EDITOR’S NOTE: The Professional MBA Program at Mays, Class of 2020, is visiting Jakarta, Indonesia and Singapore on the annual International Field Trip, a part of the program’s International Business Policy course. The itinerary runs Friday, July 25 to Saturday, August 3 with 47 students, Arvind Mahajan, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, and Mike Alexander, Director of the Professional MBA program, attending. Stay tuned for additional segments to their journey, told from the perspective of a student.

Read Part I of Unknown in Asia, here


Heading into the unknown of Asia, I think one thing that was also largely unknown was just how long our flight would be – it is the longest flight that I have ever been on and it felt that long, too. One redeeming part of it, though, was the time it allowed me to get up and talk to fellow classmates. On the first leg of the flight I got to spend some time with Mike [Alexander] talking about traveling and I got to hear some of his stories from his time with the Professional MBA program.

We landed in Jakarta and it was an eye-opening experience. There are so many people in this city, traffic is crazy, and there was a blatant disparity in the nice buildings and the poor areas. There was seemingly no in-between. It made me grateful for my life and the opportunities I have at home. We made our way to a welcome dinner where they eased us into local cuisine, and we all fought off jetlag.

Our first full day was spent on a “1000 Islands Tour” where we got to learn a bit about the history of where we were and see some cool, old relics of the colonization of the area. It ended with some beach time, dinner and camaraderie.

Monday, our second day in Jakarta and our first working day, was amazing. We had a chance to grasp the full spectrum of the economy where we were in Jakarta – we learned about everything from the government and business to the slums. It was a very diverse day. We heard from fantastic speakers that addressed startup culture in Indonesia, intangibles as an imperative for success in today’s business world, and how society is going cashless. We were taken on a tour of the slums and it is something that I will never forget. Seeing how the people in the slums live and then meeting all of the kids was really moving. It seems like the only way out of the Indonesian slums is to catch a lucky break, while back home, if you work hard and “demonstrate capabilities,” you can go somewhere. It really makes you think of all those times you complain about something not going right and how insignificant that really is.

Tuesday we visited Javara and Go-Jek while participating in Batik Tuesdays – a new PMBA tradition. A Batik is the button-up shirt of Indonesia that is similar to Hawaiian shirts and can be worn to work. Some of our PMBA group had picked one up after Monday’s festivities and decided to wear them. Javara, the first company that we visited, is all about agriculture and social entrepreneurship. We were able to meet Helianti, the incredibly ambitious backbone of Javara. She showed us a presentation about how Javara is trying to revive the farming culture in Indonesia by creating pride and a sense of ownership in the industry. The way she empowers the farmers to be their own entrepreneurs is amazing. Afterward, we were able to shop all of the organic products that the farmers produce in her store and she treated us to a sustainable/organic meal that was absolutely delicious. The purple bungus tea was the star of the show, which is strange coming from a non-tea drinker. Go-Jek is a for-profit startup that revolves around utilizing technology to make society better. Go-Jek’s offices definitely put out some Silicon Valley feelings. It seemed like organized chaos with how everyone was working, and stuff was thrown on the desks. I would hate to be late to work, since the limited desk space means you are working in one of the many lounge areas. They shared a presentation that gave us insight into the company and how they got started by trying to help out the traffic with a ride share app. Now, they are giving back through Go-Life by training people in different skill sets to help them provide a better life for their families. This is a company that keeps trying to find new challenges to tackle through their services.

Tuesday culminated with an interesting and fantastic “foodie tour.” Our tour guides were patient, understanding and very knowledgeable.  We were taken to 6 food stalls around the Chinatown area of Jakarta.  Each of them had a signature dish or snack that we tried.  Supposedly it is normal for people to come to the area and hop around to get a complete meal.  My favorite was the first stop with the chicken rice dish, though it felt like that was our entire meal because they kept bringing out more and more food.

It was a fascinating few days leaning into the culture and business of Indonesia. There is a rich history, vibrant culture and great people there that I won’t soon forget. Now, onto Singapore!

