Business Honors | Mays Impacts

Mays Business School at Texas A&M University celebrated the unveiling of the Accenture Business Honors Office Suite with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, September 23, 2021. The event was attended by Mays Business Honors students, Mays leaders, faculty, and staff as well as Accenture team members.

The Accenture Business Honors Office Suite’s renovation creates an inviting and colorful space where faculty, staff, and students meet. The office suite features a wall display depicting the history of the nation’s higher education honors’ programs, which started in the early 1900s. “We love our office space,” said Kris Morley, director of Mays Business Honors Program. “I literally walk in every morning and smile. It’s bright and colorful, and we get to work with great people.

Strengthening Bonds

The renovated office suite, which was funded through a gift from Accenture in 2019, underscores the strong partnership between Mays and Accenture. “A corporate partner means that the organization—Accenture, in this case—is very supportive of our vision, mission, and values. There’s strong commonality between our six Aggie Core Values and those of Accenture,” said Mays Interim Dean R. Duane Ireland. “There’s also alignment between our vision to advance the world’s prosperity and what Accenture seeks to do through its work as an organization in the private sector. We’d like to thank Accenture for being a great, great corporate partner.”

These shared values strengthen the partnership. “Texas A&M’s Core Values are very similar (to Accenture’s),” said Blake Pounds ’89,  Accenture’s senior client account director. “I think that’s what really makes Accenture and Texas A&M such a good cultural fit.”

The creation of the Accenture Business Honors Office Suite is a natural extension of the company’s ongoing collaboration with Mays Business Honors Program, which began in 2015. “Accenture started funding our summer reading program and bought books for all of the students in our program,” Morley said. “But they didn’t just buy books; they came every fall and joined in the book discussions.”

This collaboration—which continues to involve the investment of Accenture’s time, talent, and treasure in Mays Business Honors students and offerings—is growing. The company also is involved in the Mays Leaders Forum, case competitions, and presentations such as a 2019 Design Thinking workshop.

Expanding Accenture’s Influence

The company continues to look for new ways to support Mays’ efforts, including funding scholarships and offering internships. Most recently, Accenture created an endowment that underwrites Mays Inclusive Student Leadership Program’s activities. As part of this effort, four Accenture team members were the featured presenters at the August kickoff workshop attended by over 50 Mays student leaders. “Our student leaders are provided with opportunities to learn how to lead in an inclusive manner,” Ireland said. “All of us are very dedicated to the importance of diversity, inclusion and engagement, but this generous gift gives us an opportunity to provide superior learning experiences for our student leaders and make certain that everything we do within organizations is, in fact, oriented to diversity, inclusion and engagement.”

These various efforts give Accenture leaders an opportunity to interact with and recruit top Mays’ students. “We love hiring Aggies who come out of the Business Honors program because they hit the ground running,” said Pounds, a member of one of Mays Business Honors’ initial cohorts and a recipient of Mays Business School’s 2020 Outstanding Alumnus Award. “They have leadership skills, poise, and confidence. They know how to analytically solve problems and challenges that our clients are facing. They thrive in our organization.”

The partnership also prepares Mays’ students for success following graduation. “I’m such a huge proponent of the things that Mays and Business Honors do for their students,” said Landry Strawbridge ’22, who works in the Business Honors office, interned with Accenture, and plans to join the company after graduation. “I appreciate the way the Honors Program Staff engages with us and wants to get to know us for who we are and help us find out who we want to be. Accenture has the same approach—and Mays equipped me to succeed in my internship and beyond.”

Categories: Business Honors, Donors Corner, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Man presenting in front of a podium with jacket on

As one of the academic year’s first events, Mays Business School’s Inclusive Student Leadership (ISL) Workshop underscores the school’s commitment to preparing transformational leaders who can excel with diversity, equity, and inclusion. The one-day workshop, held August 26, 2021, was funded by an endowment created by Accenture to support the annual Inclusive Student Leadership series of workshops, and involved over 50 Aggie leaders representing every Mays student organization. The ISL initiative offers a series of four workshops throughout an academic year hosted by Mays Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Multicultural Association of Business Students (MABS), and the Business Student Council.

