Chelsea Anderson recently traveled with 42 other members of the Professional MBA Class of 2019. Stops included Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

July 30, 2018:

Every so often in life, an opportunity arises that cannot be missed. For me, that opportunity is the international trip with my Professional MBA program at Texas A&M University. Each cohort is able to select their trip destination and my class picked South Africa. I’ve only been here three days and I can already say that we couldn’t have come to a better place.

As I begin my trip, a recurring thought has been: why am I here? Arvind Mahajan, associate dean of graduate programs, put it best when he asked us to reexamine our own biases and integrate this information to determine: What is my truth? Sunday provided our first chance to determine our truth when we attended the Apartheid Museum and afterward visited the Kliptown township in Soweto. We spent time at the Kliptown Youth Program which provides much-needed education and computer training for the youth of the township. We even got to play a quick soccer game with the KYP students.

As we toured the museum and visited Kliptown, it caused me to consider the narrative of history. Whose voices are we hearing? Whose voices do we not hear? Part of reexamining my biases is considering these voices, both in South Africa and at home in America. The purpose of this trip is to learn and grow, to move beyond my comfort zone and seek out shared values and common ground with those that I meet. It is not enough to stand on the outside and rely on my own assumptions. If I hadn’t actually gone into Kliptown and met some of the people, I never would have had the same understanding. I feel fortunate to have started this week in such a powerful way.

Aug. 3, 2018

Businesses exist all around the world, however, the manner of conducting business depends on each country and culture. As I continue my reflection, I again ask: Why am I here? In the most simple sense, I’m here to learn about international business. 

 Of course, it’s more complicated than that. We need to understand a culture before we try to do business in a culture. This is part of the reason we first toured the Apartheid museum and visited a township. That helped prepare our understanding before meeting with business leaders in Johannesburg. 

 On Monday and Tuesday, we met with business owners, entrepreneurs, and private equity firms. All the entrepreneurs had different ideas and products and the shared thread between them was passion. We visited the WIBC (Wouldn’t it Be Cool) Start-up Incubator. The WIBC gives support to young entrepreneurs and helps shepherd them through the process of starting a business. 

 During our roundtable sessions with the seven young entrepreneurs, I heard the word ‘journey’ many times. That is a perfect fit for both our visit that day and for business in general. It’s a journey. Rather than continue describing my visit, I think one of the entrepreneurs put it best when she said it was about “changing communities one day at a time.”

This was never more evident than with one of the start-ups, which seeks to provide fresh, quality produce to local restaurants. It seeks to reduce the food desert that exists in the neighborhood. In their rooftop garden, they have a greenhouse of about 3,000 spinach plants. From these plants, they can harvest 10 leaves per plant and earn 1.5 South African Rand per leaf. Not only is it a profitable business, it also uplifts the local community. 

 I can certainly say that I met my goal of learning about international business. Fortunately for me, I learned more than that. I was able to witness first hand the power of passion, and the ways that caring for your community benefits not just the company but the entire community as well. 

Aug. 10, 2018

Businesses exist all around the world, however, the manner of conducting business depends on each country and culture. As I continue my reflection, I again ask: Why am I here? In the simplest sense, I’m here to learn about international business. 

It feels like I just barely returned and in some ways never left. Now that I’m home I know I need to be the ambassador of this experience. Thursday and Friday were truly special days. On Thursday we visited Khayelitsha Cookies, a company that employs women from the townships. Its purpose is to provide social change and break the cycle of unemployment in the townships. Every 1,000 cookies sold employs one woman, and in turn helps her feed her family. After we met the owner we went out on the floor and helped the employees make cookies. I worked with Vuyokozi Ntantani. She has three children, two boys and one girl. She’s worked at Khayelitsha Cookies for seven years and it has changed her life, giving her access to opportunities that aren’t normally available to unskilled workers, especially women in a country with a high unemployment rate like South Africa.

That night about 30 students participated in Dine with Khayelitsha, a program that gives people the opportunity to go into the township and eat dinner prepared by a host family. In addition to the generous meal, we took part in a candid conversation about people and culture, and listened firsthand to the challenges of coming from a township. 

Friday found us volunteering at iThemba Labantu, an educational and after-school program for children in the township. We broke into groups and played sports, danced, played music, or made crafts with the children. They are so talented, and I feel fortunate that they were willing to share their talents and voices with us. 

