COLLEGE STATION, TX, Nov. 17 — On Friday, November 11, four second-year students in Texas A&M’s Master of Science in Human Resource Management program took first place in the 2022 Purdue HR Case Competition hosted on Purdue’s campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Students Abbey Dethloff, Joanna Moran, Abby Patterson, and Bailey Wilkins worked in advance of the competition to present a potential solution for PepsiCo’s desire to attract and retain more females in front-line roles at several sites in their NorthCentral region.

The team had one week to collaborate and submit their recommendations, which included: external and internal marketing efforts as well as creating talent pipeline partnerships with local community colleges and high schools.

“When brainstorming possible solutions for the assigned case, it immediately became clear to our team what a robust collection of HR tools we have garnered over the past three semesters. The way we think, and approach problems analytically has fundamentally changed because of the program’s comprehensive and well-rounded curriculum,” explained Dethloff. “We were able to draw on knowledge from a variety of courses and approached the case from the multiple lenses of employment law, organizational behavior, marketing, and financial analysis, to name a few. The MSHRM program molds business professionals who are well-equipped for the increasingly strategic role of today’s HR Business Partner.”

The formal case presentation was given by the team on Friday to a panel of judges. In a competition of eight teams from elite HR programs from across the country, including Purdue University, Cornell University, Indiana University, BYU, University of Illinois, and the University of Minnesota.

“The MSHRM program equipped us with the analytical skills and industry knowledge necessary to propose innovative yet practical solutions. Thanks to our internships with MSHRM partner companies this summer, we gave PepsiCo recommendations informed by our professional experiences at Fortune 500 firms. We entered this competition feeling confident in our understanding of HR trends and legal issues thanks to the courses we have taken during our time in the program,” said Moran.

The MSHRM program is strategically designed to equip Mays students with the skills and tools to build a strong foundation in a range of HR competencies with a heavy influence of increased business-acumen knowledge.

“The most memorable moment from winning the competition was celebrating with our program, who flooded our phones with messages of how proud they were of us,” said Patterson. It truly feels like a family to come home and have a whole room of classmates and professors waiting for you with cake (4 different cakes to be exact!) ready to celebrate with us. This program shaped a team of students who care for each other like a family and I could not be more honored to represent my program at this competition and every day.”

Dethloff, Moran, Patterson, and Wilkins were chosen to represent Texas A&M at this contest based on their winning performance in the Spring 2022 Texas A&M Center for HRM Case Competition hosted by Chevron. They will each graduate with their MS Human Resource Management degrees in December and shortly after beginning full-time HR positions.

Categories: Management

Dr. Matthew Call joined a growing list of faculty members from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School who are featured in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), the world’s preeminent business publication with a circulation of almost 3 million subscribers. Call authored a column entitled “How Companies Can Turn Former Employees into Faithful Alumni,” which was published Sept. 23, 2022.

The publication of Call’s column in the prestigious industry publication adds to Mays’ already sterling reputation. The school has 11 faculty members who rank in the top 2% of scholars worldwide. Additionally, Mays is among the Top 20 public business schools in the United States

A Network of Connections

Call was recommended to the WSJ by Dr. Anthony Klotz, a former Mays faculty member who contributes similar columns for the publication. After discussing his research with a WSJ editor, Call was invited to author the column on alumni networks.

The development of alumni networks helps companies engage with a mobile workforce that no longer remains with a company for most of their career. Call believes that part of the reason for this mobility may be because employee loyalty has not been reciprocated by companies over the years. “There’s this reshaping of the employer-employee relationship over the past 20-30 years that has led companies to realize that people are not seeing their jobs as a lifelong relationship now,” Call explained. “They’re leaving–and in the past, companies just thought the employees were gone for good.”

Some companies purposefully have a model that doesn’t encourage employee retention and tenure. For example, some firms like Goldman Sachs hire young elite professionals, knowing they will work for the company for a short period of time. “There’s actually research that shows that people are willing to take a pay cut to start at a high-status firm because of what it does for their resume going forward,” Call said. “All of this is wrapped in the idea that once you have this experience, you take that with you.”

However, Call sees companies increasingly trying to capitalize on employee mobility by creating relationships with employees after they leave the firm. “Having goodwill from employees leads to a host of benefits,” he said. “As a company, we can draw upon that identity that you take with you, so you can continue to refer to us, come back and work for us, or be a resource in general.”

