R. Duane Ireland, the new interim dean of Mays Business School, has a proven track record for stepping up to serve his beloved university. Since joining the faculty at Texas A&M University as a Professor of Management nearly 20 years ago, Ireland has served in several other leadership roles at Mays Business School – including department head, interim department head, interim executive associate dean, executive associate dean, associate dean of research and scholarship, and acting dean.
With his trademark quick wit, Ireland humbly quips that “I’m still trying to decide what to be when I grow up.” Like most entrepreneurs and CEOs, he is accustomed to wearing many different hats to serve Mays, which educates nearly 6,300 students in accounting, finance, information systems and operations management, management, and marketing. Ireland is also a University Distinguished Professor of Management and holds the Benton Cocanougher Chair in Business.
Ireland exemplifies an important aspect of the school’s mission, which is to “Create Impactful Knowledge.” Ireland’s research focuses on the intersection between entrepreneurship and innovation, strategic entrepreneurship, and effective strategic leadership practices. He has authored or co-authored more than 20 books, has multiple publications in major journals, and is recognized among the most frequently cited economics and business researchers. In 2017, Ireland received the Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest award given to a Mays faculty member for sustained and outstanding scholarly contributions. He is also a recipient of The Association of Former Students’ Award for Research, and is a Fellow of the Academy of Management and of the Strategic Management Society.
“We are grateful to Dr. Ireland for his willingness to serve Mays Business School as interim dean,” said Mark H. Weichold, interim provost and executive vice president, in this recent announcement. “He is well-positioned to help transition Mays Business School to its next chapter of success.”
Ireland considers it “an honor” to help build on the achievements of several former Mays Business School deans including Eli Jones who, after six years of service as dean, returned to the faculty in the Department of Marketing as a full professor and as a holder of an endowed chair. Under Jones’ leadership, the school worked together to create and implement a strategic plan that is elevating the school across multiple dimensions. As part of this plan, Mays Business School’s vision became “Advancing the World’s Prosperity,” which means providing a better future for generations who follow, including quality of life, the environment, and economic systems.
An avid runner in his free time (with over 65,000 miles logged so far), Ireland knows that adapting to new situations is an important skill for going the distance. “This is a very exciting time at Mays Business School,” Ireland said. “One of the reasons for a high level of excitement is that we are launching the design and construction phase of the Business Education Complex (BEC), a proposed 75,000 square-foot expansion with expected occupancy in the Summer of 2024 or the Spring of 2025.”
With an eye to the future, Ireland identifies ‘synergy’ as the word that captures what he aims to accomplish in his new role. “In this sense, we seek to achieve a greater combined impact through our collaborations compared to the sum of what we would derive from individual actions,” said Ireland. “These efforts include fostering collaborative partnerships among faculty, staff, students, our alumni network of over 64,000 former students, and the broader university to create communities in which all members feel a sense of belonging and support.”
A native of Lima, Ohio, Ireland is the first in his family to earn a college degree and wholeheartedly supports first-generation students at Texas A&M, which make up close to 25 percent of the undergraduate population. He earned his Ph.D. and MBA from Texas Tech University, where he is a Distinguished Alumnus of the Rawls College of Business.
Ireland and his wife Mary Ann have two adult children. “Texas A&M University means a lot to us,” Ireland said. “We feel very blessed to be here. It’s a university with a great vision and mission, and Mays Business School is such a positive community of which to be a part.”
The American Accounting Association (AAA) recently announced the recipients of the 2021 Distinguished Contribution Award, including Dr. Nate Y. Sharp, Head of the James Benjamin Department of Accounting at Mays Business School
COLLEGE STATION, TX — On June 15, 2021, the American Accounting Association (AAA) announced Dr. Nate Y. Sharp as a recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Contributions to Accounting Literature Award. This award is among the most prestigious research awards granted by the AAA.
The Distinguished Contributions to Accounting Literature Award is presented annually to that work or related works published more than 5 years but not more than 15 years prior to the year of the award. The award recognizes accounting research based on uniqueness and magnitude of contribution to accounting education, practice, and/or future accounting research; originality and innovative content; clarity and organization of exposition; and soundness and appropriateness of methodology. Sharp and his co-authors, Lawrence D. Brown, Andrew C. Call, and Michael B. Clement, were given this award for their work entitled, “Inside the ‘Black Box’ of Sell-Side Financial Analysts,” published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of Accounting Research.