 

As in my first two posts I return to the question: why am I here? Writing this in hindsight I ask: why was I there? The Mays Business School mission statement is to advance the world’s prosperity. Prosperity doesn’t have to be relegated to a few; the world can benefit from it. Considering the case of Khayelitsha Cookies, both the company and the female employees benefit from a mutual prosperity.

As our trip came to an end I made the rounds and asked the fellow members of the cohort to share their favorite experiences. Time and again, each person I asked had similar replies. Being able to volunteer with the children and see a glimpse into their life for a brief moment affected our lives forever. The other common refrain was that the highlight was all the wonderful people we met. Offering service is not a one-time thing. As Aggies we should live our lives in service, being good Aggies to all those we meet. After speaking to my classmates I feel confident that each and every one of us will move forward in service following this trip. 

For the final time I’ll ask: why were we there? Was it to learn about international business? Most certainly. But on a much bigger scale, we were there to learn about ourselves. And as Dr. Mahajan stated at the beginning of our trip, we were there to learn our truth and then challenge it. Over the course of eight days we were stretched and challenged, molded and reformed. Moving forward, it is incumbent on us to take this new truth and share it with everyone who asks about our trip. That responsibility means that we don’t take these experiences like souvenirs and place them on a shelf. For it to be truly transformative we need to take it into our hearts and lives and be better people, better Aggies. 

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

Two Mays Business School MBA graduates, Thomas Dowlearn and Willie Dennis, were included in Poets & Quants’ 2018 list of “MBAs To Watch.” The criteria for inclusion on the list MBAs who possess unique backgrounds, innate talent, and long-term goals that make them transformational leaders to watch in the coming years.


Thomas Dowlearn

Dowlearn is working toward an MBA while pursuing an MD. The co-op is designed to prepare students to tackle the managerial, financial, and leadership aspects of the medical field.

He said he chose Mays Business School because of how welcomed he felt throughout the admissions process. He felt he was surrounded by a group of people who believed in him, and he sensed the deep sense of pride that people associated with Texas A&M tend to have. The advice he would give to students looking to pursue an MBA is asking yourself “why” every day because it will help you discover yourself and find purpose in your decisions.

Since being at Mays, Dowlearn competed in and placed second at the Venture Challenge as well as earning the Best Presenter Award in 2017.

Willie Dennis
Dennis earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s in business management at the University of Texas at Arlington. He worked for Exxon Mobil as a revenue accountant and then Multiview Inc. as a financial reporting associate. When deciding which MBA program to pursue, Dennis said was intrigued with the worldwide recognition of Mays Business School. What sealed the deal was that Mays has one of the best ROI’s of a top-ranked business program.

His advice for students looking to get their MBAs: Be yourself and be able to tell your story in a unique way. Be able to understand what you want to accomplish by going to business school, particularly Mays, and be able to deliver that message to the admissions committee as well.

While at Mays, the faculty and staff nominated Dennis to be recognized as one of the “Best and Brightest” business school students in Texas, which led to him being honored as a Texas Business Hall of Fame Scholar in 2017.

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Students, 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

Mental and physical challenges in an unfamiliar environment with a brand-new team taught the second-year students in the Professional MBA Class of 2019 at Mays Business School about leading. The experience was part of their “Leadership and Professional Development Course” on May 5 at the Corps of Cadets Leader Reaction Course (LRC) at Texas A&M University.

The goal for the Mays group’s LRC event was for students to experience leadership, make quick decisions, communicate thoroughly, express adaptability and use teamwork – all in a new environment under time pressure with limited resources. Through the obstacles and experiences the students were able to build their leadership skills and confidence and team.

Zach Majzun, Professional MBA Class of 2018, wrote the curriculum and led much of the day using his knowledge of LRCs in both military and civilian training job to best fit the Mays Professional MBAs learning objectives. The objectives included: experiencing a high-pressure leadership situation, using and learning a straightforward task leadership framework, and exposing students to teamwork within a new environment. …Read more

Categories: Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

 

Shannon Deer, director of the Full-Time MBA program, described Scott as a thoughtful leader and a contributing member of the MBA program. “Scott has an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. He is a thoughtful leader who makes valuable contributions in the classroom that enhance his classmates’ learning experience,” she said. “Scott strives for excellence in all he does. I look forward to hearing about his many successes for years to come, including induction to the Texas Business Hall of Fame someday. Scott is a deserving recipient of this very prestigious scholarship and we are proud to have him in the program.”

