The Mays Office of Diversity and Inclusion hosted Chuck Saia, CEO of Deloitte Risk, Consulting, and Financial Advisory Services, as part of the “Mays Speaks” series. The critical dialogue series seeks to educate students on ways to respond to acts of bias in a manner that invites dialogue rather than anger. Saia led an open discussion with participants on the role of a courageous leader on a global scale.

From the start of the session, however, one could tell that it wouldn’t be difficult for Saia to get his message across, as he was impressed by Texas A&M University and acknowledged that he could see the courageous leadership that is embedded here deep in the history of the campus. “As students attending, you see it and are reminded of it each and every day,” said Saia.

But what is the definition of being a courageous leader, and what does a culture of courageous leadership look like? Saia broke it down into five unique steps:

• Speak openly and be an authentic leader
• Never stop learning
• Build teams that are smarter than you
• Focus on action more than words
• Invite diversity of thought

Saia came to the realization of this concept first-hand after enduring the national tragedy our country experienced on 9/11. Saia opened up to the students when he talked about being on the scene that day, and being one of the last two people to leave the World Financial Center, which is connected to the World Trade Center.

Experiencing that disrupted his perspective and kick-started the implementation of courageous leadership within his company. This was done through, what is now a company tradition, called Impact Day, where the entire firm spends a day making an impact on society and the surrounding community – much like Texas A&M’s Big Event – to create a culture of courage among employees.

Saia then explained to students the steps it takes to embrace the concept of being a courageous leader. One must:

• Walk with swagger and confidence in everything you do
• Elevate your profile, disrupt, and execute
• Learn not to rely on the relationships you currently have

Elaborating on what he meant by being able to disrupt, Saia said that one had to “step outside of yourself and discuss solutions. Even clients don’t know what they truly need.” Continuing with what it means to execute, Saia said “that it is the obligation to leave a firm better tomorrow than it is today. better firm tomorrow than it is today.

Closing the discussion, Saia left participants with some key words of advice on building great relationships:

• Bring breadth and depth to every capability
• Explore new opportunities and step out of your comfort zone
• Be present. Don’t be afraid to have a candid conversation

Saia concluded by asking the students what differentiates them as an individual. “You can’t stay in your own silo, you have to grow as an individual,” he said.  “You have to round yourself out in different ways.”

Categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, 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

As a former research assistant and now a research associate with the Real Estate Center (part of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University), Wesley Miller has spent almost a year tackling topics from border economics to the effects of globalization on Texas manufacturing.

But it wasn’t too long ago that he was tackling wide receivers as a safety for the Buffalo Bills and playing professional football internationally.

Miller, who joined the Real Estate Center full time in fall 2017 and is working toward a Ph.D. in economics, began his ride to the NFL while playing football at the University of Texas at El Paso. The California native was working on a master of science in economics at the time.

[ PHOTO by JP Beato III – REAL ESTATE CENTER ]“UTEP had some good academic programs, and they gave me my best opportunity football-wise,” Miller said. “My first goal at the time was football.”

After UTEP’s Pro Day, when scouts watch players work out and evaluate them as draft prospects, Miller wasn’t signed to a team. However, he was invited to the Bills’ rookie mini-camp. That’s where his professional sports career began.

“They usually have about 20 new players that they’ve signed, and they need more players just to run a practice,” he said. “So they invite other potential rookies or seniors coming out of college to run a practice or mini-camp for a weekend. Most of the time you’re not offered a position, because the roster limit is 90, and usually those are filled before rookie camp. That’s what happened with the Bills, but when I got there, I impressed them. They cut some guy and signed me.”

Miller completed his masters while playing for the Bills. He was with them through the third preseason game, about four months. The following year, he moved to Germany to play football for the Saarland Hurricanes.

“Football’s big in Europe,” Miller said, “and the most hardcore fans I’ve ever met are German.”

After his stint with the Hurricanes, Miller returned to the States and settled in College Station, where his fiancée, Jessica Smith, is currently a veterinary student at Texas A&M. He was hired as a research assistant and later as a research associate at the Real Estate Center. His position there coincided with his decision to pursue a Ph.D. in economics. He’s on track to finish his degree in 2022.

