On April 24, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and former students packed Wehner lobby for James Benjamin Day. Energy and excitement pulsed through the room, as attendees wearing t-shirts and stickers that showed “I heart James Benjamin” filed into the lobby.

The event was standing room only as participants waited eagerly from the balcony, lined the stairs, and filled the elevator banks for the celebration to begin.

Dean Jones began the celebration by welcoming students, faculty and staff, and the accounting advisory board to the special event. Among his numerous high praises for Benjamin, Dean Jones declared that Benjamin epitomized the Aggie core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. Dean Jones also shared that at the beginning of the naming campaign, naysayers told them, “Crowdsourcing won’t work.” However, the campaign ultimately proved otherwise and raised over $10 million for the department. Dean Jones added that Benjamin has served Texas A&M and Mays Business School for 45 years as faculty, and 37 years as the accounting department head. Benjamin positively impacted countless students’ lives and set an example of excellence during his time at the university.

Brian Bishop, the Assistant Vice President of Development at Mays Business School, delivered some words of affirmation and praise for Benjamin. Bishop stated that to have a department named after an individual, “40 years of service and $10 million raised” would be a fantastic place to start. Bishop continued in his praise for Benjamin, describing him as an “excellent human being and an educator.” Bishop encouraged the current students attending the celebration to look around the room and appreciate the accomplishments of those before them. He then instructed each student to ask themselves, “How can I give back, and how can I make my degree more valuable?”

Christy Bauman ’95 took the stage to share her thoughts, insights, and appreciation for Benjamin. Bauman was a member of the third group of PPA students and explained that raising money for the department was, “One of the easiest things to ask for because of Jim and who he is as an individual.”

Professor Mary Lea McAnally then joined the excitement by kicking off a round-robin share out about the magnitude during Benjamin’s tenure in a segment titled, “James Benjamin by the Numbers.”

  • $35,700,000 raised
  • 4,617,600 minutes worked, $8 per minute of funds raised
  • 17,102 students graduated
  • 5,008 PPA graduates
  • 15 former students now serving as professors at Mays
  • 2,113 Business Honors graduates during his tenure
  • 1998 – Outstanding Professor of the Year from Texas A&M
  • 1992 – Benjamin began the PPA program
  • 1968 – Benjamin earned his CPA, in Maryland, with the second highest score in the state
  • 1600 companies employ his graduates
  • 960 business honors students in his Accounting 229 course
  • 314 publications by Ph.D. graduates
  • 258 graduates who are partners at CPA firms
  • Accounting 229 – countless students have taken Benjamin’s course
  • 199 – the average number of words in a paragraph in an email from Benjamin
  • 158 Ph.D. graduates since Benjamin
  • 61 computers in KPMG lab on cutting edge of technology
  • 42 years in the Department of Accounting
  • 37 years as department head
    • Budgeting
    • Hiring
    • Year-end reviews
  • 8 accounting faculty have become administrators at Mays
  • 5 deans Benjamin has served under
  • 40 years ago – James Benjamin was Strawser’s professor
  • 3 PPA Directors reported to Benjamin during his tenure

Finally, Benjamin took the opportunity to share his thoughts and appreciation for the celebration. He said that one of the most rewarding aspects of his career has been watching students he once taught reach retirement. In humility, he added that though he may be the face of the accounting department, there are four necessary ingredients to his success:

  1. Exceptional students
  2. Deeply caring faculty built to mirror students
  3. Leaders – he has been at the business school under five deans, and never had a bad boss in his life
  4. Incredibly supportive former students

In a nod to his engaging demeanor, Benjamin expressed that he thinks it is fitting that the accounting department will now share the nickname for 100 dollar bills.

 

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Business Honors, Departments, Faculty, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Texas A&M

Three driven Mays Business School undergraduates will be interning with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center this upcoming summer. In their internship, they will apply their education in complex revenue cycle operations and health care administration with the primary goal to define, measure, analyze, and improve revenue cycle processes. This unique opportunity is available to Mays undergraduate students as a result of Mays’ recent partnership with MD Anderson. This strategic partnership seeks to develop transformational leaders in the rapidly expanding health care industry.

Prause aspires to make strategic decisions in healthcare

Grace Prause is an accounting major from Beaumont, TX, and is eager to learn more about revenue cycle analytics in the health care industry. Prause’s interest in the health care industry stems from the fact that her father is a pediatrician, and he instilled in her the desire to find a career that improves people’s lives. She has a passion for hard work and dedication and desires to use her drive to make a difference in the field of healthcare administration.