According to TBHF guidelines, eligible candidates for the scholarship exhibit entrepreneurial aspirations, demonstrate a propensity for leadership in academic and campus activities and entrepreneurial achievements, and have good academic credentials.

Recipients were chosen after a round of nominations and then an interview process. A final recipient for each scholarship was selected to represent each of the participating universities.

Previous Mays students to win TBHF scholarships include Full-Time MBA graduates Willie Dennis, Lloyd McGuire, and Brian Carpenter.

Categories: Mays Business, MBA, News, Texas A&M

Two of Mays Business School’s MBA programs have moved into the upper tier of business programs in the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Graduate Schools rankings.

The Professional MBA program at Mays Business School moved into the top 25 public Professional/Part-Time MBA programs in the rankings released Tuesday. It improved 21 spots in the rankings – the best increase statewide. Overall, the Mays Professional MBA Program is ranked 39th.

Program Director Michael Alexander attributes the ranking to the quality of the students – their intellectual capacity and the valuable work experience they bring to the classroom. “We continue to attract highly competent and engaged professionals with a desire to discover new skills and knowledge they can immediately apply to their organizations and their careers,” he said.

One-half of the Professional MBA program ranking methodology is based on peer assessments, which Alexander said proves the program’s consistent excellence. “Across the country, our peer institutions continue to view Mays’ Professional MBA program as one of the best,” he said. “Our curriculum, the quality of our faculty, our faculty scholarship, and the overall academic quality of our Professional MBA Program have an excellent reputation.”

Full-Time MBA program in Top 15

Texas A&M University’s Full-Time MBA program moved into the top 15 public schools with a ranking of 14th. Overall, the Mays Full-Time MBA program is ranked 36th. Both rankings reflect improvements of two places.

Shannon Deer, director of the Full-Time MBA program at Mays, said Texas A&M University “continues to be a strong place for students to discover themselves as transformational leaders.”

“Employers and peers recognize the vibrant learning community and strong brand of Texas A&M University and Mays Business School,” she said. “With consistently strong employment rates and salaries, our students are able to transform their careers in the full-time program. We are proud to work alongside our students to help them achieve new career goals.”

Arvind Mahajan, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays, said it is a good year for graduate programs Mays. “The success of our former students is a concrete testament to the success of our MBA programs,” he said. “We admit students who are curious to discover new knowledge, transform themselves, and upon graduation, impact their organizations, communities, and even the world. We strive hard in our MBA programs is to produce transformational leaders.”

The U.S. News & World Report rankings come on the heels of a favorable ranking of the Full-Time MBA program by Expansion Magazine. In the Best Global MBA programs 2018, the Mays program improved to 50th overall and 8th public. In its 2016 rankings, Mays was 56th  (8th public).

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Rankings, Texas A&M

As 2017 comes to a close, Mays Business School celebrates another successful year. Here are 12 of our favorite moments:

1. Strategic plan launch
Mays Business School officially launched its new strategic plan, after hundreds of Mays faculty, staff, students and former students worked together to develop it. The strategic planning process itself was innovative and unique among business schools, using Appreciative Inquiry – a positive approach to change – to affirm Mays’ past and present strengths, to discover what makes Mays truly distinct, and to envision ways to amplify that distinctiveness.

2. Business school with a heart
When Mays junior Ashton Robison shared her touching photo of Mays Clinical Assistant Professor Henry Musoma holding her baby during a lecture, it immediately went viral. From the headline “Mommy Was Able to Graduate” in People to a guest appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” news quickly traveled around the world about the culture of caring and connectedness at Mays Business School. It all started with the simple act of Musoma inviting Ashton to bring Emmett to his “Ethical Decision Making and Conduct” class when she didn’t have a babysitter. To recognize Musoma for his selfless service, Dean Eli Jones presented him with the first Mays Business School Spirit Award on Sept. 14. Watch “The Ellen Show” clip at tx.ag/ellenshow.