Read Part I of Unknown in Asia, here

Categories: MBA, Programs, Texas A&M, Unknown in Asia

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Professional MBA Program at Mays, Class of 2020, is visiting Jakarta, Indonesia and Singapore on the annual International Field Trip, a part of the program’s International Business Policy course. The itinerary runs Friday, July 25 to Saturday, August 3 with 47 students, Arvind Mahajan, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, and Mike Alexander, Director of the Professional MBA program, attending. Stay tuned for additional segments to their journey, told from the perspective of a student.


As a Texas A&M Professional MBA (PMBA) student who has completed their first year of the program, the time has come to tackle the infamous international field trip. The PMBA class of 2020 is going to Indonesia and Singapore to see how business, culture, and people work and live in Southeast Asia. Our class is stepping into the unknown – an international trip with 47 PMBAs from Mays Business School.

The time leading up to the trip has been hectic for me. I have never been out of the country before – I have just lived vicariously through other people’s pictures and videos of their experiences. The stunning photos of foreign countries have always guided my interest in traveling abroad. As an engineer, I am always researching everything I plan to do to the fullest, and this trip has been no exception. I have consulted many people about their experiences and sought advice and tips. Surprisingly, everyone has a different point of view, which is both helpful and problematic. Helpful in that their stories and advice continue to grow my anticipation for the trip. Problematic in the sense that when I’m trying to make decisions, it doesn’t help that everyone’s perspective is different. As with any analysis, I take all the inputs and average them to make a good prediction or decision on the matter. I find that if I keep an open mind and put my mind to it, I can accomplish anything, which includes this trip.

Some of my academic expectations for this trip are…

  • to expand my understanding of the world
  • to experience different cultures
  • to find out how business is conducted in other parts of the world

I can’t wait to put everything that I have heard or read about these locations to the test and see it for myself. This trip may only be one week, but looking at the itinerary, it will definitely be jam-packed. One of the things that I am most looking forward to is hosting Microsoft. Our team was selected to host them, which is truly a treat for me. I am a huge tech nerd, and I have known Microsoft since the first computer I ever used with MS-DOS. To be able to meet some of the folks that work there, even if it isn’t from their Redmond Washington office, will still be a truly remarkable experience.

My nonacademic expectations are…

  • to get to know my classmates better
  • to create better bonds
  • to expand my comfort zone

I feel like I know everyone in the class, though some are just on a, “Hey I am here with you” level. The PMBA program is not only about classroom study, but it’s also about learning from my peers and creating lasting friendships.

I look forward to seeing our cohort out of our element. I suppose that when you take us all out of our element, Houston, that’s when everyone will open up more. It’ll be even easier to get to know everyone. I suppose that being in our comfort zone lets us sneak away too easily, missing the opportunity to truly know one another. On this trip, we won’t have conflicting plans, or work stopping us from getting to campus early – we’ll have a shared agenda and purpose. That shared purpose and agenda, I hope, will create a shared sense of growth and adventure – for me, each of my classmates, and our cohort as a whole. I believe this trip has the potential for us to grow individually and together. A shared purpose and a sense of dependence will lead to deeper knowledge and deeper relationships. I know it will for me. I have no clue what I am doing outside of the U.S., so I will be relying on the collective mindset of the group to find my way through the unknown.

Categories: Center for Business International Studies, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M, Unknown in Asia

The feeling never gets old, Kyle Gammenthaler says.

Helping Mays Business School students understand the nuts and bolts of philanthropy by giving away up to $75,000 themselves is always thrilling.

Kyle, who teaches the Strategic Philanthropy class as coordinator of the Certificate in Nonprofit and Social Innovation at Mays, told a crowd of about eighty who gathered for the semester’s check presentations on April 29 that it all started in 2015, when he had “a brilliant idea—that it would be great if students gave away money in a class.”

And this spring, the course’s students, funding recipients, and donors celebrated a huge milestone—passing the $500,000 mark in total giving to organizations in Bryan-College Station.

