The accounting program at Texas A&M University was recently ranked in the top 10 across all degrees by the Public Accounting Report. The undergraduate and doctoral accounting programs both ranked 9th, while the master’s program was cited as the 10th best in America.
“I was delighted that our programs were all ranked in the top 10 nationally by the Public Accounting Report,” commented James Benjamin, Deloitte Foundation Leadership Professor and Department Head of the Accounting Department at Mays. “Texas A&M was one of only five schools to rank in the top 10 for bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs. I believe that our ranking reflects the combination of high-quality students, a unique culture, dedicated faculty, and innovative programs.”
The Public Accounting Report rankings are the most commonly cited ranking of accounting programs, Benjamin said. The annual ranking is the only survey that allows well-respected accounting faculty to determine which accounting programs are most successful out of 200 universities.
Louis “Lou” Paletta, a founding partner and the chief operating officer of Kildare Partners, joined the Texas A&M Foundation Board of Trustees on July 1.
Paletta, originally from San Antonio, earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University in 1978. Prior to joining Kildare—a $4 billion private equity firm organized in 2013 to target distressed European commercial real estate-related opportunities—Paletta spent 20 years with Lone Star Funds, holding a variety of leadership positions. Paletta’s career has taken him to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
During his tenure at Lone Star, he was responsible for coordinating the formation of 10 private equity funds, representing $34 billion in capital commitments from a variety of global institutional investors including public pension funds, corporate pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, and foundations.
Before Lone Star, he served as director of internal audit for Brazos Asset Management Inc. and senior audit manager of American Savings Bank. He spent the first 12 years of his career with Deloitte specializing in attestation, business reorganization and litigation support.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to serve Texas A&M University and am privileged to be working with an outstanding group of proven professionals that ‘lead by example’ in distinguishing Texas A&M from its peers,” Paletta said.
He has remained active in the Texas A&M community, serving in volunteer leadership roles for Mays Business School and the 12th Man Foundation. He and his wife, Wanda, are longtime benefactors to Texas A&M and are members of The Association of Former Students’ Century Club, the A&M Legacy Society and the 12th Man Foundation’s Diamond Champions Council. Paletta also serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays Business School and was honored as an Outstanding Alumnus in 2017.
Paletta also serves as chairman of the Board of Managers of Cerebrum Health Centers, a nationally recognized brain rehabilitation center. He has previously served on the Board of Directors for the Aggie Golf Association and the Vaquero Club in Westlake, as well as captain of the Dallas Area Champions Council. He has regularly visited campus to speak to business honors students about his experience in the finance and investment worlds. In 2016, he was recognized with an Outstanding Alumni Award from Mays Business School.
“Lou and Wanda are action-oriented volunteers who live by our Aggie core values,” said Tyson Voelkel ’96, president of the Texas A&M Foundation. “They embody the Aggie spirit and consistently support athletics and academics. I am proud to welcome Lou to our exceptional Board of Trustees and look forward to his influence on our endowment performance and impact on the university’s ‘Lead by Example’ campaign.”
Texas A&M Foundation
The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that solicits and manages investments in academics and leadership programs to enhance Texas A&M’s capability to be among the best universities.
Mays Business School is committed to advancing the world’s prosperity. In part, achieving this vision is attained by creating impactful knowledge, knowing that the more challenged students are in class the more they will be prepared to initiate inspirational change as alumni. Mays is actualizing this undertaking by stressing the importance of enhancing research through two classes that are being offered during this upcoming school year.
One of the courses focuses on graduate-level academic research, while the other introduces undergraduate students to methods for researching material through the lens of business research. R. Duane Ireland, executive associate dean and University Distinguished Professor at Mays, said the courses will serve a greater purpose for Mays graduates.
“Learning is an important objective that drives Mays’ faculty members as they engage in academic research. In this regard, we know that to be successful, business people must strive to consistently learn more about the needs of customers, employees, suppliers and the local communities in which they work and live,” Ireland said. “Similarly, in addition to developing new knowledge, academic researchers are committed to learning about practices that when effectively followed, have a strong probability of helping business people and their firms create value for those they serve. We are indeed pleased that courses are now available to Mays’ students through which they will learn about the purposes of academic research and how it can help them understand how to be effective leaders throughout their careers.”
Introduction to Academic Research
The accounting department is offering a new course called an “Introduction to Academic Research,” which will be taught by Associate Professor Nate Sharp. Its purpose is to encourage students to consider pursuing a Ph.D. in accounting through introducing them to scholarly research. It also includes a discussion element regarding what to expect from Ph.D. programs and how to succeed both in the classroom and as a professor.
