Every year Mays Business School nominates five students to attend the Wakonse Undergraduate Leadership Conference in Shelby, Mich. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Lake Michigan and the leadership of students from across the country, participants become Wakonse Fellows – people committed to supporting, promoting, and sharing the excitement and satisfaction of teaching.

The students spent a week enhancing their self-knowledge, leadership, and learning skills to bring back to their organizations at Mays.

Here are some reflections from a student who attended the conference.

“Going to Wakonse, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that it was supposed to be a sort of leadership camp or conference. Once I was there, I still could not completely figure out what it was supposed to be or what we were supposed to learn — until it all finally clicked.

Wakonse encompassed so many things, topics, ideas, strategies, people — that in the end, despite how different each other’s backgrounds were, everyone got out of it exactly what they needed. This is just one insight I had on a list of eight things that I got out of seven days and six nights at Wakonse:

I learned that being vulnerable brings the best out of you and by consequence the best out of others. When you are open, willing to try new stuff, putting yourself out there, showing who you really are, that translates to others. Having a mindset where you assume that people want to do good work and are competent, that people can learn and grow and that people have incredible contributions that they can make, will allow you to let people into your life. If you are open with them they will help you become a better person, they will see that you are not afraid and therefore unconsciously they will mimic that behavior. They will feel inspired by you to take their walls down and let others in, they will allow themselves to grow by being vulnerable. Talking about vulnerability and being your genuine self will take you far. When you are the same person at all times, meaning around your parents, friends, and colleagues, when you conserve your essence and you are not afraid to be judged because of who you are, your personality will bring greatness to the table. It is admirable because it is hard to do, and again, it transmits the best of you to others and by consequence brings the best out of them.”

–   Sam Lopez ’20

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

Mental and physical challenges in an unfamiliar environment with a brand-new team taught the second-year students in the Professional MBA Class of 2019 at Mays Business School about leading. The experience was part of their “Leadership and Professional Development Course” on May 5 at the Corps of Cadets Leader Reaction Course (LRC) at Texas A&M University.

The goal for the Mays group’s LRC event was for students to experience leadership, make quick decisions, communicate thoroughly, express adaptability and use teamwork – all in a new environment under time pressure with limited resources. Through the obstacles and experiences the students were able to build their leadership skills and confidence and team.

Zach Majzun, Professional MBA Class of 2018, wrote the curriculum and led much of the day using his knowledge of LRCs in both military and civilian training job to best fit the Mays Professional MBAs learning objectives. The objectives included: experiencing a high-pressure leadership situation, using and learning a straightforward task leadership framework, and exposing students to teamwork within a new environment. …Read more

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

Rachel Keathley ’18 has been selected as a Gates-Muller awardee and a Fulbright Scholar. She graduated as a Business Honors and management major with minors in economics and Spanish and a certificate in international business.

The Robert Gates-Muller Family Outstanding Student Award, which also includes a $5,000 gift, was presented to Keathley at commencement. It is one of the highest student awards on the Texas A&M University campus. It was established through a gift from the Muller family of Galveston to provide public recognition to the outstanding seniors graduating from Texas A&M who have demonstrated those qualities of leadership, patriotism, and courage exemplified by Robert M. Gates. He served as president of the university from 2002 until 2006, when he was named U.S. Secretary of Defense.

Keathley also will be participating in the Fulbright student program as a Fulbright-Garcia Robles grantee for the Binational Internship program in Mexico City, Mexico. The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The 12-member J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board selects the recipients each year.

A path of leadership

While a student, Keathley has served as events coordinator for the Business Honors program. She was selected as a Public Policy Intern for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and was awarded the Sophomore Gathright and Outstanding Junior award for her college. She has served on multiple committees, including University Disciplinary Appeals, the Student Health Services Advisory Committee, and Wiley Lecture Marketing committee.