From $0 to $500,000 in Three Years

With support from Mays administration and generous donors—notably The Philanthropy Lab, a Fort-Worth-area organization that supports about twenty such classes around the country—students provided the first round of funding in spring 2016.

Now, thanks to additional donors, notably the VanLoh family and Cheryl Mellenthin, the class is one of the most successful of its kind in the country.

The VanLohs began donating after seeing the transformational experience their daughter, business honors graduate Grace VanLoh ’19, had as a student in the very first class.

For Cheryl Mellenthin, visiting with Mays students on a Philanthropy Friday was all it took.

“She texted me that night and asked, ‘Where do I send the check?’” Kyle says.

John Sharp ’72, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, attended the April 29 celebration and later said, “The Mays Business School’s philanthropy program is a great example of putting the Aggie values to work.”

Former Student Body President Amy Sharp ’19, a business honors graduate who took the class previously, announced at the event that the two representatives present from The Philanthropy Lab—both Aggies—had decided to give an additional $10,000 in honor of Chancellor Sharp’s visit.

“This has to be the easiest $10,000 Chancellor Sharp ever gave!” she said.

Student-Driven Impact in the Brazos Valley

The eighteen students in the May 2019 class funded eight organizations.

Marketing major and class member Shelby Edwards ’19 says a Charles Dickens quote inspired her to sign up: “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”

But for Shelby, the class proved to be life-changing.

“I know that what I learned about working with others to make decisions and about how I can make a real impact, even as a younger person, will influence me not only in my profession, but in my personal life, as well,” she says.

The class started the semester by learning about philanthropy and how nonprofits work in general, with a focus on strategic giving and the “why” behind charitable giving.

They crafted their own mission statement as the “why” to guide their decisions: “to thoughtfully invest in nonprofits in the Brazos Valley to move toward their visions and build better communities.”

Next, they chose ten nonprofits for closer review and broke into smaller groups to visit two organizations each. They then shared what they learned with the others and used their strategic approach to make the final decisions on which organizations to fund.

“Giving the money away was an absolute joy,” Shelby says. “The nonprofits showed us gaps in our community that we had not seen before. We were amazed at what they do to make life better for people here.

“My takeaway is that we all have the ability to give money, or time, or effort, not ‘one day,’ but right now, even if we are young and just starting out. We are a generation that can make a difference!”

A Simple but Life-Changing Idea

Business honors Jimmie Fields ’21 explained the powerful concept that inspired the class to fund OnRamp.

“Entrepreneurship is about finding the main pressure point and exploiting it,” he says. “The Jennings family has done just this in the Bryan-College Station area by giving reliable, pre-owned cars to people in need.”

The class gave $11,000 to cover the cost of two cars. OnRamp has provided 23 cars since the organization was founded about eighteen months ago. Other local charities refer clients to the Jennings family for consideration.

“As a pastor at a local church, I meet a lot of single moms who are near poverty and who cannot afford reliable transportation,” Blake Jennings says. “As a result, they find it hard to hold down a job, hard to get their kids to school, and hard to get to doctors’ appointments. My wife and I wanted to do something about it—to serve others just as we encourage our congregation to serve others.”

The Transformational Effect of Mays Philanthropy

Students are transformed by the class in many ways.

For example, Mays graduate Zach Marbach ’17, who took the inaugural class in spring 2016, is now an Associate Program Director with The Philanthropy Lab, as is fellow Aggie Megan Mader ’12. In addition, other students have joined the boards of the nonprofits represented or otherwise made charitable giving a priority in their lives.

“We are incredibly grateful to all who entrust our students to make life-changing decisions with their money,” Kyle Gammenthaler says. “Our next goal: to pass the one-million-dollar mark.”

