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.
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.
“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.
Several 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.
Participants 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!”
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®.
Mark D. Taylor ’83, Peter H. Currie ’85, and Wayne Roberts ’85 were honored as recipients of Mays Business School’s 2019 Outstanding Alumni Awards. The trio was recognized during an April 25 awards dinner attended by many of Mays Business School’s leading former students, faculty, current students and supporters.
The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes former students who display transformational leadership in their profession and community as well as their service to Mays Business School. Honorees embody the Aggie core values of loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, selfless service, and respect. “Each year we honor our graduates who exemplify the Aggie Core Values and who have lived their lives with distinction with the Mays Outstanding Alumni Awards,” said Dean Eli Jones ’82. “Recipients come from all industries and have been active in their communities. They continue to serve our alma mater through giving their time, their talents, and their finances to help raise the reputation of Mays Business School and Texas A&M. We are truly grateful for their contributions.”
A leading lawyer
Mark D. Taylor ’83, a partner in Baker McKenzie’s Dallas office, is thankful for the quality of education that he received at Mays Business School. After graduating from Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance with Honors in 1983, Taylor earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Texas Tech in 1986.
Those degrees prepared him for a successful law career at the leading international law firm of Baker McKenzie. Taylor’s practice focuses on the defense of class actions, collective actions, and multi-district litigation cases. His areas of expertise include commercial litigation, trade secret litigation, post-M&A disputes and employment-related litigation. During his career, Taylor has argued or tried lawsuits before state and federal courts in more than 25 states. His Partners elected him Chair of the Firm’s North America Litigation & Government Enforcement Practice Group from 2013 to 2018.
Taylor’s service to Mays Business School extends across many areas. He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board and a regular guest speaker for Mays classes and groups. In addition, Mark and his wife, Christine, created the Mark D. Taylor ’83 and Christine D. Taylor Business Honors Scholarship fund, which provides an annual award to high-performing Business Honors Program students. “I really believe that students who are talented enough to go to Texas A&M but who don’t have the resources should be able to go,” Taylor said. “If we can help a little bit toward that, I think that’s very important. That motivates me to give back to both the school and to the students who are deserving and who could benefit, like we did, from Texas A&M and the education that we received.”
Energy, investments, and Traditions
Peter H. Currie ’85 credits Mays Business School for instilling foundational business principles that have guided his professional success. After graduating from Texas A&M with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management, Currie focused his professional career on the energy and investment industry. He was co-founder and managing member of CIMA ENERGY, LTD., an initial investor and director of Patriot Bank in Houston, TX, a director of Municipal Energy Resources Corporation, and an executive vice president of Huddleston & Co. Additionally, Currie represented the group of developers that acquired Traditions Club and Traditions Community in Bryan/College Station in 2009.
Currie presently is CEO of CenTree Ventures, LLC and Posse Resources, LLC, which manage oil and gas joint venture and partnership interests in nearly 3,000 producing properties and minerals covering 300,000 acres throughout the U.S. Currie also is CEO of Continental Operating Company, which operates oil and gas properties in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Additionally, he manages more than $100 million in assets in numerous private investment partnerships and company retirement funds.
Currie remains very active at Mays Business School, having served on the Dean’s Advisory Board since 2008. Currie and his wife created a $1 million endowment in 2007 that supports the Lisa Huddleston Currie ’85 and Peter H. Currie ’85 Chair in Business. They also established the Lisa Huddleston Currie ’85 and Peter H. Currie ’85 Chair in Business through a $3 million gift in 2017. “Today’s students have the opportunity to learn the same business principles, have the same drive, and experience the same spirit of Aggieland,” Currie said. “I think it’s very important to bring those young men and women into the workforce in the state of Texas and beyond.”
A servant leader
For Wayne Roberts ’85, the core values and mission of Texas A&M are what attracted him as a prospective student and continue to resonate today. His service to the university began as a student where he held numerous leadership positions in campus organizations and was the recipient of the Buck Weirus Spirit Award. That involvement and selfless service has only grown since graduation and he continues to give back to his alma mater through a variety of ways, most notably at the Mays Business School and the 12thMan Foundation, where he serves on the Boards of each organization.
