March, 2022 | Mays Impacts

Mays Business School Ph.D. candidate, Hannah Judd, becomes the fifth student from Mays to accept $25,000 from The Deloitte Foundation’s Doctoral Fellowship program.

Deloitte aims to provide reliable services and resources to their clients, amplify the success of their partners, and make a difference in society today. Part of their efforts to encourage success and ignite difference in the world is through The Deloitte Foundation and their annual Doctoral Fellowship program. Every year, The Deloitte Foundation rewards 10 Ph.D. candidates across the U.S. with a $25,000 grant to support their final year of coursework and succeeding doctoral dissertation. This year, Mays congratulates one of our own for this prestigious award.

Judd grew up in San Jose, California, and received her bachelor’s & master’s degree in accounting, with an emphasis in taxation, from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Along with her academic career taking off, she became a tax intern at Deloitte in London, a tax associate at Grant Thornton LLP, and a CPA. Hannah has been around the world, both far and wide, setting the example for the next generation, but what made her choose Mays?

Aggieland is known for being a friendly place to live, learn, and grow, and after applying and interviewing with Mays Business School, there was no other choice for Judd. “The faculty was so warm. They care about high-quality research and good teachings, and the quality of the faculty and culture is why I am here.” Mays aims to create a community where its current and former students, faculty, and staff, feel a sense of belonging and support. Today, nominated by her accounting faculty, Mays gets to recognize Judd as a top Ph.D. candidate across the U.S.

Judd is no stranger to hard work and resilience, and to be recognized as a remarkable student from her university and Deloitte, she has felt nothing short of appreciation and privilege to receive this grant. “I’m so grateful for this recognition, especially knowing how many people have helped me so much along this journey—I really wouldn’t be where I am now without the amazing faculty and fellow Ph.D. students here.” Not to mention that this accomplishment helps Judd and her family financially. “Financially, this will be a huge benefit with my husband in medical school and our eleven-month-old son.” Judd has worked consistently and diligently to get to where she is now, and the honor and rewarding feeling she has comes from knowing that her hard work has paid off. With her ambitious drive and determination, Judd stated she does not plan to stop there.

The Deloitte Foundation’s Doctoral Fellowship program is to aid these students in pursuing an academic career. For Judd, she dreams of becoming an accounting professor to teach the future generation and aid in high-quality research. The upcoming semester is approaching rapidly, which means Judd’s fellowship will soon be put in motion. While she does not know where she will be after graduation, perhaps she will join Mays’ past recipients, Rachel Flam (2022) at London Business School, Jennifer Glenn (2020) at Ohio State University, Brant Christensen (2015) at the University of Oklahoma, or Mike Drake (2009) at Brigham Young University. Wherever Judd goes, she will be changing the lives of future business students, just as she did here at Mays Business School.

Categories: Accounting

COLLEGE STATION, T.X. — Earlier this year, Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School boasted top ranking for Fortune’s list of preeminent Business Analytics programs. Now, in just their second year of ranking eligibility, the program has leapt more than 50 places on the U.S. News and World Report list of Best Online Graduate Business Programs. From a ranking of 6th in Texas and 72 overall last year, to this years’ 2nd in Texas and 16th overall – the Mays’ program performed exceptionally across a host of competitive metrics in the ranking’s methodology. Categories included: engagement, expert opinion, faculty credentials and training, services and technologies, and student excellence.

Atop the list of data points informing the U.S. News methodology was engagement, an area where the Mays’ MS Analytics program (Mays’ first online offering) really sets itself apart, according to program director Myra Gonzalez. “Our program is unique in that it’s one of the few online, non-MBA, part-time, business programs designed for working professionals.” Drawing on their own experiences in graduate school, Gonzalez and program manager, Javier Aldape, sought to make the process of completing the MS analytics program student-centric and seamless. They identified engaging and supporting students more holistically (beyond the enrollment process) as essential to student retention and – ultimately – graduation rates.

