COLLEGE STATION, TX, June 29, 2020 – Texas A&M’s Executive MBA program has been named a top ten public program by The Economist, the international publication headquartered in London. The program, delivered at CityCentre Houston, is ranked the #1 public program in Texas, the #9 public program in the U.S., the #21 overall program in the U.S., and #37 overall globally.
TheEconomist survey was based on feedback from current students (classes of 2020 and 2021) and Former Students (alumni) from the classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Texas A&M’s Executive MBA program received the top mark in both “Quality of Faculty” and “Student Rating of Teaching Quality” categories above the rest of the 70 international programs ranked this year. The program ranked #2 in the “Student Rating of Faculty” and “Student Rating of Content” categories, a testament to the sentiment current and former students have for the value of the program.
“I am savoring this moment knowing we have been judged by The Economist as the #9 U.S. Public Program,” said Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Arvind Mahajan. “This ranking is a major recognition of the incredible students we have matriculate through our program. The expertise and dedication of our faculty and the hard work and perseverance of these students results in an incredible experience and transformation for each cohort. That vast change is the true output; these rankings are an outcome that measures how our students’ entire lives are improved.”
“It’s wonderful to have The Economist recognize the hard work and dedication that the Executive MBA program faculty and staff put in every semester,” said Eli Jones, Dean of Mays Business School. “Congratulations to the faculty, staff, and students that comprise this Executive MBA program and the impact each of them makes to advance the world’s prosperity. I want to specifically thank Julie Orzabal, the director of the program, who since its inception 20 years ago, has led executive leaders and gained results like these.”
Applications for the Texas A&M Executive MBA program are being accepted now for the class of 2022. For more information, visit mba.tamu.edu.
Analytics gurus and industry leaders highlighted real-world uses of analytics to strengthen cybersecurity operations and counter threats during the Texas A&M Analytics Forum hosted by Mays Business School at the CityCentre Houston campus. Attendees represented a wide cast of industries including non-profits; oil, gas, and energy; telecommunications; and retail to name a few.
“Organizations that have accumulated valuable data have fallen victims of cyberattacks that have caused millions of dollars in damages. Analytics can help predict these vulnerabilities and protect companies from these threats.” said Myra Gonzalez, director of the Texas A&M Master of Science in Analytics program (MS Analytics). “The purpose of this event was to provide a venue for people in the Houston business community as well as faculty, staff, and students to get together, discuss analytics, and share best practices.”
John Stultz, Principal Solutions Architect in Fraud and Security Intelligence at SAS Institute was the first keynote speaker. He shared that data preparation is 80% of the effort in fraud detection, much like in other types of analytics work. He also shared how organizations can consider derived measures for cyber risk, as well as use cases in which machine learning can assist to fight vendor, supplier, and procurement fraud.
The amount of content to share was so vast that Mays had a second keynote from Paul Brager, Author, Speaker, and Researcher in Cyber. He explained how organizations can leverage cyber analytics to protect critical infrastructures. Brager’s talk also highlighted that cyber analytics is not new, adversaries have become increasingly more dangerous, and the need for analytics is essential to fight cyber terrorism, cyber espionage, and cyber sabotage.
Several presentations were conducted by MS Analytics former students. Pablo Ormachea ’16 currently serves as VP of Data Science for a lending company in the D.C. area, and urged data scientists to “refit” and constantly re-deploy models to stay ahead of the game.
Yoel Kluk ’16 hosted a presentation that gave valuable insights from data on types of behaviors that drive criminal activities, and the challenges that organizations face in the quality of the data, and how to measure it.
Tom Broussard ‘17 and Jeff Westenhaver ’17 presented on best practices to mine data for quality and anomalies.
Participants also gained insight into how businesses can benefit from training in statistical methods used in analytical decision-making, common obstacles to big data and analytics, and how companies might build an analytics culture. Participants were able to see a demonstration of how open source programs can be incorporated with SAS tools.
“We’re happy to foster discussion about the challenges that companies face and share ideas to stay ahead of the game,” said Gonzalez. “We can’t wait for next year’s event!”
The free event was hosted by Texas A&M University’s MS Analytics Program, which offers an analytics master’s degree available in Houston and across North America via live video stream to teach working professionals the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly data-driven world. The event was hosted in partnership with SAS®.
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.”
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
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:
Deeply caring faculty built to mirror students
Leaders – he has been at the business school under five deans, and never had a bad boss in his life
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.
Reynolds and Reynolds’ commitment to developing meaningful relationships with Mays Business School students and faculty and its significant philanthropic support resulted in the corporation’s selection as Mays Business School’s 2019 Partner of the Year. This dynamic partnership was highlighted during Reynolds and Reynolds Day at Mays Business School on April 5.
The day’s events included a Top-to-Top meeting between Reynolds and Reynolds executives and Mays’ leaders to discuss industry trends and Mays’ current and future initiatives. Following a recognition ceremony, company executives participated in a meeting with students and faculty from the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute.
Investing significant time, funds in Mays
The company’s relationship with Mays began with Reynolds and Reynolds employees’ increasing involvement with Mays students and faculty. During the ensuing years, Reynolds and Reynolds financial support for Mays programs has grown. “They’ve made a big impact in a short period of time,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones. “The investments that Reynolds and Reynolds have made have been significant. But it’s more than the money. We have great relationships with these folks. They are partners and have given generously of their time, talent, and treasure.”
The company established a $2 million endowment to support Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans and committed $1 million to create the ReyRey Café in the planned new Business Education Complex. More recently, the company dedicated a $4 million endowment for the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute, an interdisciplinary program that will teach Texas A&M students university-wide about the importance of sales and leading edge sales strategies and technology.
