Next week, a class of 25 veteran entrepreneurs will be traveling to Aggieland to participate in Texas A&M’s annual Reynolds & Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV). EBV is hosted by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, a member of the Mays Business School. From July 20-27 participants will engage in an intensive, experiential training program where they will learn and practice the skills needed to succeed as small business owners. They’ll be taught by Texas A&M faculty and staff, network with local entrepreneurs, and will depart as honorary members of the Aggie family. This year’s program marks the 12th anniversary of EBV at Texas A&M.

When asked why the McFerrin Center views EBV as an invaluable program, Director Blake Petty responded, “We take pride in the quality and impact of each of our Center’s 30 annual programs, but EBV holds a truly special place in our hearts. For these military veterans – many of whom deal with service-related disabilities – we recognize that transition back into civilian life can be daunting. Accepting additional risks by deciding to launch their own business only compounds these challenges. We aim to provide a comprehensive educational experience and support network to help ensure the success of our EBV participants. We’ve seen this one-week intensive experience save careers, change lives, and build lasting relationships between Texas A&M and these military heroes. As we prepare to launch our 12th annual EBV program – our ‘Maroon Anniversary’ requires that we once again raise the bar on our commitment to serve those who have served our country, and help them successfully launch and grow their entrepreneurial dreams.”

EBV is a 12-month-long program divided into three phases. Phase 1 is a three-week online, instructor-led course where participants shape their business plans. Phase 2 consists of an intensive eight-day residency at a university where participants learn the “nuts and bolts” of business ownership from established entrepreneurs and educators. Phase 3 provides post-graduation support and mentorship through EBV Technical Assistance — managed by the IVMF.

Founded in 2007 at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, EBV has expanded to include ten world-class universities. These institutions deliver EBV to post-9/11 veterans who desire to develop the skills and tools needed to launch and maintain successful businesses. Assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), corporate partners, foundations, and private donors allow participants to attend the program cost-free.

Visit ebv.vets.syr.edu for more information.

Categories: Entrepreneurship, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

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 first step is the hardest

If you have ever asked a 6-year-old what they want to be when they grow up, you know that there are few things that dissuade them from their dreams. In their mind, the possibilities are endless. However, at some point in their journey of becoming, they’re told there’s a step that has to be made, a benchmark to be accomplished, a kink in the plan. Often, higher education can feel like that. When I finish all my research, then I can genuinely make a difference… If I could get one more certification, then I can prove I’m a world-changer… Once I have my degree, I can really do something… Jim Kolari’s Finance 462 “Live Bank Case” students are already changing the world for a bank in Hondo, Texas.

Humble beginnings

Community National Bank (CNB) has found itself between a rock and a hard place. A mostly rural town, Hondo has been watching the Texas giant, San Antonio, slowly encroach on their city limits. CNB board member, Bill Freed said, “Our community is changing, and if there is anything I’m interested in seeing in the overall growth product, it’s what can help us define our community and what happens when a community changes so rapidly.” Freed likened the Hondo/San Antonio growth to that of Sugarland to Houston and McKinney to Dallas. “They were their own well-defined communities for years, then the sprawl of the metropolis comes in and not only encroaches but actually acts like a tsunami and washes over the area,” Freed explained.

For a once small-town bank like CNB, the imminent danger of large-city encroachment with big bank players like Frost and Wells Fargo could be detrimental to the local bank. CNB was started with a group of businessmen who formed a small-town community financial institution and obtained their charter in 1980. CNB Chairman of the Board, Tom Rothe, said, “The bank opened in 1981 with $1.6 million. That sounds like nothing now: you can’t get a bank off the ground without $10 or $15 million capitalization, but then that was a lot of money.”

Banking in the real world

And Kolari’s students know that. The 41 commercial banking students who took the field trip to the bank are either graduating seniors or graduate students and have taken multiple banking classes, completed internships, and are all about to enter into the real world of banking. Kolari said, “This (live bank case) is ideal for us. This portion of the program is focused on community banking. They get to get in here and find out real problems that community banks are having in the U.S. and Texas, and they’re happening all over, with small, community banks being challenged by the growth that they have in their communities, and also the survival, against bigger banks.”

