were born to do, which is to connect,” she said. “We have that opportunity now more than ever before in the history of the world. What could happen? It’s an incredible opportunity but we will need HR to help guide that level of interaction, to help people rise to the occasion, and to create jobs that we haven’t heard about or thought about.”
Positive economic trends – including lower interest rates, high consumer confidence, and low unemployment at 4.1 percent – continue the encouraging pace as we enter the spring shopping season.
Chocolate bunnies and baskets are just around the corner
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation and Prosperity Insights & Analytics, Americans spent a record $18.4 billion on Easter in 2017, an average of $152 per person, with estimates expected to nearly match those numbers this year. Of all planned Easter purchases, 89 percent involve candy. Traditional treats like chocolate bunnies, cream-filled eggs, jellybeans, and marshmallow chicks will continue to top shopping lists.
Toys and crafts are still a hit
There are plenty of basket stuffers for the little ones, and you don’t have to spend much. Discount stores like Dollar General offer a wide variety of Easter gifts. In fact, consumers will look to discount stores more than online or traditional department stores this year. For special surprises, Personal Creations offers customized toys and accessories for your child’s Easter basket. For convenience, Amazon features an assortment of toy-filled plastic eggs in bulk, delivered to your doorstep in two days or less.
Easter Sunday is a time for gathering with family over a special meal. Shared experiences are highly valued. This year, 60 percent of Americans will visit family and friends, and 58 percent will cook at home. Southern Living and Tablespoon offer a wide variety of recipes, along with special treats for the kids. If you don’t feel like spending time in the kitchen, there are thousands of restaurants with special Easter brunch hours for April 1st.
The Jewish holiday of Passover will be celebrated from March 30 through April 7. Consumers seeking kosher-friendly items is a major focus this time of year. Not only are kosher foods more easily available today, but they have become increasingly popular because of the high demand for gluten-free and all-natural products. Since 2012, the number of Passover food products has more than doubled to over 53,000. Special culinary creativity is important, since the absence of leavening is a central practice of this tradition. There are numerous Passover recipes and a variety of products ranging from the primary food of matzah to special meats and kosher wines.
Time for home repairs?
Spring is the time of year for consumers to spend more on home improvements and new appliances. The Home Depot and Lowe’s recently announced they would hire around 130,000 temporary workers for the peak season of spring. In addition, Lowe’s also announced that the company will pay employees up to $1,000 in bonuses and expand benefits in 2018 as a result of the recent tax reform.
Goodbye to another historical brand
While the macro-trends for 2018 are positive, Toys “R” Us recently announced the company will close or sell all of its U.S. stores. Liquidation sales have already started. The retailing giant known for the jingle “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us kid” filed for bankruptcy in late 2017. Declining sales, burdensome debt, and heavy competition from both digital players and big-box stores proved to be too much for the once iconic brand.
“Retailers are still adjusting to changed consumer habits. There will be more store closing this year from retailers who haven’t evolved their business models enough,” says Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School. “But, 2017 predictions of the ‘death of retail’ or the click-bait phrase of ‘retail-apocalypse’ are wrong. Retail is very much alive.”
As part of the celebrations honoring EY as Mays Business School’s 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year, business honors students met with a roundtable of professionals in various roles and offices around the country.
The professionals in the conversation included:
Randy Cain ’82, Vice Chair, Region Managing Partner
Ellen Glazerman, Executive Director, EY Foundation
Students quickly discovered, however, that this was to be a very interactive discussion, with the professionals from EY turning the tables – seeking advice and opinions from the students on their knowledge of changing technology and what they see and hear in the business world today. The team members remarked that they hold the opinions and mindsets of the young in high regard.
Cain put it best when he stated, “young people are driving the experiences the corporate world is talking about. It doesn’t matter the service line, they are all being disrupted.” This disruption comes from changing technology and a future that is going to be “fascinating” to watch, Cain continued. The team believes wholeheartedly that Texas A&M University and Mays Business School is making the right investments in learning experiences to prepare their students for that future.
Baumann commented that “change is often and forward,” and wanted to know what things the students were going to focus on and stretch themselves to do in preparation for that change. She added that “culture is the reason behind the longevity” at EY, and that a good company culture is key in adapting to change.
Schumacher affirmed the rest of her team members’ sentiments when she stated “it almost doesn’t matter which technologies you learn,” adding that students need to “get more comfortable with technology in general, because technology is a big enabler” in today’s society.
The team ended the roundtable discussion by providing the students with a vote of confidence and showcasing exactly why the partnership with Mays Business School is such a big deal for EY. They love to hire Aggies. “All of the skills and responsibilities you learn in organizations during your time in college are beyond valuable,” Glazerman said. The team agreed that the organizational experience at A&M is something that sets Aggie students apart from other universities.
Mays Business School recognized global leader EY as its 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year during a day-long celebration on March 22. Corporate executives participated in an official award ceremony. They also gave presentations and led roundtable discussions with Mays undergraduate and graduate students on topics ranging from creating an engaged corporate culture, supporting employees, disruptive technology, and the professional of the future.
