Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School is advancing International Business research around the world through co-hosting the Research Spotlight Series (RSS). These events, which are coordinated through Mays’ Center for International Business Studies (CIBS) and Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business’ Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), bring together current and aspiring International Business scholars in an online forum to create a discussion on cutting-edge topics regarding research and publishing.

Mays CIBS’ role in organizing the series increases Texas A&M University’s global visibility and helps solidify Mays as a global leader in the field of International Business scholarship. Hosting this series also is part of the school’s efforts to become the preeminent public business school in the United States.

The RSS builds upon Texas A&M’s long history as a leader in the study of International Business. “Texas A&M University’s Lorraine Eden served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Business, which is the premier journal in International Business and a publication of the Academy of International Business (AIB). She is currently the Dean of the Fellows of the AIB, a select group of distinguished International Business scholars,” said Mays CIBS Associate Director of Research Dr. David A. Griffith. “Texas A&M’s faculty–both past and present and within Mays and outside of Mays–have made significant contributors to the International Business discipline.”

The RSS, which began in 2021, was a result of a confluence of factors. “The COVID pandemic opened the whole domain of webinars, allowing scholars to begin to connect pertaining to common interests without the need for travel,” said Griffith, who holds Mays’ Hallie Vanderhider Chair in Business. “In 2020, Ahmet Kirca became the director of the Michigan State University’s CIBER, which really opened the door for us to establish this joint effort. We saw the need as well as the opportunity before us—and we both concluded that leveraging webinar technology to advance International Business research would complement the activities of our CIBERs.”

The RSS addresses leading-edge International Business topics in areas such as exporting, global sales management and global supply chain management, as well as research methods, such as survey research and the measurement of cultural distance in international business research. These sessions are attended by both well-established scholars as well as next-generation researchers.

The virtual seminars already have a strong international following. For example, a September 2022 webinar on global supply chain management had registrants from Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, France, India, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Turkey.

The most recent webinar, held in November 2022, focused specifically on research publication, and built on a previous RSS webinar, which featured journal editors from Management International Review, the Journal of World Business, and the Journal of International Marketing.

The November webinar hosted four editors who are part of the incoming editorial team for the Journal of International Business Studies (JIBS), the premier journal in the field of International Business. Each panelist offered insights about the decision-making process in selecting manuscripts to publish in their respective JIB area. The session also gave over 250 participants the opportunity to ask questions about JIBS’ processes.

Griffith believes the RSS webinars can assist International Business scholars in developing more impactful IB research. The Mays professor of marketing noted, “Through participation in the webinars, participants are able to hear from leading scholars about emerging research topics and state-of-the-art methods – which can be invaluable for developing their own scholarship.”

The next webinar in the series is planned for February 2023 and will focus on best practices for the use of meta-analysis in international business research. Meta-analysis is a research method for statistically combining the results of multiple scientific studies. Meta-analytic findings are considered the most trustworthy source of evidence in the scientific discipline.

Interested in learning from these leading global researchers about International Business topics?  You can access previous webinars from this series here.

Categories: Center for Business International Studies


Texas A&M’s Master’s in Analytics program has been named the #6 online program in U.S. and the #1 online program in Texas, according to the 2023 rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. The methodology is based on a variety of objective factors, such as student engagement, faculty credentials, and services and technologies. In 2022, the program was named as Fortune’s Best Online Master’s in Business Analytics.

“Our whole team is extremely proud of this ranking. It is a testament to the consistency and drive for excellence of our faculty, staff, and students in the Master’s in Analytics Program,” said Jerry Strawser, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Graduate Programs for Mays Business School. “The rankings are another data point that shows we offer a preeminent business analytics education in the state as well as the nation.”

The Master’s in Analytics Program excels at providing each student with individualized analytics experiences that supplement the business acumen they acquire. The program offers courses in statistical modeling and programming in multiple languages such as R, Python, SAS, and SQL. Setting the program apart from others are courses in business acumen, such as teamwork, leadership, ethics, and communication. Students tailor their analytics training through a work-based capstone project which has demonstrated tremendous value to their organizations through millions of dollars either saved or in new revenue, as well as social impact.

As a flexible hybrid-delivery program, students benefit from a convenient, comprehensive virtual learning platform, providing access to world-class faculty and an immersive learning experience. The staff has developed an extensive student support network to provide students with resources and guidance throughout their time in the program.

“We at Mays Business School take pride in the ability of our students, faculty, and staff to contribute positively to companies and the broader society through their dedicated efforts. This #1 and #6 ranking in the state and nation, respectively, from U.S. News & World Report, provides evidence of the quality of our program and certainly the talent of our students,” shared Myra Gonzalez, Director of the M.S. Analytics Program. “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, the program uses a state-of-the-art, intuitive learning management system that prioritizes user experience and accessibility.”

