Accounting graduate David Kandolha ’89 advised current students to find the right fit for their first job and to seek guidance from mentors throughout their careers. Mentors are ideally more than two years ahead in their careers and have common interests, he told a group of Business Honors students at Mays.

Business Honors and accounting major Madeline Kelly said one of the things she took away from the talk was that she should takeDavid Kandolha advantage of opportunities like the one to meet with Kandolha. “He thinks learning from mentors is the best way to grow as a person and learn from the mistakes of people who have already been in our shoes, and it will help us get knowledge about the best way to go about a situation,” she explained.

After graduating from Texas A&M University with an accounting degree, Kandolha began his career at Arthur Andersen auditing energy companies. He also holds a JD from South Texas College of Law and a certificate in International Studies from the Bush School of Government. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the New York Bar Association.

Kandolha said when he was going through the interview process, he had a feeling public accounting was the place to be. He worked at Arthur Anderson initially, then attended law school at night while working for the energy trading division of Metallgesellschaft.

He had four job offers from big accounting firms when he was about to graduate. He gave the students advice on what to consider when seeking a job:

  • Do not choose a firm based only on starting salary
  • The biggest firm with the best reputation may not be the best fit for you
  • Learn about the training the company will provide
  • Think about what skills you will gain that are going to be important for you five to 10 years down the line

Kandolha said the most important thing to look at is what employees take away from a particular job – the skills and the network. “Look at the people you’re going to be working with and connecting with and learning from,” he said. He also advised looking very carefully at the company’s culture. “Make sure it’s a good fit for you,” he said. “There’s a lot of prestige that goes with saying, ‘I worked for Goldman Sachs’ or another company, but if the company’s culture is not a good fit for you, if will not be the best choice for you.”

He also recommended that the students find mentors to meet with at least monthly, once they have secured a job. “Those are the people who, when an opportunity for promotion comes up, will stand up for you,” he said. “Look for people you relate to and who are willing to take the time to be an effective mentor.”

Kandolha is a co-founder of Akeida Capital Management, an environmental investment manager that invests in carbon reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency projects globally. Akeida raised more than $100 million, which it used to finance the construction of four biomass power plants, solar facilities and carbon reduction projects. Akeida owns two biomass power plants, a solar thermal system on the Arizona State University campus and a portfolio of emission credits.

Kandolha was previously a managing director and a founder of Natsource Asset Management, which invested in carbon reduction projects and managed $800 million dollars at its peak. Natsource was started in 1994 by Kandolha and his 4 partners in New York City.  The company went international within four years, opening opened offices in Toronto, Washington, D.C., Calgary, London, Oslo and Tokyo.  At its peak, Natsource employed over 200 people. He aided in the formation and management of businesses in New York, London and Oslo on behalf of Natsource.

Prior to Natsource, Kandolha was a broker of natural gas swaps and options at Euro Brokers Capital Markets and a natural gas analyst with Metallgesellschaft.

Kandolha said he has learned a tremendous amount along the way. “I always consider my mistakes to be seminars,” he said. “And I try to learn from my mistakes and other people’s experiences.”

The students listened intently as Kandolha spoke. Shiv Bembalkar, a Business Honors and finance major, said he always finds it interesting to hear about the careers of former students from Mays. “Mr. Kandolha repeatedly expressed how he felt when he was sitting in our chair,” he said. “His presentation was geared to how he came up in his career path, while noting key things that would help us take advantage of situations when we first start working professionally.”

Caroline Fluke, a Business Honors and supply chain management major, said listening to Kandolha speak was highly motivating. “One of the best takeaways I got from Mr. Kandolha was his advice on how to choose our first job,” she said. “He spoke about the importance of having a mentor and enjoying the environment and people you work with. I am glad I went!”

Vivek Singh, a Business Honors and finance major, added: “David Kandolha served as living proof that the unconventional path can lead to success. It was exciting to hear about his career decisions, and his worldview focused on finding inefficiencies and creating change to fix them. From environmental investing to interactions on a trade floor, it was a truly interesting discussion!”


Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,900 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.




Categories: Business Honors, Departments, Mays Business, Texas A&M

Ann Rhoads ’85 says she considers herself lucky because she has always known her career path: Banking. She told a group of Business Honors students she worked as a teller in the summers during school, then after graduating with a finance degree she started with a training class of 12. Only three or four of them are still bankers, but she said it was valuable training that introduced her to a broad spectrum of business fields.

Rhoads said her first motivation for working was to have financial security and to give back. “Now what drives me is the enjoyment of what I do and getting to do it with people I like,” she added.

Throughout her career, Rhoads said, she has been fortunate to learn various skills and work with great bosses. “I look at what has happened in my 30 years and look ahead to what’s going to happen in the next 30 years, and it is exciting,” she said.

Ann Rhoads

The last 19 years, her career has been focused on the energy sector. She is currently a managing director at Houston-based BNP Paribas, covering upstream clients. Previously, she was Head of the Americas for Global Energy and Commodities at Natixis, based in New York. She has been part of several interesting deals and has lived in London and traveled to Germany, France, Iraq and Italy. She encouraged the students to be open to traveling for their jobs.

Ashley Shinpaugh ’14, a fifth-year Business Honors and PPA student, said she learned several important business lessons from Rhoads. “First, the importance of people in a business environment is essential because of the impact they can have on the success or failure of your business,” she said. “I also learned that even though performed at high rates, mergers and acquisitions rarely result in a good business transaction. Lastly, I took away her own valuable lesson of stepping outside your comfort zone in order to push yourself to the next level. Overall, it was an excellent presentation.”

Neil Rabroker ’15, a senior Business Honors and accounting major, said Rhoads delivered “a highly informational presentation of life as a professional in investment banking and what it takes to succeed in any way of life.” He recalled her description of her at BNP Paribas and at a firm in London, and then on the importance of M&A activities and how people love to do it even though they have a reputation of being unsuccessful. “Personally, Mrs. Rhoads spoke on how as a young professional having the ability to think and push yourself out of your comfort zone will lead you to a life of success.”


Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,900 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Categories: Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Mays Business

Namesake Martha L. “Marty” Loudder is associate dean, Presidential Professor for Teaching Excellence and PricewaterhouseCooper Teaching Excellence Professor of Accounting. She is a Mays Teaching Fellow and has received teaching awards from the accounting honor fraternity, the Association of Former Students and the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Medal of ExcellenceStudents participate in high-impact learning experiences at Mays Business School and who commit to the practice of reflective, integrative learning can qualify for the medal. Students who satisfactorily complete the requirements are awarded an engraved Mays Business School medal to be worn at graduation.All Mays undergraduate students are invited to pursue this Medal of Excellence, which honors academic achievement as evidenced by engagement and reflection. Requirements for the medal begin with the Freshman Business Initiative (FBI), and culminate with a well-developed web-based portfolio. Other options include participation in case competitions, Startup Aggieland, Titans of Investing and Research Scholars.

The experiences that satisfy Medal of Excellence requirements facilitate rich learning that promotes student success and retention. This is essential to meet not only Texas A&M University’s goal of graduating integrative, lifelong learners, but also to achieve the stated mission of Mays Business School to develop ethical leaders for a global society.

Nancy Simpson, Mays Teaching Fellow and director of Undergraduate Special Programs, called the Medal of Excellence “the embodiment of Marty Loudder’s legacy: a legacy of whole-person education, innovation in undergraduate teaching and learning, and a personal commitment to each and every undergraduate who walks through the halls of Wehner.” Simpson added, “It has long been Marty’s vision that ‘Mays students are educated, not just trained.’”

2015 recipients

2015 recipients

“From the time she created FBI until now, Marty has worked for, talked about and supported an integrated educational experience,” Simpson said. “The undergraduate experience she has helped to shape results in graduates who are skilled in our seven core competencies, and who are multi-dimensional, interesting people, able to have intelligent conversations about everything from current events to sports to the arts.”



Categories: Business Honors, Faculty, Mays Business