A group of high school juniors spent the past weekend attending “A Day at Mays” to learn more about their options as not only potential Mays Business School students, but also as prospective Texas A&M University students. Of a select group of students invited, 35 visited campus.

The overriding goal of the “A Day at Mays” program was to increase the number of students from under-represented groups who pursue degrees at Mays Business School. By doing so, Mays hopes to make a major contribution to the larger objective of ensuring a workplace that is not only diversified, but also staffed by highly skilled employees who are prepared to work in a global and multicultural environment.

Photo credit: Corey D. Stone ’13

The activities began on Friday, April 20, and extended through Saturday, April 21. A dinner on Friday provided the high school students to converse with other prospective students, family members, current students, and Mays faculty at the George Hotel in College Station. After dinner, prospective students paired up with current students in Business Student Council (BSC) and Multicultural Association of Business Students (MABS) and participated in a fun evening at Grand Central Station, where prospective students were able to build connections and ask questions about real “college” life at Texas A&M.

The next day, the students were able to take a walking tour of the Texas A&M campus and then moved to the Cocanougher Center to learn from Mays faculty and staff. Undergraduate recruiter Corey Stone shared with the students the application process for entrance into Texas A&M. He offered honest advice on earning college credit in high school and the requirements for the students to work for. “When in doubt, email me,” Stone said.

After Stone’s presentation, a panel of current PPA students shared their knowledge of their different track decisions and experiences on their internships. They described the opportunities given in public accounting and explained why they chose to do the PPA program, followed by a question-and-answer session for both parents and prospective students. Students were then given a brief overview of the PPA program by Casey Kyllonen, followed by brief overviews of the rest of the departments in Mays.

At the end of the day, prospective students attended an Opportunity Fair where students could ask questions about opportunities at Mays. This provided a convenient way for participants to learn one-on-one about their specific interests and options, after a packed weekend of group discussions and panels. 

The program was sponsored by the PPA program at Mays in conjunction with
PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Profession Program at Mays is an integrated program that allows participants to complete a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting and a master’s of science in one of five business disciplines in just five years.

– By Erin Cullers, PPA student

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, PPA, Students, Texas A&M

Marketing Professor Venkatesh Shankar was an invited guest of the U.S. State Department in  Cairo, Egypt last week, where he delivered multiple presentations on marketing. He said online promotion can make a quantum leap in the trade between Egypt and the United States.

At the International Conference on Business Sciences on April 15-16, Shankar delivered presentations on “Innovations in Emerging Economies” and “Digital Marketing: Trends and the Future.” He spoke at the American Chamber of Commerce, Cairo University, Nile University, Ain Shams University, American University in Cairo, and American Embassy.

During a meeting with a number of journalists at the American Embassy in Cairo, he said electronic marketing helps to provide information about the products available in Egypt, and is a competitive advantage in the U.S. market. “Electronic marketing can make a difference in the movement of trade in the sectors of cars and technology among countries in the next five years,” he said.

Shankar said the advantages of electronic marketing will not stop at exports and imports between Egypt and the U.S., but could also introduce American consumers to some Egyptian products and services, enabling Egyptian entrepreneurs to market their products electronically and exchange experiences with their counterparts in the U.S.

“The challenge here is that some communication technologies are not as powerful in rural areas,” Shankar said. “They will have to focus on covering those regions.”

Shankar called on all companies to increase their investments in the development of the technology sectors infrastructure, which helps to expand the establishment of electronic stores and facilitates the transport of electronic goods. “Large companies rely on electronic marketing because they consider it a powerful tool to promote their products,” he said.

About Shankar:

Venkatesh (Venky) Shankar is the Coleman Chair Professor of Marketing and Director of Research at the Center for Retailing Studies, Mays Business School. His areas of specialization include digital business, marketing strategy, innovation, retailing, international marketing, and pricing. He has been recognized as one among the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds by Thomson Reuters and as a Top 10 scholar worldwide on innovation.

 

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M

As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Westlake Chemical, Steve Bender ’78 has been instrumental in many of the company’s financial decisions. Bender recently visited with Mays business honors students as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series, which recognizes business leaders in today’s society and gives them the chance to share their expertise with Mays students.