The Corporate Partner of the Year award honors EY’s 35-year relationship with Mays. “Some people think this award is about the money, but it’s not,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones ’82. “It’s because of EY’s significant investment of time, energy, and ideas in our school. Just having the EY brand associated with the Mays brand means a lot worldwide.”
A meaningful corporate partnership
EY has contributed $5 million to the school and recently made a $2 million commitment to name the Department of Accounting. “EY has been the largest donor to the accounting program and one of the largest to the college,” said Jim Benjamin, the head of Mays’ Department of Accounting.
In addition, EY leaders have been active on numerous Mays advisory boards and provided feedback on curriculum and course content. The multinational professional services firm also has hired hundreds of Aggies for internships and full- time positions after graduation. “Part of the success of our program is attracting great students,” Benjamin said. “Great students are interested in programs where there are great outcomes – where there are internships, jobs and great career opportunities. Corporate partnerships like the one we have with EY have made that happen.”
A pipeline for the next generation of transformational leaders
In turn, EY executives value the characteristics that Aggies bring to the table. “When Aggies come to work with us, they are well-trained, which you’d expect,” Randy Cain ’82, EY’s vice chair and region managing partner. “But they also are transformational leaders. They are people with a work ethic that is second to none. Our purpose is to build a better working world and I often say that I cannot find a place that better matches that then Texas A&M. It’s been a wonderful 35-year journey and one that will continue forever. It is also a partnership that is very important to us.”
By Molly Kulpa ’15
Marketing Specialist, Texas A&M Foundation NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Support to Texas A&M: Jacqueline and Alan Mitchell ’85 Aggies on Wall Street Endowed Excellence Fund
Even when far from their alma mater, Aggies continue to help other Aggies succeed. Jacqueline and Alan Mitchell ’85 of New York City share a passion for giving Aggie students an advantage—particularly for helping them get their foot in the door on Wall Street
The couple established an endowment to permanently provide funding for Mays Business School’s Aggies on Wall Street Program, which provides opportunities to students interested in investment banking, including internship placement and a two-week trip to New York where they meet Wall Street professionals at leading firms. Students who successfully complete the Aggies on Wall Street program are awarded a Certificate in Investment Banking upon graduation. In addition to giving his financial resources, Alan also spends time with Mays Business Honors students to share career advice and serves on the Wall Street Advisory Board for the Department of Finance.
“Investment banking firms in New York tend to recruit from East Coast schools, and primarily Ivy League graduates,” Alan said. “Schools in the South just don’t carry the same name recognition when it comes to recruiting in New York, but we hope this endowed fund will expand the Aggies on Wall Street Program and boost the number of Aggie graduates working on Wall Street over time.”
Alan’s career in investment banking led the couple to New York City, while Jackie’s work as a natural gas trader translated well to the Wall Street atmosphere.
In addition to their support of Aggies on Wall Street, Jackie also serves on the Board of Trustees at The Convent of the Sacred Heart, an all-girls school that their children attend in New York City. They also support the Children’s Museum of the East End on Long Island, the East Hampton Historical Society, The Thomas Moran Trust and the Sigma Chi Fraternity. The Mitchells have also established a family foundation to be more focused with their giving and to provide a family tradition for future giving.
The Lead by Example campaign, Texas A&M University’s third comprehensive fundraising campaign, began on Jan. 1, 2012. With a goal to raise $4 billion by 2020, it is the third largest public higher education campaign in the nation and the largest ever in Texas. Donations of any size to the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation count toward the campaign total, which stands at $2.91 billion as of January 31, 2018, representing 72 percent of the goal. Learn more at leadbyexample.tamu.edu.
Two of Mays Business School’s MBA programs have moved into the upper tier of business programs in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings.
The Professional MBA program at Mays Business School moved into the top 25 public Professional/Part-Time MBA programs in the rankings released Tuesday. It improved 21 spots in the rankings – the best increase statewide. Overall, the Mays Professional MBA Program is ranked 39th.
Program Director Michael Alexander attributes the ranking to the quality of the students – their intellectual capacity and the valuable work experience they bring to the classroom. “We continue to attract highly competent and engaged professionals with a desire to discover new skills and knowledge they can immediately apply to their organizations and their careers,” he said.
One-half of the Professional MBA program ranking methodology is based on peer assessments, which Alexander said proves the program’s consistent excellence. “Across the country, our peer institutions continue to view Mays’ Professional MBA program as one of the best,” he said. “Our curriculum, the quality of our faculty, our faculty scholarship, and the overall academic quality of our Professional MBA Program have an excellent reputation.”
Full-Time MBA program in Top 15
Texas A&M University’s Full-Time MBA program moved into the top 15 public schools with a ranking of 14th. Overall, the Mays Full-Time MBA program is ranked 36th. Both rankings reflect improvements of two places.