In addition to OnRamp, the following local charities received funding this semester:

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network
  • Health For All
  • Scotty’s House
  • Sexual Assault Resource Center
  • United Way of the Brazos Valley
  • VOOM Foundation

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, News, Programs, Selfless service, Staff, Strategic Philanthropy, Students, Texas A&M

Written by marketing student Andrew Barker:

When I first walked into Dr. Troy’s Account Planning class in August 2018, I had no idea of the kind of transformative experiences, high impact learning, and profound relationships that lied ahead of me. There was no way to predict the amount of brain power and man hours this kind of project demanded. There was no way I could expect the bitter-sweet feeling I had when our research, creativity, and strategy formulation culminated at the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition (AAF-NSAC) last week in Shreveport, Louisiana. This was something that could only be experienced.

Every year, the AAF selects a client for the National Student Advertising Competition. Colleges and universities across the country then conduct research and create an advertising campaign to be presented in front of a panel of judges comprised of industry professionals and the client’s executives. Over the course of two semesters, my team – Good Bull Advertising – created an advertising campaign for this year’s selected client, Wienerschnitzel, to rebrand the hot dog and fight against common misconceptions about the food. We received the case during the summer and began our research during the fall semester. After utilizing the university’s databases and conducting our own independent research, we administered surveys and interviews to gather thousands of impressions. In the spring, we began our creative journey by focusing our campaign on a central theme and slogan: “Seize the Day, Seize the Dog.” We then created a media plan and came up with advertisements, initiatives, and activations that would take our campaign nationwide.

Last week, Good Bull Advertising traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana to present our campaign. When we arrived at the hotel and conference center where the competition would be staged, we were met by the presence of teams of students from other schools. After a few moments of uneasiness and giving each other once-overs, tensions were eased as the teams remembered that 1) We are all college-aged adults and 2) We all had studied hot dogs for far too long. This was a defining moment, as the teams seemed to have an understanding of each other that permeated into our interactions throughout the rest of the competition.

At the beginning of the competition, we were reminded by competition staff that we would likely work with the people around us in the near future as we were all geared toward careers in advertising. As I watched other teams’ presentations, I was encouraged by this thought. It was interesting to see the different directions teams went with the case because, for the most part, we all reached similar conclusions in our initial research (one team even used a slogan that we had brainstormed in the early stages of our campaign). It reminded me that there is never one solution to a problem and that the best solutions are flexible to the always-changing environment.

…Read more

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

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center are launching a program to develop transformational leaders in the ever-important health care industry.

Undergraduate Mays students, particularly finance majors, will apply their education in complex revenue cycle operations and health care administration with the primary goal to define, measure, analyze and improve revenue cycle processes in a three-month rotation.

Students will gain exposure to Revenue Cycle Analytics and Business Analytics Departments, including but not limited to the Division of Finance; Financial Clearance Center; Patient Access; Patient Business Services; Health Information management; Revenue Capture and Coding; Treasury Services and Operations; Managed Care; and Clinical Revenue and Reimbursement.

“The Educational Experience Program is a high-impact internship that will reshape how our students advance the world’s prosperity, our vision at Mays Business School,” said the Head of the Department of Finance, Sorin Sorescu. “We have been discussing the right fit and right time with leaders at MD Anderson for several months, and I am thrilled this program is coming to fruition with the incredible individuals at this great organization.”

“We’re excited to partner with Mays Business School in a program that will create a win-win situation for everyone involved,” said Connor Burdine, executive director, Revenue Cycle Analytics for MD Anderson. “We know the talented students from Texas A&M will bring diverse perspectives, and we will be able to utilize the work ethic and intellect of these students to help solve business challenges faced by the broader health care industry.”

The Mays – MD Anderson Educational Experience Program is open to sophomore and junior undergraduate majors at Texas A&M University, with a preference for finance majors. Application information is available through Brandy Tuck in the Department of Finance (btuck@mays.tamu.edu), and the first class will intern in summer 2019.

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

Shannon Deer, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs at Mays Business School, hosted the 2019 Mays Business School Energy Symposium on March 15 at Texas A&M University’s CityCentre campus in west Houston. Attendees included current and former students representing Mays Houston-based degree programs in all areas of the energy sector.

Energy is one of the three Strategic Initiatives in Mays’ Strategic Plan.