Students will hear from guest speakers on why they chose to pursue a Ph.D. and how it impacted their careers. The immediate interest in this innovative course resulted in an enrollment that quickly exceeded the number of classroom seats that were initially available. So many students were eager to participate in this course, the interest surpassed the capacity of the class. Sharp hopes that while teaching the course, he “will be able to persuade them (students) that the scope and novelty of accounting research goes way beyond what they have learned in their undergraduate and even master’s classes about accounting.”
This course is being offered to fifth-year accounting students in the department’s Professional Program (PPA). PPA is a five-year program that offers students the opportunity to simultaneously earn a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a Master of Science in Accounting, MIS, Management, Marketing, or Financial Management. Students in this program can learn from Sharp about the importance of academic research and the role that it plays in a university setting.
It will debut in the Fall 2017 semester.
Applied Business Competencies: Mays Business School Faculty Research
Business research is everywhere, from newspapers to journals to viral social media content. Used well, it can help firms make prudent financial investments, install talented leadership and shape successful advertising campaigns. It can also help everyday shoppers make more informed decisions and even provide rewarding opportunities for a potential career path as an academic researcher.
Yet many college students, outside of Ph.D. tracks and academic circles, are unfamiliar with business research. For them, research is esoteric at best; at worst, uninteresting.
But Stephen (Steve) Courtright, an assistant professor of management, hopes to change those perceptions. He designed an elective course “Applied Business Competencies: Mays Business School Faculty Research” to help make the world of academic business research more accessible to undergraduate and graduate students. The course launched in Spring 2017.
Through the one-hour-credit course, Courtright said he hoped to show students that business research is incredibly relevant for society. “What not everyone knows is that business research is like medical research; it has the potential to affect the quality of people’s lives,” he said. “It can improve how business is conducted and how organizations are run. This makes for a better work environment for everyone involved.”
He also explained that the life of the researcher is like an entrepreneur – and it comes with similar rewards. “Researchers are not just question-askers; they are problem solvers, and you have total freedom pursue the questions and problems that most interest you.”
During the first few weeks of the course, Courtright helped students understand what business research is. Students also learned to look past sensational headlines and questionable sample sizes to evaluate whether research is useful or not. The remaining few weeks of the course, Courtright invited professors from the various Mays departments as guest speakers to present on their own research pursuits and passions.
Participating professors included Nate Sharp, an associate professor of accounting; Matthew (Matt) Call, an assistant professor of management; Shane Johnson, a professor of finance; Subodha Kumar, an associate professor of information and operations management; and Leonard Berry, University Distinguished Professor of Marketing.
At the end of the semester, students wrote reflections on what they had learned during the semester.
Colton Bucey said the course helped him better see that the role of a researcher is like an entrepreneur. “Coming into this course, I thought I had a solid understanding of what professors’ jobs were like; I thought that professors each lectured for a few hours every week, held office hours, graded assignments and then were finished,” he said. “Actually, at any given time, professors can be working on numerous research topics. They are more or less their own bosses and have extreme flexibility in when/where they chose to work.”
Lauren Abiog, a business administration freshman, reflected on Berry’s presentation on his healthcare industry research and how it opened her eyes to the greater good that many researchers hope to realize. “Dr. Berry’s purpose in researching is to help improve the quality of life of others,” she said. “What a selfless and purposeful reason to live for!”
Courtright said he hopes the course will gain momentum with students in the coming years. “I want more students to be thinking about research as a career,” he said. “Even if they choose not to pursue it as a career, it will give them an appreciation for what faculty like those at Mays do for a living.”
The course is set to be offered in future spring semesters.
By creating these two classes, Mays is providing a platform where professors can instill in students an interest in research that will extend past the four years that they are in college. It has the chance to influence learners to become more intellectually curious, which in turn increases their ability to develop innovative approaches to pursue while seeking to advance the world’s prosperity.
Texas A&M University is tied with the University of Michigan for having the most graduates currently serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, according to a new Fortune magazine study.
With four former students serving as CEOs of some of the largest companies in the United States, Texas A&M has the most of any university in Texas and is only matched by the University of Michigan. Other schools on the Fortune list include Cornell University and Harvard University, both with three CEO graduates.
Texas A&M also is the only Texas school in the survey with a CEO on Fortune’s Top Ten list. Darren Woods, CEO and chairman of Exxon Mobil, studied electrical engineering at Texas A&M and is a 1987 graduate. His wife, Kathryn Woods, is also a 1987 Texas A&M graduate who earned a degree in accounting from Mays Business School.
This year’s Fortune list also includes Bruce D. Broussard, CEO of Humana, Class of 1984; David M. Cordani, CEO of Cigna, Class of 1988. Both Broussard and Cordani earned degrees in accounting from Mays Business School.