She is heavily involved in local ministry services such as the Philadelphia Sisters, Save Our Streets Ministries, and the Grace Bible Church Street Team. Her references extoll her commitment to “being a true friend,” someone who cares for “the frequently overlooked,” and who has the ability to “stay true to what she believes in, even in the face of challenges.” This fortitude was demonstrated during her term as elections commissioner through which her “conduct was above reproach”—showing “initiative, integrity, and leadership” while handling challenges “with grace.”

 

 

 

 

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

Mays Business School recognized 27 undergraduate students as Spring 2018 Martha Loudder Medal of Excellence recipients for their willingness to invest additional effort into their academics.

Named for Mays Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Accounting Professor Marty Loudder, the medal recognizes students who intentionally engage in their educations in and out of the classroom, and who engage in the reflective portfolio process to maximize their learning.

To be eligible for the medal, students first participate in a minimum of three high-impact experiences such as a peer educator position, an internship, or a learning community. Each student then completes a comprehensive learning portfolio, which includes self-awareness exercises and reflections on key experiences like those above.

The portfolio is showcased on a personal website, and serves as the final selection criterion for the Loudder Medal. Reviewers look for comprehensiveness, depth, and clear connections among stories, lessons learned, and future goals.

…Read more

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

Mays Business School produces a fresh batch of capable, confident, and courageous young people at each commencement ceremony. This year is no different, when 1,310 students graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees Thursday, May 10. Here are some of their stories:

Amanda “Mandy” Miller

For management major Amanda “Mandy” Miller, selfless service is not only a core value through Texas A&M, it’s also a part of her everyday life. In June 2013, Miller got involved with the Adera Foundation, a nonprofit based in Ethiopia designed to use business as a solution to lead people toward self-sustainability. While working with Adera, she traveled and interned within Ethiopia on five separate occasions. During her time with the Adera Foundation, she created inventory systems and order forms through Microsoft Excel, developed and designed the website for Adera Designs, and connected Adera with two major accounts to carry jewelry from the program. It was involvement in this organization that led her to start her own social enterprise, “Buna: Grounded in Love,” in January 2016.

This initiative stemmed from a passion for two things: building social enterprises and combatting poverty. Buna: Grounded in Love is devoted to delivering an excellent product and providing employment opportunities for underprivileged women. Their hand-roasted coffee is available for purchase online, at pop-up markets, and at four local retailers, including Aggieland Outfitters. Mandy’s post-graduation plans include expanding her work with Buna: Grounded in Love by moving to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to take on a more hands-on role in using business to better people’s lives.

  • by Amy Pakes

Cyndie Meersman senior picture

Cynthia “Cyndie” Meersman

Cynthia “Cyndie” Meersman completed her bachelor’s degree in management with a focus in Entrepreneurial Leadership. Like many students, she began taking classes in her major based on interests she held at the time, which for her included human resources and marketing–fields that generally involve high interaction and ingenuity. To refine her career plans and gain a more worldly perspective, Meersman studied in Norway for a summer. Not only did that experience allow her to gain cultural insights and friends from across the globe, her coursework provided a perspective that she always knew was there, but that she hadn’t fully explored.

Through a course exercise, Meersman learned that she prefers a job that is both autonomous and creative, much like she experiences with her love of painting. That course exercise sparked an idea: she could pursue her love of the arts within the realm of business. Drawing upon early course lessons in interaction and ingenuity, Meersman founded The Business of the Arts, a student organization designed to enlighten students about careers in art and how to make those careers a reality.

It is no surprise that along the way, Meersman’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to the Entrepreneurial Leadership track for her degree. Her integration of the arts in business will serve her well as she continues both passions after graduation, initially continuing to paint while she finalizes plans to pursue a graduate degree in art leadership on her path to museum and gallery management.

  • by Kristi Mora

Niyonsaba Magnifique

Mays management graduate Niyonsaba “Magnifique” grew up in a refugee camp in Tanzania. Arriving in Houston to a completely different life at the age of 12 provided her with a unique perspective, which translated to a passion helping those less fortunate than herself.