Bender graduated from Texas A&M University with a finance degree, then went on to receive an MBA from Southern Methodist University. Bender was assistant treasurer at Halliburton and served as vice president and treasurer of KBR prior to joining the Westlake Chemical team as vice president and treasurer in 2005 and later made EVP and CFO. Bender wanted to share with current students the wisdom he has gained at Westlake Chemical after being involved in multiple company acquisitions during his time there.

The most significant company Westlake acquired was Axiall in 2016. “We believed this acquisition would enhance margin stability along with providing additional growth expansion opportunities,” Bender said. The acquisition gave Westlake a global presence with facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia.

However, the acquisition process was not an easy one. Axiall’s CEO and board of directors were not fans of the idea, and it took months of meetings and increasing the initial offer to finalize the acquisition. Even after signing the deal, there were many long days of tirelessly working to make sure the transition ran smoothly.

Through the entire acquisition process, the main lesson Bender learned was to be open to a diversity of views. “Challenge others without being challenging,” he said. “Recognize that not everyone has the same perspective, so coming to a consensus may not always be easy.”

Bender continued to provide other pieces of advice regarding students’ futures in the working world:

  • A broad skill set is important. Use your skills and apply them as broadly as you can, and try to leverage those of your co-workers in the process.
  • Always be truthful, even if it is not always pleasant.
  • Be careful about burning out your own team. “Make sure your team sees the benefits and rewards that come out of working long days and nights so that they’ll continue returning every morning,” he said.

Bender closed the discussion by telling the students that what they are learning today has plenty of real-world applications. “Be opportunistic, don’t underestimate your relationships with others, and most importantly, use what you are learning today in the real world,” he said.

John Frederick ’18 said he found Bender’s “insights and experience worth paying attention to and listening to for years to come.” James Warman ’21 said these insights helped him “peer into the world of business and made me even more excited to enter the business world after graduation.”

Categories: Business Honors, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Mays Transformational Leader speakers, News, Students, Texas A&M

The Aggie Advertising Club recently received a donation of $3,200 from the Association of Former Students to help its advertising competition team attend the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.

The advertising team operates each year as part of Lisa Troy’s MKTG 447 course. Functioning much like an advertising agency, students in the class spend two semesters conducting research, building a multi-million-dollar budgeted, fully integrated marketing campaign for the client brand, developing a professional 22-page campaign plan book, and presenting the campaign to industry judges.

This year’s team will present their campaign for Ocean Spray at the AAF District 10 Convention in Corpus Christi next week. Winners at the district level will advance to nationals in Chicago in June.

AFS Donation Check

Categories: Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Venky Shankar at Research Camp

Mays Business School hosted the 2018 Mays Marketing Research Camp on April 6, hosted by the Center of Retailing Studies Research Director and Coleman Professor of Marketing Venkatesh “Venky” Shankar. The event presents faculty and Ph.D. students the opportunity to share, hear, and collaborate with some of the top scholars in marketing on the latest empirical, analytical, and behavioral research. …Read more

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Staff, Students, Texas A&M

The public is invited to watch the finals on April 20 for Aggie Pitch, the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship’s inaugural pitch competition in which students from Texas A&M System schools and branch campuses pitch their business concepts.

 

Registration will start at 9 a.m., and the program will begin at 9:30 a.m. The awards luncheon will begin at noon. RSVP here: www.AggiePITCH.com

In recent weeks, the participants have gotten a chance to showcase their ideas. In addition to a cash prize pool of $50,000, the winners potentially will be considered for nomination to additional business plan/pitch competitions across the nation.

Finalists invited to the April 20 event will be evaluated and scored by a panel of prestigious entrepreneur/investor judges who volunteer with the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. The judging panel includes Blake Teipel, Ph.D., a local entrepreneur and former student collaborated with the McFerrin Center in 2015 to win a number of business plan competitions around his company concept, including the Rice Business Plan Competition. The Aggie Pitch award winners will be announced at the luncheon shortly after noon.

