Huseyn Abdulla is the first Mays PhD student to receive a Texas A&M Distinguished Graduate Student Award from Texas A&M’s Association of Former Students and the University’s Graduate and Professional School.

The award is given to outstanding graduate students to recognize their exceptional achievements in the areas of research or teaching. Just over one dozen graduate students (university-wide) receive this award annually. The Association of Former Students presents a framed certificate of achievement and a custom gold watch to the honorees to commemorate their accomplishments.

Huseyn Abdulla – who received this significant award because of the quality of his scholarly research – has, to date, published three articles in top-tier, Class A academic journals. His pipeline of current projects suggests that additional publications in major journals are forthcoming. We visited with some of Huseyn’s advisors to gain a broader understanding of his achievements in terms of scholarly research.

The sheer volume of high-quality research that Abdulla engages in across multiple disciplines differentiates him from his PhD student peers, particularly those earning their degree in a business discipline. Chair of the Mays’ Ph.D. coordinators Dr. Sean McGuire states it this way. “If a student in a non-scientific field has one “A” publication upon graduating, it is exceptional; so, for a Mays doctoral candidate to have authorship or co-authorship on three, before graduating, is truly impressive.”

Another distinguishing attribute for Abdulla is his relentless commitment to engaging the scientific process appropriately as a foundation for completing research projects. With a background in industrial engineering, he entered the Mays’ PhD program with a strong commitment to a scientific approach. “Huseyn quickly set himself apart with his instinctive prioritization of the scientific method,” shared Bob and Kelly Jordan Professor in Business, and Huseyn’s PhD advisor, Dr. James Abbey. “This can be a sticking point for high-level behavioral scholars – and to address this challenge so early in his career – is exceptional.” Dr. Michael Ketzenberg, Abdulla’s other advisor, agrees. “But not only that, “usually it’s the advisor that sets the agenda and helps to direct the research, in the case of Huseyn, his passion and discipline has him leading and his advisors often playing catchup. Quite the rarity.”

Huseyn is dedicated to achieving positive results from his own program of scholarly research and is dedicated to helping others be productive scholars, too. In the highly competitive space of post-graduate studies, Abdulla helps his peers elevate the quality of their research initiatives. Abbey elaborates: “Huseyn has been a driving force in pushing other Ph.D. students to excel, working closely to boost the proficiency and skills of his peers to see their research thrive. This is not a common trait of Ph.D. candidates.”

Abdulla’s research addresses pressing challenges in global markets. Studying within the department of Information and Operations Management (INFO), he has had opportunities to focus his research in areas that currently, have relevance for individuals, organizations, and societies. Three years ago, consumers may not have had an acute awareness of the impact supply chain management had on their daily lives. However, the pandemic created supply chain disruptions from inventory and logistics to production and design with resulting effects on business and consumers alike. “For his part, Huseyn is studying supply chain at this critical moment when it’s top-of-mind at the average dinner table, and his research is really applicable to everyone,” says McGuire.

Today, Huseyn’s research focuses predominantly on a notable pain-point in the Information Systems space – consumer returns. “Even pre-pandemic, Huseyn was passionately tackling the issue of consumer returns – which have now nearly doubled from $350 billion to well over $600 billion in the U.S. alone during Covid,” notes Abbey. Abdulla’s work adds to the scholarly literature and to managerial practice as well as dollar returns of the magnitude being experienced today have significant global consequences both fiscally and environmentally. From an environmental perspective, millions of tons of waste are expected to result from such an inordinate volume of returns. “Information systems are essential to helping monitor, analyze, and improve our reactions to ever-evolving global economic forces – this area of study is central to how we emerge and thrive in the post-pandemic landscape,” shares Abbey. “As such, our students play a pivotal role in informing how business will function moving forward. Huseyn and his breakthrough research are a standout example of the relevance and importance of this work.”

Under the leadership and guidance of Department Chair, Dr. Richard Metters, the Texas A&M INFO department has moved from a top 50 ranking to a top 10 ranking in scholarly output over the last decade. Because of this, its draw for top PhD student talent such as Abdulla continues to increase. Across its five academic domains, Mays Business School maintains a strong commitment to facilitate PhD students’ efforts as they seek to become prominent academic scholars capable of both generating new knowledge and conveying that knowledge while working with active learners.

