Energy | Mays Impacts

A $20 million gift from Adam C. Sinn ’00 will support students and programs in Mays Business School’s Department of Finance.

A $10 million gift—and a pledge for an additional $10 million—from Adam C. Sinn ’00, a commodities trader and owner of Aspire Commodities, will help Mays Business School’s Department of Finance enhance the quality of education it provides and offer financial support to undergraduate and graduate students.

“I applaud Mr. Sinn’s willingness to invest in our university,” said Dr. M. Katherine Banks, president of Texas A&M University. “Contributions such as these not only help elevate the department but provide a brighter future to our students for generations to come. We appreciate his support of our mission.”

In recognition of Sinn’s $10 million gift through the Texas A&M Foundation, the department has been renamed the Adam C. Sinn ’00 Department of Finance. This is the second named department at Mays, following the naming of the James Benjamin Department of Accounting in 2017.

“On behalf of Mays Business School, I want to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Mr. Sinn for his extremely generous support,” said Dr. Duane Ireland, interim dean. “Through Mr. Sinn’s gift, we will have opportunities to continuously increase the value of our students’ educational experiences. The type of support we are receiving from Mr. Sinn reflects the unique relationship between Mays Business School and Texas A&M University with former students.”

Sinn’s gift includes $7.5 million for undergraduate and graduate scholarships to assist finance students whose financial challenges might prevent them from attending college. The gift will support students from Sinn’s hometown in Hoopeston, Illinois, and nearby Cissna Park, Illinois, as well as those from Dorado, Puerto Rico, where he maintains a residence today.

If there is an insufficient number of eligible finance students from those regions, a portion of Sinn’s gift will benefit Aggies enrolled in Mays’ Trading, Risk and Investments Program (TRIP), which prepares participants in the fields of energy trading, investments and risk management by combining exceptional class instruction with hands-on, internship-based experience. Sinn’s gift will cover part of participants’ graduate fees as well as a portion of their undergraduate tuition.

“Considering that the cost of education is increasing for most graduate programs, this gift will allow us to provide a significant level of financial support to TRIP students across the program annually,” said Mays Reliant Trading Center Director Detlef Hallermann ’89, who serves as the TRIP director. “This is a monumental achievement.”

In addition to the current gift, Sinn pledged an additional $10 million gift to be funded over the next five years in support of student and faculty success initiatives in the department.

Continuing Success

Sinn’s gift offers the department’s latest indicator of success. “In our world of higher education, philanthropy is more than a fundraising tool; it is actually a metric of performance,” said Mays Executive Associate Dean Sorin Sorescu. “Named departments can be seen as a seal of approval from influential, successful individuals like Mr. Sinn, who has had tremendous career success and is encouraged by what he sees in our programs at Mays. We are so honored to have his support.”

The department’s undergraduate program ranked 34th nationally in 2021 by U.S. News and World Report. In 2021, Eduniversal Best Masters rated the department’s Master’s in Real Estate Management 3rd globally and the graduate portion of TRIP 15th globally. Also in 2021, the department’s Master of Science in Finance Program was ranked 10th among U.S. public programs by TFE Times.

Prospective student interest in the department’s programs is also increasing. More than 1,000 Aggies are enrolled in finance programs for the 2021-22 academic year, a 30% increase over the past five years.

The department prides itself on cross-campus interdisciplinary partnerships and high-impact programs that provide students with cutting-edge academic knowledge and industry best practices. Additionally, innovative opportunities such as Aggies on Wall Street and the Reveille Fund, a student-run investment fund, require students to apply their learning.

The remaining portion of Sinn’s gift will support the department’s efforts to recruit top faculty and create and expand these types of innovative programs. Funds may also support the Master of Science in Finance, career development offerings, educational travel opportunities, etiquette dinners, and training in personal skills. These offerings are designed to create well-rounded graduates who can make an immediate impact when they start their careers.

“When we can do more as a finance department, it’s not only our department and the students in Mays who win. Texas A&M also wins,” said Interim Department Head Christa Bouwman. “These interdisciplinary programs and partnerships are very valuable.”