For an overview of Texas A&M’s M.S. Analytics Program, visit the M.S. Analytics site. The program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2023 cohort. For more information, contact Javier Aldape, Program Manager, at 979-845-2149 or jaldape@mays.tamu.edu.

Categories: Uncategorized

Executives L.T. Therivel ’96 and Larry O’Donnell Offer Insights from ‘Undercover Boss’ and Their Careers

Mays Business School students had the opportunity to learn from two corporate leaders who were featured on Undercover Boss, the popular CBS television series. The session included Larry O’Donnell, the former president and chief operating officer of Waste Management Inc., and Laurent C. (L.T.) Therivel ’96, who is president and CEO of U.S. Cellular.

Their advice, which covered both the professional and personal side of being a corporate leader, was well received by students who will soon be embarking on their careers. One area that particularly resonated was maintaining work-life balance. “I enjoyed hearing L.T. talk about finding your job, figuring out what it requires, and then determining whether you’re willing to put that in,” said Erin Autrey ’25, an accounting major from Pittsburg, TX. “Then figure out your life goal and make sure that those two things—the job and your life goal—align.”

Waste Naught

O’Donnell was the first corporate leader featured on Undercover Boss. That show debuted after the 2010 Super Bowl and was watched by a record 38.6 million viewers.

The Houston resident, who took over the company when it was struggling, opened his presentation talking about leadership. O’Donnell advocated for flipping the traditional top-down leadership model where employees serve the leader. Instead, he has had success embracing the servant leadership model where the leader is at the bottom of the pyramid and serves everyone on the team. “The leader is pouring into everyone, helping them become the best they can be,” he explained. “Whatever they are trying to achieve in their career, the leader is trying to help them get there. Then what happens is a bond of trust is created and the whole team wins together.”

O’Donnell also offered some important early career advice. Foremost, he said, was focusing on the job at-hand and doing the best job possible. “Build a team and serve everybody on the team, including your boss and your colleagues,” he said. “If you’re that type of team player, you will be noticed, and you’ll advance in your career.”

He also encouraged the Aggies to be willing to address their knowledge and skill gaps so they can progress in a career. Noting that this is often uncomfortable, O’Donnell noted, “People often don’t want to face their deficiencies—but everybody’s got deficiencies.”

On a similar note, O’Donnell recommended finding a mentor—and then be coachable. “There are so many people who come to me who want help,” he said. “You start to coach them, and you can tell that they really don’t want to hear it; they think they’ve got it all figured out. They think they can do it all by themselves.”

O’Donnell also talked about his own career path, which took some unexpected turns, as well as how his daughter’s life was tragically impacted by a medical mistake right after she was born, which brought about a tremendous change in O’Donnell as well.


O’Donnell said that event really tested his faith. “When my daughter’s tragedy first happened, I was pretty angry with God,” he said. “I told God it didn’t seem fair, but I later came to realize that it wasn’t about me and my plan, and that God had a different plan for my daughter than I had.”

His daughter’s medical shipwreck ultimately served as a mirror for O’Donnell. “I had no empathy at all before that happened. I then realized that I was a total mess; I was that top-down self-absorbed leadership guy,” he said, adding that he later decided to attend seminary, create a non-profit organization called Servant Ministries Foundation, and write a book, “Waste Management: Five Steps to Clean Up the Mess” to help others learn from my mistakes from my 40-plus-year business career. “My daughter’s tragedy taught me empathy, and when faced with difficulties to ask ‘what’ can I learn from this situation, rather than ‘why’ is this happening to me.”

O’Donnell added, “My special needs daughter is my inspiration. She is the happiest person you’d ever want to meet, and never complains about her pain.”

Making Connections

Therivel joined U.S. Cellular in 2020 as chief executive officer for the fourth largest cellular company in the United States. U.S. Cellular focuses on providing cell service in underserved areas, many of which are rural. He was on the most recent season of Undercover Boss.

While noting that Undercover Boss provides opportunities to identify tactical and operational opportunities, Therivel said the show was  just as important in validating the company’s culture and organizational buy-in. He pointed to his own experience working as COO with a small start-up that lacked clarity on objectives and goals. “I had been there two weeks and after doing my assessment, blew the place up,” he said. “New strategy, clear goals, clear KPIs, fired the three salespeople who had sold nothing, changed the org chart, hired some people, made a bunch of changes—and then off we went.”