Creating a “one-stop-shop” for student services – to keep students focused on school and eliminate obstacles to program success – they cut the middleman across campus offices and partner with students directly to help them navigate everything from onboarding and financial aid, to tutoring, academic advising and business degree plans. “We know first-hand the balancing act that’s required to achieve simultaneous success in school, work and home life,” shared Aldape. “We wanted to reduce administrative burden and stress, creating opportunities for students to focus on their classes, finish their degree plans on time, and engage meaningfully with their peers.” Gonzalez concurs, “We hope students will reflect on this time as a positive one, despite the workload. By building relationships with the students in our program and providing a single point of contact for administrative details, we replicate the simplicity and personal touch of a small-school experience in tandem with the resources and educational value of a major university.”

First-class faculty also drove the program’s ranking. Unlike instructors for many online programs, Texas A&M’s MS analytics professors typically have terminal degrees, in addition to robust industry experience. “This ranking reflects the excellence of our faculty and the distinctive blend of skills they bring into the classroom,” shared associate dean of graduate programs, Jerry Strawser. “Outstanding academic credentials, paired with deep private sector experience, uniquely position our instructors to equip students with the tools to excel in this rapidly evolving field.”

Additionally, with online hybrid delivery that dates back to 2013, the program’s faculty are fully prepared to create a distance-learning experience that is both effective and provides comparable instructional value to a traditional classroom setting. Gonzalez is quick to note the distinction. “Our faculty’s distance-learning tenure significantly predates the wave of online courses we saw offered in answer to the Covid-19 Pandemic. This isn’t a new playing field for us; our instructors are highly accustomed to instruction in a hybrid face-to-face and online setting.”

The breadth of faculty credentials helps provide greater parity with classroom learning in a digital setting – a program priority its leaders pursue relentlessly. To that end, Aldape and Gonzalez have curated a state-of-the-art, intuitive learning management system that prioritizes user experience and accessibility. “By ensuring a frustration-free technology component to the degree, we’ve seen a major boost in student engagement with course materials and peers, as well as a more positive outlook and strong retention,” shared Aldape.

A standardized interface and simple navigation for course structure and material – regardless of the course – offers students one-click access to recorded lectures, syllabi, course content, contacting the professor, and networking with fellow students. Assignments and exams are integrated such that interaction with key content is a prerequisite to accessing subsequent coursework. The design of this “read, reflect, display, do” model aims to keep students focused and engaged, courses interactive and to reduce pain points. The system builds on a service model focused on student experience, helping them manage course expectations and facilitating connectivity between students, their cohorts, and instructors.

Lastly, among other marketing and engagement efforts that bolster expert opinion of the MS Analytics program, the value of the student capstone projects to their respective organizations is noteworthy.  As part of the capstone, students are tasked with building a predictive model in support of their current employers. The projects run the gambit from safety modeling, to expected well production, to predicting outages before they happen. For the 2021 cohort the average estimated annual value per student capstone project is $18.2 million in savings or new revenue for their organizations. “Our students are leveraging their extended education to drive demonstrable value for their organizations – and that is something we are exceedingly proud of,” shared acting Dean, R. Duane Ireland. “It really affirms the caliber of the students coming through this program;” with an average student GPA of 3.5 paired with an average 13 years of work experience; “for student excellence, we are setting the bar.”

For an overview of the Texas A&M’s MS Analytics Program, visit the MS Analytics site. The program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2022 cohort.  To request more information, contact Javier Aldape, Program Manager at 979-845-2149 or jaldape@mays.tamu.edu.

Categories: MS Business, Uncategorized

The 8th Annual KPMG Fraud Case Competition was held on March 7th thru 10th at Mays Business School. Seven teams presented case solutions culminating the semester-long fraud case competition. Final judging of the competition was facilitated by Kelsey Wright, KPMG Advisor, with the help of several of her colleagues, representing KPMG’s US Forensic Advisory Practice.

The first-place team members are pictured below (left to right), Katie Patrick, Anna Schwartz, Abel Chan, Kylie Rodgers, and Hannah Schnackel:

Categories: Accounting

Twenty Aggie-led startups competed in the only university-wide business plan pitch competition.