Luck and Hard Work

 

Sinn grew up in Hoopeston, Illinois, which like many Midwestern small towns, particularly those not proximate to an interstate, had its share of successes and struggles in the 1980s and 1990s. The area’s economy primarily revolved around agriculture and particularly growing and canning corn and other products; Hoopeston is the Sweetcorn Capital of the World.

Minimum-wage jobs like one Sinn held at a hog farm during high school and good-paying blue-collar jobs in the local industries remained to a degree but became less available over time. However, Hoopeston maintained a strong Midwestern work ethic that influenced Sinn. That work ethic was bolstered greatly by his parents and grandparents, who he described as being part of “hard-working Middle America,” and his role models for hard work. Sinn’s father started a small business as an electrician and his mother performed office functions for the business. His parents saved ardently so they could provide some assistance to their sons if they chose to pursue college degrees.

Sinn was also fortunate that his local Rotary Club was a strong supporter of the Rotary Youth Exchange program. He studied abroad in Japan for a year through that program, which was instrumental in him learning to be open to new experiences and places.

After consideration, Sinn set his sights on Southern Methodist University, which offered degrees in international business and Japanese, and qualified for numerous scholarships, which paid for his entire education there.

However, he soon realized that he didn’t feel at home at SMU. Several of his college friends transferred, including one who enrolled in Texas A&M—and Sinn quickly followed. “Texas A&M was exactly what I was looking for. I liked the culture and the camaraderie,” he said. “It was an easy place to flourish, and I liked the college town environment.”

But he also discovered Texas A&M was harder academically, and he found himself in the mid-tier of students scholastically. He said, “I decided that if I couldn’t get the grades, I would beef up my resume. I had three internships, was involved in several organizations, and held jobs while I was a student.”

His penchant for hard work paid off. After initially being declined for an internship with Dell, Sinn offered to work for free. Impressed, the company representative invited him to reapply. He did when another opportunity arose—and was quickly offered a job when the interviewers realized that the Aggie knew more about the company than they did.

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in finance in 2001, Sinn wanted to pursue a career in trading, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who bought and sold livestock in the small livestock business founded by his great-grandfather and sons. However, it took him a while to find his niche. He briefly worked in accounting and finance jobs before he was in the right place at the right time—without a job when Lehman Brothers folded—to step into energy trading. “People sometimes end up in a spot due to sudden life circumstances,” said Sinn, who now operates one of the largest speculative trading firms in the commodity market. “It’s what you do with that situation that can determine the course of your future and whether you reach the next level.”

Sinn has embraced Texas A&M’s core values during his career. Now, his selfless service through creating this endowment will help middle-tier students avoid taking on student loan debt. “I want others to not have a financial burden so they can attend the best university on the planet,” he said, adding that these scholarships will also help position finance students to be successful in their lives after college. “I hope to lay the foundation so that at some point in time, these students can bet on themselves like I was able to do when they need to. The person who is financially burdened by rising educational costs may be unable to take that shot.”

Mays faculty, staff and students appreciate Sinn’s commitment to selfless service as he opens doors for the next generation of Aggies. “He wants to give people an opportunity,” Hallermann said. “He’s got an unbelievable talent for trading power and electricity, but when he looks around, his focus is always, ‘How do I help people get to where they need to be?’”

About Mays Business School

At Mays Business School, our vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. Our mission is to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,400 undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing, and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools for its programs and faculty research.

About the Texas A&M Foundation

The Texas A&M Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aspires to be among the most trusted philanthropies in higher education. It builds a brighter future for Texas A&M University, one relationship at a time. To learn more, visit txamfoundation.com.

Categories: Alumni, Departments, Donors Corner, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Finance, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Spotlights, Texas A&M

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.

Two individuals stand behind a Texas A&M Analytics table“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.

A Venn Diagram on a screen with the middle labeled Data ScienceSeveral 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.

Presentation with Critical Infrastructures listedParticipants 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!”

Presentation slides and more information can be found at https://mays.tamu.edu/ms-analytics/sas-day/

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®.