“This is a highly significant award for Nate and his co-authors to receive to recognize the quality of their scholarship,” shared Mays Business School’s interim dean, R. Duane Ireland. “We at Mays Business School are proud of Nate’s research projects and the questions he addresses through his studies—questions that when answered through his work, inform the academic literature as well as managerial practice. Nate’s research is quite descriptive of the Mays mission to ‘create impactful knowledge.’ On behalf of Mays Business School and Texas A&M University, I am truly pleased to highlight the importance of the award Nate is receiving.”
This AAA award will be presented to Professors Brown, Call, Clement, and Sharp in the form of unique glass art pieces and a monetary prize at the 2021 AAA Annual Meeting during the awards presentation on Tuesday, August 3rd from 11:30 am-12:00 pm Eastern.
More information about the 2021 AAA Awards can be found here.
About the James Benjamin Department of Accounting
The James Benjamin Department of Accounting aims to provide notable contributions to the university, public, and accounting profession. The James Benjamin Department of Accounting designs environments that engender creativity and innovation while close relationships among students and faculty foster ingenuity through a sharing of interests and aspirations.
About Mays Business School at Texas A&M University
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.
Mays MBA Student Leads Aggie Team That Earns 3rd Place in International Case Competition Focused on Addressing International Food Production Problems
A Texas A&M University interdisciplinary team led by Mays Business School Full-Time MBA student Ryan Staples ’22 earned third place in the 2021 Norwegian Business School Global Case Competition. The Aggie team–which included Danette Philpot, Garrett Brogan, and Meikah Dado, who are graduate students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Agriculture Leadership, Education and Communications—earned this international recognition by proposing an innovative use of technology to improve food production in Uganda by empowering women.
The Mays-sponsored group competed against 85 teams from 60 top-tier universities to generate game-changing solutions to food production issues involving obesity, malnutrition, and climate change. These topics will be discussed at the United Nations Food Systems Summit in Fall 2021.
Once the case problem was released, Texas A&M’s team decided to focus on Uganda, which Brogan had visited through his studies. That focus was important because more than one of every three Ugandans suffer from chronic malnutrition.
This issue is compounded because the nation has a significant gender inequality issue in its food production system. Eighty percent of the food consumed by the nation’s residents is produced by women. However, for every one pound of food produced by a woman in Uganda, a man can produce three. “Our whole idea is how can we bridge this knowledge and gender gap between men and women so that the country of Uganda can produce more food,” Staples said. “With 80% of the food producers only one-third as productive as their counterparts, there is a huge area of opportunity. “
The team proposed providing the women farmers with electronic tablets filled with agricultural knowledge so they can become empowered. Using technology allows the nation’s women farmers–who often do not attend extension programs because they are doing the farm work and caring for the children and elderly—to have ready access to extension resources, such as videos. “This is supplying them with knowledge so they can help themselves,” Dado said. “It is a bottom-up approach.”
The team projects that if this initiative is implemented over a 10-year period, 3 million women would be empowered. This would lead to a 30% increase in overall agriculture productivity and a $450 million boost to Uganda’s GDP.
The Aggie team, which was the top-performing team among North American and South American colleges and universities, benefitted from the support by Mays Business School faculty members Dr. Daniel Usera and Dr. Mary Lea McAnally and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Dr. Jack Elliott, a professor and senior scientist at the university’s renowned Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture. These faculty members were able to provide feedback before the team moved into the semifinal round of the case competition.
Staples believes that the team’s interdisciplinary representation was critical to the Aggies’ third place finish. “Our success was truly a testament to the power of synergistic team effort,” he said. “The true kudos go to my three new friends in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences who shared this case competition journey with me.”
His counterparts agreed and appreciated Staples’ openness to learning about agriculture and his facilitation and leadership skills. “Ryan had knowledge in so many different ways that we didn’t have, but we had that knowledge of the agriculture aspect,” Dado said. “We were able to come together, and I do not think we would have been as successful if we hadn’t been interdisciplinary.”
Go to Market Plans
The Aggies are now seeking ways to bring their idea to the marketplace. They have presented to the Borlaug Institute’s director and senior faculty, who have offered positive feedback and are considering including the project in future grant proposals. In addition, Staples is using Mays’ contacts to pitch to Fortune 500 companies about corporate funding. The team also may receive an invitation to present at the United Nations Food Systems Summit.