Although much of Miller’s research with the Center has focused on international economics, he says he’s particularly interested in housing markets.

“I’d like to research the positive and negative impacts homeowners’ associations have on housing markets,” he said. “There’s not much data out there, but with the resources available at the Center, I think there’s some meaningful research to be done. I’m also interested in public sector economics and politics. Every day, important decisions are made that have economic consequences that need to be evaluated.”

Miller says the special thing about economics is the flexibility it provides a researcher. “You can create an economic tie to almost anything.”

Miller’s latest article, which he co-authored with Real Estate Center Research Economist Luis Torres, is called “Globalization’s Effects on Texas Housing.” It’s available online.

– By Bryan Pope, associate editor, Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University

Categories: Centers, Featured Stories, News, Real Estate Center, Spotlights, Staff

By Venkatesh Shankar, Mays Business School at Texas A&M University

Courtesy: The Financial Brand

As we near the end of 2017, what’s in store for 2018? Will it be economically better for us? What technological shifts will we witness? How will it change our and organizations’ behaviors? What will be the major business trends? How will marketing change? How will retailing transform? Marketing Professor Venkatesh Shankar of Texas A&M University offers his predictions for such questions.

The world and U.S. economies are expected to continue their growth in 2018. Although the world economy is predicted to grow by about 3.6 percent, developed economies are anticipated to grow just under 2 percent. The U.S. economy will grow in the low-to-mid 2 percent level. Unemployment in the U.S. will remain in the low four percent level. Inflation will continue to be modest. U.S. wages might rise by 3 percent, but U.S. healthcare costs will also likely grow faster, by 6 percent. China’s economic growth might slow a bit, but China will march on in economic prosperity. Interestingly, next year, Chinese tourists will far outspend American tourists, a trend that will continue until 2025.

Courtesy: cioandleader.com

2018 will witness the emergence of Gen Z or centennials (those born 1995 or after), the first generation born with devices in hand. Currently numbering 70 million, members of Generation Z are entering college or the workforce and are rising in influence. Because they are more digitally native than the baby boomers and millennials, they will play a huge part in digital transformation. Regardless of the level of their influence, the interplay among three generations, baby boomers, millennials, and centennials will lead to interesting digital dynamics in the society and workforce.

Deeper into digital

More people will be connected and will be digital. For example, by the end of 2018, half of adults in developed countries will have at least two online-only media subscriptions.

Spurred by Pokemon augmented reality (AR) experience, AR will become more mainstream with AR enabled apps and smartphones. More than a billion smartphone users around the world will create augmented reality content at least once during 2018.

Livestreaming will become more mainstream. China will become the world’s largest livestreaming market at $4.5 billion, almost doubling in size from 2017.

Consumers will increasingly use visual and voice searches. In fact, as more devices, people, content, and services become intertwined, we will see a super digital network – or what Gartner calls a digital mesh.

By the end of 2018, digital will impact more than half of the $4 trillion U.S. retail market. Groceries, the last bastion of brick-and-mortar retail, will start moving more rapidly online. The role of sales associates in retail will diminish or dramatically transform.

Courtesy: vca.ag

Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to make rapid strides, affecting our daily lives, business decisions, and societal changes. AI will reshape customer experience. Chatbots will become the face of AI and will change the way apps are configured. However, these technological enhancements come with downsides. About 30% of the organizations will see a decline in customer experience performance.

Companies will use more of machine learning and AI tools to enhance their businesses. For example, about one-tenth of the purchase decisions will be guided by AI or machine-learning powered agents.

Behind the learning curve

The negative rub of the technology advances is that by 2018, the United States could face a shortage of 140,000-190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with big data analysis expertise. This creates huge challenges as well as opportunities for data science and analytics programs.

Courtesy: bitcoin.com

Finally, cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin will surge in popularity. Blockchain technology, the backbone behind the cryptocurrencies, will start to take a stronghold in financial exchanges and collaborations. Speculation will keep the cryptocurrencies’ values wildly volatile, but they will rise in importance as a viable future alternative. In fact, if one had invested $1,000 in bitcoin in 2008, it would be worth over $40 million now. Similarly, litecoin has returned 5,700 percent in 2017 alone!