Categories: Alumni, Energy, Entrepreneurship, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Jobs, Mays Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Leader Forum - Blake Pounds 11.15.19

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Energy, Executive Speakers, Former Students, Mays Business, Mays Transformational Leader speakers, News, PPA, Programs, Texas A&M

Shannon Deer, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs at Mays Business School, hosted the 2019 Mays Business School Energy Symposium on March 15 at Texas A&M University’s CityCentre campus in west Houston. Attendees included current and former students representing Mays Houston-based degree programs in all areas of the energy sector.

Energy is one of the three Strategic Initiatives in Mays’ Strategic Plan.

Guy Baber ’06, Vice President of Investor Relations at Marathon Oil Corporation, delivered the keynote. He began with his family’s history in the field and his personal passion and commitment to the energy sector. His discussion included how market forces have changed the upstream landscape over the past several years and how investor preferences continue to evolve. He then fielded questions from those in attendance and remarked on how the industry will likely reach equilibrium once U.S. operators commit to growing production responsibly and living within cash flows.

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Energy, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Research, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

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.

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Energy, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

By William Eigenbrodt ’20, Business Honors

Of the many lessons Zach Lee ’00 imparted to Business Honors students during his Mays Leadership Forum, foremost was the importance of being a lifelong learner. In the constantly changing landscape of energy markets, Lee shared he still learns new things every day. It keeps his work fresh and challenging.

The finance graduate from Mays shared his experiences of constantly inviting people to coffee or lunch to show the importance of persistence and curiosity. He also mentioned the following habits that set him up for success.

  • Collect mentors and learn from them. Find people to invest in your success because they exist.
  • Nothing is just a number. Oftentimes the story behind a situation is just as, if not more important.
  • Stay five years in front. Do things today that will get you to where you want to be in five years.

In regards to his position as CEO of ARM Energy, Lee focused on a few key points.

  • Transparency is incredibly important, do not be afraid to admit you don’t know something. See it as a learning opportunity.
  • Focus on the customers: everybody should win from the business doing well.
  • A family-oriented and entrepreneurial culture is paramount to a successful business.
  • Every employee of his owns equity in the business, and they think like owners.
  • Hire really great talent and let them loose.

Students were impressed by the success Lee has had and his willingness to come to speak with them and answer questions. He inspired them to invest further in themselves and do things today that will get them to where they want to be in five years.

“Mr. Lee had a number of interesting insights on many topics to share,” said business honors major Virginia Krog ’22. “He shared that exports are the new normal. Lee also believes in win-win negotiations and admits that part of why he chose to co-found ARM was because he was ‘not really a very good employee.’”

PPA major Frazer Mulugeta ’19 said he appreciated the advice from Lee because it was relevant to his career aspirations. “Mr. Lee spoke on his experience since graduation in the energy sector,” said Mulugeta. “The advice he gave is directly applicable to my own career trajectory. Being proactive and intellectually curious will benefit me for years to come.”

PPA major Michael Walther ’19 also enjoyed hearing about Lee’s experiences at Mays and his career in energy. “As a future business owner, I will take his advice over failure and how to overcome it for success,” said Walther. “This concept is crucial in entrepreneurship as there are many setbacks on the road to the success of a business.”

Categories: Business Honors, Energy, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

David Williams ’79, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO of Noble Corporation PLC, kicked off the Mays Transformational Leaders Speaker Series with an overview of his industry and some advice for Aggies. He spoke to MBA students, undergraduate students, and faculty and staff members.

Mays Dean Eli Jones said when introducing Williams that he was a good fit for the series. “A Mays transformational leader is someone who has an ethical mindset, a global mindset, is analytical, and has the ability to embrace change and to try new things,” he said. “That’s what you are, Mays students, and that’s what Mr. Williams is. He is one of us.”

Williams obtained his bachelor’s degree in marketing at Texas A&M University. He was selected one of Mays’ Outstanding Alumni in 2009 for his career achievements, as well as his service and dedication to Texas A&M. His first job out of college was in a shipyard in 1979, and he has been in the offshore drilling service industry since 1981.