These types of high-impact learning experiences that challenge Mays students to solve real-world problems are aligned with Mays’ vision to advance the world’s prosperity. “Case competitions offer students the opportunity to practice being transformational leaders through combining theory, research, and practical application while working in a team,” said Mays Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Arvind Mahajan. “We feel so strongly about the power of these learning experiences that Mays collaborates annually with Humana Inc. to host the Humana-Mays Healthcare Analytics Case Competition, which challenges 1,300 U.S. masters-level students to analyze the company’s data to identify innovative healthcare solutions.”
Ultimately, Staples credits Mays Full-Time MBA program for helping to polish his leadership skills to be able to successfully focus the team’s efforts. “The program helped me first to identify my leadership strengths, and then taught me how to leverage them. Apart from that, I have had the opportunity to lead team projects among my peers since last July,” Staples said. “The combination of understanding the unique skills I possess and the practical opportunity to practice those skills has been invaluable to my development as a leader.”
Study of 9,000 Texas public schools shows districts should keep investing in internet-access spending to improve academic outcomes
Internet access has been a critical resource for public schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has enabled teachers to reach out and educate students remotely. As things go back to normal, investments in internet access will need to continue according to a study of 9,000 schools conducted by a research team from Texas A&M University, University of Notre Dame, and Rice University.
Do students benefit from increased internet access in public schools? This has been an open policy question. Advocates of internet-based learning argue it improves student access, engagement, and personalized learning. Its detractors cite children’s access to obscene or harmful content and disciplinary problems.
To address these policy questions, the research team created the largest and most comprehensive dataset to date. The dataset of 1,243 school districts represents more than 9,000 Texas public schools from 2000 to 2014. The team measured internet-access spending along with indicators of academic performance indicators and disciplinary problems. It used statistical techniques to isolate the effect of internet-access spending on academic performance and disciplinary problems. Of note, this dataset examines the effect of internet access spending in a pre-COVID era.
Even when schools are fully physical, increased school district internet spending is strongly associated with improved academic outcomes. In addition to improved graduation rates, increased internet spending was also associated with improvement in commended performance in math, reading, writing, and social studies. Districts with increased internet access spending also showed a higher number of students meeting SAT/ACT criteria and completing advanced courses. These improvements, according to the research study, were stronger for students who lived in counties with greater internet access (as measured by the number of broadband providers). It seems that increased internet access at home and at school has a symbiotic benefit for students.
“Texas public schools have provided important insights for education policy,” said study co-author Shrihari Sridhar, a professor of marketing at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School. “Many public schools ramped up internet access spending during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we move past COVID-19 to a more physical-based learning environment internet access spending needs to be maintained at previous levels or even increased. This is a worthwhile investment with very high returns—academic performance and financial gains.”
“We caution that the clear and meaningful academic benefits from increased internet access can also increase disciplinary issues such as cyberbullying. Therefore, schools will do well to create and implement policies to address them,” continued Sridhar.
Academic research experts and industry professionals will gather to discuss the latest trends and insights in marketing and retailing on April 23 via Zoom.
Hosted by the Center for Retailing Studies (CRS), this virtual event will include featured topics such as: healthcare, mobile app technology, online purchasing, emerging research issues in retailing, and state of the industry post-pandemic.
“The Retail Research Leadership Forum is a signature event of the Center for Retailing Studies, Mays Business School. It showcases leading-edge research on retailing from world-class researchers and thought leadership lessons from influential practitioners. It is a trend-setter for future directions in retailing,” said CRS Director of Research Venky Shankar.
Speakers and panelists include:
Venky Shankar, Coleman Chair Professor of Marketing at Mays Business School
Leonard Berry, University Distinguished Professor at Mays Business School
Unnati Narang, Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Jack Boyle, Global Co-President Direct to Consumer at Fanatics, Inc.
Bill Stinneford, Senior Vice President at Buxton
Rebecca Wooters, Chief Digital Officer at Signet Jewelers
Thanks to the generous support of the Texas Bankers Association, Dwight Garey ’67 has been named the Texas Bankers Foundation Executive Professorship in Commercial Banking at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School. Garey has led the Commercial Banking Program since 2016 and this endowed award speaks to the difference Garey brings to the Department of Finance within Mays.