Guy Baber ’06, Vice President of Investor Relations at Marathon Oil Corporation, delivered the keynote. He began with his family’s history in the field and his personal passion and commitment to the energy sector. His discussion included how market forces have changed the upstream landscape over the past several years and how investor preferences continue to evolve. He then fielded questions from those in attendance and remarked on how the industry will likely reach equilibrium once U.S. operators commit to growing production responsibly and living within cash flows.

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Energy, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Research, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

By Richard Castleberry, Director of Full-Time MBA

There are not too many individuals who, when choosing between studying for an MBA and going onto medical school, decide to do both, However, there are not many Ahad Azimuddin(s) in the world. He is an MD/MBA student in Mays Business School.

Upon completion of his MBA degree in August 2019, Azimuddin will switch gears to focus on medical school. His primary interest is in surgery and taking “healthcare” to a whole other level. His focus on the “business of medicine” is off to a great start.

Azimuddin joined Texas A&M University’s MD/MBA Program at Mays Business School after obtaining his bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston in biomedical sciences; liberal studies; and minors in chemistry, medicine and society, and economics. While studying for his bachelor’s degree, Azimuddin worked as an undergraduate researcher for the University of Houston College of Pharmacy. Since joining the MD/MBA Program in July 2018, he has already left an indelible, positive mark on his class, and continues to impress.

Earlier this year, Azimuddin took advantage of an opportunity offered at Texas A&M’s McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship and entered the Raymond Ideas Challenge. The campuswide competition encourages undergraduate and graduate students to dream up the next great product or service. Each entry must include a 45-second video pitch of your idea. So Azimuddin submitted his 45-second video pitch of his medical device “L-Clip” idea (a pressure-sensitive medical device for a laryngoscope), and won the $3,000 first-place prize. He won with the Best Idea, as well as the Video Pitch, which brought him another $1,000 prize. …Read more

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Programs, Research, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Each fall semester, Mays Business School students have the opportunity to apply to attend the SUMMIT conference. SUMMIT’s mission is “to empower students as developing leaders through purposeful reflection and honest self-awareness.” This weekend-long overnight conference includes dynamic speakers, small group activities, team building, and time dedicated to personal reflection. The conference took place this year from Feb. 1-3 at Stoney Creek Ranch, and on the final day the students were given the chance to anonymously share their key takeaways.

…Read more

Categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

The Mays MasterCast is the flagship podcast of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. We share insights into how business and business school works, while sharing our culture and lives with listeners. Guests include current students, professors, alumni, and friends of the university who have distinguished themselves in the business world. In every episode, the hope is to find counterintuitive insight, vulnerability, and humor. Our goal is to be the world’s premier business school podcast.

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

Richard Castleberry joined Mays Business School in early January 2019 as Program Director for the Full-Time MBA and MS Business programs. He brings a breadth of experience and seemingly boundless energy.

He explained his philosophy for doing his job. “Everything is about relationships, both external and internal, whether it’s a CEO or the person vacuuming my office. I bring my advice, experience, and background into play, and I hope to plug it into the well-oiled machine that is already in place here.”

Castleberry said he looks forward to meeting faculty, staff, and external partners, but most importantly, he wants to get to know the students. “I like to get the class schedules and just pop in to see what’s going on,” he said.

Most recently, Castleberry served as the university-wide head of business development for academic programs for Nazarbayev University (NU) in Astana, Kazakhstan. Prior to this, he served as the Director of Business Development and Assistant Dean of Marketing and Communications for NU’s graduate business school. As a member of the leadership team, he was instrumental in the founding of NU’s business school and worked very closely with its strategic partner – Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He led recruiting efforts for all master’s and Ph.D. programs. He also cultivated the university’s corporate partnerships across the world and has also taught many business courses at various institutions.

Castleberry earned an MBA degree from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Calif., with a concentration in marketing. He received a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in international business and marketing from Northeastern University in Boston.

 

Categories: Departments, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, MS Business, News, Programs, Staff, Texas A&M