Students from Mays Business School recently participated in the annual YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) case study competition. Sixty of the top business, retail, and fashion design programs from universities around the country were represented – including Parsons School of Design, Harvard, Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, and Academy of Art University.

As the premier educational fashion non-profit in the U.S, FSF seeks to identify and create career opportunities for students worldwide. FSF grants the largest sum of money and total number of scholarships in the entire fashion community. It also offers hands-on experience via internships with the world’s top fashion companies and most influential leaders – such as Nordstrom, Ulta, and Lululemon.

For the 2018 FSF case study, students were asked to explore a retailer of their choice regarding how the integration of digital technology with offline shopping can improve performance. They spent an entire semester developing a business plan, promotional campaign, and financial analysis.

“My project primarily focused on transforming the fitting room at and allowing customers to ‘virtually immerse’ themselves into an environment of their choice. They can see how they really look beyond the blank-space fitting room when trying on clothes,” explained marketing major Payton Cupstid ’19.

Eight Aggie students were awarded $5,000 each in scholarship funds. Cupstid received an award of $15,000 for a perfect score on her case study paper. Texas A&M was the only university in the competition to have a student that finished with a perfect score.

Students received their awards in New York City on Jan. 9 at a gala featuring special guests such as style icon Martha Stewart and fashion model Coco Rocha.

“It was a challenge, but a fun challenge. The ten-page business plan required a lot of work and many hours of my time, but I enjoyed every minute I devoted to it,” said Cupstid. “I was able to utilize my skills and passions, while also creating something that resembled the abstract thinking and hard work that I am willing to take on to succeed.”

Cheryl Bridges, Executive Professor of Marketing at Mays and mentor to the eight winners, reflected on the trip. “This whole process takes a tremendous amount of work and effort outside the classroom,” she said. “The idea is to get them excited about the industry, and prepare them to hit the ground running when they start their career.”

Students like Payton Cupstid understand the importance of transformational learning opportunities like the FSF case study competition.

“If you’re applying for an internship or full-time job, you’re already ahead of other candidates because you get to showcase your work,” she added. “Mays and the Center for Retailing Studies do a wonderful job of providing students with learning opportunities.”

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

An important aspect of the Mays Business School Strategic Plan is connecting Texas A&M students to former students, industry partners, and employers. The M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar program is shining example of this vision.

Named for the innovative merchant M.B. Zale, the founder of Zale Jewelry Company, the program emphasizes professional development for top retailing students at Mays. The Zales Scholars program is open to all business majors, with a highly competitive application process.

Through hands-on learning experiences that span two semesters, Zale Scholars build industry knowledge through interaction with retailing executives from across the state and country. Some of these experiences include a trip to New York City over Spring Break to tour retail flagship stores and buying offices. Monthly Friday seminars teach negotiation, effective communication, and professional presence.

“I encourage all business students to apply to the M.B. Zale Scholar program. This program will give you the necessary tools that will launch you to success, and finding your dream job,” said Supply Chain Management student Allison McGraw ’19, who just completed her final semester in the program.

Students attend the annual Retailing Summit, an executive education conference in Dallas, hearing case studies from top 100 retailers to startups.

“As a Zale Scholar, I view all of the program’s experiences as professional development opportunities to gain a better understanding, and evolve my personal career mission. From executive coaching, lunches, and coffee chats, I have networked with numerous professionals and gained multiple perspectives on how to deliver value beyond the ‘perfect product’ and discover new methods to interact with customers in a relevant way,” explained Marketing student Aricka Anderson ’18.

Zale Scholars also participate in on-site visits where they can observe the workplace environment. In October, the group visited the headquarters of Francesca’s in Houston.

“I researched Francesca’s as a high schooler, and it was studying this company that I decided I wanted to study retailing. Being a member of the Zale Scholar Program has given me numerous opportunities for face-to-face interaction with Francesca’s recruiters and internship coordinators,” added Business Honors student Caren Valenciano ’20.

The M.B. Zale Scholar program provides impactful learning experiences for students, and helps develop transformational leaders for tomorrow.

Categories: Center for Retailing Studies, Centers, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Shifting consumer attitudes are favoring online shopping more and more compared to brick-and-mortar stores, according to the 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study released by Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

Even with traditional stores adding more convenience services such as curbside delivery and in-store pickup, the shift toward online shopping has remained steady.

Four out of five consumers (81 percent) agreed with the statement that they “love the convenience of online shopping,” while 78 percent agree that “online shopping saves time and money.” Relative to physical stores, 62 percent agree that “online stores offer better value.”

