The 9th Annual KPMG Fraud Case Competition Final Round was held on March 9, 2023 at Mays Business School. The three teams competing in the Final Round had advanced from the Preliminary Round held earlier in the week. Final Round judging was facilitated by Jose Trevino and Patricio Munoz from the Houston office of KPMG’s US Forensic Advisory Practice.
The Final Round case competition participants from Mays Business School included:
Khaled Alfarj, Noah Gray, Brian Han, Anika Mathur
Josh Courtney, Catherine Barth, Jacob Graves
Josh Seibanoller, Andrew Swetonic, Amanda Wilder
The First Place Team is pictured below (from left to right): Patricio Munoz (KPMG), Noah Gray, Brian Han, Khaled Alfarj, Anika Mathur, and Jose Trevino (KPMG).
For more than ten years, Mays Business School has been coaching and guiding Aggies through the unique world of mergers and acquisitions through the innovative high-caliber class, “Dealmakers in Mergers and Acquisitions.” The class, the students, the faculty, and the Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) sponsors work together to showcase Mays Business School to the business world, and how Mays graduates are helping to lead the future of developing transaction professionals.
Dealmakers in M&A is the next step in innovative learning, both at Mays and in the country. Active real-word M&A professionals from leading private equity firms, credit firms and corporations around the nation lead students in team competitions, class lectures and discussions, and case studies on real-world deals. Dealmakers encourage students to be creative and authentic in their thinking and performance, learning to deal with ambiguity and take risks so that they hit the ground running when they land in the post-graduate world. Not only do students get to work on real transactions, but they are also able to work in a diverse, cross-functional team of undergraduate, Professional Program in Accounting (PPA) and graduate students to meet their learning goals.
Dealmakers is not just another class or curriculum requirement. Selected students must weather an extensive application process to demonstrate their ambition, ability, and interest in M&A. Each Fall, Dealmakers invites 30-35 high-performing Mays undergraduate and graduate students with a particular interest in investment banking, private equity, corporate M&A, transaction consulting or other M&A and transaction-related professional services to step outside their comfort zone and stretch themselves intellectually and interpersonally. The purposeful inclusion of diverse student backgrounds, work experiences and academic majors drawn from across Mays ensures the uniqueness and real-world perspective of the class while forming the next generation of M&A professionals.
This class and these students are unlike any other business-related class in the country. So, what makes the class special? Drew Koecher ‘88, the class’ founder and Managing Director at Houlihan Lokey, stated that “We teach the students to work with ambiguity, uncertainty and real-world M&A conditions; we translate academics to application through the lens of the nation’s leading M&A practitioners– that’s what we do.” Encouraging the students to think outside of the classroom by placing them in a competitive, high-intensity transaction world where there is market inefficiency and things move at deal speed allows them to reach further and prepares them for what to expect in their future careers.
Dealmakers specialize in authenticity; each group of students brings something new to the table each Fall semester, and each guest M&A professional has a different story to tell and case to share, with a one-of-a-kind hands-on learning experience. William Davenport ‘93, the CFO of Topgolf, is a returning speaker to this classroom, bringing the company’s closed cases for students to practice on and think beyond the boundaries of a classroom. After all, the students are what make the class different. As Davenport described, “They all just seem to have high integrity. They all work hard, and this class requires them to work very quickly. And as a group, they all support and learn from each other.” With an unparalleled student-caliber class drawn from across Mays, Dealmakers like William continue to set Mays students up for success in the professional world of M&A.
Students walk out of this classroom prepared, excited, and eager to start a career in M&A – the vast majority landing in marquee investment banks and M&A advisory firms. Along with Houlihan Lokey as a participating firm and the leading employer of Dealmakers graduates, global investment firms and companies such as Stone Point Capital, The Sterling Group, Fortress, Audax, HollyFrontier, EQT, Partners Group, Dynegy, and many more, are involved in helping students prepare for and navigate the professional M&A world. Mays 2018 graduate, Courtney Nutting, jumped into M&A directly after graduation and is grateful for what Dealmakers taught her. She expressed that, “The Dealmakers class can give you as much as you put into it, and from my experience, it has given me the most out of any other “High-Impact Program” in Mays. Following Dealmakers, I was able to leverage my experiences from the course in interviews, which ultimately landed me a full-time job at a Private Equity shop in Denver.” Dealmakers put in the work for their students, and they return the favor to make Mays and Texas A&M more proud than ever. Courtney has continued the circle of learning as she is repeat Dealmaker case presenter and champion of Mays students in the private equity community.