Magnifique was told at an early age by her parents that education is the key to success in life and the way to break the poverty cycle she had seen so much of in Tanzania. She graduated as the salutatorian of Lee High School in Houston and was awarded a full ride to Texas A&M University through the Posse Foundation.

She is quick to credit her success to mentors who have helped her succeed in both high school and college.

Magnifique has held leadership roles in a number of Texas A&M organizations, including Aggies Creating Sustainable Solutions, Maroon and White Leadership Fellows, and the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference. In addition, she completed an internship with BakerRipley, where she researched new curriculum for elementary ESL teachers to help foreign, illiterate students learn English. However, her desire to help others get the education they seek didn’t stop there.

Her goal after graduation is to run her own non-profit in Burundi and Rwanda with goals to raise scholarship funds to help underprivileged students complete their education and empower them to succeed. The oldest of three children, and a first-generation high school and now college graduate, Magnifique wants to continue to model the core values she has embraced while at Texas A&M.

  • by Amy Pakes and Liesl Wesson

Heather Berry

Accounting major Heather Berry faced several unique challenges throughout her three years at Mays after being admitted as a transfer student. First, as a non-traditional student, it took some time to settle in with the other younger undergraduate students around her. Heather says that “I liked to think that I blended in well” and it is true. Her peers would have never assumed this. She arrived in class dressed the same way, unpacked her backpack with her notes, and occasionally spent the few minutes before class catching up on her phone… she fit right in.

What her classmates probably did notice, however, was an interpreter who assisted Heather each class by interpreting the instructor’s lecture in sign language. As a deaf student at a hearing university, Heather had to navigate how to properly obtain accommodations to help her succeed as well as adapt to the classroom environment at Mays. This didn’t cause her to give up, however. Her interpreters consistently mentioned to her professors that it was a pleasure to work with someone as friendly as Heather and how she had a great sense of humor.

Just as Heather was finally in her groove her second year of classes, Heather got what many consider the greatest news of their lives: she was pregnant. Heather gave birth to her precious daughter in the winter of 2016. While many take time off after a newborn, she continued to take classes (notably her most difficult upper-level accounting coursework) in the next spring semester and each semester after that until graduation.

She balanced a newborn and her coursework, and still found some time to get some sleep.

She is proud of herself, and says she couldn’t have done it without the support of her boyfriend, nterpreters, and professors.

After graduation, Heather is excited to take a short break to relax and then start applying what she learned in her accounting coursework as an Accountant for Communication Service for the Deaf (a non-profit serving the deaf community).

  • by Tara Blasor

 

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

The first-place team in the inaugural Aggie Pitch competition on April 20 was Bezoar Labs – a team familiar to McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship because it received honorable mention in the 2017 Raymond Ideas Challenge.

Of the 10 finalists in the competition in which students from Texas A&M System schools and branch campuses pitch their business concepts, eight had been involved in McFerrin programs (3 Day Startup, Ideas Challenge, and Startup Aggieland).

Bezoar Lab team members said their invention “tackles every element of our planet’s complex web improving its health by creating a safer, more nutritious protein sources for all.” Team members were Ryan Springer, manufacturing and mechanical engineering technologies; and Grace Tsai, nautical archaeology.

McFerrin Center Director Blake Petty said the first competition was encouraging. “Our inaugural Aggie Pitch event showcased the dedication and entrepreneurial spirit behind our top student entrepreneurs,” he said. “McFerrin Center looks forward to enabling the next wave of students within our Aggie Entrepreneurial Ecosystem to be even stronger competitors in 2019 and beyond.” …Read more

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

Students in the Strategic Philanthropy class at Mays Business School awarded $62,500 to six local nonprofit organizations at a celebration on May 3. After researching local nonprofit organizations for the semester, students in the class awarded gifts ranging from $2,400 to $17,500.