After 30 months, the company hit its targets—but the CEO and chairman fired Therivel.  “Everybody hated me,” he said. “It was my plan, my strategy, my KPIs, my org chart. Me, me, me…there was no ‘we’. When I go back and think about the decisions I made, they were the right decisions—but I spent zero time on culture and buy-in to get people to believe in what we were doing.”

That turn of the events helped inform his leadership style. “It was a huge wake-up call for me. I was really lucky because I learned that lesson in my early 30s, so I had the chance to recover,” Therivel explained. “A lot of people don’t learn that lesson at all or maybe they learn it in their 50s.”

He now believes in the importance of the “how.” “Just having the right answer isn’t enough. If you’re in this room and going to this university, you are whip smart. You will get the right answer,” Therivel advised the students. “Spend as much time thinking about the ‘how’ because it’s going to be just as important as knowing the right answer. How to get people on board? Are they motivated by this?  How do I get buy-in? How do I get consensus? How do I drive collaboration?”

Therivel also stressed understanding what the work requires and be willing to do it. At the same time, he recommended aligning professional and personal goals. He pointed to his time at AT&T where advancement required moving geographically to accept new assignments. At that time, he and his wife had two young daughters and they decided they would be willing to relocate until the children entered high school. “We decided we were willing to make moves for the professional good—and boy, did we. My daughters are 15 and this is house nine, school sevennu,” he said. “I was able to make those moves and put in the work because I had confidence that I wasn’t sacrificing my family.”

He noted that many executives focus solely on their career without considering their personal lives. He cautioned, “If you’re not careful and you don’t spend the time investing on the personal side and making sure it’s aligned, at some point you reach a level where it’s really hard to recapture.”

Unintended Consequences

Both business leaders addressed unintended consequences that arose from their decisions. For example, O’Donnell described how he had started a program designed to coach workers on garbage trucks and to fix issues that were causing employees frustrations. However, the employee who O’Donnell worked with on Undercover Boss described them as “spies” sent by the corporate office. “Obviously at that location, it hadn’t been communicated very well,” he told the students. “So, we totally revamped the communication aspect of it so that the drivers would realize that the organization was trying to help them achieve and get home sooner.”

In Therivel’s episode of Undercover Boss, he had to cold call customers—which was an effort he had championed—but the sales associates were unhappy about doing this because most calls went to voice mail. Their discontent was reflected in the show.  “The concept behind it is there is a fair amount of dead time in stores where you don’t have anybody in the store.  You still have to staff the store and you can’t staff it with one person,” he explained. “A lot of times we have people who don’t have a lot to do. That was one idea of how we could better use people’s time.”

He also noted that in this case, the show didn’t tell the whole tale because a customer came into the store in response to the voicemail’s promotion of a specific plan.

Ultimately, both leaders felt it is important to listen to their employees and then respond. “I’m in the field all the time—and I’m not preaching and I’m not telling people, ‘Here’s our strategy.’ All I do is that I walk into stores and say one thing: ‘If you were king or queen of the world, what is one thing that you’d change?’” Therivel said. “Ideally, every action that you take as a leader is tied back to feedback that you received. That way, you’re creating this environment where people will try to give you feedback—but you also have to be cognizant that you’re never going to get it all.”

Categories: Mays Transformational Leader speakers

Mays Business School’s Master of Science in Analytics program was recognized as a Bronze winner for the category of the best online program for being innovative and fostering engagement and connectedness in a virtual setting at the QS Reimagine Education Awards – the ‘Oscars’ of Education. Over 1,200 nominations from institutions and organizations around the world competed at this conference, held online in Cairo, Egypt, and at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. 

We are humbled and excited about the recognition,” said Myra Gonzalez, Program Director. “Learning about the many innovative programs around the world, and earning a Bronze award is an affirmation of the model we use for our program and our initiatives for student engagement.” 

The following highlights of the program leading to this award include: 

• A unique educational technology model designed for hybrid learning environments and enhanced learning engagement and student discussion/interaction. 

• A highly diverse student body, with enrollment of 14% Hispanic students, 12% African American students, and 16% Asian students. 

• High levels of program retention/graduation (85% for the most recent graduating class) 

• Positive program outcomes, with 91% of our graduates reporting a promotion and 59% reporting a salary increase of more than $35,000 per year since graduation. 

Texas A&M’s Master of Science in Analytics Program would like to recognize and celebrate our students, faculty, and Mays Business School leadership for their significant contributions that made this recognition possible. 

To request information about the Master of Science in Analytics Program, please contact Javier Aldape, Program Manager at javieraldape@tamu.edu. 

Categories: Uncategorized