The goal of Aggie Pitch is to encourage all Texas A&M students to explore entrepreneurship and learn how to deliver their business concepts in the most compelling fashion.

…Read more

Categories: Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Research, Students, Texas A&M

Third-year accounting doctoral student Jennifer Glenn has faced several obstacles in her life that have not only taught her how to be resilient, but have also shown her the power of perseverance.

Her inspiring fight against adversity led to her selection for the 2018 Community of Scholars Unsung Hero Award, an award created by the Texas A&M University Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) to recognize current graduate students who have faced and overcome difficult life experiences during their time at Texas A&M.

Glenn’s fight against adversity began in elementary school, when she developed a severe stutter. She was told by many of her teachers that she would never find a good job due to her inability to speak without stuttering. This did not set her back, however, because she still earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and her CPA license, despite her speech impediment. “I refuse to let anything stand in my way when it comes to accomplishing my goals,” Glenn said.

Years later, during her second year in the Ph.D. program at Texas A&M, Glenn learned that she needed brain surgery to remove a brain tumor that had been growing at an alarmingly fast rate and was feared to be cancer. Glenn had brain surgery six months before her comprehensive exam, which is required before a Ph.D. student can begin working on their dissertation. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Jerry and Kay Cox

Longtime Mays Business School supporters Jerry ’72 and Kay Cox ’02 have been given the Peggy and Lowry Mays Impact Award.

Jerry Cox spoke at the Outstanding Alumni Dinner Thursday (April 5), and said he and his wife were “deeply honored and humbled” to receive the award and a crystal vase at the Outstanding Alumni Dinner on April 5. “We have been directly involved in this place for 23 years. It is now a part of us,” he said.

The award was created in 2017 to honor those who have had a distinguished impact on Mays while showcasing a mindset of giving and exuding strong leadership capabilities. The initial Impact Award honorees were the namesakes, Peggy and Lowry Mays.

Mays Dean Eli Jones said this year’s choice was an easy one. “This award is for people who have really put their imprint on Mays Business School, and these two set the bar for us,” he said. “They think of the kids first. They want them to have all the tools they need to succeed.”

This year’s recipients are Jerry ’72 and Kay Cox ’02, who have long supported Mays Business School with their resources and devotion of their time. One of the buildings within Mays Business School bears their name, in recognition of the donations they have made totaling more than $2 million. The pair has helped in other ways as well, with the creation of the Jerry and Kay Cox Endowed Chair at Mays and a scholarship fund set up for the Business Honors Program. They have been major donors behind several other enhancements at Texas A&M University, including the Cox-McFerrin Center for Aggie Basketball.

Jerry Cox equated their role at the business school to that of the equipment managers for the Houston Astros. “They take care of the bats, balls, gloves, shoes, and uniforms. They get to see these elite athletes up close night after night, and they get to know them better than just about anyone,” he said.  He said the Astros support team finally got a victory after 55 years. At Mays, he said he and his wife have gotten to see the school’s evolution to excellence “from the front-row seats.”

“We have so many rock stars on faculty and so many amazing students, it is a joy to be a part of it,” he said. “Between the leadership of the faculty and the quality of the students, we now have become world champions.”

Giving back to Texas A&M

Jerry Cox graduated from Texas A&M in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He then went on to receive a master’s degree in theological studies from Houston Baptist University and an honorary doctorate of laws from Pepperdine University. Kay Cox received her master’s degree in educational psychology from Texas A&M in 2002.

Serving as the president and chairman of independent oil and gas exploration and production company Cox & Perkins Exploration, Inc., Cox’s peers have nothing but praise for Cox as an adroit investor and businessman who operates with high integrity and honesty.

Cox is a member of the Hydril Company Board of Directors and the Pepperdine University Board of Regents. He has also served on boards and committees at Texas A&M, including the Texas A&M Foundation, the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays Business School, and the Corps Development Council. He is a former director and president of the 12th Man Foundation and was the presiding chairman of the One Spirit One Vision campaign. He was inducted into the Corps Hall of Honor in 2009 and has been honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by both Mays Business School and The Association of Former Students.