Dealmakers is leading the next generation of M&A professionals, setting itself apart from other business-led classes around the country and with it, is driving Mays to the forefront of market-based progressive learning. Sean Murphy ’96, the class’ co-founder and a Managing Director at Houlihan Lokey tells each class at the outset, “This will be the most challenging course you take at Texas A&M, but the personal growth you earn and the real-world experience you gain repays your efforts exponentially.”
On August 12, 2022, the James Benjamin Department of Accounting hosted a Junior Accounting Research Workshop in partnership with Rice University for associate and assistant professors in the colleges’ accounting departments. For the conference, 5-6 of Rice’s junior faculty joined Mays junior faculty for a day of sharing research with each other. The following Q&A is with Assistant Professor of Accounting at Mays Business School, Dr. Sarah Stuber.
Q: What is the “Junior Accounting Research Workshop” that took place on Friday, August 12, 2022?
Stuber: The workshop was an opportunity for assistant and associate professors from Rice University to join us for a day to share our research, provide feedback on working papers, and network.
Q: Who was involved in the workshop itself, and why was that audience important to the purpose of the event?
Stuber: The workshop featured presentations from 2 assistant professors from Rice University and two of our fantastic TAMU assistant professors—Emily Shafron and Junwei Xia. The workshop participants were professors from Rice and here at TAMU. The focus of the workshop was on giving junior faculty from the schools an opportunity to connect and share research.
Q: How did the Research Workshop come to be?
Stuber: One of the assistant professors at Rice University and I have connections from our time as PhD students, and she suggested the idea of having an event for the junior faculty at our schools. I jumped on the opportunity and, after confirming with our department head, extended the offer to host the event here in College Station. From there, we found a date that worked for everyone and then reached out to identify junior faculty that would be interested in presenting. Initially, we were planning to have only assistant professors in attendance, but there was enough enthusiasm for the event that we decided to expand the workshop to include associate professors from both schools.
Q: Why was this workshop such a big deal? What was rare about it?
Stuber: This was the first time a collaborative event focused on junior faculty has been held with Rice University. The event was significant as Rice University has an outstanding reputation as a premier institution with a strong research reputation. The fact that they reached out to us to establish a formal opportunity for collaboration is a signal of the quality of the faculty and the research that is being done within the James Benjamin Department of Accounting at Texas A&M. The geographic proximity of our two schools and the shared expectations and record of excellence in research make it a natural fit for future collaboration.
Q: What were some key takeaways from the event for the attendees?
Stuber: The feedback from the event has been overwhelmingly positive. The workshops were active, with presenters receiving high-quality feedback on their projects. One of the presenters from Rice expressed how impressed he was with College Station, our campus, and how appreciative he was for the feedback on his paper. The biggest takeaway was the development of relationships that will hopefully build into collaboration and co-authorships on projects in the future.
Q: What will happen next?
Stuber: We are hoping it becomes an annual event, as the Rice faculty have already expressed a desire to host a similar workshop on their campus in Houston next year. More importantly, though, the hope is that the relationships established and a chance to discuss research will lead to more opportunities for future collaboration between the faculty at the schools.
Q: What did I not ask that you’d like to share?
Stuber: I am thankful to Nate Sharp for his support of the event from the beginning and for all of the work put in by our administrative staff to help us show Aggie hospitality to our guests!
The James Benjamin Department of Accounting’s Internal Audit Program (IAP), which is part of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, has been recognized as a Center of Excellence by The Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA), an international organization of internal audit professionals.
Only 12 university programs across the globe have completed the stringent requirements to be named an IIA Center of Excellence. “This recognition from the IIA is a tremendous honor for Mays Business School and for the James Benjamin Department of Accounting. It is also a tribute to the hard work of Professors Tara Blasor and Mike Head, and it will provide additional high-impact opportunities for our students,” said Department Head Nate Sharp, who holds the Nelson D. Durst Endowed Chair in Accounting. “Our vision is to be the preeminent Accounting program in the nation, and the IIA Center of Excellence recognition is an important step toward fulfilling that vision.”
Mays leaders and faculty decided to seek the highest recognition because of the growing interest in internal audit among both students and employers. “We’d seen a lot of growth in the number of students in our program,” said Tara Blasor, co-director of Mays Internal Audit Program and assistant department head. “More and more companies are looking to engage with and hire our students, so we felt it was a good time to apply to be recognized by the IIA as top tier, which is the Center of Excellence.”