Garey’s career in banking and financial services spans more than 40 years, with 27 years of his banking career in correspondent banking at First City Bank-Houston, and Amegy Bank in Houston. He managed Amegy Bank’s Correspondent Banking department from 2006 to 2016, a regional line of business for a three-state region. He graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in finance, then earned an MBA from the University of Houston Clear Lake.
He is also a graduate of the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University, where he was a director of the Alumni Board of Directors and was president of the Alumni Board 2012-2015.
“I am truly pleased with the appointment of Dwight to this important endowed professorship at Mays,” shared Eli Jones, dean of Mays Business School. “This appointment, which I supported along with others in Mays Business School and the highest level of administration at Texas A&M, reflects Dwight’s continuing contributions that are bringing distinction to the Department of Finance and Mays Business School. Endowed professorships are a priority at Mays, established as part of our grassroots strategic planning process which began in 2016. Through these professorships, we are able to recruit and retain individuals who will advance the world’s prosperity, our vision at Mays.”
“We’re fortunate to have Dwight represent the Texas Bankers Association in this endowed professorship and know that it will be a resource within the Commercial Banking Program for developing transformational leaders, part of our mission at Mays,” shared Sorin Sorescu, Interim Executive Associate Dean at Mays Business School. “Banking is a relationship-driven business, and our college is thankful for the generous support the TBA has established to help us educate the next generation of bankers. All of us at Mays know that Dwight will continue performing in this high honor in order to serve our students and equip them to enter the banking industry fully prepared to bring the necessary hard and soft skills, along with the Aggie Core Values, every day.”
About Texas Bankers Association
Founded in 1885, the Texas Bankers Association is a member-centric state organization based in Austin whose members represent the voice of the banking industry within the state and national halls of Austin and Washington, D.C. In addition, its members participate in discussions around financial and economic roundtables where community leaders ponder safety and soundness issues confronting the state and national economics.
About the Commercial Banking Program
The Commercial Banking Program at Mays is designed to equip students with the banking and finance skills needed for a career in banking. The program prepares students to serve the personnel needs of banking organizations in Texas and the United States. The students in the program establish relationships with banking professionals, and other students, who serve them throughout their banking careers, and develop the financial skills critical to success when beginning careers with a commercial bank.
The Commercial Banking Program allows students to learn industry skills and terminologies within a focused curriculum and provides experiences that are not otherwise available to finance majors.
About Mays Business School
At Mays Business School, we strive 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 6,300 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 in the country for its programs and for faculty research.
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.
“Creative destruction” is a phrase used by Joseph Schumpeter, an early 20th century economist and probably the “OG” scholar in the field of entrepreneurship. Schumpeter was talking about the role of entrepreneurs in our society as agents of change. Entrepreneurs recognize opportunities that others often miss and create new markets for products and services that sometimes have the potential to disrupt or even destroy established industries. In a sense, change and market disruption is nothing new to entrepreneurs. For that reason, we can anticipate that their skills and unique way of looking at the world will play a critical role in our social and economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many of us shy away from risk. We try to live our lives and achieve our desired goals while mitigating risk as much as possible. That’s one reason why we struggle with such unexpected and extreme developments as those set-in motion by the global pandemic. In fact, we may feel that our “risk-meter” is off the charts, with few options for bringing it back down. There are reasons to suggest that entrepreneurs, on the other hand, perceive risk very differently. Research shows that they tend to make an objective assessment of the level of risk in the market environment and then work to control or guide outcomes in the best way possible, given that degree of risk. Under the current conditions, entrepreneurs may react by simply resetting their risk estimates at a higher level. With this updated information, they can start planning new strategies and taking actions to improve their likely outcomes, while many of the rest of us remain focused on, or even paralyzed by, the risk itself.
There are other characteristics and perspectives we associate with entrepreneurs that may help them face the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. First of all, entrepreneurs are persistent. They find ways to thrive in harsh business environments. We have observed this in emerging markets, areas of the world often lacking financial capital, legal, regulatory, and other resources and institutions we tend to take for granted in developed economies. Entrepreneurial activity still emerges in such settings, growing organically through informal economic systems outside of the traditional institutions. Entrepreneurs are also resilient. They find new paths forward in the aftermath of devastating events. Research following the 2008 global financial crisis shows that many young, entrepreneurial ventures were well-positioned to weather the storm. Startups are generally smaller and may be more agile than established firms, making it easier for them to quickly react and adapt even to extreme and unexpected changes.