 

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

As the highest honor a Mays Business School graduate can receive, recipients of the Mays Outstanding Alumni Award are recognized for leading lives of distinction and embodying the Aggie core values of loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, selfless service and respect.

Coming from different backgrounds and walks of life, these recipients are chosen for their activity in their communities and continued involvement within the Mays community. Mays recognized the three 2018 Outstanding Alumni inductees at the 26th Year Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner on April 5.

The honorees are Mike Shaw ’68, Fred Heldenfels IV ’79, and Fred Caldwell ’82.

So far, Mays has honored 83 former students who have reached outstanding achievements and have made significant contributions within their respected fields, as well as within Mays and their surrounding communities.

2018 Honorees

Mike Shaw ’68 is chairman and CEO of Mike Shaw Automotive, a family owned and operated company with two generations working side by side. Shaw was named Time Magazine’s Dealer of the Year in 2012.

Shaw graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management.

After graduation, Shaw became an officer in the United States Army and spent one year in Vietnam. After serving his country, he returned home to refocus his career in the automotive industry.

At the dinner, Shaw said he is proud of his Aggie heritage and credits it with getting him to where he is today. He walked across the stage of G. Rollie White Coliseum as part of the first graduating class of the business school almost 50 years ago to the date. His brother also graduated at the same time.

“At times like this, we realize how important it is to have families and friends who got us where we are,” he said. “The head honcho always gets the award, but it’s the people who make things what they are.” He said he took into his business career the formal education he received from Texas A&M, as well as the core values that are instilled here. For instance, he said, excellence allows everyone to be successful, while selfless service is the term for giving back to communities.


Fred Heldenfels IV ’79 is president and CEO of Heldenfels Enterprises, which specializes in the manufacture and installation of precast/prestressed concrete structures.

Heldenfels received the Aggie 100 Award in 2005, 2006, and 2008, as well as the Association of Former Students Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2015.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

He said at the Outstanding Alumni Dinner that one has to “wake up every morning and re-earn that kind of recognition.” He said the three questions that often come up in his life are “What do you work for?” “Who do you work for?” and “Why do we work?” For him, the answers are all based on stewardship and serving others. “I like the phrase ‘lead servant’ rather than ‘servant leadership,’ because every day I want to be the first one to step out and lead with conviction.”

Fred Caldwell ’82 is president and CEO of Caldwell Companies in Houston. He was the founding partner of Caldwell Nyberg Interests in 1990, later renamed Caldwell Companies. Mr. Caldwell received the Aggie 100 Award in 2005.

Caldwell serves on the board of directors of the Cy-Fair Educational Foundation; is a former member of the 12th Man Foundation Executive Board; is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Mays; is a member of the Aggie Real Estate Network; and is on the board of directors and was past chairman for the Lone Star College System District Foundation. He also was a three-year letterman on the football team at Texas A&M.

Caldwell graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in finance.

Caldwell said at the dinner that his company’s mission statement and purpose –  “to honor God, by stewarding resources, cultivating positive, lasting relationships and building extraordinary communities that enrich lives.” – reflect his values. He said in his speech he and his wife Susan started the company with $10,000 in the bank.

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Management, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Spotlights, Texas A&M

FEDFIS, a financial institution data provider for financial institutions and investment banking firms, has renewed the agreement allowing access to their financial database of all United States banking institutions to Mays Business School finance department and Commercial Banking Program (CBP). Dave Mayo, CEO of FEDFIS, commented that understanding how to use data to make decisions on operations and technology choices is critical to today’s banker.

Only a select few partnerships exist with FEDFIS. Dwight Garey, executive director of the CBP at Mays, said, “Members of our board like FEDFIS are deeply engaged in the governance of our program and are actively involved in all aspects of the CBP, including classroom instruction with our students. This is a tremendous and very valuable benefit to our program.”

For CBP students, FEDFIS’ data has been incomparable in their coursework, in researching banking companies for bank case projects, as well as in preparation for their interviews for summer internships and permanent employment with banks. Without this database, finance and CBP students would not have convenient access to the depth of banking information provided by FEDFIS, which has been crucial to their success in the classroom and beyond. …Read more

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Programs, Texas A&M