Accounting | Mays Impacts - Part 4

As part of the celebrations honoring EY as Mays Business School’s 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year, business honors students met with a roundtable of professionals in various roles and offices around the country.

The professionals in the conversation included:

  • Randy Cain ’82, Vice Chair, Region Managing Partner
  • Christy Baumann ’95, Partner
  • Andy Beakey ’84, Tax Partner
  • Bill Guess ’88, Dallas Audit Partner
  • Anneliese Schumacher, Regional Leader, Southwest Campus
  • Dana Lane, America’s Tax Campus Recruiting Leader
  • Ellen Glazerman, Executive Director, EY Foundation

Students quickly discovered, however, that this was to be a very interactive discussion, with the professionals from EY turning the tables – seeking advice and opinions from the students on their knowledge of changing technology and what they see and hear in the business world today. The team members remarked that they hold the opinions and mindsets of the young in high regard.

Cain put it best when he stated, “young people are driving the experiences the corporate world is talking about. It doesn’t matter the service line, they are all being disrupted.” This disruption comes from changing technology and a future that is going to be “fascinating” to watch, Cain continued. The team believes wholeheartedly that Texas A&M University and Mays Business School is making the right investments in learning experiences to prepare their students for that future.

Baumann commented that “change is often and forward,” and wanted to know what things the students were going to focus on and stretch themselves to do in preparation for that change. She added that “culture is the reason behind the longevity” at EY, and that a good company culture is key in adapting to change.

Schumacher affirmed the rest of her team members’ sentiments when she stated “it almost doesn’t matter which technologies you learn,” adding that students need to “get more comfortable with technology in general, because technology is a big enabler” in today’s society.

The team ended the roundtable discussion by providing the students with a vote of confidence and showcasing exactly why the partnership with Mays Business School is such a big deal for EY. They love to hire Aggies. “All of the skills and responsibilities you learn in organizations during your time in college are beyond valuable,” Glazerman said. The team agreed that the organizational experience at A&M is something that sets Aggie students apart from other universities.

Categories: Accounting, Dean Eli Jones, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School recognized global leader EY as its 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year during a day-long celebration on March 22. Corporate executives participated in an official award ceremony. They also gave presentations and led roundtable discussions with Mays undergraduate and graduate students on topics ranging from creating an engaged corporate culture, supporting employees, disruptive technology, and the professional of the future.

The Corporate Partner of the Year award honors EY’s 35-year relationship with Mays. “Some people think this award is about the money, but it’s not,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones ’82. “It’s because of EY’s significant investment of time, energy, and ideas in our school. Just having the EY brand associated with the Mays brand means a lot worldwide.”

A meaningful corporate partnership

EY has contributed $5 million to the school and recently made a $2 million commitment to name the Department of Accounting.  “EY has been the largest donor to the accounting program and one of the largest to the college,” said Jim Benjamin, the head of Mays’ Department of Accounting.

In addition, EY leaders have been active on numerous Mays advisory boards and provided feedback on curriculum and course content. The multinational professional services firm also has hired hundreds of Aggies for internships and full- time positions after graduation. “Part of the success of our program is attracting great students,” Benjamin said. “Great students are interested in programs where there are great outcomes – where there are internships, jobs and great career opportunities. Corporate partnerships like the one we have with EY have made that happen.”

A pipeline for the next generation of transformational leaders

In turn, EY executives value the characteristics that Aggies bring to the table. “When Aggies come to work with us, they are well-trained, which you’d expect,” Randy Cain ’82, EY’s vice chair and region managing partner. “But they also are transformational leaders. They are people with a work ethic that is second to none. Our purpose is to build a better working world and I often say that I cannot find a place that better matches that then Texas A&M. It’s been a wonderful 35-year journey and one that will continue forever. It is also a partnership that is very important to us.”

 

 

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Mays Business School announces its 2018 Corporate Partner of the Year EY, one of the leading employers of Mays graduates. In particular, graduates from the PPA program at Mays have moved into leadership positions in EY.

To celebrate, March 22 will be EY Corporate Day in Mays Business School as part of the Mays Connection program, which celebrates the school’s partnerships with businesses and former students.

Mays will host a presentation of the award in the lobby of the Wehner Building, as well as speakers and visits to classrooms by various EY employees. A presentation of the award will be 11-11:30 in the Wehner Atrium.

From 9:30-10:45 a.m., Allison Allen, Southwest Talent Leader at EY and “Working Mother of the Year” from Working Mother magazine, will speak in Wehner 187. From 1 to 2 p.m. in Wehner 190, Annaliese Schumacher, EY’s Southwest Campus Recruiting Leader, will present “Professional of the Future,” which will highlight how students will need to adapt to the changes in the workplace.