Many employees go on to work for the company’s client firms, so maintaining an alumni relationship can be very beneficial. “A lot of these initial companies start to develop these alumni networks to formalize the relationship and to stay in touch with former employees as a competitive advantage,” he said. “When companies have alums working in their client firms, they will get first dibs (on projects) and can (further) develop that relationship.”

Additionally, companies can benefit by staying in touch because some former employees may return in the future. “In many industries, boomerang employees are up to 10-20% of new hires,” Call said.

Alumni networks also can help influence prospective employees through Glassdoor and social media. “If ex-employees are saying it was a great experience, prospective employees are more likely to go to that place,” Call said. “Leaders are seeing that this branding is important, and alumni have a big place in that.”

Challenges of Networks

However, the Mays assistant professor also noted that valid concerns exist related to companies celebrating employees leaving. “There is some hesitation around it because there are these perceived and actual costs associated with high-fiving people on the way out,” he said, pointing out that this approach may set the stage culturally for very higher turnover and the associated costs of finding and onboarding new talent.

Additionally, some employees who leave may be opportunistic and use the company’s alumni network to gain knowledge of best practices without reciprocating in the knowledge sharing. “When they are not a formal employee, you don’t have monitoring systems in place to say, ‘You’re not allowed to act opportunistically,’” Call explained.

Despite these potential downsides, the management professor believes that companies will continue to turn to corporate alumni networks. “I think with the current job market, these alumni networks will be increasingly happening,” he said. “It’s important to help managers understand that these employees still have value as a human and still can add value as alumni, so we need to attenuate managers’ sense of betrayal. It’s about being part of an extended family.”

Growing Mays Network

Similarly, Call’s burgeoning relationship with the WSJ continues to build an important network that supports Mays’ momentum to become the nation’s public preeminent business school. The publication previously tapped Mays’ expertise from Dr. Leonard Barry and Dr. Mike Shaub—and WSJ editors have commissioned Call to write another column about high-performing star employees’ impact on their peers, which is expected to be published in November.

These types of opportunities support Mays’ efforts to become the nation’s preeminent public business school. “It helps by both getting our name in front of larger audiences and by demonstrating the expertise that resides in our faculty,” Mays Interim Dean Ricky Griffin said. “We’re fortunate to have outstanding faculty members like Dr. Call who are doing translational research that provides relevant insights to help business leaders strategically position their companies for success.”


Categories: Management

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.”

Categories: Deanspeak, Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M

Mays Business School’s master’s in management degree gives students in-classroom and high-impact experience

On December 2, students and faculty of the Master of Science in Business (MS-B) program gathered virtually to celebrate and share their semester-long projects from the Integrated Business Experience (IBE) class.

Young woman wearing mask around wrist, on face, and holding hair

Handy Mask, one business run by MS Business students

Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Arvind Mahajan said, “It’s an important day for our students as well as for our program. MS Business admits diverse undergraduate majors and invests in many ways to develop them as transformational leaders with entrepreneurial mindsets. This course is a perfect example of that change.”

The MS-B program is a graduate degree designed for non-business majors who want to grow their business knowledge to supplement their bachelor’s degree.

Various soaps with framed picture of Aggie skyline

Century Tree Soap Company’s soaps


Student Rigor

MS Business Program Director, Richard Castleberry, said of the students, “Other than students with great academics and backgrounds, a primary component we look for is students who show the Aggie Core Values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. We insist these traits display in our students, and I can say that the 62 students that are here today exhibit those Aggie core values.”

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, MS Business, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Each year, students from the Texas A&M Health Science Center Colleges of Medicine and Nursing, School of Public Health, and the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, as well as the Corps of Cadets and hundreds of community volunteers, gather at Texas A&M’s Disaster City. The goal is the largest student-led, interprofessional emergency response simulation.  Participants practice in this scenario to be better prepared to respond to real emergencies.

This year, Mays Business School was asked to help the students of the planning committee project manage the event in the months leading up to the event. Since early Fall 2018, management student Ryan Rusy has been embedded with their steering team and nine committees, helping to bring order to the (staged) chaos.

This year’s scenario was the explosion of a Level 3 Biohazard lab, with actors portraying victims with various injuries and illnesses. Rusy worked with Management Executive Professor Michael Pace (MGMT) throughout the Fall 2018 and early Spring 2019 semesters to determine the right size of project management to deploy. After the event, he will produce reports and meetings to help the program continue to improve in subsequent years.