The study is based on a nationally representative online survey of 5,881 adults conducted during October-November 2017. The margin of error is +/- 1 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

“Our study identifies the two big drivers of retail—convenience and value—that are fuelling online growth. Yet, physical stores will not vanish,” said Shrihari Sridhar, Center for Executive Development Professor of Marketing at Mays Business School. “Results show that 69 percent really enjoy going to a store and window shopping. There is also some backlash against online shopping, with 38 percent agreeing that e-commerce has taken out all the pleasure from shopping. Traditional retailers are at a critical strategic juncture. They need to balance the value and convenience of online shopping with the pleasure of in-store browsing.”

To challenge Amazon’s dominance in online sales, traditional retailers are responding to these elevated consumer expectations for convenience.

Retail giant Walmart announced that it will offer same-day store pick up for a greater variety of hot products ranging from the iRobot Roomba robotic vacuum and Xbox One S gaming system, to a 70-inch Vizio 4K television. Not only does Walmart provide the option for customers to receive a text alert once an order is ready, they will also have the ability to collect items in-store as late as 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Target, with 1,834 stores, recently acquired grocery delivery startup, Shipt. The acquisition builds an important same-day delivery network for Target.

“Brick-and-mortar retailers can leverage their physical store locations to get products to customers as quickly as possible,” added Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School.

The 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study is conducted by the Collaborative for Customer Based Execution and Strategy, sponsored by the Center for Retailing Studies, and underwritten by the R.C. Barclay Endowed Library Fund. The goal of the study is to provide an evidence-based approach to incorporate the customer’s perspective in strategic planning and execution for retailers. The research team for the Retail Study includes Vikas Mittal and Kyuhong Han at Rice University, along with Biwong Im at Texas A&M University.

For more information, contact:
Kelli Hollinger, Director, Center for Retailing Studies
khollinger@tamu.edu; 979-845-5898

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

Holiday shopping is increasingly migrating online, according to the 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study. This is the first consumer holiday report conducted by Mays Business School at Texas A&M University.

In 2016, about half of the participants (52 percent) did more than 40 percent of their holiday shopping online. This year, 62 percent plan to do more than 40 percent of their holiday shopping online. The vast majority of all consumers intended on shopping both store aisles and via digitally engaged devices, with fewer than 10 percent of respondents planning to only patronize physical stores.

This shift in consumer buying behavior is most affecting fashion products such as clothes and shoes, which top many wish list items at Christmas. About one in three respondents (34 percent) shop for these goods online.

The study is based on a nationally representative online survey of 5,881 adults conducted during October through November 2017. The margin of error is +/- 1 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

“Shoppers are the most clear about their shopping preferences during the holidays because of the planning it requires. These changes are here to stay,” said Shrihari Sridhar, Center for Executive Development Professor of Marketing at Mays Business School. Particularly retailers dealing in trend-influenced goods – like apparel, shoes, and jewelry – need to develop stronger digital options, because customers find online shopping to be a time saver and value generator.”

The 2017 C-CUBES™ Benchmark Retail Study was conducted by the Collaborative for Customer Based Execution and Strategy. Mays’ Center for Retailing Studies and the R.C. Barclay Endowed Library Fund sponsored the research, which analyzed shopping preferences across several consumer categories including fashion merchandise, grocery, health/beauty, office supplies, and pharmaceuticals. The goal of the study is to provide an evidence-based approach to incorporate the customer’s perspective in strategic planning and execution for retailers. “The report confirms that consumers are rapidly transitioning their holiday shopping from brick-and-mortar stores to online purchasing. The findings should guide retailers to invest in omnichannel capabilities, such as in-store apps, social media platforms, and efficient product search,” added Sridhar.

This is the first of five planned trend reports based on the survey. On April 11, 2018, the Center for Retailing Studies will host a half-day seminar in Houston for business executives to explore the findings in-depth.

The research team for the Benchmark Retail Study includes Vikas Mittal and Kyuhong Han at Rice University along with Biwong Im, a doctoral student at Texas A&M.

For more information, contact:
Kelli Hollinger, Director, Center for Retailing Studies
khollinger@tamu.edu; 979-845-5898

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

The Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) at Mays Business School welcomed new CRS board member and partner Jeff Mooney to campus on November 15. Mooney serves as Divisional Vice President for Dollar General, overseeing 1,800 stores in Texas and Oklahoma.

Speaking to students in three marketing classes and the Student Retailing Association, Mooney highlighted Dollar General’s rapid expansion, impressive shareholder returns, and humble company culture.

Dollar General is ranked #128 on Fortune 500, with 127,000 employees in over 14,000 stores across the U.S. Mooney’s territory alone recorded sales exceeding $2 billion. Dollar General has more stores nation-wide than any retailer outside of the food industry. In an era of store closure, Dollar General accounts for 80 percent of net new store openings in the U.S. since 2008.