Roberts, who earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Business Analysis and a Master of Business Administration degree from Texas A&M, is currently President and Chief Executive Officer at Abrigo, Inc., the leading provider of solutions that manage risk and drive growth for America’s community financial institutions. A strong mentor and coach, he has successfully built or transformed numerous high growth teams and companies throughout his career while establishing employee-centric cultures that deliver great results.
A regular guest speaker at Mays events, Roberts also serves as the co-chair of the Student Recruitment and Career Development Committee on the Dean’s Advisory Board. Roberts and his wife created the Shannon ’86 and Wayne Roberts ’85 Excellence Endowment, the largest planned gift in the history of the Mays Business School. They have also established a Mays Business Honors Scholarship and continue to give their time, energy and resources to support all things Aggie related. “Texas A&M and the Mays Business School are special. What motivates me is the pursuit of greatness, giving back, leaving a legacy, and serving others,” Roberts said. “So, it is an easy decision to support something that has made such a positive difference in our lives and will continue to do so for future generations of Aggies.”
On April 24, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and former students packed Wehner lobby for James Benjamin Day. Energy and excitement pulsed through the room, as attendees wearing t-shirts and stickers that showed “I heart James Benjamin” filed into the lobby.
The event was standing room only as participants waited eagerly from the balcony, lined the stairs, and filled the elevator banks for the celebration to begin.
Dean Jones began the celebration by welcoming students, faculty and staff, and the accounting advisory board to the special event. Among his numerous high praises for Benjamin, Dean Jones declared that Benjamin epitomized the Aggie core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. Dean Jones also shared that at the beginning of the naming campaign, naysayers told them, “Crowdsourcing won’t work.” However, the campaign ultimately proved otherwise and raised over $10 million for the department. Dean Jones added that Benjamin has served Texas A&M and Mays Business School for 45 years as faculty, and 37 years as the accounting department head. Benjamin positively impacted countless students’ lives and set an example of excellence during his time at the university.
Brian Bishop, the Assistant Vice President of Development at Mays Business School, delivered some words of affirmation and praise for Benjamin. Bishop stated that to have a department named after an individual, “40 years of service and $10 million raised” would be a fantastic place to start. Bishop continued in his praise for Benjamin, describing him as an “excellent human being and an educator.” Bishop encouraged the current students attending the celebration to look around the room and appreciate the accomplishments of those before them. He then instructed each student to ask themselves, “How can I give back, and how can I make my degree more valuable?”
Christy Bauman ’95 took the stage to share her thoughts, insights, and appreciation for Benjamin. Bauman was a member of the third group of PPA students and explained that raising money for the department was, “One of the easiest things to ask for because of Jim and who he is as an individual.”
Professor Mary Lea McAnally then joined the excitement by kicking off a round-robin share out about the magnitude during Benjamin’s tenure in a segment titled, “James Benjamin by the Numbers.”
4,617,600 minutes worked, $8 per minute of funds raised
17,102 students graduated
5,008 PPA graduates
15 former students now serving as professors at Mays
2,113 Business Honors graduates during his tenure
1998 – Outstanding Professor of the Year from Texas A&M
1992 – Benjamin began the PPA program
1968 – Benjamin earned his CPA, in Maryland, with the second highest score in the state
1600 companies employ his graduates
960 business honors students in his Accounting 229 course
314 publications by Ph.D. graduates
258 graduates who are partners at CPA firms
Accounting 229 – countless students have taken Benjamin’s course
199 – the average number of words in a paragraph in an email from Benjamin
158 Ph.D. graduates since Benjamin
61 computers in KPMG lab on cutting edge of technology
42 years in the Department of Accounting
37 years as department head
8 accounting faculty have become administrators at Mays
5 deans Benjamin has served under
40 years ago – James Benjamin was Strawser’s professor
3 PPA Directors reported to Benjamin during his tenure
Finally, Benjamin took the opportunity to share his thoughts and appreciation for the celebration. He said that one of the most rewarding aspects of his career has been watching students he once taught reach retirement. In humility, he added that though he may be the face of the accounting department, there are four necessary ingredients to his success:
Deeply caring faculty built to mirror students
Leaders – he has been at the business school under five deans, and never had a bad boss in his life
Incredibly supportive former students
In a nod to his engaging demeanor, Benjamin expressed that he thinks it is fitting that the accounting department will now share the nickname for 100 dollar bills.
