Competition is no stranger in the SEC. Whether it’s athletic or academic prowess, students at each university are driven by the desire to be recognized as “#1.” The 2018 SEC Student Pitch Competition boasted an unrivaled level of innovation, skill, and grit that could only be found in the Southeastern Conference.

This year’s competition was hosted at Texas A&M University by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship.

On Sunday, Oct. 7, all competitors and their respective directors were invited to a private welcome reception. To kick off the evening, the group was led to a private room where they were greeted by Chef Mikeal Frey of the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center and given a short lesson on how to “make your own” guacamole. The students were then let loose for the first-ever “SEC Guac-Off.” Cross-conference teams were assigned to different tables and they each had 12 minutes to make their own avocado masterpiece. Afterward, the multiple judges and center directors attending the reception voted on their favorite recipe. This cleverly executed icebreaker helped to set the tone for the rest of the evening.

“We wanted to give the students a fun and uniquely Texan opportunity to get to know each another as colleagues versus competitors,” commented Blake Petty, director of the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. “Being a student entrepreneur can be difficult and lonely, and many can become isolated from their peers. We wanted them to understand they are not alone, that there are students all over the SEC pursuing similar passions.”  Students carried their culinary creations back to the dining room, chatting with one another like they were friends rather than rivals.

The SEC Student Pitch Competition was a day-long affair during which each SEC University Champion Team (one per university) presented in front of two preliminary round panels of three to five judges in parallel sessions. This ensured that all teams were seen by the same judges. The judges were all alumni of an SEC school to help keep the scoring as unbiased as possible. Teams were evaluated on the quality of their pitch and the viability of their business. On Monday, Oct. 8, 13 teams competed, but only three would be selected as finalists.

Final pitches were held at the All American North Club in Kyle Field ,and open to the public. Local entrepreneurs, SEC alumni and family and friends braved a stormy evening to see if their team would be announced as a finalist. Blake Petty emceed the evening and held the crowd in suspense as he recapped the day. Finally, Petty announced that the finalist teams were Roo Storage from University of Missouri, Lapovations from University of Arkansas, and Navibās of University South Carolina. Teams were allowed 10 minutes for their pitch with five minutes of Q&A. Each pitch was remarkably well structured and involved the innovative use of existing technologies in a novel manner.

After a long deliberation, Lapovations was announced as the 2018 SEC Student Pitch Champion – the second year in a row for an Arkansas team to take the title, and with it a $5,000 cash prize. Second place and $3,500 was awarded to Roo Storage, and third place and $1,500 was awarded to Navibās.

When asked what makes the SEC Student Pitch Competition unique, Petty said, “There are hundreds of business plan competitions at universities around the globe, just as there are hundreds of athletic events each week. What sets the SEC Student Pitch Competition apart is its convergence of athletic and academic competition, against the backdrop of entrepreneurship and innovative, real-world problem solving. Just as exciting as it is to see our favorite student athlete make it into the pros, how exciting is it to see our fellow SEC student entrepreneurs competing to make a real difference in tomorrow’s marketplace?”

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Students, Texas A&M

Former students and friends often express gratitude to their former professors with gifts in their honor to the Texas A&M Foundation. In recent years, several Mays faculty members have been honored through these types of gifts.

In Fall 2018, a group of former Business Senior Fellows surprised Executive Professor John Van Alstyne ’66 and his wife Anita with the establishment of the Mays Fellows Endowed Excellence Fund in the couple’s name. This endowment through the Texas A&M Foundation will support the Business Fellows program’s students, teaching, and professional development.

…Read more

Categories: Alumni, Departments, Donors Corner, Faculty, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, News, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

By Richard Gay ’22, Business Honors

A company can set itself apart with strong and intentional relationships with clients and employees. Main Street Capital Corporation has developed its entire business around this idea. Their primary service is providing capital solutions to lower middle market companies – hence the name Main Street and not Wall Street. Main Street strives to build relationships and customize transactions to meet the unique needs of each of their portfolio companies.

Mays former student Brent Smith ’97 (accounting) and ’98 (PPA), Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Main Street Capital Corporation, spoke on Sept. 27 to Business Honors students. He said Main Street’s unique business model involves more than just a financial investment as it truly “takes an investment in people.” Main Street does this by working closely beside the ownership and management of all the companies in their portfolio and committing to the long haul. Building these relationships drives Main Street’s success. Smith also discussed Main Street’s culture in the office feels like a family where everyone is fully invested in the success of the company. “Even the receptionist owns our stock,” Smith said.

…Read more

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

  

October Startup Spotlight

When YouTube was founded in 2005, no one could have foreseen that the video sharing platform would become an entrepreneurial hot-spot. Professional YouTube creatives generate a product, work with key strategic partners to achieve business goals, develop healthy revenue streams, and engage with their customers to better direct their products and brand. Sounds a lot like running a business, doesn’t it? A professional YouTuber is now, well, a thing. Not only a thing, but a legitimate commercial venture for hard-working creators.

Tyler Anderson ’19 is one such creator. His YouTube channel, TylersReelFishing, has more than 112,000 subscribers, and he’s uploaded more than 800 videos that have garnered 15 million total views. Did I mention he’s done all of this in just five years?

