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.

Scott Benedict

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.

For more information, please visit crs.mays.tamu.edu

Follow us on social media: @crstamu

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Staff, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

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

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

We’re counting down the Top 12 Mays Impacts stories of the year. It was a year of interesting and remarkable stories about students, faculty, and staff. 

  1. Jennifer Glenn received the 2018 Unsung Hero Award for her triumph over adversity during her time at Texas A&M.
  2. Students had the opportunity to explore a global mindset during trips to Africa and Swaziland.

3. Mays Professional MBA program exceeds the national average in enrolling women. 

4. Bruce D. Broussard ’84 receives the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights award.

5. Mays’ Women’s Leadership Initiative Conference offer insights about transformational leadership.

6. Mays students and faculty provide hurricane relief in Vidor. 

7. McFerrin Center recognized in Princeton Review

8. Graduating seniors credit support of Mays Business School. 

9. Mays Executive MBA Program ranked #11 U.S. public school in Financial Times ranking. 

10. Buc-ee’s president says exceeding customers’ expectations is key to business success. 

11. Scholarship banquet brings donors and recipients together. 

12. 74-72

 

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

By Venky Shankar

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

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Jobs, Mays Business, Perspectives, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

Mays students are often defined by passion and perseverance, and these two graduates are no different. They are both advancing the world’s prosperity and reflecting the Aggie core values through their commitment to serving others and developing themselves. …Read more

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Finance, Management, Mays Business, News, Staff, Students, Texas A&M

In 2017, the average Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopper spent just over $400 purchasing gifts online for the holiday season. Cyber Monday alone broke a record with $6.59 billion in online sales. At the same time, the average online gift to a nonprofit organization has remained steady at just over $100. In response to this difference, Giving Tuesday was established as an international day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide.

Giving Tuesday is a valuable opportunity for individuals and nonprofits to come together under the banner of generosity and philanthropy. On November 27th, people will make decisions, both large and small, to impact their communities. It is a powerful reminder that small acts of generosity can add up to significant change. The numbers provided above often make us think that generosity and philanthropy are words retained for the Bill Gates and Warren Buffets of the world. However, generosity can, and likely will, begin in smaller increments.

…Read more

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Selfless service, Staff, Texas A&M

It has been more than a year since Hurricane Harvey, the Category 4 storm that made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast with winds up to 130 miles per hour, led to the destruction of many houses and buildings in the Houston and Gulf Coast areas.

In late October, 15 students and two staff members representing Mays and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion traveled to Vidor, Texas, near Beaumont, to aid in the continued relief efforts. Most of the students were members of the Regents’ Ambassador Program for first-generation scholars. This is the group’s second service trip to Southeast Texas. Last fall, students and staff worked to “muck out” a home that had been completely submerged during the storm.

The students painted with primer two homes that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey. The project followed another group that had prepared the drywall. The next teams that work on the homes will continue to process by applying the paint finish, allowing the rebuilders to begin the floor restoration process. It will take continual, collective efforts to finish these homes.

At one home, the water was waist-deep when the resident’s neighbors rescued her in their boat. Both homes’ residents – older females – are still residing in FEMA trailers. One resident was out of town when the students worked, but her daughter hosted the group and worked alongside them, swapping stories about SEC schools and football. The other resident, challenged with mobility issues, was incredibly appreciative for the group’s efforts, as she is not able to work on the home herself.

The team partnered with non-profit group Nehemiah’s Vision, which still has about 140 homes in line to be repaired. The organization is calling on all able school, religious, and community groups to partner as they work to rebuild the area. Many residents still reside in FEMA trailers, and some have departed their homes without expectation of a return, due to the associated costs of rebuilding.

…Read more

Categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Faculty, Mays Business, Selfless service, Spotlights, Staff, Students, Texas A&M