These workshops were planned with the goal of helping Mays student leaders increase their ability to lead their respective student groups while at Mays—and in honing those skills, be prepared to work effectively in a global economy when they step into the work world. “The ISL workshops are designed to help Mays organizations foster diversity. It doesn’t get talked about enough, but it’s now in the headlines so we need to address it and can’t be oblivious,” said Amrita Hooda ’22, the MABS president. “It’s an opportunity to expand your horizons, but it’s up to student leaders to take that opportunity to grow as a person.”

The day’s agenda featured four Former Students – Tarvoris Johnson ’03 ’05, Ricky L. Dillard, Jr. ’19, Jeevika Jarmarwala ’20, and Hannah Murray ’18—who work for Accenture. The company, which has 569,000 employees in 50 countries, has expertise in more than 40 industries across five industry groups: communications, media and technology; health and public service; financial services; products; and resources.

Accenture is known for its commitment to creating and sustaining a culture of equality—including gender, LGBTI, religion, persons with disabilities and cross-cultural diversity. “Mays Business School is grateful for the support Accenture has provided for the ISL initiative.  We believe that a culture of diversity, inclusion, and engagement with our corporate partners fosters a vibrant learning organization. Mays student leaders are fortunate to have this opportunity to learn from experienced inclusive leaders,” said Dr. Nancy Hutchins, Mays Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

Encouraging Inclusion, Innovation

During the first session, the Accenture team talked about the importance of building strong and diverse teams, a challenge that has become even more pronounced during the pandemic. Johnson noted that the company has emphasized defining what it means to create a culture of equality, based on its core values of stewardship, best people, one global network, client value creation, and respect for the individual. “Inclusion is an environment where diversity can flourish,” he shared with the student leaders in the room.

Accenture uses diversity and inclusion training as well as specific affinity groups to create bonds between different employees. “We have different engagements and conversations around some of the outright things that happened in this past year,” Johnson said.

The company encourages its employees to explore other cultures through the different employee resource groups (ERG). Murray, who is Caucasian, has taken advantage of this flexibility, through engaging with Accenture’s Asian Pacific ERG. “It was interesting to me to be surrounded by many different cultures that make up the Asian Pacific ERG,” she said. “I also was able to bring these cultural lessons from the ERG to the rest of the organization and to the other groups that I’m part of.”

Team Characteristics

In building high-functioning and diverse teams, Accenture focuses on six characteristics: visible commitment; curiosity about others; cultural intelligence; humility; awareness of bias; and effective collaboration. Cultivating an atmosphere that includes these traits allows participants to be vulnerable and share areas where they disagree.

Dillard told the Aggies that it’s important to be authentic and show visible commitment to diversity. He gave a personal example of how he wanted to increase his own commitment to diversity at Accenture. To accomplish this, he created relationships with two Historically Black Colleges and Universities and will be serving as Accenture’s lead recruiter to these institutions.

The presenters also noted that leaders need to listen to different viewpoints. “I have an open conversation with my team leader. She has always had an open-door policy and encourages that if you think there’s a better way to improve the process, feel free to speak up,” Jarmarwala said. “Sometimes when I put the idea out there, we realize that I don’t have the bigger picture of what we’re looking at. She tells me, ‘This is why we don’t do this.’ But just having the ability to put the idea out there is great.”

The Former Students also shared the importance of identifying and addressing unconscious bias and micro-behaviors, such as micro-insults, to create a more diverse team. “As you grow and move towards trying to be non-biased, you have to train yourself because facial expressions are part of communication,” Dillard said.

Social Style Self Reflection

The Accenture team also asked students to identify their social styles—analytical, driving, amiable and expressive—based on assertiveness and responsiveness.  After asking the student leaders to consider their own styles, the presenters shared the traits of each style, as well as an analysis of the need, strength, and area of improvement for each style.