The IIA’s tiered accreditation process incorporates a specific framework of standards. Overall, 56 universities in 15 nations have completed the necessary qualifications to be recognized at some level as an IIA-accredited Internal Audit Education Program.
The IIA’s highest tier is Center of Excellence, which builds on the requirements for the Foundation and Comprehensive levels. Currently, 12 higher education institutions internationally—seven of which are in the United States—have received this recognition. Texas A&M joins two other Texas schools—the University of Houston and the University of Texas at Dallas—and one Southeastern Conference School—Louisiana State University—in holding this distinction.
Building on Quality
The IIA accreditation process uses a scaffolded approach that is designed to continually increase an academic program’s level of excellence as it progresses through the tiers. This approach focuses on ensuring that the institution is providing a strong educational foundation for students who want to enter an internal audit career.
Being named a center extends Mays’ long commitment to ensuring that Aggies are well-prepared to make an immediate impact in their career. “The program being recognized as a center is a commendable step in its future – especially for those students who complete the certificate,” said Bethany Miller ’20, a recent graduate of the program who is an internal audit associate with KPMG. “The program’s level of excellence encourages students to understand the critical thinking, diversity, flexibility, and rigor that someone can bring to the table—and adds value to our teams and our clients. It is attractive to recruiting and exemplifies the unique skillset that students will have upon graduation.”
Internal Audit Advisory Board meeting
To reach and maintain IIA’s top level of accreditation, Mays has committed to numerous on-going efforts. These include:
The Internal Audit Program offers a 15-credit-hour Certificate in Internal Auditing, which is awarded by Texas A&M’s Office of Registrar.
Every faculty member who teaches the Internal Auditing course (ACCT 408/608) in the Internal Audit program is a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA), which ensures that Mays’ instructional program is firmly grounded in practice.
Mays is committed to growing the program’s enrollment. With over 120 students currently enrolled, program leaders estimate that 35-40 students will graduate annually in the future.
The program provides exceptional support for students. A formal mentoring program links students with internal auditor professionals. Additionally, internships give students an opportunity to work in the field prior to graduation.
The program has an active Internal Audit Program – Student Association (IAPSA), which is affiliated with the Brazos Valley IIA chapter. The student organization offers leadership opportunities, professional networking, community service, and a social outlet for like-minded students who are interested in an internal audit career.
The Internal Audit Program has an active Internal Audit Advisory Board, which started in 2016. Representatives from more than 25 organizations and several Texas IIA Chapters are engaged in the advisory board and provide support through strategic direction, scholarship funding, internships, and full-time employment recruitment of graduates.
Mays Internal Audit Program’s rapid growth can be tied to Blasor’s hiring in 2012. “Since then, the program has seen incredible growth, and was further strengthened when Mike Head joined in 2016, bringing a career of experience as an Internal Audit leader to the table,” said Protiviti Managing Director Jordan Reed ’95, who has been recruiting at Texas A&M since 1996 and serves as a member of the program’s advisory board. “The Advisory Board has provided guidance and support over the past six years, and I could not be more proud to follow the program’s progression from a Foundation Program to a Center of Excellence in a fairly short time span.”
Continued Forward Movement
As the program grows, Mays’ leaders are committed to maintaining a strong student-centered focus—which Aggies appreciate. “The classes that we take in the program are valuable to our education,” said Ellyse Hahn ’22, an accounting major who is completing the Management Information Systems track in Mays Professional Program in Accounting (PPA). “When I went on my internship, I had a leg up from the interns from other schools due to my education here.”
Elise Hahn ’22, pictured (right)
Aggies also appreciate the opportunity to step into student leadership roles that help them hone their skills. “When I first joined IAPSA, I never dreamed that I would become the president,” said Hahn. “Now, it’s exciting talking to freshmen and sophomores that are joining and telling them about the opportunities that they can have here. If a student comes in and is driven to succeed, they will get to make a difference in the Internal Audit Program.”
Ultimately, Mays is committed to doing its part in preparing more graduates for this growing career field. “There is a high demand for students to go into the internal audit career. Additionally, there is far more demand than qualified students available,” said Head, who is a Mays executive assistant professor. “Mays’ Internal Audit Program gives another avenue where businesses can find students who have been exposed to this specific career and curriculum and are positioned to be successful in these risk-based services. This accreditation is telling potential employers that Mays is a source of very high-quality students because it’s been recognized as a Center of Excellence.”