Abdulla receiving this award provides a powerful signal to current PhD students and to those evaluating the possibility of completing their PhD degree at Mays Business School. As McGuire notes, “Abdulla’s recognition for excellence by the university says to the school’s PhD students that “There are no limitations on your success when you come to our Ph.D. program. From faculty and administrative support to other students and the Dean’s office, everything is in place for exceptionally bright and hard-working students to excel – the sky is the limit.” “In many ways,” McGuire says, “this award reflects that.”

“Dr. Metters and the INFO department’s faculty have fostered a culture of optimal support for Ph.D. scholars,” says Mays Business School’s Interim Dean Dr. R. Duane Ireland. “This is evidenced by the prestigious honor awarded to Huseyn Abdulla.” “We couldn’t be prouder of Huseyn and this outstanding honor,” shared Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Dr. Jerry Strawser. “In my 25-year tenure with the University, this is the first Mays Doctoral candidate I’ve been privileged to see receive such an award.”

Texas A&M University hosted a reception on Monday, April 25th to honor Huseyn and others receiving the Distinguished Graduate Student award.


Categories: Ph.D.

On April 24, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, and former students packed Wehner lobby for James Benjamin Day. Energy and excitement pulsed through the room, as attendees wearing t-shirts and stickers that showed “I heart James Benjamin” filed into the lobby.

The event was standing room only as participants waited eagerly from the balcony, lined the stairs, and filled the elevator banks for the celebration to begin.

Dean Jones began the celebration by welcoming students, faculty and staff, and the accounting advisory board to the special event. Among his numerous high praises for Benjamin, Dean Jones declared that Benjamin epitomized the Aggie core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect, and selfless service. Dean Jones also shared that at the beginning of the naming campaign, naysayers told them, “Crowdsourcing won’t work.” However, the campaign ultimately proved otherwise and raised over $10 million for the department. Dean Jones added that Benjamin has served Texas A&M and Mays Business School for 45 years as faculty, and 37 years as the accounting department head. Benjamin positively impacted countless students’ lives and set an example of excellence during his time at the university.

Brian Bishop, the Assistant Vice President of Development at Mays Business School, delivered some words of affirmation and praise for Benjamin. Bishop stated that to have a department named after an individual, “40 years of service and $10 million raised” would be a fantastic place to start. Bishop continued in his praise for Benjamin, describing him as an “excellent human being and an educator.” Bishop encouraged the current students attending the celebration to look around the room and appreciate the accomplishments of those before them. He then instructed each student to ask themselves, “How can I give back, and how can I make my degree more valuable?”

Christy Bauman ’95 took the stage to share her thoughts, insights, and appreciation for Benjamin. Bauman was a member of the third group of PPA students and explained that raising money for the department was, “One of the easiest things to ask for because of Jim and who he is as an individual.”

Professor Mary Lea McAnally then joined the excitement by kicking off a round-robin share out about the magnitude during Benjamin’s tenure in a segment titled, “James Benjamin by the Numbers.”

  • $35,700,000 raised
  • 4,617,600 minutes worked, $8 per minute of funds raised
  • 17,102 students graduated
  • 5,008 PPA graduates
  • 15 former students now serving as professors at Mays
  • 2,113 Business Honors graduates during his tenure
  • 1998 – Outstanding Professor of the Year from Texas A&M
  • 1992 – Benjamin began the PPA program
  • 1968 – Benjamin earned his CPA, in Maryland, with the second highest score in the state
  • 1600 companies employ his graduates
  • 960 business honors students in his Accounting 229 course
  • 314 publications by Ph.D. graduates
  • 258 graduates who are partners at CPA firms
  • Accounting 229 – countless students have taken Benjamin’s course
  • 199 – the average number of words in a paragraph in an email from Benjamin
  • 158 Ph.D. graduates since Benjamin
  • 61 computers in KPMG lab on cutting edge of technology
  • 42 years in the Department of Accounting
  • 37 years as department head
    • Budgeting
    • Hiring
    • Year-end reviews
  • 8 accounting faculty have become administrators at Mays
  • 5 deans Benjamin has served under
  • 40 years ago – James Benjamin was Strawser’s professor
  • 3 PPA Directors reported to Benjamin during his tenure