EY is a multinational professional services firm headquartered in London, England. EY is one of the largest professional services firms in the world and is one of the “Big Four” accounting firms.

It is one of Texas A&M’s top employers, hiring hundreds of graduates each year in multiple disciplines.

“When selecting this year’s honoree, EY came quickly to mind because of their reciprocal partnership with the school,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones. “Not only do they provide financial support and devote their time to our students, they also groom our graduates for management positions. It is a cycle of success.”

One of those graduates, Randy Cain ’82, has held a variety of leadership roles throughout the course of 30+ years with EY. He is Vice Chair and Southwest Region Managing Partner for EY, responsible for the firm’s practice across nine states with more than 4,000 people in 14 offices. Previously, he served as the Southwest Region Tax Managing Partner and San Antonio Office Managing Partner.

Other Mays graduates in leadership positions at EY leaders plan to visit on March 22, including Partner Christy Baumann ’95 and Tax Partner Andy Beakey ’84.

For more information about the events planned that day, contact Cindy Billington.

 

Categories: Accounting, Dean Eli Jones, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

For Andy York ’03, this year will bring together his past and his future – his alma mater is building a house in partnership with B/CS Habitat for Humanity, where he is executive director.

Thanks to his passion for both organizations, York has the opportunity to play a part in the collaboration of Mays Business School and B/CS Habitat for Humanity. The MaysBuilds project will unify undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff throughout all departments and programs in Mays.

York has always had a passion for giving back. “While in high school, I donated land that my grandmother had given me to Habitat for Humanity in Bryan,” York said. Three houses were built on the land he donated, and York started volunteering on the property. Eventually, this land turned into a subdivision called Miracle Place. In addition, while in college, York volunteered with his church on Habitat houses, and this really pushed his passion for the organization. That church – Christ United Methodist Church in College Station – is now building its ninth house.

York began at Texas A&M as a finance major, but was convinced by a professor to do the Professional Program for Accounting with a master’s in finance. He learned early on, however, that accounting was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. “I started thinking about what sort of job would really give me fulfillment, and I decided that I should put my talents to use to serve people rather than make money for investors,” York said. It was this mindset that led York to join the staff at B/CS Habitat as director of finance in 2013. He became executive director in 2016.

The partnership between Mays and B/CS Habitat for Humanity began when Marketing Professor Janet Parish joined the Habitat Board of Directors. York said that Parish, “said the right words at the right time to the right people,” which led to the creation of the partnership. Along with serving on the board, Parish also serves as the chair of the Community Outreach subcommittee. “Bringing those two roles together created an opportunity for Mays faculty, staff, and students to work together to serve the local community,” she said. “We are planning several events this spring that we hope will help us continue to spread our message and get others involved.” These events include the annual Habitat breakfast on Feb. 28, which numerous Mays faculty and staff members plan to attend, and the recent Business Student Council Mays Exchange, which donated a portion proceeds toward MaysBuilds for the first time.

Not only will this partnership positively affect York and the Habitat team, but it will also impact current Mays students as well. Working alongside Mays instructors and staff while raising funds and building homes will allow students to see their instructors outside of the classroom and share in a passion for serving others. This interaction will carry back into the classroom, creating an environment in which students are more likely to collaborate on other projects and shared interests.

“Mays provided a really well-rounded education to prepare me for leadership roles, such as the role I hold now,” York said. Now that Mays students can get involved with Habitat, many others will hopefully feel this same sense of preparation for their future.

Andy York (left) with Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat International, and Charles Coats, director of Homebuyer Services (also a Texas A&M University graduate).

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Texas A&M

Having learned what it means to find good culture during her time at Texas A&M University, Jana Ahlfinger Bell ’86 wanted to share with current students the insights she has gained in her career on her way to becoming the Executive Vice President and CFO of RMG Networks.

Bell, who received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M, also worked as the CFO of EF Johnson Technologies, Inc., as president and CEO of Simple Products Inc., and as the CEO, president, and director of @TRACK Communications, Inc. Bell recently visited with Mays business honors students as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker series, which recognizes business leaders in today’s society and gives them the opportunity to share their expertise with the Mays Community.

“Interviewing is important for both the employer and the potential employee,” Bell said, when she explained her wish for the students in the session – that when they go to their first job, they find a place that is interesting and get to work with great people.