That brings the total allocations since the class started in 2016 to $318,000.

Kyle Gammenthaler, lecturer and Coordinator of Social Impact Initiatives at Mays, described at the celebration in the Wehner Building the impact of the course on both the students and the nonprofit organizations. “Strategic Philanthropy provides students with an opportunity to experience generosity firsthand,” Gammenthaler said. “For many students, this is the beginning of a life filled with service and meaningful engagement with nonprofits in our communities and around the world.”

Bill Peel, the executive director of innovation and strategic planning at Mays, welcomed the audience gathered in the seminar classroom. “At Mays, our vision is to advance the world’s prosperity. Our students are challenged to innovate and impact the world around them,” he said. “This class has dedicated a whole semester to researching their community.  Now they will give back to their identified non-profit organizations with philanthropic investments. You will hear our students share their stories about how they engaged their local community and the impact of this transformative experience.”

The winners are…

This semester’s funding was provided by The VanLoh Family and The Philanthropy Lab. The recipients and their proposed projects were:

Northway Farms: $17,500 – Housing infrastructure
Health For All: $15,100 – Critical medical supplies
Save Our Streets Ministries:$13,500 – New vocational training work truck and vocational training program support
Mercy Project: $8,000 – Two social workers in Ghana
Still Creek Ranch $6,000 – TAGGED Program
Family Promise: $2,400 – Operational support
In her overview of the semester, finance senior Lydia Wallis said her overall impressions of the class were that everyone was excited to be there, and that the students considered the people operating the various organizations local heroes.

Wallis said her journal entries reflected her feelings that the class was not just educational, it was a “beliefs stretch.” “It really matters if you surround yourself with people who care,” she said. “Don’t just live, live with purpose. Live with intentionality.”

She closed with her favorite quote, by J.R.R. Tolkien: ‘There is some good in the world, and it is worth fighting for.”

Learn more at the Strategic Philanthropy blog.

Categories: Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Students, Texas A&M

The 4th Annual KPMG Fraud Case Competition Final Round was held on May 1 at Mays Business School. The three teams competing in the Final Round had advanced from the Preliminary Round held there the prior week. Final Round judging was facilitated by Travis Canova, director, and Kelsey Wright from the Houston office of KPMG’s U.S. Forensic Advisory Practice. Executive Professor of Accounting Tim Torno coordinated the competition.

The Final Round case competition participants from Mays Business School included:

Joshua Brookins                     Elizabeth Chavez                    Sabra Jasinki

Alexandra Garefalos               Reagan Farmer                       Rebekah Land

Tara Schwehm                        Alicia Hays                              Morgan Liptoi

Kristine Sebastian                   Camden McKenney                Andy Schultz

Carissa Van Beek                    Temiloluwa Taiwo                  Jake Shields

KPMG 2018 first-place team

The first-place team is pictured below (from left to right): Andy Schultz, Travis Canova (KPMG), Rebekah Land, Morgan Liptoi, Kelsey Wright (KPMG), Sabra Jasinki, and Jake Shields.

 

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

Keith Squires, CEO of PathMaker Group, was invited as a guest lecturer in Henry Musoma’s Management 309 class. This is a reflection his daughter wrote afterward.

One of the things I took away from my father’s speech is what a blessing it is to have the father that I do. The core values he holds have greatly impacted my life and even my own core values. The core value of Balance is a great example. He made Balance a core value within his company because one of his personal core values is Family and spending time with us. This has greatly impacted my life because I had a father who supported me throughout high school; whether it was the choir concerts, musicals, or all day track meets. I could count on the fact that my father would be there. And now in my own life I know that family comes first before my own selfish plans or even, at times, my friends. I am blessed to have a supportive and wise father who wants to help me to achieve my goals.

Since Results is a core value for PathMaker Group, I think that I have seen my father constantly working for the best results for his company within their industry and specifically for their clients. The core value of Results is something that I think I have always had within me. I am a very passionate and committed person who will strive to achieve the best results possible. Right now I apply this value as a student as I am committed to learning but I know that I will strive for the core value of Results in my career as well.