Reynolds and Reynolds’ commitment to developing meaningful relationships with Mays Business School students and faculty and its significant philanthropic support resulted in the corporation’s selection as Mays Business School’s 2019 Partner of the Year. This dynamic partnership was highlighted during Reynolds and Reynolds Day at Mays Business School on April 5.
The day’s events included a Top-to-Top meeting between Reynolds and Reynolds executives and Mays’ leaders to discuss industry trends and Mays’ current and future initiatives. Following a recognition ceremony, company executives participated in a meeting with students and faculty from the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute.
Investing significant time, funds in Mays
The company’s relationship with Mays began with Reynolds and Reynolds employees’ increasing involvement with Mays students and faculty. During the ensuing years, Reynolds and Reynolds financial support for Mays programs has grown. “They’ve made a big impact in a short period of time,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones. “The investments that Reynolds and Reynolds have made have been significant. But it’s more than the money. We have great relationships with these folks. They are partners and have given generously of their time, talent, and treasure.”
The company established a $2 million endowment to support Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans and committed $1 million to create the ReyRey Café in the planned new Business Education Complex. More recently, the company dedicated a $4 million endowment for the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute, an interdisciplinary program that will teach Texas A&M students university-wide about the importance of sales and leading edge sales strategies and technology.
Reynolds and Reynolds is a software and technology company serving automotive dealerships and car manufacturers. While the company might not be a well-recognized name in most U.S. households, consumers are impacted by the company’s products and services every time they visit a car dealership. Reynolds is a leader in helping dealerships streamline operations and improve customer satisfaction through its products and services. In business, the community, and in their own company, Reynolds and Reynolds is well known for their strong commitment to building relationships and supporting their employees through innovative professional development programs.
That commitment makes Reynolds and Reynolds’ partnership with Mays Business School a natural fit. “We talk about networking a lot. It’s a fine word but it can be superficial,” said Senior Vice President for Corporate Development Robert Burnett ’87. “What’s real is relationships. I believe that we’re here today as Partner of the Year because of the relationships we’ve built with Mays.”
A commitment to military veterans
One of the deepest relationships is with the Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans. “We love the military. We’re led by ex-military and that’s our company culture,” Burnett said. “Dean Jones brought this program to our attention and it was a no-brainer for us to become a partner. It’s been a wonderful experience.”
This unique bootcamp, which is part of Mays’ McFerrin Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, offers cutting-edge experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans who have service-connected disabilities and a passion for entrepreneurship. Veterans are able to take part in the program at no charge.
Reynolds and Reynolds employees regularly volunteer as speakers, panel participants and mentors at the summer bootcamp. Additionally, the company’s philanthropic contributions are funding the program’s growth. “Reynolds and Reynolds’ support is allowing us to expand the number of veterans that we are able to work with in this program,” said LauraLee Hughes, the McFerrin Center’s assistant director of new ventures. “The other big constraint we’ve had is space. Thanks to this funding, we’re able to expand to other facilities and increase the types of activities that we’re able to do with veterans while they are on campus.”
Enhancing knowledge of sales
Reynolds and Reynolds, endowed the recently announced Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute. “One of the things students need to know is sales. You’re always going to be selling something,” said Senior Vice President for Hardware Operations David Shimek ’86. “That’s one of the things that the institute will be teaching – how to present yourself and how to sell yourself, whether you’re selling a product or yourself. That’s going to be important as students go forward.”
Ultimately, Reynolds and Reynolds’ partnership with Mays is devoted to building relationships that will help students succeed both in college and after they graduate. “Reynolds and Reynolds employees from College Station, Houston, and Dayton are on our campus every semester conducting more than 300 individual role plays with students,” said Janet Parish, the director of the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute. “The time invested by the recruiting team and the sales force who really help to train our students by is a huge benefit that Reynolds and Reynolds brings.”