“But how can one decipher what a company’s culture is like just based on the first initial interview?” one of the students asked. Bell responded: “You have to interview as if you’re already there, inside the company. See yourself there, and then you will ask more in-depth questions.”

Bell continued to highlight other ways to discover a company’s culture:

  • Think about yourself actually working there and what that would be like. Delve into their daily happenings to gain that understanding.
  • Pay attention to the tone at the top of the company, what is important to the leadership of the company, because it really matters.
  • Do your homework on the company and the industry to gain insight into the culture. A defense contractor, for example, has a different culture as compared with a media company, or a technology company, or a professional firm, or an oil & gas company.

Bell closed the discussion by telling the students, “I love what I am doing, and I have found that ethical center in what I do. I love being a mentor.”

Bell advised the students to “make the most of the opportunities presented to you during your time at Texas A&M like these speaker sessions.” Bell told the students she wishes she had the opportunities that the students have now to network with speakers like herself, and she encouraged them to take advantage of all of the networking opportunities provided to them during their time here.

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Annie McGowan has been named the next Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, effective June 1.  She has been a Mays faculty member for 24 years, and has led the Professional Program in Accounting and served as Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion.

Accounting Professor Martha Loudder has served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs for 13 years. She will continue teaching at Mays, as she has done for 29 years.

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Philip Mann and fellow interns dressed for scavenger hunt.

Participants dressed in traditional African clothing in an immersion exercise for an internship. The scavenger hunt around Disney World gave them insight into how they would look and feel wearing their American clothes while traveling overseas.

The light at the end of the tunnel is finally within sight for the Dec. 15 graduates of Mays Business School. 

Each student’s experience at Mays has been unique, each path afterward just as varied.

Shawn Mays

Shawn Mays

Some students are already immersed in the real world, and have been for awhile. For example, Shawn Mays is a 44-year-old husband and father who has commuted from Houston since fall 2012, working full-time as an automotive instructor at Universal Technical Institute while working to obtain his degree.

The daily drive is 201 miles from his house to College Station, back to his job, then back home after work. “I did that every day I had class and over the five years I only missed four days of class – and they were all serious events, that’s why I remember. One was a funeral, my wife had surgery, I was seriously ill one time, and the last was due to Hurricane Harvey.”

Mays said he had always admired Texas A&M and regretted not attending directly after high school. “I decided one day I wanted to further my education, and the only option I would accept was attending A&M,” he explained. “My best friend growing up and his wife both are both graduates of A&M. There are countless reasons as to what influenced me to attend A&M.  My favorite color is maroon (imagine that).”

Mays finished every class he started, and he currently has a 3.704 GPA. As far as his motivation is concerned, he relates it back to high school, when he was a long-distance runner. “I am a very determined person and don’t give up easily,” he said. “I will see things through to the end and won’t quit till the job is done. I am the type of person that if you tell me something can’t be done, I will do it to just prove to myself it could be done. 

He added: “I am proud of everything I have accomplished and of having had the honor to attend Texas A&M. If I can be an inspiration to one person, to motivate them to do half the things I have done, it would be heart-warming.” …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Recalling her career of achievements and offering inspiring industry advice, Cathy Works Helmbrecht ’85, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, recently visited with Mays Business Honors students as part of the Mays 2017 Transformational Leader Speaker Series. Helmbrecht received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University and has affiliations with the Aggie Real Estate Network, Texas A&M Greek Former Student’s Network, and the Women Former Student’s Network.

Helmbrecht started with PwC right after her graduation from Texas A&M and has been with them since, serving in various roles throughout her career. She realized pretty quickly into her first job that she was using skills from all of her classes, not just what she learned specifically from her major. She told the students, “the skills you learn as a business major branch across degrees. You won’t just stick to one thing, like accounting.”

She shared her personal struggles in finding a work/family balance and dealing with feelings of burning out on certain things. One student asked whether Helmbrecht had experienced critics in being a woman in her role. She explained the pressure she experienced in the industry stemmed mostly from herself. The toughest time of her career was when she had kids. She experienced an internal struggle of wanting to continue her success in her career, but also knowing she needed to step back to be a good mother to her children. “You don’t always have to be the top at what you’re doing,” she said. “You need to be satisfied, and doing well for the sake of your kids and family. You have to take things one step at a time and truly find that balance.”

Helmbrecht went further into detail about the key things that have brought her success in life and in her career:

  • Communication is key in all aspects of your career
  • Learn how to keep people around you motivated
  • Keep an organized schedule
  • Have a strong team/support network behind you
  • Take vacation time when you have the opportunity

Business Honors major Taylor Wiest ’19 said Helmbrecht’s talk encouraged her “to find my own support network and not be afraid to rely on others when the time calls for it.”

