#aMAYSing former student, Stephanie Murphy, Owner and Chairman at MEI Technologies, Inc. and Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, LLC, recently shared some news with the EMBA Class of 2020 during their celebration ceremony…

First, get to know her:

I received my undergrad in AgriBusiness from Texas A&M and then went on to work at MEI Technologies (then is was Muniz Engineering).  My father founded MEIT in 1992, I began working there in 2001.  Over the next ten years, I worked in various corporate departments and had taken on leadership roles within the company.  We began succession planning for MEIT and I was interested in additional formal education (MBA) to help prepare me for my next roles within the company as an executive and an owner.  I attended an Aggie 100 lunch with my father who was receiving an award, and Ricky Griffin happened to be a guest at our table.  He was talking about the Executive MBA (EMBA) program and the new location at City Centre.  I applied to the program and found it to be competitive with other programs and very convenient in terms of location and my work schedule.

After graduating in 2014, I had an opportunity to take an idea developed at MEIT and launch a new business providing testing in the harsh environment of space as a service.  In 2015 I founded Alpha Space Test and Research Alliance, and in 2018 we launched a testing platform that is permanently attached to the International Space Station.  We privately own the facility, known as MISSE, and offer government agencies, academia, private companies, and now individuals access to the low earth orbit space environment.  We are part of a small group of companies offering commercial services in space and at the forefront of developing a new space economy.

My EMBA prepared me for the launch (literally) of this new company not only through the academics, but also set a cadence of hard work and efficiency for me.  I made great relationships and connections, and have gone on to participate and serve in other organizations as a direct result of the network I built during my time in the EMBA program.

 

Mays: How did the idea about sending the EMBA Class XX Coin come to gain traction?

Aggie Ring in front of a Space CertificateSM: I was meeting with Julie [Orzabal, Director, Texas A&M Executive MBA Program] and had expressed an interest in staying engaged with the EMBA program. We were chatting about the Class XX graduating and their program coming to an end. I shared with her that I sent my husband’s Aggie ring into space, and I commented to her how cool it would be to send their class coin, which typically travels around the world with students, on the ultimate trip into space.  I committed to sponsor that trip for the Class XX coin, and Julie let me announce it to the class via Zoom on their last program day.

 

Mays: Can you detail exactly what will happen, as planned, for the EMBA Class XX Coin?

SM: The EMBA Class XX coin was delivered to our headquarters in Houston.  It will be put into our vacuum chamber and the pressure will reduced to 10-6 torr (0.000000001 atmosphere) and the temperature will be raised to 60oC (140oF).  This removes contaminants and particulates from the coin and prepares it for space flight. It is then moved into our 10K clean room, where our engineers integrate the coin into a MISSE carrier along with other experiments bound for the space station.  Our carrier is packed and delivered to NASA Johnson Space Center, then shipped along with all the other cargo manifested on our flight to the International Space Station.  NASA will ship the cargo to the launch site, either Florida for a SpaceX launch, or Virginia for a Northrup Grumman launch, and it will be packed for launch.

It will launch in spring 2021, where the coin will experience acceleration forces of about 3X to 4X gravity.  Once docked to the ISS, the astronaut crew will unpack our carrier from the cargo.  An astronaut attaches our carrier, containing the Class XX coin, to the MISSE transfer tray and send them through the airlock into space attached to the ISS robotic arm.  The robotic arm and other robotic tools plug our carrier into the MISSE facility, which we will then control from our operations center here in Houston.  The Class XX coin will be exposed to the harsh environment of space, including extreme temperature changes that can range from -40oC to 60oC (-40oF to 140oF), while it orbits the Earth approximately 16 times per day.  At this point, the coin is traveling almost 5 miles per second and is about 240 miles above the Earth.  We expect it to stay for about 6 months totaling over 75,000,000 miles on its trip in space.

At the end of this mission, the carrier is returned into the habitable portion of the space station by the robotic arm and the transfer tray.  The astronauts load it, along with other cargo, for a ride back to Earth on the SpaceX Dragon capsule.  Once retrieved by NASA, the carrier is returned to our office in Houston, where our engineers de-integrate and unpack the carriers.  At that time, the coin will be returned to Class XX and happy hour to follow!

 

Mays: What’s next after the EMBA Class XX Coin?

SM: In 2019, we were the first company to sign a reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA to allow us to purchase resources from NASA (launch, astronaut time, etc) to send commercial items to the International Space Station.  This allows us to open space access to private individuals, not just researchers, for personal use.  In 2021, we will be selling space for Aggie Rings and other personal mementos to fly in one of our carriers just like the Class XX coin.  For about the price of an airline ticket for international travel, an Aggie ring can complete a mission to the space station and return to its owner.