“Texas A&M has always been committed to developing leaders of character and the mission of Mays Business School is to develop transformational leaders,” says James Benjamin, head of the department of accounting at Mays Business School. “Beyond that, accounting is often referred to the language of business and graduates are well positioned for success is all aspects of organizations. Both Mr. Broussard and Mr. Cordani worked as auditors with major public accounting firms and became CPA’s before transitioning to the corporate world. Many believe that the discipline and work ethic required in public accounting provides good preparation for leadership roles in business.”
Not included in this year’s survey is Jeff Miller, who was recently appointed as president and CEO of Halliburton Co. Miller received an MBA from Mays Business School in 1988.
The Professional Program in Accounting has announced two of its former students as recipients of the Rising Star Award and Outstanding Alumnus/Alumna Award. Phil Graves ’04 and Christy Baumann ’95 will be recognized at a dinner in College Station on May 9.
This year’s Rising Star award goes to Phil Graves ’04, senior director of corporate development for Patagonia and managing director of Tin Shed Ventures. He is in charge of the company’s investments and merger and acquisition activities. Graves also serves as a Senior Advisory Board Member of the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business’s Center for Responsible Business.
He has been recognized on Global Corporate Venturing’s Powerlist 100, and by Texas A&M’s Association of Former Students’ “12 Under 12 Young Alumni Spotlight.” Graves was previously a senior manager in the Business Valuation practice at Deloitte, and he began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He models selfless service in the community as well through his work with the homeless and as a long-time Big Brother mentor.…Read more
Curiosity has always been at the heart of Steve Harding ’84’s career. Just after graduating from Texas A&M University with a business degree in accounting and management, he took a job in audit at KPMG Peat Marwick to learn about as many different businesses as possible. Later he took his inquisitiveness with him as he moved into the corporate real estate industry and held controller positions at privately held commercial and residential real estate companies, where he became interested in understanding the financial impact of engineering decisions in buildings such as the Dallas and Houston Gallerias, and finally to his current role as a chief financial officer.
Kris Chester ’87 was there during one of the most successful banking mergers in history. In fact she oversaw the entire treasury management integration when Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia in 2008.
In a conversation with Business Honors students at Mays Business School, Chester, executive vice president of treasury management implementation and delivery at Wells Fargo, said it was one of the most fun and challenging jobs she has ever held in her 27-year-long career at the international banking and financial services company.
“I had the opportunity to be on the forefront of deciding what the new bank would look like, including what treasury products it would offer, how its operating model would be structured, which people were needed,” she said. Chester studied accounting and finance at Texas A&M University as an undergraduate student.
At Wells Fargo, she manages a team of 800, overseeing the implementation of domestic and international treasury management solutions, designed to help customers manage their treasury operations and succeed financially.
She said implementing solutions for customers can be tricky because customers expect the process to be intuitive and “as easy as setting up an iPhone.” However, she said a true customer-centric approach often requires painstaking care to ensure the implementation goes well. “If you implement well, it makes it easier for customers to continue doing business with you,” she said.
Likewise, she said the secret to the merger’s success was that the decisions kept the customer at the center. She advised students to “always put the customer first when developing products and services; the financial results will follow,” no matter the type of business.
She offered this parting career advice:
Looks matter – match your appearance to the expectations of the job.
Take company culture into account.
Choose your boss wisely. Seek someone you can learn from.
Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students has named four members of Mays faculty and staff among the 24 recipients of the 2017 Distinguished Achievement Awards: Wendy R. Boswell, Department of Management; Henry Musoma ’00, Center for International Business Studies; Veronica (Sprayberry) Stilley ’90, Department of Information and Operations Management; and Connie D. Weaver, Department of Accounting.
The university-level Distinguished Achievement Awards were first presented in 1955 and have since been awarded to more than 1,000 professionals who have exhibited the highest standards of excellence at Texas A&M.
The 2017 Distinguished Achievement Awards will be formally presented at 1:30 p.m. on April 24 during ceremonies in Rudder Theatre on the Texas A&M campus. In recognition of their achievements, each recipient will receive a cash gift, an engraved watch and a commemorative plaque.