When the conversation turned to internships and entry-level positions, Helbrecht advised the students to “intern somewhere that you would want to eventually work, as those companies are investing in you as a potential hire.” She also urged the students to “explore a lot of opportunities out there, ask a lot of questions, and understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. Have a roadmap for the big picture and a purpose of what you are doing.”

Helmbrecht’s story was an inspiring one, and clearly had an impact on the students attending. Business Honors major Bridget Davies ’20 said Helmbrecht’s story “encouraged me to try new things and continue to challenge myself so that I am always learning.” Business Honors major Asad Engineer ’20 said Helmbrecht’s story “inspired me to find a company that I can trust and stay with.”

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

The new Mays Innovation Research Center has an inaugural director: Mays Business School professor Korok Ray, who conceptualized the center as a place to discover how and when innovation occurs, then transfer that knowledge to Texas A&M University students.

Ray, an associate professor of accounting, will lead the center to provide research support to existing and new faculty members across the Texas A&M campus. It will bridge the research at Mays with that occurring in engineering, business, liberal arts, and other academic disciplines. The center will also fund Ph.D. fellowships and undergraduate research opportunities, and award prizes for outstanding research that advances the center’s mission.

Ray’s research interests are performance measurement, compensation, corporate governance, and cost allocation. He has taught accounting at Texas A&M University, the University of Chicago and Georgetown University, and earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University. He also served as the senior economist on the Council of Economic Advisers in the White House from 2007 to 2009.

Ray said he has experienced strong support for the concept. “Dean (Eli) Jones, The Texas A&M Foundation, and our donors have been outstanding in their support of this vision from the beginning,” he said. “I’m thrilled and honored to lead this center into new and uncharted territory, as the conversation on innovation unfolds both on our campus and nationally.  The center will engage students in research, support faculty, and pursue opportunities unique to Texas A&M, with its special combination of first-tier research and first-class values.”

…Read more

Categories: Accounting, Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Innovation Research Center, News, Research, Texas A&M

A firm believer in giving back, Alan Mitchell ’85 recently visited with Mays Business Honors students as part of the Mays 2017 Transformational Leader Speaker Series to provide them with not only career advice, but also advice on school and life.

“Be comfortable hearing your own voice in a room of people,” is guidance he would offer to junior members of his team. “If you don’t speak up early in a discussion, people will think of you as being irrelevant,” he added.

Additionally, while recalling how he evaluated opportunities presented during his first job out of college with KPMG, he said “If there is opportunity out there, take it, even if it presents challenges. You will always grow and expand and it will generally make you a more important part of your company and make you make you worldlier.”

Mitchell retired from investment banking in 2017 after a 23-year career at Wells Fargo Securities and Citigroup. He left Wells Fargo as the head of the telecom investment banking within the Technology, Media, and Telecom group. Mitchell earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M and his MBA in finance and international business from Columbia Business School, where he graduated with honors.

The students found value in Mitchell sharing his story of advancing himself by going back to business school to pursue his MBA after being in the workforce for seven years. For him, his MBA was a game changer because of the influence it carried. It also taught him that “you need to like what you’re doing in your specific career.”

Mitchell’s talk then turned to the topic of “building the resume of your life,” which starts with college and continues with everything a person does thereafter. He emphasized that students need to “make sure every subsequent step on one’s resume is additive to their prior experiences and makes them more interesting and unique.”

Business Honors student Payton Fanning ’20 said Mitchell cautioned that the ability to have relevant experiences diminishes with each passing day. “He encouraged us to make every one of our actions meaningful, and to make sure every job/opportunity we seize is something we will be proud to see on our resume,” Fanning said.

As the students continued to ask questions about resumes, Mitchell said their resumes should “demonstrate a desire for experience,” and showcase a level of commitment to their undertakings. Mitchell advised the students to set goals for pursuing their next opportunities. He said a good rule of thumb is three to five years at a job before you re-evaluate where you are with each job.

Mitchell closed with his last piece of advice when he stated, “Remember, first choices in life won’t be your last choices in life. Identify and reach for every opportunity presented to you, as it can be life-changing.”

The impact of his words was felt by all of the students attending. “I left with a gratitude for Aggies like Alan Mitchell who seek to provide opportunities to younger Aggies in high-profile fields,” said Adam Warnke ’17, a Business Honors & Accounting-PPA student.

 

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Business Honors, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M