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.
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:
This fall the James Benjamin Department of Accounting at Mays Business School held its annual Outstanding Professional Program in Accounting (PPA) Alumni and Accounting Hall of Honor Awards Dinner honoring the 2020 and 2021 recipients of the Lifetime Achievement and Rising Star awards as well as the 2020 and 2021 inductees to the Accounting Hall of Honor.
Honored with the 2020 and 2021 Rising Star Award respectively, Rachel Bentley ’08 and Kyle Koehler ’09 each founded successful companies that uphold the Aggie Core Values. Bentley is the Co-Founder, COO, and President of The Citizenry, a direct-to-consumer furnishings retailer that has pioneered the ethical and transparent sourcing of home goods. Koehler is the Co-Founder and CEO of Wildway, a food production company that supports a, “natural, sustainable, and connected future,” by creating granolas using natural, real-food ingredients. He was also recently featured on Episode 127 of Mays Mastercast (Listen here or watch on Inside Mays).
Receiving the 2020 Lifetime Achievement award was Devina Rankin ’98 the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Waste Management (WM), a Fortune 250 environmental services company with ∼$15B in annual revenue and $22B in assets. She is joined by Brent Smith ’97, the 2021 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, who served as the CFO and Treasurer of Main Street Capital Corporation and has continued to show his generosity by establishing a scholarship for PPA students at Mays Business School. Read more on his journey from a rural Texas farm to CFO in a recent profile.
Along with the presentation of the Rising Star and Lifetime Achievement Awards, Former Students Gary Brauchle ’95 and Shawn Lafferty ’90 were inducted into the Accounting Hall of Honor for their continued support and contributions to the accounting department at Mays Business School.
Brent Smith ’97 ’98 learned to appreciate family, integrity, and a strong work ethic growing up in rural Central Texas. His understanding of these values deepened during his undergraduate and graduate experience at Texas A&M University, creating a strong foundation for Smith’s successful professional success and personal life.
Now Mays Business School is honoring Main Street Capital’s CFO and treasurer with the Mays 2021 Professional Program in Accounting (PPA) Lifetime Achievement Award. “Brent Smith embodies the Aggie core values and has earned the respect of leaders across the financial industry through his personal integrity,” said Dr. Nate Sharp, head of Mays’ James Benjamin Department of Accounting. “Brent has risen to the CFO position at two different companies thus far, and his career achievements reflect positively on Texas A&M University, Mays Business School, and the PPA program in the James Benjamin Department of Accounting. We are so pleased to honor Brent with the PPA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.”
Committed to Hard Work
Smith spent his early life growing up and working on the family’s century-old farm in Round Top, Texas. The importance of family and community was underscored when his father died of cancer when Smith was 12. “My brother and I were raised by my mom, who was incredible—and still is an incredible woman,” he said, adding that the small community’s commitment to hard work also influenced his approach to life.
As Smith and his brother, Brad ‘91 ‘92 grew up, education remained a top priority. Both became the first generation in their family to attend college and earn a degree. “In general, most of the people in our community were Aggies,” Smith said. “Certainly, the culture of A&M—that historically supported blue collar students from a rural environment–led to having more Aggies in the area where I grew up.”
A Stable Career
As a freshman, Smith still was unclear about his career direction. Eventually, he decided to major in accounting because of his family’s financial struggles. “I was always told that if you wanted a safe and consistent job and you wanted to go into business, you couldn’t go wrong with accounting,” he said. “People are always going to need accountants.”
Soon, he realized that he had an affinity for the accounting coursework. “I had a general interest in business. I was very detail-oriented by nature and very analytical,” he said. “It seemed like a good fit.”
The university’s culture also supported the future executive’s development as a leader. “Texas A&M fosters teamwork, and a sense of community and togetherness. We can work together to figure things out,” said the member of PPA’s Group 5. “Texas A&M also offers a humble, hard-working environment and a down-to-earth mentality where, in general, Aggies don’t think they’re above you. We’re a roll-up-our-sleeves-and-get-to-work kind of people.”
That work ethic, along with the technical accounting skills that Texas A&M provided, were instrumental in Smith’s rapid success in his first job at Arthur Andersen’s Houston office. “When you go into an organization like Arthur Andersen, you try to distinguish yourself,” Smith said. “The way to do that is through hard work, a can-do attitude, and being a team player.”