Finally, Benjamin took the opportunity to share his thoughts and appreciation for the celebration. He said that one of the most rewarding aspects of his career has been watching students he once taught reach retirement. In humility, he added that though he may be the face of the accounting department, there are four necessary ingredients to his success:

  1. Exceptional students
  2. Deeply caring faculty built to mirror students
  3. Leaders – he has been at the business school under five deans, and never had a bad boss in his life
  4. Incredibly supportive former students

In a nod to his engaging demeanor, Benjamin expressed that he thinks it is fitting that the accounting department will now share the nickname for 100 dollar bills.


Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Business Honors, Departments, Faculty, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Texas A&M

Each year, the Deloitte Foundation awards $25,000 grants to 10 outstanding accounting Ph.D. candidates through its annual Doctoral Fellowship program. Jennifer Glenn, a Ph.D. student at Mays Business School, received this prestigious award this year.

Glenn is the third Mays Ph.D. student to receive this award. The most recent Mays Ph.D. student to receive this award was Brant Christensen in 2013; prior to that, Mike Drake received the award in 2007. The award is intended to support Glenn’s final year of coursework and also the next year in the completion of her doctoral dissertation.

Tonie Leatherberry, the president of the Deloitte Foundation, explained the significance of the Deloitte Foundation grant by stating:

“Growing the pipeline as well as strengthening the quantity and quality of accounting professors is critical to developing the next generation of future leaders. The financial support from the Foundation can help this year’s recipients complete their academic career journey and could have a significant impact on the thousands of students they will teach over time.”

The Deloitte Foundation invites about 100 universities to apply each year for this grant, and 52 students applied this year upon nomination by the accounting faculty of their institution. This is an increase of over 70 percent from 2018, and this award continues to become more competitive in nature.

The Deloitte Foundation is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1928 that uses a variety of initiatives to support education in the United States. The Foundation specifically focuses on developing talented leaders in teaching, research, and curriculum innovation. In addition to sponsoring graduate students and educators, the Foundation also provides benefits to middle and high school students and undergraduates through several national programs.

Categories: Accounting, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Students, Texas A&M

Venky Shankar at Research Camp

Mays Business School hosted the 2018 Mays Marketing Research Camp on April 6, hosted by the Center of Retailing Studies Research Director and Coleman Professor of Marketing Venkatesh “Venky” Shankar. The event presents faculty and Ph.D. students the opportunity to share, hear, and collaborate with some of the top scholars in marketing on the latest empirical, analytical, and behavioral research. …Read more

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Third-year accounting doctoral student Jennifer Glenn has faced several obstacles in her life that have not only taught her how to be resilient, but have also shown her the power of perseverance.

Her inspiring fight against adversity led to her selection for the 2018 Community of Scholars Unsung Hero Award, an award created by the Texas A&M University Office of Graduate and Professional Studies (OGAPS) to recognize current graduate students who have faced and overcome difficult life experiences during their time at Texas A&M.

Glenn’s fight against adversity began in elementary school, when she developed a severe stutter. She was told by many of her teachers that she would never find a good job due to her inability to speak without stuttering. This did not set her back, however, because she still earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting and her CPA license, despite her speech impediment. “I refuse to let anything stand in my way when it comes to accomplishing my goals,” Glenn said.

Years later, during her second year in the Ph.D. program at Texas A&M, Glenn learned that she needed brain surgery to remove a brain tumor that had been growing at an alarmingly fast rate and was feared to be cancer. Glenn had brain surgery six months before her comprehensive exam, which is required before a Ph.D. student can begin working on their dissertation. …Read more

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Providing 14 promising junior faculty members and advanced Ph.D. students from around the country the chance to showcase their academic work and receive constructive feedback from their peers as well as an elite group of 15 senior scholars brought in for the event, the Department of Finance at Mays Business School hosted the third annual Young Scholars Finance Consortium March 22-24. The first two consortiums were hosted at Mays’ CityCentre facility in Houston.

