COLLEGE STATION, TX, June 29, 2020 – Texas A&M’s Executive MBA program has been named a top ten public program by The Economist, the international publication headquartered in London. The program, delivered at CityCentre Houston, is ranked the #1 public program in Texas, the #9 public program in the U.S., the #21 overall program in the U.S., and #37 overall globally.
TheEconomist survey was based on feedback from current students (classes of 2020 and 2021) and Former Students (alumni) from the classes of 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Texas A&M’s Executive MBA program received the top mark in both “Quality of Faculty” and “Student Rating of Teaching Quality” categories above the rest of the 70 international programs ranked this year. The program ranked #2 in the “Student Rating of Faculty” and “Student Rating of Content” categories, a testament to the sentiment current and former students have for the value of the program.
“I am savoring this moment knowing we have been judged by The Economist as the #9 U.S. Public Program,” said Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, Arvind Mahajan. “This ranking is a major recognition of the incredible students we have matriculate through our program. The expertise and dedication of our faculty and the hard work and perseverance of these students results in an incredible experience and transformation for each cohort. That vast change is the true output; these rankings are an outcome that measures how our students’ entire lives are improved.”
“It’s wonderful to have The Economist recognize the hard work and dedication that the Executive MBA program faculty and staff put in every semester,” said Eli Jones, Dean of Mays Business School. “Congratulations to the faculty, staff, and students that comprise this Executive MBA program and the impact each of them makes to advance the world’s prosperity. I want to specifically thank Julie Orzabal, the director of the program, who since its inception 20 years ago, has led executive leaders and gained results like these.”
Applications for the Texas A&M Executive MBA program are being accepted now for the class of 2022. For more information, visit mba.tamu.edu.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Full-Time MBA program at Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School has again been named a top program globally, according to the 2020 rankings released by Financial Times. Texas A&M Full-Time MBA ranks as the #19 public program in the U.S. and, overall, #86 globally.
In addition to the Top 20 public program in the U.S. ranking, Texas A&M Full-Time MBA ranks #10 globally in “Value for Money,” a score measuring salary, course length, tuition, and other costs, including opportunity cost.
The Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) at Mays Business School is pleased to welcome Scott Benedict as its new director. An accomplished retail executive, he comes to Texas A&M University with more than 35 years of experience spanning traditional brick-and-mortar, eCommerce and international retailing.
Benedict most recently served as the Divisional Merchandise Manager for Health, Beauty & Grocery at eCommerce leader Groupon in Chicago. He has also held positions at Walmart, Sam’s Club, Best Buy, Service Merchandise and Montgomery Ward.
Leveraging extensive experience in retail business strategy, process refinement, and multichannel eCommerce, Benedict brings a track record of helping companies seize opportunities to increase operational efficiencies, control operating costs, and optimize profits while serving customers across multiple business channels.
“We are pleased to have Scott joining us as the Director of the Center for Retailing Studies, and he comes to us with significant executive experience and an impressive record of accomplishment across retail formats,” said David Griffith, Marketing Department Head. “We are happy to welcome Scott into the Mays Business School family and look forward to his leadership of the Center for Retailing Studies.”
With a desire to help influence the next generation of retail leaders, Benedict spent time keeping an eye on various retailing programs across the country on social media, including CRS. When the opportunity came along to join one of the top retailing programs in the nation at a Tier 1 institution, he didn’t hesitate.
“I have a strong passion for retailing, developing future leaders, and working with retailing professionals to share challenges and best practices,” Benedict explained. “CRS gives me the opportunity to do all of those things. We have a wonderful foundation in place.”
At Walmart, Benedict particularly appreciated the company’s core basic beliefs of respect for the individual, service to the customer, striving for excellence, and operating with integrity. His affinity for organizations with strong cultural beliefs is something that makes the transition from the corporate world to the academic world in Aggieland a seamless one.
“I have really enjoyed being a part of organizations with strong values and cultural beliefs,” said Benedict. “Texas A&M’s Aggie Core Values align strongly with what I feel strongly about, and have been taught to believe in my entire professional career.”
Some of Benedict’s areas of expertise include the development of category strategies, supplier performance management, retail merchandising, product marketing, inventory management, omnichannel strategy, and competitive price strategy. In an ever-changing era of retail, he seeks to bring that industry experience and perspective to Mays, and to the Center for Retailing Studies.
“I was taught as a buyer the concept of ‘divine discontent’,” he explained. “In other words, never be satisfied with the status quo and always seek to improve the business and your people.”
Benedict sees the opportunity to deepen the relationships already formed between CRS and its industry partners while examining how the program can grow and change to better equip the retail leaders of the future. “We need to continuously evolve and change in order to serve the dynamic needs of the retailing community now, and in the future” he added.
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:
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.
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 counter–intuitive insight, vulnerability, and humor. Our goal is to be the world’s premier business school podcast.
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.
What will happen in 2019? What will the economy be like? What technologies should we watch out for? How will they change what we do? How will business transform? What will be new in marketing? What changes will retailing witness?
Let me offer my predictions for such questions. …Read more