Preparing for disaster: A real-life catalyst for mass casualty planning

Categories: Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M

Mays students are often defined by passion and perseverance, and these two graduates are no different. They are both advancing the world’s prosperity and reflecting the Aggie core values through their commitment to serving others and developing themselves. …Read more

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Finance, Management, Mays Business, News, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Ricky Griffin didn’t plan to have an academic career. Therefore, Mays Business School’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Research and Scholarship wasn’t an honor he anticipated receiving.

He now is among a handful of Mays’ legendary scholars who have received this prestigious award. “The Lifetime Achievement Award is rarified air,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones during a Sept. 14 ceremony marking Griffin’s honor. “It’s the highest honor that Mays Business School gives.”

Griffin put his selection to receive the award into perspective. “When I’ve attended these award presentations in the past, I’ve always been in awe when I hear people talk about the intentionality with which they chose to become a scientist,” he said.  “They talk about the time when they wanted to become a professor. They knew they wanted to study finance or marketing or management because they were interested in this topic. I’m in awe because nothing like that happened to me. I became a scholar truly by accident.”

Yet, Griffin’s impressive body of work over his 40-year career sets him apart. He helped frame discussions in a diverse range of research areas, including job characteristics, work design, emergent leadership, social information processing, and workplace violence and aggression. He also served in administrative roles where he strived to work collaboratively to create policies and programs that would enhance Mays standing in the academic community. …Read more

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Spotlights, Texas A&M

The master’s in accounting program at Mays Business School ranked #1 in North America for the first time in the Eduniversal Best Masters Ranking Financial Markets – a ranking of the best master’s and MBA programs.

Eduniversal classifies and highlights masters and MBA programs which prepare and graduate the most competent students into the global workforce by surveying current graduating students and recruiters. Their methodology takes into account the reputation of the program, the salary of the employed graduates, and the graduates’ satisfaction with the program. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Departments, Featured Stories, Finance, Management, Marketing, Mays Business, MBA, MS Business, News, Programs, Rankings, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Mays Business School students have traveled for the past five years across the Atlantic to take part in a faculty-led winter trip to South Africa and Swaziland. Led by Clinical Professor of Management David Flint and Clinical Assistant Professor of Information and Operations Management Matthew Manley, students spend part of their winter break in South Africa visiting local businesses and national parks. Then they travel to the neighboring country of Swaziland to learn about the non-profit orphanage Bulembu, the businesses that support it, and the challenges of Swaziland’s market environment.

“I thought it was a really interesting combination of not-for-profit work, developing market conditions, and entrepreneurship, so they encouraged me to go visit,” Flint said as he recalled the suggestion from some of his church friends to visit Bulembu.

After visiting the orphanage in the summer of 2013, he came back with a vision of guiding a group of Mays students through South Africa and Swaziland to enhance their cultural understanding and global mindset. 

“The purpose of the trip is to discover how business education and skills can be brought to bear in solving very real and pressing social issues,” Manley said in describing the business aspect of the trip. “There are problems to solve, there is a real urgency, and there are people who are committed to working out the solutions.” …Read more

Categories: Center for Business International Studies, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Management, Mays Business, Selfless service, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School produces a fresh batch of capable, confident, and courageous young people at each commencement ceremony. This year is no different, when 1,310 students graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees Thursday, May 10. Here are some of their stories:

Amanda “Mandy” Miller

For management major Amanda “Mandy” Miller, selfless service is not only a core value through Texas A&M, it’s also a part of her everyday life. In June 2013, Miller got involved with the Adera Foundation, a nonprofit based in Ethiopia designed to use business as a solution to lead people toward self-sustainability. While working with Adera, she traveled and interned within Ethiopia on five separate occasions. During her time with the Adera Foundation, she created inventory systems and order forms through Microsoft Excel, developed and designed the website for Adera Designs, and connected Adera with two major accounts to carry jewelry from the program. It was involvement in this organization that led her to start her own social enterprise, “Buna: Grounded in Love,” in January 2016.