Best Paper Winner

The consortium’s topic alternates each year among corporate finance / financial intermediation and asset pricing/investments. The 2018 Consortium focused on corporate finance and financial intermediation.

Activities at the three-day event at the George Hotel and Mays included a cocktail party, 1.5 days of presentation, a keynote address, and a networking dinner. Mays Executive Associate Dean Duane Ireland kicked off the event Friday morning. The keynote speaker was Peter M. DeMarzo, a chaired professor from Stanford University. From all of the Ph.D. student submissions, MIT student Daniel Green was the winner of the Best Ph.D. Student Paper Award.

Participants – many of whom had never been to College Station – said they were “impressed with our facilities, our faculty, the quality of the program, and how well it was organized,” said one of the organizers, Mays Associate Professor of Finance Christa Bouwman.

“Our event is truly unique,” Bouwman said of the rich opportunity for the Ph.D. students and junior faculty members to present and hear feedback from such renowned scholars in the audience.

Categories: Finance, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Research, 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

Mays Business School’s Department of Management hosted an extension conference Oct. 26-27 that explored new directions in international corporate governance research. The event, which was an extension of the main Strategic Management Society’s (SMS) annual conference in Houston, took place at the Mays CityCentre facility. The extension conference built on the SMS Annual Conference theme of “Convergence and Intensity of Global Competition.” It focused on the continued importance of new directions in research on international corporate governance.

Professors Laszlo Tihanyi and Mike Withers served as co-organizers of the event. During the conference, a number of panel discussions, featuring leading scholars whose research has helped move the international corporate governance literature to its current prominent position in the strategic management discipline, were available to conference attendees.

…Read more

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Featured Stories, Management, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Texas A&M

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School recognized two graduates – Kathleen Seiders ’95 and Wei Shen ’99 – with the Outstanding Doctoral Alumni Award. This award highlights former students who have achieved significant distinction in their academic field. The pair were honored during an awards presentation and reception on September 29.

“Kathleen and Wei are indicative of the high quality of individuals enrolled in our doctoral programs as well as the commitment that our faculty makes to help our students succeed,” said Mays Dean Eli Jones ’82, who received the honor in 2009. “Our doctoral candidates graduate with a deep knowledge of their subject area, a desire to expand the understanding in their field of research, and a commitment to educating future generations of students.”

Criteria for Mays’ Outstanding Doctoral Alumni include: sustained research productivity and visibility in the field; service to the profession as editor of a major scholarly journal; recipient of major awards for excellence in research, teaching and/or service; academic and administrative leadership; successful career progression at a peer or aspirational school; and holder of an endowed position. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Departments, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Ph.D., Programs, Texas A&M

By Claire Metzger ’17


JosefyM300 SmithT300

Matt Josefy and Troy Smith, doctoral students in the Department of Management at Mays Business School, received the 2016 Senator Phil Gramm Fellowship for excellence in research and teaching.

The Gramm Fellowship was created to recognize the unique Ph.D. students who excel not only in research or in teaching, but in both. Nominees can be submitted from all doctoral programs at Texas A&M University, and six students are chosen.

Gramm, a retired U.S. Senator, now operates Gramm Partners, a public policy firm in Washington, D.C.

To be considered for the award, a nominee must display “outstanding mentoring skills and a reputation for ethical behavior” in their teaching and a “potential for scholarly impact” in their research, explained Laszlo Tihanyi, doctoral program coordinator in the Department of Management.

Tihanyi said he was proud that two students from Mays Business School were honored with this award, but said he was particularly delighted with the selection of Josefy and Smith. “Both Matt and Troy have been truly outstanding doctoral students in the Department of Management,” he said. Upon completion of the program, both will continue their teaching and research as assistant professors at Indiana University and the University of Nebraska.

Josefy holds a CFA charter and a CPA license, as well as a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a master’s degree in financial management from Texas A&M.

Smith received an M.P.A. from the University of Georgia and two bachelor’s degrees from Utah State University – one in business and one in liberal arts and sciences. He said the faculty members at Mays have had a great impact on his academic journey. “The successes I have been privileged to enjoy over the past few years are a direct result of the high-caliber faculty in the Management Department,” he said.

Categories: Mays Business, Ph.D., Students, Texas A&M