“I have traveled just about everywhere except Antarctica, and I wouldn’t trade my job for anything,” Williams said.  “It’s hard sometimes, it’s volatile sometimes and our work is complex, but our business model is really pretty simple:  We punch holes in the ground for money – that’s it. Our oil company clients hire us to drill wells below the oceans of the world for a fee.” …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Energy, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Texas A&M

Texas A&M’s Mays Business School was featured at the 2017 International Conference and Annual meeting (ICAM), held by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) April 23-25 in Houston. The conference attracted over 1,400 attendees representing business schools from 55 countries – the largest gathering of business school leaders from around the world.

Mays Business School was highlighted in a session titled “Innovating Curriculum Through Interdisciplinary Collaborations” for the Texas A&M University Petroleum Ventures Program (PVP), a bold new entrepreneurial training program that better prepares students to be leaders in the oil and gas industry. By connecting the curriculum with industry needs, PVP gives students a competitive advantage in an interdisciplinary way.

Anthony Bahr ’91, president of WildHorse Resource Development and one of the business partners who funded the program, provided insight into the need for PVP. “There is an explosion of private equity in the oil and gas industry that has created many small companies. This has created a need for more qualified engineers and business people,” says Bahr. He and his business partner Jay Graham ’92 said they saw a shortage of talent able to wear a lot of different hats.

…Read more

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Energy, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Staff, Texas A&M

In a rapidly globalizing environment and ever-changing world, business schools are providing more value than ever. Today at its 2017 Deans Conference, AACSB International (AACSB) — the world’s largest global education network — unveiled 35 innovations that represent critical work being done by business schools to better their communities and society at large.

Mays Business School was recognized for its submission on the Texas A&M University Petroleum Ventures Program (PVP), which detailed a bold new entrepreneurial training program that better prepares students to be leaders in the oil and gas industry. By connecting the curriculum with industry needs, PVP gives students a competitive advantage in an interdisciplinary way.

innovations-thet-inspire

The second annual “Innovations That Inspire” initiative showcases unique ways business schools are changing the status quo to address societal needs, while empowering the business leaders of tomorrow.

The AACSB’s second annual “Innovations That Inspire” initiative recognizes institutions that have championed change in the business education landscape. A total of 315 submissions were received across 33 countries, mirroring society’s growing global demands, as well as the critical need for strong, connected and forward-thinking business schools. The initiative—and the impressive work it showcases—underscores the important role that innovation plays in achieving the industry-wide vision for business education, which AACSB unveiled in 2016.

“With great pleasure, I am thrilled to recognize Mays Business School for its role in driving innovation in business education and fostering positive change in the areas of diversity and global economic prosperity,” said Tom R. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of AACSB international. “Through meaningful ideas and increasing opportunities for engagement, Mays Business School has created a remarkable impact, to ensure a better and more connected world for many years to come.”

Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School, said the Texas A&M Petroleum Ventures Program “an example of connecting innovation with our school’s vision to advance the world’s prosperity.” He added, “We are honored to receive this recognition for stepping up to serve our state and nation in this important area.” As part of the school’s new strategic plan, Mays aims to build the school’s research presence in the Mays Grand Challenge area of Energy.

The academic collaboration between Mays Business School and the College of Engineering fosters teamwork among petroleum engineering students and students in the Department of Finance at Mays. The first classes for the PVP Certificate Program were offered in Fall 2016. PVP is funded by a $12 million gift by Anthony Bahr ’91 and Jay Graham ’92, business partners in Houston-based WildHorse Resources Management Company in Houston.

About AACSB International

As the world’s largest business education network connecting academe with business, AACSB provides business education intelligence, quality assurance, and professional development services to more than 1,500 member organizations across 97 countries and territories. Founded in 1916, AACSB accredits 780 business schools worldwide. Its global headquarters is located in Tampa, Florida, USA; Asia Pacific headquarters is located in Singapore; and its EMEA headquarters is located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.aacsb.edu.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 6,200 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, business, 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 vision of Mays Business School is to advance the world’s prosperity.

 

 

 

Categories: Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Departments, Energy, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Research, Texas A&M