Entrepreneurs know how to build businesses through conventional planning, but they have other tools in their toolkit that can help them react and adapt. The business planning process we frequently teach in MBA programs involves causal thinking, the careful assessment of how current conditions and possible strategies can lead to future results. This calls for upfront resource planning, the development of market and production strategies, and the analysis of which outcomes are most likely to occur after executing the business plan. Many entrepreneurs certainly have this skill – think of the carefully constructed plans they often present to investors when seeking capital investment. This process is popularized in TV and streaming shows such as Shark Tank or Elevator Pitch. The problem we have right now is that COVID-19 has thrown everyone a curve. We don’t necessarily have the context to effectively analyze and predict future outcomes. For that reason, most causal-thinking business plans probably aren’t going to work until we get further along in this extraordinary period of uncertainty.
Fortunately, many entrepreneurs can leverage other tools to successfully identify and pursue opportunities, even under difficult conditions such as those presented by the COVID-19 crisis. First, rather than wasting time in the current market environment writing up a wish-list of resources, they would like to have (and are unlikely to get), entrepreneurs are very good at bricolage; making use of what is at hand to construct something useful. The closest many of us get to using bricolage is probably when we have to scrounge something for dinner – we grab some cans from the pantry, leftovers from the refrigerator, maybe pulling the odd tomato from the plant growing on the back patio. Luckily, entrepreneurs tend to be much better at this technique.
My favorite examples of bricolage during the COVID-19 pandemic showcase creative efforts to provide products that help prevent and treat the infection. Cummins Inc. has a stockpile of materials used in producing air and fuel filters for diesel engines. With the shutdown of their engine production line, this inventory would be sitting in giant rolls, collecting dust in a warehouse. Through some creative connecting of the dots, the technical managers at Cummins realized that this material could meet the standards for producing the vital N95 masks that may soon help us begin to safely return to work. We have seen a similar process of bricolage in Ford Motor Company with their use of stock auto parts in the production of medical ventilators. Numerous breweries, distilleries, and even perfume companies are using their materials and equipment to produce hand sanitizer. We can only imagine the countless other acts of entrepreneurial bricolage that are happening all throughout the economy.
Entrepreneurs have another trick up their sleeves. Many of them show skill in effectual thinking. Similar to bricolage, effectuation starts with a look at the readily available skills, tools, and resources. However, the interesting difference in this type of thinking is that it doesn’t start with any particular outcome or destination in mind. Refer to our search of the kitchen pantry at dinnertime – this might involve looking through our available supplies, and instead of preparing a meal, we find spaghetti noodles and marshmallows and decide to start a quick project to build a model of the Eiffel Tower. We had no prior intention of pursuing this project – the available materials, the situation, and our own interests may have organically led us down this path.
Our social network society makes this type of effectual thinking more effective. As entrepreneurs brainstorm various uses for their available skills and resources, they need to test and refine these ideas. This requires a sounding board to communicate their thoughts to potential customers, partners, investors, or others who can help refine and advance the project. Researchers have shown that social media platforms such as Twitter can enhance this process by allowing entrepreneurs to work through their effectual thinking more quickly, getting input from followers, and directing them toward new and unexpected opportunities. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo provide another example of this rapid feedback process. Investors and campaign participants can preview early-stage ideas, post comments and questions, and ultimately let their money do the talking by offering financial support to worthwhile projects. These social network platforms have dramatically improved the pace and potency of effectual thinking for entrepreneurs.
As we speak, entrepreneurs are undoubtedly scanning the new environment shaped by SARS-CoV-2. They are imagining unexpected opportunities to match available resources to market needs, serving end goals that none of us (including them!) could have anticipated a few months ago. It’s hard to say what they will come up with next, but some areas of activity seem likely. As social beings, we’re all growing tired of these periods of isolation. Entrepreneurs may find new ways to balance our craving for social interaction with our need to control the risk of infection. Internet streaming and digital interaction have been the most obvious domains for these activities, but others could certainly emerge.
