September, 2021 | Mays Impacts

Man presenting in front of a podium with jacket on

As one of the academic year’s first events, Mays Business School’s Inclusive Student Leadership (ISL) Workshop underscores the school’s commitment to preparing transformational leaders who can excel with diversity, equity, and inclusion. The one-day workshop, held August 26, 2021, was funded by an endowment created by Accenture to support the annual Inclusive Student Leadership series of workshops, and involved over 50 Aggie leaders representing every Mays student organization. The ISL initiative offers a series of four workshops throughout an academic year hosted by Mays Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Multicultural Association of Business Students (MABS), and the Business Student Council.

These workshops were planned with the goal of helping Mays student leaders increase their ability to lead their respective student groups while at Mays—and in honing those skills, be prepared to work effectively in a global economy when they step into the work world. “The ISL workshops are designed to help Mays organizations foster diversity. It doesn’t get talked about enough, but it’s now in the headlines so we need to address it and can’t be oblivious,” said Amrita Hooda ’22, the MABS president. “It’s an opportunity to expand your horizons, but it’s up to student leaders to take that opportunity to grow as a person.”

The day’s agenda featured four Former Students – Tarvoris Johnson ’03 ’05, Ricky L. Dillard, Jr. ’19, Jeevika Jarmarwala ’20, and Hannah Murray ’18—who work for Accenture. The company, which has 569,000 employees in 50 countries, has expertise in more than 40 industries across five industry groups: communications, media and technology; health and public service; financial services; products; and resources.

Accenture is known for its commitment to creating and sustaining a culture of equality—including gender, LGBTI, religion, persons with disabilities and cross-cultural diversity. “Mays Business School is grateful for the support Accenture has provided for the ISL initiative.  We believe that a culture of diversity, inclusion, and engagement with our corporate partners fosters a vibrant learning organization. Mays student leaders are fortunate to have this opportunity to learn from experienced inclusive leaders,” said Dr. Nancy Hutchins, Mays Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

Encouraging Inclusion, Innovation

During the first session, the Accenture team talked about the importance of building strong and diverse teams, a challenge that has become even more pronounced during the pandemic. Johnson noted that the company has emphasized defining what it means to create a culture of equality, based on its core values of stewardship, best people, one global network, client value creation, and respect for the individual. “Inclusion is an environment where diversity can flourish,” he shared with the student leaders in the room.

Accenture uses diversity and inclusion training as well as specific affinity groups to create bonds between different employees. “We have different engagements and conversations around some of the outright things that happened in this past year,” Johnson said.

The company encourages its employees to explore other cultures through the different employee resource groups (ERG). Murray, who is Caucasian, has taken advantage of this flexibility, through engaging with Accenture’s Asian Pacific ERG. “It was interesting to me to be surrounded by many different cultures that make up the Asian Pacific ERG,” she said. “I also was able to bring these cultural lessons from the ERG to the rest of the organization and to the other groups that I’m part of.”

Team Characteristics

In building high-functioning and diverse teams, Accenture focuses on six characteristics: visible commitment; curiosity about others; cultural intelligence; humility; awareness of bias; and effective collaboration. Cultivating an atmosphere that includes these traits allows participants to be vulnerable and share areas where they disagree.

Dillard told the Aggies that it’s important to be authentic and show visible commitment to diversity. He gave a personal example of how he wanted to increase his own commitment to diversity at Accenture. To accomplish this, he created relationships with two Historically Black Colleges and Universities and will be serving as Accenture’s lead recruiter to these institutions.

The presenters also noted that leaders need to listen to different viewpoints. “I have an open conversation with my team leader. She has always had an open-door policy and encourages that if you think there’s a better way to improve the process, feel free to speak up,” Jarmarwala said. “Sometimes when I put the idea out there, we realize that I don’t have the bigger picture of what we’re looking at. She tells me, ‘This is why we don’t do this.’ But just having the ability to put the idea out there is great.”

The Former Students also shared the importance of identifying and addressing unconscious bias and micro-behaviors, such as micro-insults, to create a more diverse team. “As you grow and move towards trying to be non-biased, you have to train yourself because facial expressions are part of communication,” Dillard said.

Social Style Self Reflection

The Accenture team also asked students to identify their social styles—analytical, driving, amiable and expressive—based on assertiveness and responsiveness.  After asking the student leaders to consider their own styles, the presenters shared the traits of each style, as well as an analysis of the need, strength, and area of improvement for each style.