3. Largest single gift
The Texas A&M Foundation receives a commitment of $25 million from the Mays Family Foundation, the largest single commitment in the school’s history. The gift is part of an overall lifetime giving of $47 million, including a $15 million commitment in 1996 to rename the school to Mays Business School.

4. 50th to 1st anniversaries 

Many anniversaries of Mays programs were celebrated this past year, including the 50th of the MBA, the 5th of the Professional MBA, and the 1st of the MS Business program.

5. Inaugural Impact Award

Mays Business School gave the inaugural Peggy and Lowry Mays Impact Award to the award namesakes during the 25th-Year Anniversary Outstanding Alumni Awards Dinner. The award was created to recognize outstanding contributions to the vision and mission of the school. Recipients must exhibit a long and distinguished record of impacting Mays Business School in significant ways, which include exemplary giving and strong leadership.

6. $150,000-plus to nonprofits
The Strategic Philanthropy class at Mays awarded $100,000 to nonprofits – double what was given the first year – in the spring of 2017, and another $62,500 in the fall. The funds are distributed by students in the class.

7. The Most CEOs
Texas A&M University is tied with the University of Michigan for having the most graduates currently serving as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, according to a Fortune magazine study. Three Fortune 500 CEOs are Mays graduates: Bruce D. Broussard ’84, CEO of Humana; David M. Cordani ’88, CEO of Cigna; and Jeff Miller ’88, CEO of Halliburton.
…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Centers, Departments, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, Programs, Rankings, Spotlights, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

The Mays Full-Time MBA Program at Mays Business School was the #1 SEC school, 7th among public schools, and 22nd overall in the “Best full-time MBA programs” rankings by Bloomberg Businessweek.

The three-semester Mays Full-Time MBA program focuses on high-impact experiences, with an emphasis on leadership and self-awareness, supported by strong academics.

The rankings of the 85 full-time U.S. MBA programs were based on data for the class that graduated in December 2016 and from feedback from students who graduated between 2009 and 2011. Former students ranked the Mays program favorably – 15th out of 85 programs ranked.

Increases in the employer survey, starting salary, and job placement categories indicate improved outcomes for Mays students in the employer area. These improvements align with the program’s increased attention to executive problem-solving and functional area knowledge. In the Mays MBA program, students gain a holistic experience targeting their professional development and job preparedness through the functional area-specific Career Accelerator Program (CAPs).

The CAPs also align with the program’s new functional area-specific tracks for each student to specialize in during the duration of their MBA experience. The tracks include finance, marketing, data analytics, supply chain and operations, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.  Each track serves to help students take a deeper dive into a functional area in order to bridge their coursework to their post-MBA career. The courses that the students take are incorporated into their 18-month MBA curriculum, which does not require a fourth semester to complete. CAPs and the associated tracks are especially helpful for career switchers creating a narrative about transitioning their prior experience, foundational course knowledge, and functional area learning into a new career.

Arvind Mahajan, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays, said he was pleased with the program’s standing among the Top 25 “in an incredibly competitive market.” He added: “We try to imbue the foundational values of Texas A&M University into our programs – values like excellence and integrity and respect – to enhance our development of transformational leaders.”

In other recent rankings, the Mays Full-Time MBA program ranked 7th  among U.S. public (20thoverall) in the Forbes “Best Business Schools” ranking, and 31st nationally and 12th among public in the 2017 U.S. News & World Report “Best Graduate Schools” ranking. Texas A&M also has the most graduates serving as CEOs in the top 100 Fortune 500 companies, according to a Fortune magazine study.

The print issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, available Friday, will highlight the top 30 full‐time U.S. MBA programs.

 

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

HOUSTON – A student team from Purdue University won the $6,000 first-place prize in the inaugural Healthcare Analytics Case Competition sponsored by health and well-being company Humana Inc. and Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. It was held at Mays’ CityCentre Houston location.

More than 300 master’s-level students representing 109 teams from 19 major universities in the U.S. registered for the competition, which showcased students’ analytical abilities to solve a real-world business problem. Students enrolled full-time in accredited Master of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Information Systems, Master of Public Health, or Master of Business Administration programs at educational institutions based in the United States were eligible to enter.

Purdue students Hongxia Shi, Shenyang Yang, and Xiangyi Che received the top prize after a presentation Thursday, Nov. 9 to an executive panel of judges.