Reynolds and Reynolds is a software and technology company serving automotive dealerships and car manufacturers. While the company might not be a well-recognized name in most U.S. households, consumers are impacted by the company’s products and services every time they visit a car dealership. Reynolds is a leader in helping dealerships streamline operations and improve customer satisfaction through its products and services. In business, the community, and in their own company, Reynolds and Reynolds is well known for their strong commitment to building relationships and supporting their employees through innovative professional development programs.
That commitment makes Reynolds and Reynolds’ partnership with Mays Business School a natural fit. “We talk about networking a lot. It’s a fine word but it can be superficial,” said Senior Vice President for Corporate Development Robert Burnett ’87. “What’s real is relationships. I believe that we’re here today as Partner of the Year because of the relationships we’ve built with Mays.”
A commitment to military veterans
One of the deepest relationships is with the Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans. “We love the military. We’re led by ex-military and that’s our company culture,” Burnett said. “Dean Jones brought this program to our attention and it was a no-brainer for us to become a partner. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
This unique bootcamp, which is part of Mays’ McFerrin Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, offers cutting-edge experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans who have service-connected disabilities and a passion for entrepreneurship. Veterans are able to take part in the program at no charge.
Reynolds and Reynolds employees regularly volunteer as speakers, panel participants and mentors at the summer bootcamp. Additionally, the company’s philanthropic contributions are funding the program’s growth. “Reynolds and Reynolds’ support is allowing us to expand the number of veterans that we are able to work with in this program,” said LauraLee Hughes, the McFerrin Center’s assistant director of new ventures. “The other big constraint we’ve had is space. Thanks to this funding, we’re able to expand to other facilities and increase the types of activities that we’re able to do with veterans while they are on campus.”
Enhancing knowledge of sales
Reynolds and Reynolds, endowed the recently announced Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute. “One of the things students need to know is sales. You’re always going to be selling something,” said Senior Vice President for Hardware Operations David Shimek ’86. “That’s one of the things that the institute will be teaching – how to present yourself and how to sell yourself, whether you’re selling a product or yourself. That’s going to be important as students go forward.”
Ultimately, Reynolds and Reynolds’ partnership with Mays is devoted to building relationships that will help students succeed both in college and after they graduate. “Reynolds and Reynolds employees from College Station, Houston, and Dayton are on our campus every semester conducting more than 300 individual role plays with students,” said Janet Parish, the director of the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute. “The time invested by the recruiting team and the sales force who really help to train our students by is a huge benefit that Reynolds and Reynolds brings.”
Ryan Green, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Southwest Airlines, spoke to the Mays Business School MS-Marketing students on Feb. 28 as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series. Green is a 1999 graduate of Mays Business School and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board. Integrity, leadership, drive for excellence, and traditions are all qualities that drew him to Texas A&M University and later to Southwest Airlines.
As CMO, Green has a wide scope of responsibilities, including:
Loyalty, partnerships, and products
Insight and analysis across all the areas listed above
Green said branding and advertising have been the newest and most challenging areas for him. He attributes this challenge to his strengths (Achiever, Analytical, Significance, and Relator as determined Clifton StrengthsFinder), which do not align as well to those areas of marketing. He balances this by enlisting people around him who are strong in this area. …Read more
When Phillips 66 Chairman and CEO Greg Garland ’80 recounted his nearly 40-year career during a visit to Texas A&M University, he offered this advice: Work with a purpose, embrace change, and don’t be afraid to fail.
He credits his professional success to good timing and great enthusiasm. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1980 – what he termed “a great time to be in the oil and gas industry.”
“I interviewed with 16 companies and got 15 job offers,” he said.
It all started on a day when he failed to get on the interview sign-in sheets for companies. “I met a guy in an elevator who was from Phillips 66. I was in a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. He said, ‘Come see me at 2:00,’ so I did. I don’t know what he saw in me, but it worked out great. You never know when an opportunity is going to present itself, so be ready.”
Garland’s visit was hosted by Mays Business School and the Colleges of Geosciences and Engineering.
On Jan. 17, the Texas A&M Board of Regents discussed and approved two items pertaining to Mays Business School: the adoption of a resolution celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mays and the establishment of the Sales Leadership Institute. Both items were submitted by Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young.
The board resolved to extend congratulations to the administration, faculty, research, professionals, and staff of Mays in honor of the school’s 50th anniversary. This resolution was included in the minutes of the meeting and will stand as a permanent tribute to the accomplishments and legacy of Mays.
The board also established the Sales Leadership Institute (SLI) as an organizational unit of Texas A&M University within Mays. The SLI will formalize and elevate the activities of the Professional Selling Initiative (PSI) at Mays which was officially launched in 2015 with the goal of attracting and preparing more students for careers in professional selling and sales management.
Pictured (from left) are Ervin Bryant, Student Regent; Regents Morris Foster, Cliff Thomas, Phil Adams, Chairman Charles W. Schwartz, Mays Dean Eli Jones, Texas A&M President Michael Young, Vice Chairman Elaine Mendoza, Regents Bill Mahomes and Tim Leach, and Chancellor John Sharp.
Inspired by his mother’s journey from a share-cropping farm in Georgia to running a business in Houston, Barnett “Barney” Gershen ’69 knew he could go anywhere in life if he put forth the effort. “When my mom Margie was 17, she took every penny she had and bought a one-way bus ticket to Houston for $18.50,” Barney said. “She wanted to escape the poor life she had lived in Georgia, and when she left, she knew she was never going back.”
Once she arrived in Houston, Margie found a job, rented a garage apartment and began building a better life for herself and her future family. She eventually met and married Louis Gershen, and the two started a family. Louis worked full-time selling cleaning chemicals while developing his business, XGI Janitor Services, named for his service in the United States Army.