 

Mays: Why is this special and important to you – and why you think it’ll be special for others?

SM: Sending an item into the space environment and having it returned is such a unique experience that has been limited to very select scientists.  We have the opportunity to enable that experience for private companies, organizations, and individuals on a limited basis for the first time in the history of space exploration.  I think it’s amazing that one could send their Aggie Ring, which connects Aggies instantly and represents Aggie values, on a unique mission into space.  The eagle on the ring symbolizes agility, power, and the ability to reach great heights, and what better way to celebrate that than by sending it beyond the sky?

Explore Stephanie Murphy and Texas A&M’s MBA Programs

Stephanie Murphy  TAMU EMBA

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

Over the past few weeks, our world was upended by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and communities of every size began to grapple with a “new normal”. Businesses, governments, and families are scrambling to find creative ways to interact with their customers, constituents, and peers. Along with the health crisis, we’ve seen our retirement accounts plummet, friends lose jobs, and experienced an unprecedented level of uncertainty. While many of us are asking questions about how we can help others in our communities, there have been beacons of hope in the form of a global philanthropic response. The spectrum has ranged from billionaires stepping up with massive financial commitments to people singing from their balconies. Across this entire spectrum, the heart of generosity and philanthropy is shining through.

Philanthropy, at its core, is about the love of mankind. It’s looking out for the person next to you in times of trouble. It’s caring for the vulnerable when others disregard their wellbeing. It’s moving towards those that are on the margins. It’s loving people. As we grapple with the reality of a global pandemic, I am confident we’ll continue to see boundless and sacrificial generosity. If you are sitting there thinking that philanthropy is bound to the ultra-wealthy, you are wrong. Philanthropy right now is as simple as walking next door to check on your neighbor (standing 6 feet apart of course!). So, here are some tips for you to be philanthropic and generous with your time, treasure, and talent amidst the uncertainty of -19.

  1. Be honest about your own needs. Asking for help is one of the hardest things to do because it requires a significant level of vulnerability. There is no shame in needing help or requiring assistance though. Before looking outward, take a moment to assess your, or your family’s, situation. Do not hesitate to reach out to friends, family, or your local nonprofit sector for assistance.
  2. Be honest about your capacity for financial generosity. Maybe you are someone that has been consistently generous with what you have. Maybe you are just now getting started in your journey towards generosity. Either way, now is the time to act. Consider making a financial gift to your local community foundation or relief fund. If you can’t find anything similar to that, then giving to your local food bank or health clinic will go a long way in helping alleviate some of the immediate burden our communities are facing.
  3. Be purposeful with the “small things”. Share stories of others that are uplifting people in their communities. Write encouraging notes to nursing home residents. Call friends that work in healthcare and are risking their lives every day. Check on your neighbors. There are numerous “small acts” that make a difference.
  4. Be hopeful. There is no doubt that this is going to hurt for a period of time, but we will get through this. I am hopeful that through trial and tragedy, our relationships, families, and communities will emerge stronger.

Generosity and compassion are critical to a thriving and healthy society. Our response will resonate through generations as people look back and see that in the middle of uncertainty, we were active in how we loved the people in our communities.

Categories: Donors Corner, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Programs, Selfless service, Spotlights, Staff, Strategic Philanthropy, Texas A&M

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

Written by Steven Mancillas ’21:

The Business & BBQ Professional Development Wisdom Workshop united two very different parts of campus – the Business Honors program and the Meat Science department. The event highlighted three unique elements that characterize the Mays Business School experience: passion, culture, and community.

To begin, in the Business Honors program, a Professional Development event serves to foster the growth of students both personally and professionally. A majority of the events consist of meeting with industry leaders (Mays Leadership Forum), hearing from policy experts and government leaders at the Bush School (Lecture Series), or participating in a Wisdom Workshop. A Wisdom Workshop is a presentation given by a current student on a unique topic that is uncharacteristic, yet beneficial for other Business Honors students. So, naturally, the topic of barbecue fit these criteria.

My background in the barbecue realm consists of serving as a Texas BBQ 101 (ANSC 117) teaching assistant and pursuing a minor in Meat Science under the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences. As a freshman in ANSC 117, I was the only business student in a room full of agriculture majors. While this was daunting at first, Dr. Savell, the ANSC 117 professor, offered an adage that served to contextualize my experience: “Barbecue is about fellowship first, and food second.Since that class, I have discovered a passion for Meat Science, ultimately adding it as a minor to my Business Honors & Finance degree.