This initiative stemmed from a passion for two things: building social enterprises and combatting poverty. Buna: Grounded in Love is devoted to delivering an excellent product and providing employment opportunities for underprivileged women. Their hand-roasted coffee is available for purchase online, at pop-up markets, and at four local retailers, including Aggieland Outfitters. Mandy’s post-graduation plans include expanding her work with Buna: Grounded in Love by moving to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to take on a more hands-on role in using business to better people’s lives.

  • by Amy Pakes

Cyndie Meersman senior picture

Cynthia “Cyndie” Meersman

Cynthia “Cyndie” Meersman completed her bachelor’s degree in management with a focus in Entrepreneurial Leadership. Like many students, she began taking classes in her major based on interests she held at the time, which for her included human resources and marketing–fields that generally involve high interaction and ingenuity. To refine her career plans and gain a more worldly perspective, Meersman studied in Norway for a summer. Not only did that experience allow her to gain cultural insights and friends from across the globe, her coursework provided a perspective that she always knew was there, but that she hadn’t fully explored.

Through a course exercise, Meersman learned that she prefers a job that is both autonomous and creative, much like she experiences with her love of painting. That course exercise sparked an idea: she could pursue her love of the arts within the realm of business. Drawing upon early course lessons in interaction and ingenuity, Meersman founded The Business of the Arts, a student organization designed to enlighten students about careers in art and how to make those careers a reality.

It is no surprise that along the way, Meersman’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to the Entrepreneurial Leadership track for her degree. Her integration of the arts in business will serve her well as she continues both passions after graduation, initially continuing to paint while she finalizes plans to pursue a graduate degree in art leadership on her path to museum and gallery management.

  • by Kristi Mora

Niyonsaba Magnifique

Mays management graduate Niyonsaba “Magnifique” grew up in a refugee camp in Tanzania. Arriving in Houston to a completely different life at the age of 12 provided her with a unique perspective, which translated to a passion helping those less fortunate than herself.

Magnifique was told at an early age by her parents that education is the key to success in life and the way to break the poverty cycle she had seen so much of in Tanzania. She graduated as the salutatorian of Lee High School in Houston and was awarded a full ride to Texas A&M University through the Posse Foundation.

She is quick to credit her success to mentors who have helped her succeed in both high school and college.

Magnifique has held leadership roles in a number of Texas A&M organizations, including Aggies Creating Sustainable Solutions, Maroon and White Leadership Fellows, and the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference. In addition, she completed an internship with BakerRipley, where she researched new curriculum for elementary ESL teachers to help foreign, illiterate students learn English. However, her desire to help others get the education they seek didn’t stop there.

Her goal after graduation is to run her own non-profit in Burundi and Rwanda with goals to raise scholarship funds to help underprivileged students complete their education and empower them to succeed. The oldest of three children, and a first-generation high school and now college graduate, Magnifique wants to continue to model the core values she has embraced while at Texas A&M.

  • by Amy Pakes and Liesl Wesson

Heather Berry

Accounting major Heather Berry faced several unique challenges throughout her three years at Mays after being admitted as a transfer student. First, as a non-traditional student, it took some time to settle in with the other younger undergraduate students around her. Heather says that “I liked to think that I blended in well” and it is true. Her peers would have never assumed this. She arrived in class dressed the same way, unpacked her backpack with her notes, and occasionally spent the few minutes before class catching up on her phone… she fit right in.

What her classmates probably did notice, however, was an interpreter who assisted Heather each class by interpreting the instructor’s lecture in sign language. As a deaf student at a hearing university, Heather had to navigate how to properly obtain accommodations to help her succeed as well as adapt to the classroom environment at Mays. This didn’t cause her to give up, however. Her interpreters consistently mentioned to her professors that it was a pleasure to work with someone as friendly as Heather and how she had a great sense of humor.

Just as Heather was finally in her groove her second year of classes, Heather got what many consider the greatest news of their lives: she was pregnant. Heather gave birth to her precious daughter in the winter of 2016. While many take time off after a newborn, she continued to take classes (notably her most difficult upper-level accounting coursework) in the next spring semester and each semester after that until graduation.

She balanced a newborn and her coursework, and still found some time to get some sleep.

She is proud of herself, and says she couldn’t have done it without the support of her boyfriend, nterpreters, and professors.

After graduation, Heather is excited to take a short break to relax and then start applying what she learned in her accounting coursework as an Accountant for Communication Service for the Deaf (a non-profit serving the deaf community).

  • by Tara Blasor


Categories: Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M