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

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.

  • By Kara Squires ’19

Categories: Management, Mays Business, News, 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

Roger Montemeyor headshot

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.”

Roger Montemeyor group photo

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

Mays Business School was ranked #1 in the SEC, #1 in the Southwest, and #3 nationally out of 150 U.S. business schools in terms of management research productivity in 2017. CEOWORLD Magazine recently announced the rankings.

The rankings reflect publications in a given calendar year. The number of publications that came out “in print” from Mays Business School was 16 in 2017, and 57 in the last five years.

Texas A&M has helped compile these rankings since 2006, initially with the University of Florida and now with the University of Georgia. The methodology behind the ranking has stayed consistent since the rankings inception in 2002, with the TAMUGA rankings tracking productivity in eight top-tier journals in management including:

  • Academy of Management Journal
  • Academy of Management Review
  • Administrative Science Quarterly
  • Journal of Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
  • Organization Science
  • Personnel Psychology
  • Strategic Management Journal

Mays Associate Professor Cindy Zapata handles this ranking process for Mays, in partnership with UGA. She started doing Texas A&M’s portion of the rankings in 2014 when she moved from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“The Department of Management in Mays Business School has long been recognized as a leader in scholarly research. Our faculty have consistently been among the most productive management scholars in the world,” said Wendy Boswell, head of the Department of Management. “What perhaps sets us apart from many other institutions is the breadth of our faculty expertise, developing and applying innovative theory and contributing important practical insights in the areas of strategic management, organizational behavior, human resource management, business and international policy, legal studies, and entrepreneurship. The Department of Management at Mays is truly a remarkable group to be a part of.”

 

Categories: Management, Mays Business, News, Rankings, Texas A&M

Eighteen teams of Texas A&M University students competed Feb. 9 in the Mays 2018 TAMU Case Challenge competition, hosted by Mays Business School. As part of the competition, the teams presented in front of nine management consulting judges and three sponsoring consulting companies.

Judges included professionals from Deloitte, Accenture, Trenegy, PwC, a former McKinsey partner, and Texas A&M faculty.  Undergraduates of all majors and disciplines were welcome, and a total of 18 teams with 72 participants registered to compete.

The teams were competing for a cash prize and a chance to travel and represent Texas A&M against other accredited universities. The teams also had the opportunity to network with industry professionals, gain insight into working in the consulting industry, and develop their practical case skills.

The winners for this year’s case challenge were:

First place – The Blockchain Smokers:

Robin Herrington ’18 – Business Honors

Joshua Anderson ’18 – Business Honors

Blake Harvey ’18 – Business Honors

Maggie Talbot ’18 – Business Honors

Second place – The 12th Case:

Joseph Scott ’19 – Finance

Hayley Eckert ’18 – Computer engineering

Cameron Dawley ’18 – Industrial distribution

Chris Bettiol ’18 – Finance

Third place – Team 18:

Arijon Horvat ’18 – Management information systems

William McCanless ’19 – Mechanical engineering

Mutaharah Wani ’19 – Industrial engineering

Karisa Coe ’20 – Business Honors

Kathryn King-Metters, an executive professor of management, coordinated the competition.

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

Mays Distinguished Professor Emeritus Michael Hitt will receive an honorary doctoral degree from Jonkoping University in Sweden in May. He will also deliver a research presentation to the broader university community the day before the award ceremony.

This is a very prestigious honor – particularly given that Jonkoping has a strong worldwide reputation for excellence in entrepreneurship research.

Hitt was told he was selected for the award because of his “academic quality and his contributions to the success of Jonkoping University” as well as “research contributions to entrepreneurship and family business research.” Following is information about his relationship with Jonkoping University:

  • Visited the university, as a visiting scholar, for a period of time to work with Ph.D. students and faculty on their research projects
  • Served as an outside advisor and reader for a Ph.D. student’s dissertation
  • Served as an advisory editor and helped Jonkoping faculty develop a special issue of a journal called Organization Studies. Family business topics were the focus of the special issue. Family business is a core research topic for Jonkoping faculty.
  • Served as an advisory editor and wrote a forward for an edited book on family business research that includes chapters written by Jonkoping faculty.

“I am highly honored to be offered an honorary doctorate by Jonkoping University,” he said. Honorary doctorates are rare, and are almost always awarded to people who have made distinguished contributions in their field of endeavor. Hitt said it is also not unusual to award to people whom they consider to be or wish to be “friends” of the university.

Hitt is a big supporter for the academic quality of Jonkoping’s work. His connection to the university is through the Jonkoping International Business School. According to Hitt, the university’s world-renowned program in family business complements the entrepreneurship program at Texas A&M.

“Through our previous cooperation and exchanges, faculty there have conducted joint research with faculty here, and in addition, we have jointly co-authored articles which also include several of our Ph.D. students,” Hitt said. He believes that this type of cooperation could continue and perhaps be enhanced if desired. “I am certain that we can learn from their programs and successes in entrepreneurship and family business, and they can learn from our outstanding and encompassing entrepreneurship programs, as well.”

