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.
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.
Century Tree Soap Company’s soaps
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.”
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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).
Keith Squires, CEO of PathMaker Group, was invited as a guest lecturer in Henry Musoma’s Management 309 class. This is a reflection his daughter wrote afterward.
One of the things I took away from my father’s speech is what a blessing it is to have the father that I do. The core values he holds have greatly impacted my life and even my own core values. The core value of Balance is a great example. He made Balance a core value within his company because one of his personal core values is Family and spending time with us. This has greatly impacted my life because I had a father who supported me throughout high school; whether it was the choir concerts, musicals, or all day track meets. I could count on the fact that my father would be there. And now in my own life I know that family comes first before my own selfish plans or even, at times, my friends. I am blessed to have a supportive and wise father who wants to help me to achieve my goals.
Since Results is a core value for PathMaker Group, I think that I have seen my father constantly working for the best results for his company within their industry and specifically for their clients. The core value of Results is something that I think I have always had within me. I am a very passionate and committed person who will strive to achieve the best results possible. Right now I apply this value as a student as I am committed to learning but I know that I will strive for the core value of Results in my career as well.
PathMaker Group is also based on Creativity. This core value is one that I struggle with because I am a very logical and straightforward thinker. But without a doubt my father has always pushed me to think creatively, even within my meteorology major, which focuses heavily on math and physics. In fact, he recently sent me an email about how I could even start my own company within my field using established weather data and creating a new practically applicable tool for customers to interpret the data. Now this seems crazy to me; however, it shows how amazing my father is. He has so much faith in my abilities that he knows I can reach for what I think is impossible right now.
The number of people who stood up in class to comment on how beneficial the lecture was and the friends who have talked to me after class make me reflect on the fact the guest lecturer is an extremely wise, talented, and creative man who I am lucky to call my father. Whenever Dr. Musoma mentioned how he dressed up because my father is a CEO, I had to take a step back and think about the fact that I really just know him as my dad. He is the one who has guided and supported me in tough decisions and constantly pushed me to make wise decisions. My father is a very impressive person, demonstrated through his lecture to my Management 309 class and the students’ responses.
After the lecture, my father and I went to get frozen yogurt. While we were talking about how it went I asked him, ”Why didn’t you push me in the direction of doing business?” He said he wanted me to figure out what I was passionate about on my own, and when I was thinking about majors I was leaning more toward the science-based fields of study. This speaks volumes to his character and role as a father because he wants what is best for me and allows me to be independent and choose my own major and career. Even though I know I have my own core values to live by, my father has led by example with his core values for both his company and himself.
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.
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.
Having grown up in Galveston, Texas, post Hurricane Alicia and during the 1980’s oil crisis, Roger Montemayor ’99 understands what it is like to live without. Montemayor, who received his bachelor’s degree in management from Texas A&M University, shared his path to success with current students and presented them with tips on how to be successful post-graduation.
Montemayor currently serves as Area President for Arthur J. Gallagher (AJG) and has served on the leadership team for AJG since his merger with them in 2016. During this time, Montemayor has led his team to exponential growth by innovating property and casualty insurance programs for a number of different industries that include public entities, energy, construction, manufacturing, and real estate. Montemayor recently visited with business honors students as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker series, which recognizes leaders in today’s society and gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge with Mays students.
In the beginning of the session, Montemayor explained that his purpose, his drive, and his faith are the three main components of his success. “The most important piece of advice I can give to each and every one of you is to know your purpose,” he said. “Very few things in life will impact everything you do, but your purpose is one of them.”
Along with knowing your purpose, Montemayor used his life experiences to come up with three other pieces of advice for the students:
Your “go” has to be greater than your “know.” Knowledge is important, but a good education will mean nothing if you are lazy and have no sense of hustle.
Surround yourself with mentors and people you love. You lose your edge the moment you start thinking you have everything figured out. This is when mentors can come into play by helping you stay grounded. Also, success means so much more when you share it with people you love, both at work and at home.
Paranoia is complacency’s greatest defense. “My company continues to grow because my competition stays complacent. Do not ever let yourself reach that point. Stay paranoid,” Montemayor said.
Although Montemayor is successful now, this was not always the case. When he was young, his dad was laid off, which led to some very tough times. His dad picked himself up and went all in on himself. He went on to build one of the largest independently owned insurance agencies in his area. He knew the risk, but he also knew what he had to do for his family. Montemayor vowed to do the same.
“My dad is my biggest inspiration,” he said. Between the years of 2004 and 2016, Montemayor faced many challenges and tribulations, but his faith, motivation, and reminder of his father’s success kept him going.
As the session came to a close, Montemayor gave the students one last piece of advice: If you are ever doubting yourself, just remember his story. “I was rejected from Texas A&M twice before I was accepted, and I am probably not the smartest guy in this room,” he said. “I am where I am today because of my hustle, my drive, my faith, and this little piece of gold on my finger. The Aggie network is real, and I encourage each and every one of you to take advantage of it for the rest of your lives.”