Purdue team members Hongxia Shi, Shenyang Yang, and Xiangyi Che won first place. They are flanked by Arvind Mahajan of Mays Business School, left, and Vipin Gopal of Humana, right.

The second-place prize of $3,000 was awarded to Martin Shapiro, Lianne Ho, and David Sung of the University of Southern California, and the third-place prize of $1,500 was presented to Yvonne Yu, David Proudman, and Christina Murphy of the University of California, Berkeley.

“The Mays MBA Program is pleased to partner with Humana to bring together the brightest graduate students in the country to use data analytics in solving a real-world business problem in health care, one of the three Grand Challenge areas of Mays Business School,” said Arvind Mahajan, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays.

The analytics case received by the students was designed to be ambiguous, similar to a real-world business problem. The students were asked to predict the likelihood of a newly-diagnosed Type II diabetes patient with a Medicare Advantage health plan being admitted to an inpatient facility within a year and then the likelihood of readmission within a year. Students had to evaluate more than 900 variables, including age of the patient, gender, geography, type of health plan, and patient medication adherence.

“We are very impressed with not only the number of entries to the competition but also the level of expertise shown by the students in response to our scenario,” said Vipin Gopal, Enterprise Vice President for Humana. “We hope this competition inspires the students to think about careers in health care and challenges them to use their analytical skills to help shape the way our industry delivers care.”

The teams were judged based on the following criteria:

  • Ability to establish key performance indicators aligned to business needs
  • Quantitative analysis identifying key business insights
  • Ability to provide unique insights for business improvements
  • Professionalism and visualization skills

For assistance, applicants were allowed to pick from an array of tools, including R. Python, SAS, SPSS, Matlab, and Excel to help solve the problem.

 

 

Categories: Featured Stories, Health Care, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Mays Business School Full-Time MBA student Russell Cardon ’19 and his team won third place and $3,000 in the 2017 PepsiCo MBA Invitational Business Case Competition at Texas Christian University on Oct. 27-28.

Full-Time MBA Program Director Shannon Deer said, “The PepsiCo case competition is an excellent way for first-year MBA students to practice the problem solving, teamwork, presentation, and technical skills our faculty and staff work so hard to deliver.”

MBA students from 14 universities received a first-hand look from PepsiCo executives, who awarded $15,000 to winning students. The MBA students were assigned to eight mixed teams, each team member from a different school. The teams received the case from PepsiCo in the morning, worked quickly with their teammates, and then presented their solutions to PepsiCo executives the same afternoon.

“By placing MBA students on teams from other MBA programs, the competition replicates professional situations where colleagues with different skills work together to create the best solution for the company,” said Kim Austin, director of the Career Management Center at Mays Business School.

Second place and $5,000 was awarded to Andrew Kay from Texas Christian University/Neeley School of Business; Kelsey Zhou from University of Washington/Foster School of Busines; Kate Trimper from Southern Methodist University Cox School of Business; and Austin Gilbertson from University of Notre Dame/Mendoza College of Business.

The first-place team won $7,000. Team members were Patrick Smith from the University of Maryland/Smith School of Business; Sara Hartley from the University of Illinois College of Business, Jade Manternach from University of Iowa/Tippie College of Business; and Ony Mgbeahurike from Washington University in St. Louis/Olin Business School.

Judging the competition were PepsiCo executives: Ralph Goedderz, vice president finance; Jim Hathaway, vice president planning; Richard Blazevich, senior director marketing; Dave Boissevain, senior director sales strategy; and Riccardo Barrenechea, senior director finance.

The third annual MBA business case competition is made possible by a partnership between TCU Neeley and PepsiCo. Participating schools for the 2017 competition included:

  • Columbia University, Columbia Business School
  • Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business
  • Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business
  • Southern Methodist University, Cox School of Business
  • Texas A&M University, Mays School of Business
  • Texas Christian University, Neeley School of Business
  • University of Illinois, College of Business
  • University of Iowa, Tippie College of Business
  • University of Maryland, Smith School of Business
  • University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business
  • University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business
  • University of Washington, Foster School of Business
  • Vanderbilt University, Owen Graduate School of Management
  • Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School

The Mays Full-Time MBA program was recently ranked in the top 10 among U.S. public programs at 7th among U.S. public schools and 20th overall in the 2017 Forbes “Best Business Schools” ranking.

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