After working in public accounting for a few years, Smith joined FTI Consulting to concentrate on financial investigative work. He worked with FTI for three years before deciding to switch jobs to prioritize his young family.
Smith’s reputation for hard work and willingness to learn, combined with his deep network, led to a position at Cal Dive, a multinational marine construction company serving the offshore oil and gas industry. “Like most opportunities, this one came out of something that was broken,” he said. “They were having issues with their operational accounting, which they wanted me to come in and improve.”
While he knew that he ultimately did not want to do operational accounting long-term, this position was a way to get his foot in the door at Cal Dive. “That started a 10-year run that led to a lot of opportunities for me to move through the organization very quickly,” he said.
Smith followed a circuitous professional route—including working for one of Cal Dive’s spin-off companies that ultimately went public–that broadened his experience. “I jumped at the chance because it was a way for me to pivot a little bit away from accounting and do more on the finance side, which I hadn’t done a lot of,” he explained, adding that he advanced to become the company’s vice president.
These varied experiences prepared him to become the CFO at Cal Dive at the age of 35. “This was a great experience in a very tough industry,” he said. “There were lots of ups and downs. I went from record-level financial performance to worrying about meeting payroll. There were extreme circumstances that I had to manage through. Looking back, you learn invaluable lessons about how to manage things.”
Investing in People
Eventually, the oil and gas industry’s ups and downs took a toll, causing Smith to be receptive to other opportunities. Several of his former Arthur Andersen colleagues approached Smith about the Main Street CFO position. “This was completely different from my previous experience,” he said. “It’s a publicly-traded investment firm. It was such a great opportunity that I decided to make that change.”
The Houston resident has continued to hone his leadership skills during his seven-year tenure at Main Street. “I’m a big believer in effective communication,” he said. “To be a successful leader you have to have effective communication—to be direct and have tough conversations when needed.”
Smith also has embraced mentoring to invest in the company’s employees. “When you take someone under your wing and bring them along in their career, you’re making a big investment in people,” he said. “If you can do that consistently, it’s going to pay off through less turnover.”
While career and family have occupied much of his time, Smith has found ways to give back to Mays. Smith and his wife, Kristi, established a scholarship for PPA students. This fund already provided financial support to two Mays students during the 2020-21 academic year.
He enjoys meeting with PPA students and MBA students and has participated in roundtable discussions. The senior executive also regularly participates in Mays Alumni Forum, where he shares the critical lessons from throughout his career. “I always tell people that it is very difficult to be patient. If you have some idea of how your career path will line out, that’s great; it’s good to have long-term goals,” he said. “But don’t get too caught up in specific titles, because I can guarantee it won’t work out exactly the way you planned. The key is putting yourself in a position to be prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they come.”
A Foundation of Family
While career is important, Smith always puts his family—his wife of nearly two decades and their two children, Hunter and Jenna—first. “Nothing is more important than spending time with them,” he said. “The big buzzword that I’ve learned throughout my career is perspective. Especially early in your career, a problem or challenge might seem like it’s overwhelming and the end of the world. But at the end of the day, nothing is more important than your family. Having that balance and keeping in mind what you think is most important is critical.”
Unsurprisingly, Smith’s family and roots are at the center of his reaction to receiving the PPA Lifetime Achievement Award. “I was very humbled. This award is something my family can be proud of,” Smith said. “I came from humble beginnings, and I still consider myself very humble, but I have had some success in the corporate world. This just shows that you don’t have to be raised in a wealthy family or in a large city to achieve a very high level of success in the corporate world.”
Mays’ leaders feel that Smith personifies the type of transformational leader that the school is trying to develop. “Brent Smith is the kind of person who gives capitalism a good name. He has demonstrated excellence throughout his career while maintaining his perspective on what is important. Around Aggieland, we call it selfless service, but for Brent it has just meant being who he is, a deeply skilled professional who leverages his abilities to make others successful,” said Dr. Mike Shaub, Mays clinical professor and Deloitte Professional Program Director Professor. “He is generous in giving back in time and resources to those who are following behind him in Mays and PPA, because his legacy is not centered on accomplishments, but on changed lives. He is patiently building a legacy not just in the business world or in Mays Business School, but in life.”
The American Accounting Association (AAA) recently announced the recipients of the 2021 Distinguished Contribution Award, including Dr. Nate Y. Sharp, Head of the James Benjamin Department of Accounting at Mays Business School
COLLEGE STATION, TX — On June 15, 2021, the American Accounting Association (AAA) announced Dr. Nate Y. Sharp as a recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Contributions to Accounting Literature Award. This award is among the most prestigious research awards granted by the AAA.