Shannon Deer, director of the Full-Time MBA program at Mays, said Texas A&M University “continues to be a strong place for students to discover themselves as transformational leaders.”
“Employers and peers recognize the vibrant learning community and strong brand of Texas A&M University and Mays Business School,” she said. “With consistently strong employment rates and salaries, our students are able to transform their careers in the full-time program. We are proud to work alongside our students to help them achieve new career goals.”
Arvind Mahajan, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays, said it is a good year for graduate programs Mays. “The success of our former students is a concrete testament to the success of our MBA programs,” he said. “We admit students who are curious to discover new knowledge, transform themselves, and upon graduation, impact their organizations, communities, and even the world. We strive hard in our MBA programs is to produce transformational leaders.”
The U.S. News & World Report rankings come on the heels of a favorable ranking of the Full-Time MBA program by Expansion Magazine. In the Best Global MBA programs 2018, the Mays program improved to 50th overall and 8th public. In its 2016 rankings, Mays was 56th (8th public).
Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students has named one member of Mays faculty and staff among the 24 recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Achievement Awards: Xenophon Koufteros, Department of Information and Operations Management.
The 2018 Distinguished Achievement Awards will be formally presented at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 27, during ceremonies in Rudder Theatre on the Texas A&M campus. In recognition of their achievements, each recipient will receive a cash gift, an engraved watch, and a commemorative plaque.
Koufteros is a Professor of Supply Chain Management at Mays Business School, where he also holds the Jenna & Calvin R. Guest Professorship in Business. He also serves as the director of the supply chain consortium at Mays. Koufteros has published more than 40 articles in refereed journals including Journal of Operations Management, Production and Operations Management, Decision Sciences, Journal of Supply Chain Management, and Structural Equations Modeling.
The 2018 recipients, along with their departments/affiliations are as follows:
Norma Arizpe, Department of Hispanic Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Glenda Byrns ’07, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development
Don T. Conlee ’94, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Geosciences
Joanne Hardy, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Mark T. Holtzapple, Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
Xenophon Koufteros, Department of Information and Operations Management, Mays Business School
Krishna R. Narayanan, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
Michelle D. Pine ’02, Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Cynthia A. Riccio, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development
Gary Wingenbach, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Nancy Amato, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
Perla B. Balbuena, Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
Andrew Dessler, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Geosciences
Catherine Eckel, Department of Economics, College of Liberal Arts
Mladen Kezunovic, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
Daniel A. Singleton, Department of Chemistry, College of Science
For Individual Student Relations:
Angela Hairrell ’91, Office of Student Affairs, College of Medicine
Daniel A. McAdams, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Nagamangala “N.K.” Anand, Executive Associate Dean, College of Engineering
For Extension, Outreach, Continuing Education and Professional Development:
Ellen R. Jordan, Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Samuell R. Hawes ’81, Office of the Commandant, Division of Student Affairs
David Wentling ’13, Office of Student Services, College of Architecture
For Graduate Mentoring:
Noah D. Cohen, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Timothy Lightfoot, Department of Health and Kinesiology, College of Education and Human Development
RILA is the trade association for America’s largest and most respected retailers, representing more than 200 members. The partnership between Texas A&M and RILA strengthens corporate relationships with current CRS partners like H-E-B and Dollar General, while connecting CRS with other top retailers such as Best Buy, The Home Depot, and Apple.
The (R)Tech Center for Innovation, launched by RILA in 2017, focuses on helping retailers navigate the industry’s transformation through research, innovative technologies, and creating a culture of innovation – exposing retailers to the technologies and innovations driving change in retail.
“For 35 years, Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School has promoted retailing as an aspirational career choice. Our graduates possess the business acumen to drive sales at America’s largest companies. The partnership with RILA enhances our ability to train students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and build essential technical skills so they can become transformational leaders in retailing,” said Kelli Hollinger, director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M.
The (R)Tech Talent Pipeline will attract and expose young graduates with tech backgrounds to opportunities in the industry, helping shape a 21st-century retail workforce as retailers continue to innovate.
“We are excited to bring innovation to the forefront of retail and provide a test bed for new concepts, technologies, and user experiences. Supported by strong research in the area of design, augmented reality and consumer behavior, we expect this will lead to significant new insights into today’s consumer, and what retail of the future will hold,” said Amy Hillman, dean of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Hillman was among the Outstanding Doctoral Alumni from Mays Business School in 2008.
Beginning this year, RILA and the (R)Tech Center for Innovation will address the need for recruiting employees with technical skills in three phases. Phase one will focus on four strategies that initiate the talent pipeline: hosting hackathons that expose students to retail challenges, facilitating a global case competition for creative student ideas, creating multi-use experimental stores with physical locations on select campuses, and launching an online certification specifically for mid-to-senior-level retail executives to educate them on innovative trends. Phases two and three will involve a program to recruit new talent into the industry and help retailers build tech skills in-house.