All of the 2017 recipients, along with their departments/affiliations are as follows:
James D. Batteas, Department of Chemistry, College of Science
Ben F. Bigelow ʼ05, Department of Construction Science, College of Architecture
Christian Brannstrom, Department of Geography, College of Geosciences
Audrey K. Cook, Department of Veterinary Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Alan Dabney, Department of Statistics, College of Science
Amy E. Earhart ʼ99, Department of English, College of Liberal Arts
Larry Johnson, Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Mary P. McDougall ʼ97, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
Mary Margaret “Meg” Penrose, Texas A&M University School of Law Connie D. Weaver, Department of Accounting, Mays Business School
For Research: Wendy R. Boswell, Department of Management, Mays Business School
Timothy R. Elliott, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development
Paul E. Hardin, Department of Biology, College of Science
Casey J. Papovich, Department of Physics and Astronomy, College of Science
Ping Yang, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, College of Geosciences
Hong-Cai “Joe” Zhou ʼ00, Department of Chemistry, College of Science
For Student Relations:
Elizabeth Crouch ʼ91, Biomedical Sciences Program, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Henry Musoma ʼ00, Center for International Business Studies, Mays Business School
For Administration: Mark A. Hussey ʼ79, Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
For Extension, Outreach, Continuing Education and Professional Development
John T. Cooper Jr. ʼ92, Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, College of Architecture
Kevin Gustavus ʼ08, Business Office, College of Architecture Veronica (Sprayberry) Stilley ’90, Department of Information and Operations Management, Mays Business School
For Graduate Mentoring:
Robert S. Chapkin, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Yalchin Efendiev, Department of Mathematics, College of Science
KPMG has been selected as the 2017 Mays Business School Corporate Partner of the Year. To celebrate, April 4 will be KPMG Corporate Day in Mays Business School as part of the Mays Connection program, which celebrates the school’s partnerships with both businesses and former students.
Mays will host a presentation to announce the award, special remarks, a reception and class visits across the school from various KPMG alumni. The Corporate Partner of the Year presentation will be made in the Wehner Atrium from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
Bernie Milano, president of the KPMG U.S. Foundation Inc. and The PhD Project Association, is scheduled to give remarks on “Embracing Diversity of Thought” from 2:20 to 3:30 p.m. in Wehner 161.
Diversity of thought ensures cautious and creative processing of information compared to that which occurs within homogeneous groups. The key to embracing diversity of thought is to embrace difference. Managers who are adept in understanding differences across. race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and ability spectrums have an advantage in creating a sustainable 21st century work force. Transformational leaders are open minded and seek diverse viewpoints to remain innovative and solve organizational challenges.
Milano graduated from Temple University with a B.S. in accounting and started his career with KPMG in the audit practice of the Philadelphia office. Prior to his current roles as president of the KPMG Foundation he held positions of increasing responsibility, including National Partner in Charge of University Relations and National Partner in Charge of Human Resources.
KPMGis a professional services company – offering audit, tax and advisory services – and is one of the Big Four auditors. It is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and employs 189,000 people.
The contributions that KPMG has made to Mays Business School include, but are not limited to
The KPMG Chair in Accounting, established in 2001
The KPMG Professorship in Accounting, established in 1988
The KPMG Fellowship, established in 1987,
The KPMG Data Analytics/Technology Development Endowment, established in 2015
KPMG is one of the school’s top employers. In 2016, the company hired more than 75 students for internships and full-time opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
“When selecting the honoree for 2017, we immediately realized that KPMG was the only choice, considering their commitment to our school through financial support, hiring and educational support,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones.
The PhD Project, an effort to improve diversity in higher education, has been led by Milano since its inception and has benefited a number of Mays current and prospective faculty.
Two Mays Business School faculty members are in the inaugural class of Texas A&M University’s Presidential Impact Fellows. Sean T. McGuire, assistant professor of accounting, and Stephen Courtright, assistant professor of management, were among the 24 announced by President Michael K. Young and recognized on March 7.
Young and Provost Karan Watson announced the award, created to support faculty members who are rising stars in their fields and who personify the commitments Young outlined in his October 2016 “State of the University Address” – to advance knowledge through transformational learning, discovery, innovation and impact for Texas and the world. The award recipients come from across Texas A&M’s 16 colleges and schools, two branch campuses, and comprehensive University Libraries.
“Today, we acknowledge a new investment in the excellence of select faculty who through their scholarship, personal commitment and results demonstrate they are rising to meet the challenges of their field and demonstrating impact towards creating a better world,” Young said. “I am proud to name these faculty as the inaugural Presidential Impact Fellows.”
The Presidential Impact Fellows program includes the use of the honorific title for life, and an annual stipend of $25,000 each of the next three fiscal years to accelerate each recipient’s pedagogy,
research and service impacts. Identified by his or her dean and confirmed by academic leadership, these faculty members are considered candidates for continued or new national and international acclaim and will utilize this honor to participate in national dialogue, advance their scholarship and create new partnerships.
“This honor furthers our belief that these faculty are and should be considered among the nation’s very best and will enable greater recognition for their excellence,” said provost and executive vice president Watson.
The 2017 recipients will be honored at a March 21 ceremony and will be given a memento of glass art reflecting the synergy of transformational learning, discovery & innovation, and impact formed by Texas A&M commitments to creating a better world.