The Distinguished Contributions to Accounting Literature Award is presented annually to that work or related works published more than 5 years but not more than 15 years prior to the year of the award. The award recognizes accounting research based on uniqueness and magnitude of contribution to accounting education, practice, and/or future accounting research; originality and innovative content; clarity and organization of exposition; and soundness and appropriateness of methodology. Sharp and his co-authors, Lawrence D. Brown, Andrew C. Call, and Michael B. Clement, were given this award for their work entitled, “Inside the ‘Black Box’ of Sell-Side Financial Analysts,” published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of Accounting Research.
“This is a highly significant award for Nate and his co-authors to receive to recognize the quality of their scholarship,” shared Mays Business School’s interim dean, R. Duane Ireland. “We at Mays Business School are proud of Nate’s research projects and the questions he addresses through his studies—questions that when answered through his work, inform the academic literature as well as managerial practice. Nate’s research is quite descriptive of the Mays mission to ‘create impactful knowledge.’ On behalf of Mays Business School and Texas A&M University, I am truly pleased to highlight the importance of the award Nate is receiving.”
This AAA award will be presented to Professors Brown, Call, Clement, and Sharp in the form of unique glass art pieces and a monetary prize at the 2021 AAA Annual Meeting during the awards presentation on Tuesday, August 3rd from 11:30 am-12:00 pm Eastern.
More information about the 2021 AAA Awards can be found here.
About the James Benjamin Department of Accounting
The James Benjamin Department of Accounting aims to provide notable contributions to the university, public, and accounting profession. The James Benjamin Department of Accounting designs environments that engender creativity and innovation while close relationships among students and faculty foster ingenuity through a sharing of interests and aspirations.
About Mays Business School at Texas A&M University
At Mays Business School, our vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. Our mission is to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,400 undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing, and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools for its programs and faculty research.
In gratitude for the dedication and leadership of Mr. Bruce D. Upshaw, retired Sr. Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer and current member of the Merichem Board of Directors, Merichem Company endowed a scholarship in Accounting and Finance at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School. Mr. Upshaw has served Merichem since 1981 and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration – Finance.
“Leaders like Bruce are the reason why Merichem has delivered innovative solutions to customers for over three-quarters of a century. Our vision is scholarships like this one will enable more business leaders to rise up and I couldn’t think of a better place than Mays Business School for Bruce to select as the place to direct this investment,” shared Kendra Lee, Merichem Company Chairman & CEO.
Upshaw joined Merichem in 1981 after filling a variety of accounting and supervisory positions over eleven years with Shell Oil Company. He began his Merichem career as Accounting Manager, became Controller in 1985, and was elected Treasurer of Merichem Company in 1995.
In 1997 Upshaw was elected CFO of Merisol USA, the Texas Operating Company of Merisol, a Merichem-Sasol Joint Venture. In 1999 he rejoined Merichem and became CFO in 2002. Upshaw has served on Merichem’s board of directors since 2006.
“I was blessed to join an amazing organization and work with wonderful people in my career,” shared Bruce Upshaw. “I’m thrilled Merichem has this program in place and we, together, contribute to fostering the next generation of leaders.”
Bruce demonstrates his continuing passion for Texas A&M through support for The Texas A&M Foundation, The 12th Man Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the Aggie Band, Parson’s Mounted Cavalry and the Yell Leaders.
“The faculty and students at Mays Business School are grateful for the generosity of Merichem Company and Bruce Upshaw,” shared Eli Jones, Dean of Mays Business School. “Scholarships allow students an opportunity to experience all that Texas A&M has to offer and to fulfill our vision at Mays to advance the world’s prosperity. We are developing transformational leaders and support from individuals and organizations are how we raise up equipped and experienced talent.”
The Bruce D. Upshaw ’70 Endowed Scholarship in Accounting and Finance was established at Texas A&M University on August 21, 2020 for the benefit of Mays School of Business. Merichem Company of Houston, Texas provided the gift funds and the endowment honors Mr. Upshaw of Hays County, Texas.
About Merichem Company
Founded in 1945, Merichem Company serves the global oil and gas and petrochemical industries as a leader in full-service sulfur removal, caustic treating and spent caustic treatment technologies. Merichem also provides safe and reliable spent caustic handling services through beneficial reuse and recycling of spent caustics, turning would-be waste into valuable and viable commodities.