Additionally, student leaders learned about conflict resolution styles of competing, collaborating, compromising, avoiding, and accommodating. These styles were analyzed based on the importance of achieving a goal as well as the importance of the relationship.

The speakers told the students that being aware of their own social styles and conflict resolution styles as well as that of others will enhance their ability to lead. “You will have different leaders who are spread throughout the organization, and you’ll have to flex what you decide to communicate to them, based on what you’ve learned from your initial questioning and discovery,” Dillard said. “It’s just a matter of first learning these and then taking the moment to say, ‘When I meet new people and have to communicate with them, I need to figure out where I see them because it will help me to have a more streamlined conversation rather than us trying to battle through our social styles.’”

This workshop offered new insights to help Mays student learners support their student organizations and also reinforced Mays commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, which is part of the school’s strategic plan. “Encouraging diversity and enhancing equity in student organizational practices can have a tremendous impact on our college climate. The ISL workshops are intentional efforts to establish an inclusive culture at Mays with our students leading the way.” Hutchins said.

Categories: Business Honors, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Business Honors Students utilize Mays Transformational Leadership Mindsets in High-Impact Learning event

Mays Business School students Mia Barone ’21, Steven Gooch ’22 and Laura Key ’22 won top divisional honors at the Loyola Marymount University’s International Business Ethics and Sustainability Case Competition. This high-impact learning event, which was held virtually April 8-9, challenged participants to create a solution based on one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The Aggie team proposed that Amazon could protect the ocean’s viability by changing its maritime shipping approach.

Case competitions offer an opportunity for Mays students to further develop their transformational leadership mindset. “Participating in an international case study provides Mays students an opportunity to exhibit the culmination of business competency and experience gained in the classroom and through high-impact activities on a global scale,” said Katy Lane ’02, the director of Mays’ Center for International Business Studies, which sponsored the team in the case competition. “Working as a cohesive team to analyze and clearly communicate their solution is essential to succeeding in the high-pressure environment. In many cases, judges are from companies or organizations seeking to implement the winning solutions to make a positive social impact.  These teams clearly display the Mays Transformational Leadership mindset in action.”

Changing Course

Advised by Dr. Daria Panina of Mays Department of Management, the student team focused on the UN goal of conserving and sustainably using the oceans, sea, and marine resources for sustainable development. Their full presentation had to address the legal, financial, and ethical dimensions, and their recommendation had to be a solution that was viable on all counts. As part of this session, the Aggies, who are part of Mays Business Honors program, were questioned by a panel of judges who have executive experience in corporate ethics, compliance, corporate social responsibility, executive leadership, and sustainability. This panel did not include representatives from Amazon, which was the focus of the Mays’ team’s case.

The Aggies recommended integrating the practice of slow steaming into Amazon’s maritime cargo operations. “Right now, there’s a lot of sustainability work being done on the company’s consumer-facing, warehouse-to-door operations–electric delivery vehicles, sustainable mailers, shipment zero goal, etc.–but no responsibility is being taken for the impact of Amazon’s inbound logistics process through their shipping subsidiary,” said Barone, who is majoring in marketing and analytics.

The team’s presentation pointed out that a large proportion of the merchant fleet relies on bunker fuel, which contains a high amount of sulfur. The fleet’s fuel combustion releases large amounts of sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which acidify the marine environment and contribute to reduced calcification, erosion of coral reefs, and adverse effects on human health, especially in coastal communities. One cargo ship creates the same amount of pollution as 50 million cars[1].

Amazon ships approximately 3.2 million inbound shipping containers per year to warehouses globally; these containers hold $127.6 billion in products. The Mays team recommended that these ships adopt slow steaming. This approach, which reduces the ship’s speed from 20-24 knots to 12-19 knots, reduces the use of fuel and the resultant cargo emissions.