Because of this growth and strong brand, Mooney stated “We cannot hire enough talent, we have to grow it.” Texas A&M is the first university to partner with the Nashville based retailer to launch an accelerated district manager career program. Recent graduates would start as store managers and progress to district supervisors with responsibility for 18 stores averaging $30 million in sales within two years.

To take care of its customers, Dollar General takes care of its employees. “The customer experience will never be better than the employee experience,” Mooney explained. Dollar General’s friendly employees are willing to make things more efficient for the customer. According to Mooney, it is easier to teach skills than to teach others how to connect with people.

Mooney also emphasized Dollar General’s culture of serving others. The company understands its customers, who are largely value-conscious consumers living paycheck to paycheck. Many rely on government assistance. He pointed out that delivering on the promise to serve others is crucial.

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

Aggie TenX12 Start-Up Showcase (left to right) Andy Ellwood ’04, McCalley Cunningham ’18, Juan Zermeno ’17, Saurav Agarwal ’16, and Madison Nicole Robinson ’20

Texas A&M University’s Center for Retailing Studies (CRS) hosted its annual Retailing Summit on Oct. 12-13 at the Westin Galleria Dallas. CRS is part of Mays Business School.

This year’s conference featured executives from Crayola, Dollar General, GPO, Johnson & Johnson, Nature Nate’s, Poo-Pourri, Root, Signet Jewelers, Walgreens, and Zoës Kitchen. A new addition to the Summit included a session with founders of four start-up companies launched by current and former Texas A&M students.

Major themes emphasized throughout the Retailing Summit included:

  • Customer experience as a key to competing with Amazon
  • Investing in people as assets and differentiators
  • The need for companies to be purpose-driven in order to draw attention from Millennials, who want to be part of something bigger

Impact

“Through the proceeds from the Retailing Summit, we are proud to support leadership programs and curriculum for our retailing students,” says Kelli Hollinger, Director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School. “This conference embodies Mays strategic commitment to developing transformational leaders, students, and executives, who constantly innovate and challenge the status quo.”  …Read more

Categories: Uncategorized

In response to the ongoing reports from employees and students who have been heavily impacted by Harvey, we have created a disaster relief program to help identify and meet the rising needs of our Aggie family.

Those in Need

In response to the ongoing reports from employees and students who have been heavily impacted by Harvey, we have created a disaster relief program to help identify and meet the rising needs of our Aggie family.

Because of very limited funds and supplies, we ask that people only request services that they critically need. An advisory board will help determine the support for each request and allocate our finite resources.

We appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience with this process. We are doing everything we can to make sure everyone in our Aggie family is cared for. If you are a member of the Aggie community and need assistance, please let us know through one of the links below:

Resources

FEMA is offering assistance with housing, employment, finances, food, housing, legal aid and medical expenses. Visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-FEMA (3362) for more information on how to request assistance.

For food, clothing, evacuation/transportation assistance, or other immediate assistance, contact:

USA.gov offers advice for dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, from seeking disaster assistance to moving back into your home.

Coping with a disaster can be emotionally distressing. You can talk to a professional who can help you cope with this stress at the Disaster Distress Line. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.

The widespread damage caused by Hurricane Harvey has led to many rumors and misinformation. FEMA has posted a Rumor Control web page listing many of these rumors and whether they are true or false.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Wednesday Update:
Mays Business School CityCentre Houston facility will be closed until Monday, Sept. 4. Professional MBA classes are cancelled for the weekend of Sept.1-2. For any students experiencing severe hardships, including difficulty with returning to classes in the near future, please contact Student Assistance Services and the MBA Program Office: Executive MBA: Julie Orzabal jorzabal@mays.tamu.edu and Professional MBA: Mike Alexander malexander@mays.tamu.edu.
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Tuesday Update:
Mays Business School CityCentre Houston facility will be closed Tuesday, Aug. 29 and Wednesday, Aug. 30. All classes and activities are cancelled.
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Monday Update:
Texas A&M University-College Station officials announce that classes on the College Station campus will begin as planned on Wednesday, Aug. 30.  For updates on the College Station campus, visit emergency.tamu.edu
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Sunday Updates:

Texas A&M University-College Station officials announce that classes are cancelled Monday, Aug. 28, and Tuesday, Aug. 29. For updates on the College Station campus, visit emergency.tamu.edu

Due to inclement weather, Mays Business School CityCentre Houston facility will be closed on Monday, Aug. 28 and Tuesday, Aug. 29. All classes are cancelled.
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Friday Update:

Due to inclement weather, Mays Business School Executive MBA classes at CityCentre Houston are canceled at 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 25 and all day on Saturday, Aug. 26. For updates on the College Station campus, visit emergency.tamu.edu.