Additionally, student leaders learned about conflict resolution styles of competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating. These styles were analyzed based on the importance of achieving a goal as well as the importance of the relationship.

The speakers told the students that being aware of their own social styles and conflict resolution styles as well as that of others will enhance their ability to lead. “You will have different leaders who are spread throughout the organization, and you’ll have to flex what you decide to communicate to them, based on what you’ve learned from your initial questioning and discovery,” Dillard said. “It’s just a matter of first learning these and then taking the moment to say, ‘When I meet new people and have to communicate with them, I need to figure out where I see them because it will help me to have a more streamlined conversation rather than us trying to battle through our social styles.’”

This workshop offered new insights to help Mays student learners support their student organizations and also reinforced Mays commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, which is part of the school’s strategic plan. “Encouraging diversity and enhancing equity in student organizational practices can have a tremendous impact on our college climate. The ISL workshops are intentional efforts to establish an inclusive culture at Mays with our students leading the way.” Hutchins said.

Categories: Business Honors, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Retail Summit '21 Innovation The Heart of Retail

Executives, marketers, retail tech firms, merchandising officers, and more set to expand on insights from more than a combined century of experience – and the pivots made necessary in the last 20 months.

 

Returning to the Westin Galleria in Dallas for in-person delivery, Mays Business School’s Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) will present its annual Retailing Summit Oct. 7-8, 2021. Keynote speakers include Bill Thorne and Scot Case from the National Retail Federation; Mindy Perry, Chief Marketing Officer for Kendra Scott; Seth Ellison, Chief Commercial Officer for Levi Strauss & Co., and Ashley Buchanan, CEO of The Michaels Companies.

The theme for this year’s event is “Innovation: The Heart of Retail” and reflects what has been a consistent element in retail that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the theme bends towards the role that innovation – the heart and soul of this expansive industry – has had on retailers, consumer brands, and the technology firms that serve the industry.

“We’re thrilled to be back in person to present this incredible conference aimed at retail professionals and delivered by the Center for Retailing Studies team,” shared director Scott Benedict. “The speaker and panel lineup this year is diverse in thought and background similar to the retail industry itself. There are immense opportunities in this dynamic industry, and we’re primed to serve our part with student education, research, and executive outreach made possible by the funds generated from this event.”

To register, visit the Retailing Summit website, where you can also find an updated speaker list.

For information about admission fees, contact Lauren Osborne at losborne@mays.tamu.edu

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Jobs, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M

Mays Business School is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards. Mays will recognize and honor these individuals during the 29th Annual Mays Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner in October.

The 2021 recipients are W. Miles Marks Jr. ‘79, Bradley R. Freels ‘81, and Randy L. Hill ‘83.

As the highest honor a Mays Business School graduate can receive from the college, we recognize recipients of the Mays Outstanding Alumni Award for leading lives of distinction and embodying the Aggie core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. To date, the school has honored 91 former students who have made outstanding contributions in their chosen fields with significant impact, innovation, and influence at Mays, in their community, and in other walks of life.

“I am pleased with the nomination and selection process that has brought forth these individuals, each of whom exemplifies the Aggie Spirit,” said R. Duane Ireland, interim dean at Mays Business School. “In their personal life, in their professional careers, and in their service to their community, they each contribute substantially in ways that generate positive outcomes for many. They are an inspiration to me and serve as a guiding light for our students as each of them seeks to become a Mays Transformational Leader. All of us look forward to recognizing these three individuals’ accomplishments during our upcoming ceremony.”

Hosted by R. Duane Ireland and powered by the Mays Experience Team at Mays Business School, the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Awards celebration will welcome the family and friends of this year’s honorees, previous award recipients, and a variety of other special guests to the invitation-only event on Thursday, October 21, 2021, in Aggieland.

Categories: Mays Business

Full-time MBA #13 U.S. Public Program per Businessweek 21-22

The No. 13 ranking among public programs and No. 35 overall highlight the success of Mays Business School’s Full-Time MBA program

Texas A&M University’s Full-Time MBA (FTMBA) program, offered by Mays Business School, has been named the No. 35 program in the nation and No. 13 among public universities, according to the 2021-22 rankings released by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The rankings are based on surveys from students, former students, and recruiters, as well as compensation and employment data from each school. This year, the rankings included a first-ever Diversity Index, measuring race, ethnicity, and gender in classes. Criteria in the overall score includes compensation, learning, networking, entrepreneurship, and diversity.