Through entrepreneurial thinking, we can crowdsource the restart. Businesses throughout the country face the challenge of reopening while protecting the safety of their customers. We have already seen creative solutions as restaurants and stores find new ways to provide curbside and delivery service, sometimes even offering unconventional grocery products or packaged deals. As they return to in-store dining and service, entrepreneurs will find a wide variety of ways to enable social distancing and limit the risk of contagion. The best ideas are likely to catch on, further speeding the pace of the economic recovery.
We live in unprecedented times; working to balance aggressive actions taken to limit the health impact of COVID-19 with pressures to reopen our businesses and restart the economy. This is creating risk, uncertainty, and challenges to our prior business models and ways of viewing the world. Fortunately, we have an extraordinary group of individuals in our society who often view the world through a different lens. They understand risk, thrive in conditions of uncertainty, and are uniquely equipped to handle these challenges. Fortunately, we have entrepreneurs.
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 Sarasvathy, S.D., 2001. Causation and effectuation: Toward a theoretical shift from economic inevitability to entrepreneurial contingency. Academy of management Review, 26(2), pp.243-263.
 Fischer, E. and Reuber, A.R., 2011. Social interaction via new social media:(How) can interactions on Twitter affect effectual thinking and behavior? Journal of Business Venturing, 26(1), pp.1-18.
On May 1, 2020, a Faculty Learning Community Showcase was held to display the Mays Transformational Leader mindsets at work, all of which add value to the teaching mission and stoke the fire of innovation at Mays.
The come and go Zoom meeting hosted by Bailey Lenzen, Lecturer, and Program Coordinator, facilitated multiple breakout rooms, all of which showcased various combinations of the MTL mindsets and the innovative ways that they have been implemented. Lenzen said, “As we work to fulfill the promise of MTL development (Strategic Initiative 4.2), we continue to seek classroom opportunities for students to practice mindsets identified in the Mays Strategic Learning Framework. Creating such opportunities is best accomplished within a community of engaging, interesting, and similarly motivated peers. The MTL Faculty Learning Community invites about ten faculty members each year to develop at least one experiential learning opportunity designed to develop one or more Mays mindsets, implement and assess the learning opportunity, and present what was designed and implemented at a showcase each spring.”
In the Spring 2019 edition of @Mays Magazine, we focused on Academic Innovation. The magazine expressed how Academic Innovation asks the question, “what we’re doing is great, but how can we be better?” A large piece of being better is utilizing the mindsets of the Mays Transformational Leader. Taking advantage of the Analytical, Entrepreneurial, Ethical, Global, Inclusive, Social Impact, and Systems Thinking MTL mindsets, our students, faculty, and staff become innovators.
The question, “How can we be better?,” is constantly being asked in the halls of Mays Business School. In the pursuit to advance the world’s prosperity, our goal is to put our future business leaders into a place to be successful.
This means priming students in their undergraduate years to hit the ground running in the first few years of their career so that they, too, can be better. Akshaya Sreenivasan, Marketing Clinical Assistant Professor, learned that the students leaving Mays had a phenomenal grasp on domestic marketing markets but were struggling with international cases. Thus, the “Dunkin’ Donuts assignment” was born. Created to look at how American brands can be rebranded and positioned to fit foreign markets like India, a retail boom with high growth, this course requires students to use their Systems Thinking, Ethical, Analytical, and Global mindsets.
2020 has been no stranger to problems requiring Academic Innovation or the MTL Mindsets. As a pandemic threatened the world, Texas A&M was required to move an entire semester online in just one week. The extraordinary efforts of Mays Business School faculty and staff transitioned approximately 2,300 students online all while adjusting to new work schedules, new workplaces, copious Zoom meetings, and changes in home life. With the majority of the Spring semester and the entirety of Summer sessions being held virtually, the Mays Business School faculty and staff exemplified both the Aggie Core Values and the MTL Mindsets.
To get a better idea of the student experience of remote/online classes, a survey was created and sent to Mays students. Nancy Simpson, a Mays Clinical Professor, Director, and Faculty Development Fellow, led the survey initiative and the showcase discussion on the feedback that was received. From appreciation for professors’ flexibility and empathy to challenges with internet and computer availability, survey respondents provided a gamut of information that will not only be beneficial in building future online courses but helpful in creating new, better, best practices for on-campus learning as well.