Categories: Uncategorized

For Roger Montemayor ’99, entrepreneurship is synonymous with confidence.

His guiding question is simple: “Do you believe enough in yourself to take on great risk for great gain?”

Believing in himself to take risks has been integral to his success in taking the helm of his father’s company, Victory Insurance, and growing it to the point of attracting the attention of the one of the largest brokerage firms in the world, Arthur J. Gallagher, where he is now area president.

Since he was a college student majoring in business management, he has had all the makings of an entrepreneurial spirit — drive, passion, and a love of leading others to accomplish great things.

“I knew early on that I wanted my performance to control my destiny and took a job offer from my dad to work in sales,” he said. He worked for his father’s company Victory Insurance selling commercial property and casualty to businesses in around the Houston area.

In 2009, Montemayor decided to purchase the agency from his dad and his partner.

“Immediately after he closed, I formulated a plan to diversify our business and focus heavily on growth. I created a personal lines division, that focused on high net worth, complex personal insurance needs. I also opened up a group benefits division, Victory Benefits Advisors.”

Montemayor said that both of these divisions created instant organic growth for the company. By 2016, he had doubled the top line growth of his agency.

Montemayor said he has always had a passion to build business and to lead. “I think it’s because I love the pressure, I love the hustle, I love competition and I’ve never been complacent.”

Montemayor easily recalls a highlight of his career: In 2016, when Fortune 500 company Arthur J. Gallagher sought out with interest in a merger.

The rewards of his endeavors with Victory Insurance have been vast for Montemayor, especially when it comes to the people with whom he works. “I love the responsibility of taking care of my employees,” he said. “It’s extremely fulfilling to know that if I do my job the way that I should, many others will also share in the success.”

Montemayor also underscored that his background at Mays has been invaluable in helping him succeed. “The environment at Mays promoted competition and cultivated a drive that prepared me for the real world.” He credited the community of professors and mentors who were attentive to his preparation and growth.

He added that that the strength of the Aggie network has been crucial. “As Aggies, we take care of each other and we do business with each other. I’ve created so many professional relationships with Aggies, it’s unbelievable.”

 

 

 

Categories: Alumni, Center for Executive Development, Entrepreneurship, Management, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

The airline industry is dynamic and in constant flux, perfect for entrepreneurial-minded types like Michael Cox ’77, vice chairman of the Seabury Advisory Group. A self-proclaimed airline geek since childhood, Cox has spent nearly 20 years with consulting and overseeing the restructuring of numerous airline clients on a variety of projects, including airline treasury corporate finance and airline restructuring.

Cox joined Business Honors students for lunch on his visit to Mays Business School, where he spoke of the current state of the airline industry and some of the lessons he’s learned in his career.

Globalization is changing the game

“Consolidation of airlines around the world is happening at a faster pace,” Cox said, adding “often at the expense of medium to smaller airlines. Yet we’re also seeing more joint ventures supplanting global airlines in importance.”

He said the most important part of Seabury’s business is restructuring. “Airlines that are restructured are driving global profitability. In order to be effective, the restructuring must be comprehensive, touching everything from labor to network, capacity, fleet and other costs. Not many airlines realize this when they first approach us. We have to show how important a holistic restructuring is.”

Some of the restructuring efforts Cox has led include those for Frontier Airlines, South African Airways, Air Mauritius and Gulf Air. He also led the Seabury team in successfully restructuring the aircraft debt/lease obligations for the reorganization efforts US Airways, Air Canada and Northwest Airlines.

The creative side of finance

Cox earned his bachelor’s of business administration in finance from Texas A&M University and an MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Texas at Austin.

He said he was drawn to the industry by his love of air travel and natural inclination for environments that require creative thinking. “Restructuring in the industry requires being comfortable with risk-taking and ambiguity. I like to think of restructuring as the creative side of finance.”

Be open to others’ perspectives

Some students wanted to hear about what lessons in teamwork he’d learned from his years overseeing negotiations and functioning as a project manager. “I make sure everyone has a voice, from the new college graduate to the veteran consultant,” Cox said. “I’ve learned that you have to respect the other person’s perspective and that it’s OK to not have all the answers.”

Business Honors major Arun Mathew ’19 said the lunch with Cox was a great experience. “He was a very down-to-earth individual, and he made the presentation interesting and interactive,” Mathew said.   

PPA and Business Honors major Preston Pownell ’16 added that he enjoyed the discussion and appreciated the opportunity to “see glimpses into what it truly takes to succeed in an increasingly competitive business environment.”

Categories: Uncategorized