 

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Faculty, Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Michelle Hickox ’89 graduated from Mays Business School’s Department of Finance and has spent her time over the years since giving back in numerous ways – as a donor, a mentor, and a member of its executive board.

She is currently executive vice president and CFO of Independent Bank Group Inc. – an expanding, publicly-traded bank based in McKinney, Texas.

She and her husband donated a $30,000 gift to establish the Michelle ’89 and Rob Hickox ’90 Commercial Banking Program Excellence Endowment. It aims to support the teaching, research, service, and professional development activities of the Commercial Banking Program at Mays Business School. The flagship internship program in the Mays Department of Finance is designed to equip students with the best practices for a career in commercial banking. CBP provides a rich developmental environment by combining formal learning, industry experience, and professional mentoring.

Hickox said that before the large Texas banks failed in the late ’80s and early ’90s, most new bankers started their careers in those large bank training programs. Since then, there has been an absence of formal training programs for community banks. Now that the banking industry is vibrant again, programs like the one at Texas A&M provide a depth of bank-specific training to prepare students for their first job in a commercial bank.

James W. Kolari, JP Morgan Chase Professor of Finance and Academic Director of the Commercial Banking Program, said Hickox’s leadership on its executive board is important to helping ensure the success of the Commercial Banking Program. “Michelle is Director of the Student Recruitment Committee, which is engaged with all aspects of recruiting, both external and internal, of students into the baking program,” he said. “Michelle’s generous gift works to ensure that our banking program will be permanently endowed to support the education of young Aggie bankers in the future.”

Dwight Garey, executive director of the CBP, stated that Michelle is steadfast in her involvement in and support of the banking program. “Advisory Board members like Michelle are the sparks that inspire us to remain unwavering in our mission of educating and training the next generation of bankers,” he said.

Categories: Alumni, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Finance, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, 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

AgScents

By Kristopher Muir, Clinical Assistant Professor

Imagine you’re a Mays graduate student and you just got out of class. In addition to walking to the library, you’re checking voicemails on your phone related to your team’s startup company. In addition to looking at social media to see what your friends are up to, you’re checking your company’s social media page for analytics. During your coffee break, you’re huddling with your CFO, CEO, and other team members in order to solve the latest crisis: your supplier has canceled your order. What do you do? If you can imagine any of these scenarios, you might be a Master of Science (MS) in Business student.

In its second year, the MS Business program is the newest graduate program offered at Mays Business School. MS Business is a 36-hour, 11-month general business graduate degree offered to students who do not have a business undergraduate education.

Mays Business School students have spent this semester “learning business by doing business” through the integrated business experience (IBE) course, designed to teach MS Business students how to start and run their own business in only one semester. In only its second year, the four student-run companies earned a collective profit of $18,352 that they were able to donate to local charities in addition to the 229 service hours. These numbers serve to validate that the MS Business program aligns with both the Mays vision of advancing the world’s prosperity and the Mays Grand Challenge of Entrepreneurship. …Read more

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Philip Mann and fellow interns dressed for scavenger hunt.

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

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

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

Shawn Mays

Shawn Mays

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recalling her career of achievements and offering inspiring industry advice, Cathy Works Helmbrecht ’85, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, recently visited with Mays Business Honors students as part of the Mays 2017 Transformational Leader Speaker Series. Helmbrecht received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University and has affiliations with the Aggie Real Estate Network, Texas A&M Greek Former Student’s Network, and the Women Former Student’s Network.

Helmbrecht started with PwC right after her graduation from Texas A&M and has been with them since, serving in various roles throughout her career. She realized pretty quickly into her first job that she was using skills from all of her classes, not just what she learned specifically from her major. She told the students, “the skills you learn as a business major branch across degrees. You won’t just stick to one thing, like accounting.”