Wide Sustainability Implications

The Aggies also pointed out that slower travel does not result in lower profits. They cited University of Hamburg researchers, who found that profits for many container vessels decline when speeds surpass 20 knots.

The Mays team also believed that their proposal was feasible and environmentally beneficial. “Ultimately, the solution that we proposed is one that is easy to implement within a couple of months,” said Key, who is majoring in supply chain management. “It’s not a large-scale transformation. As they push forward with net-zero goals, making this small change can be very beneficial to the environment long-term. Using slow-steaming and slowing boats down reduces overall fuel consumption.”

The team advocated for more frequent, small shipments of each product to warehouses. Through using freight forwarding, Amazon would be able to combine small batches of multiple SKUs in containers, which would eliminate the need for holding additional safety stocks.

The Aggies believe these recommendations could have wider sustainability implications. “Amazon is a key player in the global shipping industry. Because of the economy of scale, they have the opportunity to set the standard for the industry,” said Gooch, who is majoring in marketing and analytics. “Adopting this practice would make it more acceptable for others to take on some more sustainable practices. Overall, this would have a greater impact on preserving our oceans and supporting those people in the coastal communities who depend on those resources.”

View the student’s winning presentation:

2021 Mays Business School IBESCC Presentation

Categories: Business Honors, Center for Business International Studies, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

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

Written by Steven Mancillas ’21:

The Business & BBQ Professional Development Wisdom Workshop united two very different parts of campus – the Business Honors program and the Meat Science department. The event highlighted three unique elements that characterize the Mays Business School experience: passion, culture, and community.

To begin, in the Business Honors program, a Professional Development event serves to foster the growth of students both personally and professionally. A majority of the events consist of meeting with industry leaders (Mays Leadership Forum), hearing from policy experts and government leaders at the Bush School (Lecture Series), or participating in a Wisdom Workshop. A Wisdom Workshop is a presentation given by a current student on a unique topic that is uncharacteristic, yet beneficial for other Business Honors students. So, naturally, the topic of barbecue fit these criteria.

My background in the barbecue realm consists of serving as a Texas BBQ 101 (ANSC 117) teaching assistant and pursuing a minor in Meat Science under the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. As a freshman in ANSC 117, I was the only business student in a room full of agriculture majors. While this was daunting at first, Dr. Savell, the ANSC 117 professor, offered an adage that served to contextualize my experience: “Barbecue is about fellowship first, and food second.Since that class, I have discovered a passion for Meat Science, ultimately adding it as a minor to my Business Honors & Finance degree.

The presentation consisted of three segments: “What is Meat Science?”, “What is BBQ?”, and lunch. During this time, I spoke about how the barbecue elective sparked my interest in the origins of this university – agriculture. This interest quickly became a passion after my first animal science class – a passion rooted in a genuine interest in the livestock industry and its impact on society. A large component of the Wisdom Workshop was demonstrating the nature of all possibilities at Texas A&M to connect one’s passion with their education – I hope that my story stands as an example of this.

…Read more

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

By Anton Cordes ’20, Business honors

“Never say no.”

This was one of the key takeaways from a meeting with MIS graduate Jamie Duke McClain ’97. Jamie is currently a Senior Security Manager at Samsung Electronics America — but she never planned on working in security. Jamie started her career as a consultant and worked for companies including Accenture, EDS, and McKesson Pharmaceuticals with a focus on process innovation.

…Read more

Categories: Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, 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

Five students from the Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) traveled to Montreal, Québec on Nov. 15-17 to participate in the inaugural (R)Tech Global Retail Challenge.

It was hosted by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and Bensadoun School of Retail Management at McGill University.

The Aggie team finished in first place.

The event marked CRS’s first international student trip.

The international event exposed students to the retail challenges of sustainability and the circular economy, equipping students to find innovative solutions. The competition showcased new ideas for the future of retail for the next generation of industry leaders.

…Read more

Categories: Business Honors, Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, 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 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