With bright eyes and smiling faces, 38 rising high school seniors are enjoying the first annual Mays Transformational Leadership Academy (MTLA). 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 will are hearing 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 will be learning 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 on Sunday, 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 are staying in Texas A&M dormitories and are being led by seven small group leaders who will be there for them as support. Every night, the small group leaders will lead a reflection on the days’ events as well as assist them with their weeklong project, which the participants will present on the last day. When they do their presentations, they will also be getting feedback from a panel of Mays professors and executives.


The event is being hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Mays Business School and has been coordinated by numerous faculty, staff members, and students. Ricky Dillard Jr. ’19 has been serving as the Chief Logistics Officer of the program and Kate Wellmann ’18 is 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 reenergized 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 week will lead to some of the students becoming members of the Texas A&M Class of 2023.