By Lara Robertson, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS March 8, 2022 – The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its fifth annual Aggie PITCH at the Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center Monday evening. Now open to both current and former students, Aggie PITCH is the only university-wide business plan pitch competition at Texas A&M and seeks to identify the best Aggie business pitches from across industries and sectors.

For the 2022 event, a total of 20 startups were selected as finalists to compete for the coveted McFerrin Cup and a share of more than $35,000 in prize money. Split into three divisions —Full Pitch for both current and former students and Elevator Pitch open to both — the competition gives startup founders the opportunity to pitch their business in a fast-paced, high-energy format to a panel of anonymous judges and an audience of students, professionals, mentors, possible investors and fellow Aggie entrepreneurs.

In the Full Pitch divisions, 10 teams were each given 10 minutes for their pitch. In contrast, the Elevator Pitch competitors were only given a 1-minute allotment for their pitch. Although the anonymous panel of judges was tasked with ranking and selecting the winners of the Full Pitch division, audience members were invited to take part and cast their vote to select for the winners of the Elevator Pitch division.

Finalists’ ventures at this year’s Aggie PITCH represent a variety of industries including agriculture, information technology, consumer products and energy technology, among others, and are now automatically admitted into an exclusive group of startup founders who are eligible to represent Texas A&M University at national and global entrepreneurial competitions.

Flux Works LLC took home first place in the Full Pitch division for current students and was awarded $7,500. Bryton Praslicka ’24, startup lead, reacted with, “Winning to us means that people are excited about our technology. People believe in our technology. And winning this demonstrates that, and that’s really incredible.” Flux Works LLC, a developer and manufacturer of magnetic gears, has now met their fundraising goal and plans to use the prize money to buy back their intellectual property from Texas A&M and move into product development.

Taking home top honors and also $7,500 in the Full Pitch division for former students was Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie). Ovie aims to solve the problem of food waste in homes with a digital smart tracking system and plans to use their winnings to purchase prototype samples to get their product into user homes for testing. “Winning Aggie PITCH is so amazing because it validates our idea, where we’re at. And to have our peers and industry professionals that we respect acknowledge that our company is on to something, and believe in us, it means the world. It’s fuel,” stated Ovie lead Stacie Thompson ’02.

“Aggie PITCH continues to be a highlight of our year at McFerrin. The energy in the room is palpable, from both the pitch teams and the audience members getting to experience an event like this,” stated Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center. “In only our fifth year of Aggie PITCH, we’ve continued to see growth in both the quantity and quality of pitch competitors. Seeing entrepreneurs, specifically Aggie entrepreneurs, pitch their startup businesses to such a diverse, engaging crowd is something I’ll never grow tired of.”

2022 Aggie PITCH Winners

Full Pitch Division | Current Students
1st Place ($7,500): Flux Works LLC [Bryton Praslicka ’24, Daniel Zamarron ‘22]
2nd Place ($5,000): Teale [Narendra Vishnumolakala ’22, Connor Ust ’22]
3rd Place ($3,500): Flow-Pax [Haley Clark ‘23]

Full Pitch Division | Former Students
1st Place ($7,500): Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie) [Stacie Thompson ‘02]
2nd Place ($5,000): ClaraTech [Clara Orlean ‘20]
3rd Place ($3,500): SageSpectra [Madi Heck ’21, Mark Golla ‘22]

Elevator Pitch Division
1st Place ($1,500): South Texas Security Gates [Carson Neal ‘22]
2nd Place ($1,000): Imperium [Donald Bowen ‘25]
3rd Place ($750): Unravl Hair [Zanbria Asante ‘18]

A list of past Aggie PITCH winners can be found at aggiepitch.com.

About McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The McFerrin Center’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and former students.

The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty and staff.

The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts upon opportunity. In this spirit, the McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship offering more than 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.

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Media Contact: Lara Robertson, communications manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, 979- 845-1724, lrobertson@tamu.edu

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Staff, Students, Texas A&M