PathMaker Group is also based on Creativity. This core value is one that I struggle with because I am a very logical and straightforward thinker. But without a doubt my father has always pushed me to think creatively, even within my meteorology major, which focuses heavily on math and physics. In fact, he recently sent me an email about how I could even start my own company within my field using established weather data and creating a new practically applicable tool for customers to interpret the data. Now this seems crazy to me; however, it shows how amazing my father is. He has so much faith in my abilities that he knows I can reach for what I think is impossible right now.

The number of people who stood up in class to comment on how beneficial the lecture was and the friends who have talked to me after class make me reflect on the fact the guest lecturer is an extremely wise, talented, and creative man who I am lucky to call my father. Whenever Dr. Musoma mentioned how he dressed up because my father is a CEO, I had to take a step back and think about the fact that I really just know him as my dad. He is the one who has guided and supported me in tough decisions and constantly pushed me to make wise decisions. My father is a very impressive person, demonstrated through his lecture to my Management 309 class and the students’ responses.

After the lecture, my father and I went to get frozen yogurt. While we were talking about how it went I asked him, ”Why didn’t you push me in the direction of doing business?” He said he wanted me to figure out what I was passionate about on my own, and when I was thinking about majors I was leaning more toward the science-based fields of study. This speaks volumes to his character and role as a father because he wants what is best for me and allows me to be independent and choose my own major and career. Even though I know I have my own core values to live by, my father has led by example with his core values for both his company and himself.

  • By Kara Squires ’19

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

A group of high school juniors spent the past weekend attending “A Day at Mays” to learn more about their options as not only potential Mays Business School students, but also as prospective Texas A&M University students. Of a select group of students invited, 35 visited campus.

The overriding goal of the “A Day at Mays” program was to increase the number of students from under-represented groups who pursue degrees at Mays Business School. By doing so, Mays hopes to make a major contribution to the larger objective of ensuring a workplace that is not only diversified, but also staffed by highly skilled employees who are prepared to work in a global and multicultural environment.

Photo credit: Corey D. Stone ’13

The activities began on Friday, April 20, and extended through Saturday, April 21. A dinner on Friday provided the high school students to converse with other prospective students, family members, current students, and Mays faculty at the George Hotel in College Station. After dinner, prospective students paired up with current students in Business Student Council (BSC) and Multicultural Association of Business Students (MABS) and participated in a fun evening at Grand Central Station, where prospective students were able to build connections and ask questions about real “college” life at Texas A&M.

The next day, the students were able to take a walking tour of the Texas A&M campus and then moved to the Cocanougher Center to learn from Mays faculty and staff. Undergraduate recruiter Corey Stone shared with the students the application process for entrance into Texas A&M. He offered honest advice on earning college credit in high school and the requirements for the students to work for. “When in doubt, email me,” Stone said.

After Stone’s presentation, a panel of current PPA students shared their knowledge of their different track decisions and experiences on their internships. They described the opportunities given in public accounting and explained why they chose to do the PPA program, followed by a question-and-answer session for both parents and prospective students. Students were then given a brief overview of the PPA program by Casey Kyllonen, followed by brief overviews of the rest of the departments in Mays.

At the end of the day, prospective students attended an Opportunity Fair where students could ask questions about opportunities at Mays. This provided a convenient way for participants to learn one-on-one about their specific interests and options, after a packed weekend of group discussions and panels. 

The program was sponsored by the PPA program at Mays in conjunction with
PricewaterhouseCoopers. The Profession Program at Mays is an integrated program that allows participants to complete a bachelor’s of business administration in accounting and a master’s of science in one of five business disciplines in just five years.

– By Erin Cullers, PPA student

Categories: Accounting, Diversity and Inclusion, Donors Corner, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, PPA, Students, Texas A&M