“Healthcare administration interests me for the fact that it is so expansive and requires a lot of teamwork and coordination,” said Prause. “All departments of the hospital need to be in constant communication to not only ensure all the finances are correct, but to fulfill the bigger picture of keeping the hospital a well-respected institution by having continued top patient care.”

As for her accounting degree from Mays Business School, Prause believes that accounting is the “true language of business.” She knows that all companies, including MD Anderson, must have a thorough understanding of their finances in order to be successful. Prause is confident that her accounting degree will help her make strategic decisions that advance MD Anderson’s mission of “Making Cancer History”.

Cullinane’s ultimate goal is to run his own hospital

Daniel Cullinane is a business honors and management major from Dallas, and looks forward to understanding the factors that set MD Anderson apart from other leading cancer centers. Cullinane had an interest in the health care industry as an incoming freshman at Mays, as he was also pursuing pre-medical studies. He also believes that Mays has helped equip him with the necessary tools for success in his upcoming internship.

“Mays has also launched new initiatives focusing on the business side of medicine and started a club called the Mays Medical Guild, which helps PreMedicine/PreDental business students through their classes and applications for post-undergraduate school,” said Cullinane. “Mays also has so many fantastic professors who encourage, inspire, and assist students daily.”

Cullinane’s ultimate goal is to one day run his own hospital. He plans to use his experiences with working in teams from various classes to better understand how healthcare could be made more accessible for all.

Johnson will use big data to create healthcare solutions

Sydney Johnson is a marketing major with an economics minor from Houston. Johnson’s interest in a career in the health care industry is tied to her fascination with data and understanding the reasoning behind numbers. Johnson believes that big data is the key to narrowing down and learning where outbreaks occur, who is being affected, +and efficiently finding solutions to problems. She aspires to use her analytical mindset to tackle cancer as an intern for MD Anderson.

“Cancer affects everyone in some fashion, whether it is themselves who is affected, a parent, loved one or friend,” said Johnson. “I want to use my abilities in data analysis to help with the fight against cancer in any way possible.”

Johnson also explained that Mays Business School allowed her the opportunity to study abroad in Italy this spring at Bocconi University, where she is taking a big data in business analytics class. This course has helped her to further understand big data collection and how it can be used to create solutions for businesses.

Partnership bonds make this fledgling program successful

Sorin Sorescu, the Head of the Department of Finance at Mays Business School, played an integral role in creating the partnership between Mays and MD Anderson.

“The Educational Experience Program is a high-impact internship that will reshape how our students advance the world’s prosperity, our vision at Mays Business School,” said Sorescu. “We have been discussing the right fit and right time with leaders at MD Anderson for several months, and I am thrilled this program is coming to fruition with the incredible individuals at this great organization.”

Categories: Accounting, Finance, Health Care, Mays Business, Students, Texas A&M

Each year, the Deloitte Foundation awards $25,000 grants to 10 outstanding accounting Ph.D. candidates through its annual Doctoral Fellowship program. Jennifer Glenn, a Ph.D. student at Mays Business School, received this prestigious award this year.

Glenn is the third Mays Ph.D. student to receive this award. The most recent Mays Ph.D. student to receive this award was Brant Christensen in 2013; prior to that, Mike Drake received the award in 2007. The award is intended to support Glenn’s final year of coursework and also the next year in the completion of her doctoral dissertation.

Tonie Leatherberry, the president of the Deloitte Foundation, explained the significance of the Deloitte Foundation grant by stating:

“Growing the pipeline as well as strengthening the quantity and quality of accounting professors is critical to developing the next generation of future leaders. The financial support from the Foundation can help this year’s recipients complete their academic career journey and could have a significant impact on the thousands of students they will teach over time.”

The Deloitte Foundation invites about 100 universities to apply each year for this grant, and 52 students applied this year upon nomination by the accounting faculty of their institution. This is an increase of over 70 percent from 2018, and this award continues to become more competitive in nature.

The Deloitte Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1928 that uses a variety of initiatives to support education in the United States. The Foundation specifically focuses on developing talented leaders in teaching, research, and curriculum innovation. In addition to sponsoring graduate students and educators, the Foundation also provides benefits to middle and high school students and undergraduates through several national programs.

Categories: Accounting, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Students, Texas A&M

By Travis Cantwell, business honors ’22

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – Peter Drucker

Priding himself in building cultures that breed success, Wayne Roberts ’85 (BANA) and ’86 (MBA) has built a career as a “fixer” and “grower” of teams and companies. From his early days as a consultant at Arthur Andersen through stints at Trammell Crow Company and back at Accenture, he learned the value of getting results “through people, not in spite of them.”