“The 13-spot advancement from the latest ranking to number 13 public program shows the continuing strength of the lifelong learning partnership between students and faculty,” shared director, Richard Castleberry.

“We pride ourselves in a rigorous program that develops the whole leader at Texas A&M,” said associate dean for graduate programs, Arvind Mahajan, Ph.D. “The rankings reflect how our MBA programs’ faculty and staff work collaboratively with students who are organized into intimate cohorts to develop what Aggies are known for: leadership, integrity, and excellence along with strong technical competence.”

Texas A&M’s 18-month FTMBA program provides each student with individualized experiences that emphasize effective leadership practices, so they can effectively manage challenges, time, and resources.

Applications for entry in the fall of 2022 are open now for Texas A&M’s MBA programs – including Full-Time, Professional, and Executive MBA Programs. For more information, visit mba.tamu.edu.

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Rankings, Texas A&M

High school senior James Darden III didn’t expect to find an internship with a marketing and advertising company by participating in Mays Business School’s Transformational Leadership Academy (MTLA). But the Cypress Woods High School student built an instant connection with one of MTLA’s presenters, Peruvian entrepreneur Aquiles Chulluncuy, that has the potential to grow into a long-lasting business mentorship.

Building relationships is what MTLA strives to do. The Academy, which has been in existence for four years, offers high school students from underrepresented groups a chance to learn more about Texas A&M University, Mays Business School, and the business world. “This program is specifically designed to build community, enhance a sense of belonging, and attract top diverse talent to Mays. Research on the benefits of diverse learning environments is undeniable,” said Nancy Hutchins, the director of Mays Business School’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

The 2021 event, held over six days in July, hosted 43 rising seniors from across Texas. The program’s sessions, which featured businesses from around the globe, underscore Mays’ focus on developing transformational leaders and included virtual cultural experiences that have a business component. Students participated in a case competition and attended informational sessions highlighting the Aggie student experience. Additionally, the academy awarded a total of $28,600 in scholarships to 27 MTLA participants

Making Connections

Because the Academy was virtual due to the pandemic, organizers worked with WorldStrides Educational Student Travel to arrange Zoom presentations led by international business leaders such as Chulluncuy. These sessions underscored Mays’ commitment to advancing a global and inclusive mindset.

The South American businessman presented a session at MTLA on his group of digital businesses: La Naranja Media (an advertising company), Interacción Móvil (a mobile marketing unit), PRODIGI (an educational platform unit), and Combativa (a software unit). “He started talking about his business, what he did and how it operated,” said Darden, 17, who already runs a small advertising and marketing business and is a published author. “I thought, ‘Oh my goodness! This is picture-perfect! His entire business plan is actually the one I want to build. All of the things he talked about I’ve been trying to do so I can perfect my craft.’”

Chulluncuy came away impressed with the enthusiasm of the MTLA participants. “The group was quite committed to the speakers, asking the really important and big questions in life,” the business leader said. “With shining eyes, every one of them was very happy with what they were receiving. They seemed to be older and more mature than their years, to be honest.”

Inspiring Future Business Leaders

MTLA, which was sponsored by Phillips 66, PwC, and OMS Strategic Advisors this year, relies on the assistance of current Mays students, including MTLA alumni, in organizing the event. Their experiences help inform the MTLA experience, and these students appreciate the opportunity to give back to a program that has meant so much to them. For example, Anthony Carroll ’23, who served as the 2021 MTLA student director, was considering other colleges and universities when he attended MTLA as a

high school student. “It genuinely was a transformational experience,” said Carroll, who is majoring in management information systems. “I was able to see what the Texas A&M spirit was. I got to take a little step inside Mays Business School for a minute and see real briefly what that connection is and why Texas A&M is so different from everywhere else.”

MTLA also offers high school students and Mays student organizers an opportunity to hone their leadership skills and explore new ideas. “MTLA is really just about stepping out of your comfort zone,” said Emori Reece ’23, a management major who served as the 2021 MTLA assistant student director. “I was extremely introverted when I came into MTLA and then entered college. During MTLA, I learned how to step out of my comfort zone because I had to present and do well with my group. If you go into it with the open mindset that you’re going to do new things and take it as a learning opportunity, it will turn out to be an amazing experience.”

Categories: MTLA