The ventures at this year’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans (EBV), hosted by Mays Business School’s McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, ranged from network solutions for small businesses to artisan products to novel applications of artificial intelligence. The 21 veterans in this year’s class came from across the United States and represented nearly every branch of the military.
Since 2008, the McFerrin Center has hosted the intensive training program developed to help disabled veterans develop the competencies and skills necessary to create and sustain an entrepreneurial or small business venture. …Read more
The 2018 back-to-school shopping season is underway, and spending is expected to reach almost $27.6 billion – nearly 50 percent of annual school-related spending for a quarter of U.S. households. The one-month countdown to the first day of classes is under way, as many school districts have a start date of Monday, August 20.
In-store vs. online
Brick-and-mortar stores remain in the lead with back-to-school shoppers, but online spending continues to increase. Based on a survey by Deloitte, 57 percent of back-to-school shopping will be conducted in-store compared to 23 percent online, with 20 percent undecided how they will shop. Up from 2017, online shopping has gained ground in sales of school supplies, clothing, and computers. However, in-store sales are up for electronic gadgets. Despite the increasing push from online shopping, 96 percent of parents will head to a physical store at least once during the back-to-school shopping season, according to RetailMeNot. …Read more
Two Mays Business School MBA graduates, Thomas Dowlearn and Willie Dennis, were included in Poets & Quants’ 2018 list of “MBAs To Watch.” The criteria for inclusion on the list MBAs who possess unique backgrounds, innate talent, and long-term goals that make them transformational leaders to watch in the coming years.
Dowlearn is working toward an MBA while pursuing an MD. The co-op is designed to prepare students to tackle the managerial, financial, and leadership aspects of the medical field.
He said he chose Mays Business School because of how welcomed he felt throughout the admissions process. He felt he was surrounded by a group of people who believed in him, and he sensed the deep sense of pride that people associated with Texas A&M tend to have. The advice he would give to students looking to pursue an MBA is asking yourself “why” every day because it will help you discover yourself and find purpose in your decisions.
Since being at Mays, Dowlearn competed in and placed second at the Venture Challenge as well as earning the Best Presenter Award in 2017.
Dennis earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s in business management at the University of Texas at Arlington. He worked for Exxon Mobil as a revenue accountant and then Multiview Inc. as a financial reporting associate. When deciding which MBA program to pursue, Dennis said was intrigued with the worldwide recognition of Mays Business School. What sealed the deal was that Mays has one of the best ROI’s of a top-ranked business program.
His advice for students looking to get their MBAs: Be yourself and be able to tell your story in a unique way. Be able to understand what you want to accomplish by going to business school, particularly Mays, and be able to deliver that message to the admissions committee as well.
While at Mays, the faculty and staff nominated Dennis to be recognized as one of the “Best and Brightest” business school students in Texas, which led to him being honored as a Texas Business Hall of Fame Scholar in 2017.
The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship welcomed 22 veterans to Aggieland for the 11th annual Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) on the evening of Saturday, July 14.
EBV at Texas A&M University is an exceptional initiative that leverages the resources and infrastructure of higher education to provide entrepreneurial skills and small business management training to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities. Part of a nationwide consortia of nine universities offering EBV to disabled veteran entrepreneurs, the overall goal of Texas A&M’s program is to open the door to economic opportunity for our veterans and their families by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining a commercial venture.
The opening ceremonies were held at the Association of Former Students with a welcome address made by Kathryn Greenwade ’88 of the Association of Former Students and opening remarks made by David Shimek ’86 of the program’s underwriter, The Reynolds and Reynolds Company.
Honoring the past, encouraging the future
Ron Poynter, retired Army helicopter pilot and EBV Class of 2012 graduate, was recognized with the Robin ’76 & Robert Starnes ’72 EBV Outstanding Alumni Award and delivered an encouraging and thoughtful speech to this year’s participants. Poynter encouraged the 2018 class to stay focused and engaged in their industry’s trends and to be prepared for a lot of hard work.
The program consists of a 21-day online course followed by a nine-day residency at Texas A&M. During the in-residence portion of EBV, participants will spend the week attending lectures and workshops at Mays Business School’s Center for Executive Development, where they will learn about enterprise basics, lean startup methodologies and small business growth strategies. The bootcamp extends well into the evening hours with individual breakout meetings between participants and volunteer mentors from the local community. Thanks to the generosity of the program’s individual and private-sector sponsors, EBV is offered at no cost to the participants.
This year’s class includes business ventures ranging from an eco-friendly flower alternative to healthcare to drone-imaging services, with nearly every venture focused on employing and giving back to fellow veterans.
With bright eyes and smiling faces, 38 rising high school seniors enjoyed the first annual Mays Transformational Leadership Academy. It gives participants the opportunity to experience college life at Mays Business School including taking classes led by Texas A&M University professors on subjects such as public speaking, leadership, business model development, as well as the majors that are offered at Mays. The participants heard from corporate panels ranging from JP Morgan, Deloitte Consulting, and KPMG.
The objectives of this program are to:
Cultivate the leadership and academic potential of rising high school seniors
Allow students to experience on a first-hand basis a microcosm of the collegiate and professional lives of business students
Introduce talented students to career opportunities in business disciplines
Provide information about admission, scholarship funding, and high-impact programs available at Mays
“It is not about starting the company, it is about what you do today with an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Clinical Professor Kris Muir.
In addition to these objectives, participants learned from many people who could have a profound effect on not only their decision of where they will be attending university next year but on their lives. “Start to find your 12,” Mays Dean Eli Jones said the opening day. “I made a list of 12 influential people in my life and kept in touch with them throughout my professional career.”
Throughout the week, the participants stayed in Texas A&M dormitories and were led by seven small group leaders who were there for them as support. Every night, the small group leaders lead a reflection on the days’ events as well as assisted them with their week-long project, which the participants presented on the last day. When they presented, they also be received feedback from a panel of Mays professors and executives.
The event was hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Mays Business School and coordinated by numerous faculty, staff members, and students. Ricky Dillard Jr. ’19 served as the Chief Logistics Officer of the program and Kate Wellmann ’18 was the Chief of Staff. “Our team is dedicated to being a voice and not an echo for the future world leaders,” Dillard said. “Seeing the enthusiastic parents and participants at the MTLA opening has jump-started and re-energized our purpose to enable a diverse set of Transformational Leaders to begin their leadership journey.”
Several participants said interactions at the Student Recreational Center on campus helped strengthen their relationships. “We think this will help us in our group project by being able to trust each other on a deeper level,” one said.
The 80/20 Foundation and KPMG have demonstrated their support for our efforts to create a culture of diversity, inclusion, and engagement at Mays by sponsoring the Mays Transformational Leadership Academy. Organizers are hopeful this will lead to some of the students becoming members of the Texas A&M Class of 2023.
Management and pre-med student Kathryn Anderson ’19 and biomedical engineering student Sarah Swift ’20 both have a heart for philanthropy and a mind for business. After attending the Philanthropy Lab Ambassador’s Conference with students and nonprofit organizations from all over the nation, Anderson and Swift brought back a $25,000 grant and a promising future for Save Our Streets (SOS) Ministries in Bryan.
“I was one of six professors to serve as facilitators and mentors for the weekend as we led discussions and conversations related to philanthropic topics all weekend,” said Kyle Gammenthaler, a lecturer at Mays Business School. “It is important that we recognize our students for this well-deserved accomplishment.”