Roberts spoke to Business Honors students on Nov. 29 as part of the Mays Leadership Forum series. He provided invaluable advice to students on establishing extraordinary cultures, finding value in people, and understanding your passion and professional mission.

Roberts serves Mays in an ongoing capacity as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board and co-chairs the Student Recruitment and Development Committee. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

On a Saturday morning, during their 9 a.m. classes, students from the Professional MBA Classes of 2019 and 2020 were prepared to debrief a typical case assignment for their respective accounting course. The class of 2019 was in Mary Lea McAnally’s Financial Accounting course, and the class of 2020 was in Mike Kinney’s Managerial Accounting course. Both cohorts thought this would be a typical class discussion.

Moments into each separate class, the respective faculty announced that the student teams in both classes had a good start analyzing the case – but were incomplete in their analysis. McAnally told her Financial Accounting students, “To understand the complete picture of this company, the results they’ve generated, and the options in front of them, your team needs information from the managerial accounting team in Kinney’s class next door.” Kinney simultaneously announced to his Managerial Accounting teams that they needed to immediately partner with teams from financial accounting to complete a full analysis and generate valid recommendations.

The faculty said, “go,” and the teams from each class paired to complete a new “Combined Case” assignment in 90 minutes. After the 90 minutes, the combined teams presented their analysis and recommendations to a group of faculty who were assuming the role of the case company’s board of directors.

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Spotlights, Texas A&M

By Kathryn Oefinger ’19, Business Honors

Scott Steffler ’74 began his Mays Leader Forum with a surprising statistic: “Current college students are projected to have an average of five careers in their lifetime. Not five jobs, but five careers,” he explained to the Business Honors students. Steffler laughed that he was ahead of his time, because that is the exact number of careers he has had.

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

By Jacob Billings ’19, accounting and MIS

Grant Thornton LLP’s CEO Mike McGuire is looking for three things in today’s professional services leaders – curiosity, career focus, and courage.

McGuire noted the accounting industry is rapidly changing, thanks to digitization. Clients are beginning to expect substantive contributions immediately even from entry-level staff.

McGuire was invited to speak at Mays by Dean Eli Jones as part of the school’s Transformational Leader Speaker Series. He was the focus of a roundtable discussion with students that was led by Professional Program in Accounting Director Mike Shaub. He also met with key leaders at Mays. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, PPA, Texas A&M

By Steven Mancillas Jr. ’21

Crediting her loyalty to her company as a reason for success, Mary Benson ’85 was eager to share her wisdom with Mays Business Honors students as a part of the 2018 Mays Leader Forum.

“Mentorships are a great thing… they don’t even need to be formal,” was a central point of her lesson throughout the lunch. Benson is the head of Global Pricing for Invesco Asset Management. She is responsible for corresponding with numerous offices both domestically and internationally about global pricing strategies. She joined Invesco in 1985 after she received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University.

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

By Virginia Krog, Business Honors ’22

FedEx is a globally recognized company, delivering millions of packages a day. Yet in FedEx’s own words, the company does more than just deliver packages. It delivers “happiness, growth, hope or simply, peace of mind.”

So how does a company that prides itself on providing solutions to connect people with possibilities remain relevant in an increasingly competitive world? For FedEx, the answer comes through its global perspective, embracing change (technology), its people, and its brand.

Trampas Gunter ’94, who graduated with an accounting degree from Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, member of Business Fellows Group 11, and current Staff Vice President of Corporate Development & Integration Planning at FedEx spoke on Oct. 9 to Business Honors students as part of the Mays Leadership Form series.

Gunter shared that FedEx stands out through what it means to communities. The Delivering for Good program, FedEx’s initiative to lend its global network and unparalleled logistics expertise to organizations with mission-critical needs in times of disaster and to help communities heal, learn and thrive, was highlighted. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Perspectives, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

By Richard Gay ’22, Business Honors

A company can set itself apart with strong and intentional relationships with clients and employees. Main Street Capital Corporation has developed its entire business around this idea. Their primary service is providing capital solutions to lower middle market companies – hence the name Main Street and not Wall Street. Main Street strives to build relationships and customize transactions to meet the unique needs of each of their portfolio companies.

Mays former student Brent Smith ’97 (accounting) and ’98 (PPA), Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Main Street Capital Corporation, spoke on Sept. 27 to Business Honors students. He said Main Street’s unique business model involves more than just a financial investment as it truly “takes an investment in people.” Main Street does this by working closely beside the ownership and management of all the companies in their portfolio and committing to the long haul. Building these relationships drives Main Street’s success. Smith also discussed Main Street’s culture in the office feels like a family where everyone is fully invested in the success of the company. “Even the receptionist owns our stock,” Smith said.

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M