Executive Associate Dean Duane Ireland, a long-time colleague of Hitt’s, said Hitt has positively touched thousands of students’ lives while teaching at all levels – undergraduates, master’s, doctorate, and executive. “Mike has truly ‘done so much for so many,’” Ireland said.

While at Mays, Hitt served as a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Management. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and has co-authored or co-edited 26 books and many journal articles. The Times Higher Education in 2010 listed him among the top scholars in economics, finance and management based on the number of highly cited articles he has authored. Hitt received awards for the best article published in the Academy of Management Executive (1999), Academy of Management Journal (2000), the Journal of Management (2006), and the Family Business Review (2012).

Categories: Business Honors, Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Research, Spotlights, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Festivus, the 20-year-old tradition made famous by the show Seinfeld includes “airing of grievances,” where, according to Frank Costanza (George’s father) “you gather your family around and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year.” The premise behind this Festivus tradition rests on the assumption that “getting things off your chest” is good for you. And who doesn’t enjoy venting every now and again?

Turns out most of us do. Did you know that approximately 90 percent of people agree that talking through negative events is helpful (Zech, 1999, 2000)? Perhaps it is because sharing information with others can help you build social bonds and strengthen your power at work (Kurland & Hope Pelled, 2000). But before you get ready to partake in the festivus “airing of grievances” tradition, you should consider whether doing so might have unintended negative consequences.

What if instead of letting off steam, airing grievances makes you more likely to hold a grudge? Past research indicates the very act of talking about negative events serves to increase feelings of anger. In addition, talking about workplace grievances can be counterproductive to moving on by also reducing feelings of hope (Baer et al., 2017).

…Read more

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

Philip Mann and fellow interns dressed for scavenger hunt.

Participants dressed in traditional African clothing in an immersion exercise for an internship. The scavenger hunt around Disney World gave them insight into how they would look and feel wearing their American clothes while traveling overseas.

The light at the end of the tunnel is finally within sight for the Dec. 15 graduates of Mays Business School. 

Each student’s experience at Mays has been unique, each path afterward just as varied.

Shawn Mays

Shawn Mays

Some students are already immersed in the real world, and have been for awhile. For example, Shawn Mays is a 44-year-old husband and father who has commuted from Houston since fall 2012, working full-time as an automotive instructor at Universal Technical Institute while working to obtain his degree.

The daily drive is 201 miles from his house to College Station, back to his job, then back home after work. “I did that every day I had class and over the five years I only missed four days of class – and they were all serious events, that’s why I remember. One was a funeral, my wife had surgery, I was seriously ill one time, and the last was due to Hurricane Harvey.”

Mays said he had always admired Texas A&M and regretted not attending directly after high school. “I decided one day I wanted to further my education, and the only option I would accept was attending A&M,” he explained. “My best friend growing up and his wife both are both graduates of A&M. There are countless reasons as to what influenced me to attend A&M.  My favorite color is maroon (imagine that).”

Mays finished every class he started, and he currently has a 3.704 GPA. As far as his motivation is concerned, he relates it back to high school, when he was a long-distance runner. “I am a very determined person and don’t give up easily,” he said. “I will see things through to the end and won’t quit till the job is done. I am the type of person that if you tell me something can’t be done, I will do it to just prove to myself it could be done. 

He added: “I am proud of everything I have accomplished and of having had the honor to attend Texas A&M. If I can be an inspiration to one person, to motivate them to do half the things I have done, it would be heart-warming.” …Read more

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

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School reflects the values of excellence revered by its namesake – Artie McFerrin, a long-time supporter of Texas A&M University and the name behind the $10 million gift that secured the center’s future.

An intimate group that included Artie McFerrin’s wife Dorothy, their daughter Jennifer, and a gathering of family, friends and university leaders attended a recent reception to celebrate the official naming of the center. The event at the Founders Club at Kyle Field served as a tribute to Artie McFerrin, and a thank-you to his family, who have supported Texas A&M for years.

Dorothy and Artie McFerrin Jr. ’65 (2016 photo)

“If you strive for success, if you dream of venturing into the unknown and emerging smarter and stronger, if you want to grow yourself so you can grow others, you not only have a place to go, but also a name forever attached to it,” Tyson Voelkel, president of the Texas A&M Foundation, said at the event.

The center, which serves more than 3,000 students and more than 1,000 former students through 27 programs, is an international leader in entrepreneurial education. It aims to enhance entrepreneurial student education by providing training, networking, and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and alumni. With the support of a volunteer network, corporate supporters, faculty, and staff, the McFerrin Center has been able to provide business start-up acceleration, competitive opportunities, work experiences, and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community and across the world.

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Dean Eli Jones, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Selfless service, Startup Aggieland, Texas A&M