She shared her personal struggles in finding a work/family balance and dealing with feelings of burning out on certain things. One student asked whether Helmbrecht had experienced critics in being a woman in her role. She explained the pressure she experienced in the industry stemmed mostly from herself. The toughest time of her career was when she had kids. She experienced an internal struggle of wanting to continue her success in her career, but also knowing she needed to step back to be a good mother to her children. “You don’t always have to be the top at what you’re doing,” she said. “You need to be satisfied, and doing well for the sake of your kids and family. You have to take things one step at a time and truly find that balance.”

Helmbrecht went further into detail about the key things that have brought her success in life and in her career:

  • Communication is key in all aspects of your career
  • Learn how to keep people around you motivated
  • Keep an organized schedule
  • Have a strong team/support network behind you
  • Take vacation time when you have the opportunity

Business Honors major Taylor Wiest ’19 said Helmbrecht’s talk encouraged her “to find my own support network and not be afraid to rely on others when the time calls for it.”

When the conversation turned to internships and entry-level positions, Helbrecht advised the students to “intern somewhere that you would want to eventually work, as those companies are investing in you as a potential hire.” She also urged the students to “explore a lot of opportunities out there, ask a lot of questions, and understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. Have a roadmap for the big picture and a purpose of what you are doing.”

Helmbrecht’s story was an inspiring one, and clearly had an impact on the students attending. Business Honors major Bridget Davies ’20 said Helmbrecht’s story “encouraged me to try new things and continue to challenge myself so that I am always learning.” Business Honors major Asad Engineer ’20 said Helmbrecht’s story “inspired me to find a company that I can trust and stay with.”

Categories: Accounting, Alumni, Business Honors, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

“Imagine that it is a Friday night, you’re tired from a long week, and you just do not want to do much,” freshman Daniel Shulkin said to the crowd. Shulkin added to the narrative by mentioning how the weekend flies by, then Sunday rolls around and suddenly, “It’s 7 p.m. and you have economics homework due at midnight and two tests coming up.”

To help the average college student, a group of Mays Business School freshmen have come up with a nearly foolproof framework for beating procrastination.

Procrastination is something most students have struggled with at some point in their college years. Most college students become stressed, and force themselves to stay up late getting school work and studying done at the last minute. Daniel Shulkin, Allison Kaczynski, Hannah McNease, Tanner Malone, and Zoher Darugar from Richard Johnson’s Freshman Business Initiative (BUSN 101) class were competing against 5 other groups which had developed mental frameworks for tackling college’s challenges. These freshmen were chosen amongst six other groups to give a presentation on Nov. 13 introducing a plan for procrastination, a GAME Plan to be exact.

Out of the entire class, 35 students were chosen to be apart of the Freshman Excellence Initiative (FEI), which is a more exclusive branch of the Freshman Business Initiative that included an intense application process. Students who were chosen exemplify not only the Mays Business School core competencies, but also have the skills and the drive to make a difference in the business world. Jack Youngblood, a BUSN 101 peer leader, came up with the idea to split the students up into groups of five, and then have them come up with a framework in just one week to present to all the BUSN 101 peer leaders. After this, one group was chosen to present in front of the entire class.  

The group presented to their 200-person class a four-step plan for beating procrastination, which consists of:

  • The Gathering stage. In this step, students are to write down dates for everything they need to do or might do in a planner or in their phones.
  • The Assigning stage.This is when students sort all their gathered information and prioritize each event, giving each activity a time slot.
  • The Making stage. Once students sort through their gathered information, they should make a concrete schedule of what they need to do during the day.
  • The Execution stage. This final step is when students actually put their plans into action.

Gathering, Assigning, Making, and Execution make up the acronym GAME, which is an almost foolproof way to beat procrastination, if implemented correctly. Darugar said “the acronym made [their] presentation stand out amongst the other groups, because it is so memorable.” He also mentioned that he thinks their group was chosen over all the other groups because their plan was the most applicable to students, since every student has procrastinated at some point.

McNease added that she now knows how to manage her time better, because she has actually started using The GAME Plan in her everyday life. “Once you get used to the process, it is really easy to implement” McNease said.

“This process has really helped me improve my presentation skills and increase my confidence, considering I have presented more in this one semester than I have in my life” Kaczynski exclaimed. “As a freshman, getting up in front of so many people is intimidating, but now that I have done it, I am ready to take on any other presentation in the future.”

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