…Read more

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

When Sydney Carsten ’19 began her undergraduate career at Mays Business School, she did not know that she would create a class in which students learn about transforming the business of healthcare. The supply chain management and business honors major did not know she would become the first business undergraduate to take graduate classes in the School of Public Health. What Carsten did know, though, was that she had a passion for healthcare and helping others.

That has made all the difference.

“It’s been this journey of discovery and finding my own way,” Carsten said as she recalled how she found her passion for the business of healthcare. “I can make a difference in the university and find purpose in life.” …Read more

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

Mays Business School’s nationally recognized Executive MBA Program welcomes its 20th entering class during the 2018-2019 academic year. Over the past two decades, the Houston-based program has successfully served over 900 current and former students as they develop into transformational leaders.

The program, which is grounded in Texas A&M University’s Core Values, helps students develop cutting-edge professional knowledge and personal leadership skills. Graduates are prepared to succeed in a constantly changing economic landscape and make an impact in their organizations, communities, and world. …Read more

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Spotlights, Students

One year later, Texas is still bouncing back from the historic and catastrophic Hurricane Harvey. A group of Aggies is helping the recovery continue.

The Category 4 storm touched the Texas Gulf Coast on Aug. 25th, 2017, bringing winds up to 130 miles per hour, which led to the destruction of many houses and buildings in the Houston area. Harvey lingered over Houston for four days.

Last year, a grassroots organization made up of Texas A&M University students came together to collect relief supplies for those affected by the storm. They called on the Aggie community, and donations filled an 18-wheeler and four moving trucks with approximately 1,000 cases of water, 350 boxes of food, diapers, toiletries, air mattresses, and other items. In addition, the students were able to raise $30,000 for the American Red Cross as well as attract Aggie alumnus and Denver Broncos superstar Von Miller to captain the initiative. He donated $100,000 toward the group effort. …Read more

Categories: Featured Stories, News, Selfless service, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

The Mays MS Business program gives students who completed an undergraduate degree in a non-business field an opportunity to develop the necessary skills to be successful in the business world. For Bailey Glenewinkel and Ryan Wendt, it has been a game-changing opportunity.

What started as a group project in the MS Business program is now a career for Bailey Glenewinkel. Bailey, a competitive shotgun shooter armed with an undergraduate degree in Agriculture Business, had a yearning to pursue entrepreneurship. While searching for ways to create her own business, a class within the MS Business program gave her the opportunity she was looking for. In the Integrated Business Experience course (IBE), students create a business and organize a service entity that will enable them “to learn business by doing business.” The business that Glenewinkel and her team created, SKNZ Studios, has become her full-time job.

Ryan Wendt was also a part of the first MS Business class in 2017. Before he was admitted into the program, Wendt completed his undergraduate degree in genetics, but was looking to obtain core business knowledge and skills. After completing the MS Business program, Wendt went to work for Keyence and has found success in his role – and was recently named “Employee of the Month” for June 2018.

Mays Business School offers this 36-credit hour program as a single-cohort, action-based, purposely-designed curriculum intended to help students develop core business acumen, cultivate leadership skills, and dynamically enhance professional marketability in an increasingly competitive job market. The MS Business program is 11 months long and is designed for students with less than 12 months of work experience after completing their undergraduate degree. Students coming directly from their undergraduate degree programs can earn their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.

Note: The MS Business application process will start on Sept. 4.

 

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

The percentage of women enrolling in Mays Business School’s Professional MBA Program continues to grow in a sustained effort to increase the number of women leaders in the business world. Over the first five years of the program, female students made up on average 22 percent of each cohort, with a high of 31 percent and a low of 14 percent. The enrollments of the two most recent cohorts (Classes of 2019 and 2020) average 40 percent women, exceeding the national average of 36.8 percent.

This increase is part of the Professional MBA Program’s effort to fulfill Mays Business School’s mission to advance the world’s prosperity. A Morgan Stanley analysis points out that having more gender diversity in businesses results in increased productivity and innovation, better products and decision-making, and higher employee retention and satisfaction. However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, women – who make up almost half of the U.S. workforce – comprise only 27 percent of chief executives and 27 percent of computer and information systems managers. Furthermore, 24/7 Wall Street found that only 14 of the top 234 companies that own many of the world’s top brands had a female CEO; nine of these companies did not have a woman serving in an executive position or on the board. …Read more

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

Chelsea Anderson recently traveled with 42 other members of the Professional MBA Class of 2019. Stops included Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa.

July 30, 2018:

Every so often in life, an opportunity arises that cannot be missed. For me, that opportunity is the international trip with my Professional MBA program at Texas A&M University. Each cohort is able to select their trip destination and my class picked South Africa. I’ve only been here three days and I can already say that we couldn’t have come to a better place.

As I begin my trip, a recurring thought has been: why am I here?Arvind Mahajan, associate dean of graduate programs, put it best when he asked us to reexamine our own biases and integrate this information to determine: What is my truth? Sunday provided our first chance to determine our truth when we attended the Apartheid Museum and afterward visited the Kliptown township in Soweto. We spent time at the Kliptown Youth Program which provides much-needed education and computer training for the youth of the township. We even got to play a quick soccer game with the KYP students.

…Read more

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