The presentation consisted of three segments: “What is Meat Science?”, “What is BBQ?”, and lunch. During this time, I spoke about how the barbecue elective sparked my interest in the origins of this university – agriculture. This interest quickly became a passion after my first animal science class – a passion rooted in a genuine interest in the livestock industry and its impact on society. A large component of the Wisdom Workshop was demonstrating the nature of all possibilities at Texas A&M to connect one’s passion with their education – I hope that my story stands as an example of this.

…Read more

Categories: Business Honors, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, 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

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

By Nicole Schubert ’19

Leadership and Marketing at Southwest Airlines

Ryan Green, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Southwest Airlines, spoke to the  Mays Business School MS-Marketing students on Feb. 28 as part of the Mays Transformational Leader Speaker Series. Green is a 1999 graduate of Mays Business School and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board. Integrity, leadership, drive for excellence, and traditions are all qualities that drew him to Texas A&M University and later to Southwest Airlines.

As CMO, Green has a wide scope of responsibilities, including:

  • Go-to-market efforts
  • Digital platforms
  • Loyalty, partnerships, and products
  • Customer experience
  • Insight and analysis across all the areas listed above

Green said branding and advertising have been the newest and most challenging areas for him. He attributes this challenge to his strengths (Achiever, Analytical, Significance, and Relator as determined Clifton StrengthsFinder), which do not align as well to those areas of marketing. He balances this by enlisting people around him who are strong in this area. …Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Former Students, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Round Rock High School graduate, finance junior Mikey Jaillet

Mikey Jaillet, a junior finance major at Mays Business School, was elected the Texas A&M Student Body President in the Spring 2019 elections. This is the second consecutive year that a Mays student has been elected to serve as Texas A&M’s Student Body President, as management major Amy Sharp was elected in the Spring 2018 election.

Jaillet’s victory was announced on Feb. 22, when Election Commissioner Mary Franklin announced the election results in the Memorial Student Center Flag Room. The results of the Spring 2019 elections were also released to vote.tamu.edu after Franklin’s announcement.

Jaillet said his experiences at Mays Business School significantly impacted his decision to run for Student Body President and shaped his campaign strategy.

“I think one of the biggest things I have learned at Mays is that you first have to be able to motivate yourself,” he said. “Mays does a great job of giving you the tools to be successful, but you have to be able to step up. Mays has really helped me in initiating the ability to take the first step to get things done.”

…Read more

Categories: Finance, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

When Phillips 66 Chairman and CEO Greg Garland ’80 recounted his nearly 40-year career during a visit to Texas A&M University, he offered this advice: Work with a purpose, embrace change, and don’t be afraid to fail.

He credits his professional success to good timing and great enthusiasm. He graduated from Texas A&M University in 1980 – what he termed “a great time to be in the oil and gas industry.”

“I interviewed with 16 companies and got 15 job offers,” he said.

It all started on a day when he failed to get on the interview sign-in sheets for companies. “I met a guy in an elevator who was from Phillips 66. I was in a T-shirt, shorts, and sandals. He said, ‘Come see me at 2:00,’ so I did. I don’t know what he saw in me, but it worked out great. You never know when an opportunity is going to present itself, so be ready.”

Garland’s visit was hosted by Mays Business School and the Colleges of Geosciences and Engineering.

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Dean Eli Jones, Energy, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

SEC-member schools, business leaders and professionals attended the 4th annual conference to explore best practices in diversity and inclusiveness

Business leaders, working professionals, diversity officers, human resource officers, and others gathered at Texas A&M University for the 4th annual SEC Business School Diversity Conference on Feb. 27 through March 1.

Hosted by Mays Business School’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the conference focused on strategic planning for diversity and inclusion leadership.

The keynote speaker was Damon Williams, head of the Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership & Social Innovation and a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. He is one of the original architects of the Inclusive Excellence concept in American higher education and a nationally known leader in diversity leadership and responsibility.

As in previous SEC diversity conferences, held at Missouri, Arkansas, and LSU, the meeting aimed to:

  • Identify, advocate, and disseminate best practices and promote new initiatives about diversity and inclusion in business.
  • Conduct and promote research initiatives aimed at minority business students, staff, faculty and other stakeholders.
  • Empower academic and private sector professionals to become knowledgeable and engaged in diversity and inclusion practices.
  • Provide colleagues with professional development and resources to advance equity in recruitment and the classroom.

…Read more

Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M