On Friday, April 5, Mays Business School will honor Reynolds and Reynolds as its 2019 Partner of the Year. Designated Reynolds and Reynolds Day in Mays Business School, the day will include a formal recognition ceremony as well as strategic discussion between company officials and Mays leaders and students.
Ceremonies will kick off with a Top-to-Top meeting with Reynolds and Reynolds executives – Senior Vice President for Corporate Development Robert Burnett and Senior Vice President for Hardware Operations David Shimek – and Mays’ senior leadership. At 11 a.m., Dean Eli Jones will present the 2019 Partner to the Year award to Reynolds and Reynolds. This ceremony will take place in the Wehner Lobby. Immediately following, Burnett and Shimek will speak to Mays students who are part of the Reynolds and Reynolds Sales Leadership Institute – an interdisciplinary program that develops future sales professionals and advances the sales profession.
Recognizing a leading Mays partner
The Partner of the Year honor is given to an organization that has achieved excellence in advancing Mays’ vision, providing career opportunities, developing quality professionals, and investing intellectual and financial capital towards the realization of Mays’ mission. Initiated in 2016, Mays’ Partner of the Year has previously been awarded to Phillips 66, KPMG, and EY.
“Mays is fortunate to have so many important partnerships with a variety of organizations,” said Jones. “Recipients of Partner of the Year have pushed the concept of partnership to a higher level. They find innovative ways to support our students and faculty and are active in our advisory councils, classrooms, and programs. They also provide important financial support to Mays’ premier programs.”
Automotive industry leader
Reynolds and Reynolds serves the automotive industry by streamlining operations and improving customer satisfaction through the industry’s only Retail Management System. Driven by a 150-year legacy of product innovation and customer service, Reynolds and Reynolds helps dealers transform every aspect of their business.
The Dayton, Ohio-based company has facilities in Houston and College Station as well as Tampa, Florida, and has developed deep ties with Mays as well as with Texas A&M overall. “Reynolds and Reynolds supports our students through internships and hiring our graduates. Company representatives also are regularly involved in our classrooms and many of our programs,” Jones said. “Reynolds and Reynolds has provided significant financial support to Mays, including being a founding partner for the Sales Leadership Institute and the lead founder for the Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans through the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship.”
For further information about events planned for that day, contact Cindy Billington at firstname.lastname@example.org or 979-458-1872
Ryan Green, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Southwest Airlines, spoke to the Mays Business School MS-Marketing students on Feb. 28 as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series. Green is a 1999 graduate of Mays Business School and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board. Integrity, leadership, drive for excellence, and traditions are all qualities that drew him to Texas A&M University and later to Southwest Airlines.
As CMO, Green has a wide scope of responsibilities, including:
Loyalty, partnerships, and products
Insight and analysis across all the areas listed above
Green said branding and advertising have been the newest and most challenging areas for him. He attributes this challenge to his strengths (Achiever, Analytical, Significance, and Relator as determined Clifton StrengthsFinder), which do not align as well to those areas of marketing. He balances this by enlisting people around him who are strong in this area. …Read more
Many people believe an entrepreneur is someone who starts a business, but at their core entrepreneurs are simply problem solvers.
While studying to receive a degree in International Studies, Bryce Watson ’16 was invited to travel to China to aid a local non-profit. During his time there, Watson heard countless stories of the harsh working conditions that factory employees faced every day. Employees worked 80-hour weeks in dangerous environments for little pay, and many had been seriously injured on the job. By the end of his trip Watson had heard enough. He returned to Texas A&M University determined to find a way to improve workers’ rights in developing nations. “I wanted to do something about this,” Watson said. “I didn’t just want to learn about it, I wanted to solve the problem.”
Watson quickly realized he was attacking a complex issue. “We started to discover that these multi-national corporations have hundreds of sub-contractor manufacturing facilities that are only audited once or twice a year,” he said. “They have very little incentive to make sure their operating procedures are safe for their employees.”