This Live Bank Case is the first that Kolari has executed in his 40 years at Texas A&M, and Kolari could not have predicted the outcome. For the study, the students were broken into small groups to come up with solutions to maintaining business, while creating new customers and establishing a sustainable strategy. “I was flabbergasted,” Kolari said. “I had a front-row seat to the Aggie Spirit at work. [The students] took this project to heart – it wasn’t just a grade to them. They sought counsel from industry professionals, drew on experience from past internships and jobs, and even looked into the fine details (like finding the coordinates of the busiest intersection and calculating the cost of a billboard installation) to create actionable plans.”

Kolari mentioned, “I can tell you that 99% of schools don’t have a banking class in their college of business. We’re a very rare program; we have a little over 100 students, graduate and undergraduate.”

CNB executives saw the effort and knew that the Commercial Banking Program students would deliver, so they traveled from Hondo to College Station to hear the students’ presentations.

“We had not been able to share the presentations with all of our board members before the May board meeting, but now we have all seen the presentations and it is on our agenda to discuss at the June meeting,” Rothe explained when talking about the solutions they were presented. “[Other board members] and I have been discussing many of the ideas presented and have been scouting locations and opportunities for growing our brand using the input received.”

High impact learning yields high impact results

At Mays, it is common to hear that we are committed to providing high-impact learning experiences. That means we commit to educational experiences that deepen learning and foster student engagement. Rather than simply listening to a lecture, learning by rote, and taking an exam, Mays students are given the opportunity to actively pose and solve problems, work collaboratively in a community of peers, experience real-world applications of knowledge, and reflect on their learning processes. Through these high-impact learning experiences, Mays students change the world, a degree in hand or not.

Categories: Finance, Mays Business, News, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

Mays Business School hosted the 2nd annual Interactive Marketing Research Conference (IMRC) during March 27-29 at the CityCentre campus in Houston. Dr. Venky Shankar, Coleman Chair Professor of Marketing at Mays, chaired the event. Approximately fifty researchers from all over the world attended to showcase their research on data and market trends, featuring over twenty topics.

Keynote Presentations

The event kicked off on Wednesday, March 27, with a research poster session, followed by a reception at the nearby Hotel Sorrells with an address from Mays Business School Dean Eli Jones.

Thursday morning began with an industry keynote address from Damian Fernandez-Lamela, VP Analytics at Fossil. Fernandez-Lamela spoke on the watch market experiencing continuous negative growth from since 2015, with major disruptions in two areas, product technology and distribution/supply chain. The goal of the Fossil marketing department now is to improve the ROI and make smarter decisions using analytics. The company is also working on expanding its focus from just the U.S. to the global market. He also highlighted two marketing challenges: analyzing every touch point along the purchase journey, and determining consumer willingness to pay using surveys.

The academic keynote address came from K. Sudhir, James L. Frank Professor of Marketing at Yale University. Sudhir discussed changes associated with the big data revolution in the customer journey (marketing, engineering/CS, social science) and transparency across firm silos (cross-functional coordination). Sudhir is director of the Yale China India Insights (CIIP) Program. He leads the data-driven consulting and research collaborations with a range of Fortune 500 companies at the Yale Center for Customer Insights.

Thursday concluded with a dinner and a keynote address from Puneet Manchanda, Professor of Marketing at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. Manchanda focused on the topic of how society achieves content creation and consumption through a historic analysis of online behavior with the news publishing industry as the focus. Going forward, “if you’re not willing to reward people for creating content, you won’t have it,” he explained.

Award Winner

Mays Marketing Ph.D. student Unnati Narang was presented with the 2018 Shankar-Spiegel Award for the best dissertation research in interactive marketing. Her proposal was chosen from a large competitive pool of research proposals. Her research is on mobile marketing, in particular, retailer mobile apps

Research Presentations

The research presentations by academics covered a gamut of topics, including social media, mobile marketing, robots, digital consumer behavior, and artificial intelligence. A wide array of methodologies were on display, ranging from econometrics to field experiments to machine learning.

Panel Discussion

Friday’s events included a panel discussion on interactive marketing with Pat Coyle, Chief Revenue Office for Texas A&M Athletics, Sarah Darilmaz, Head of Audience Excellence for Annalect , and Vineeth Ram, Chief Revenue Officer for OLI Systems.

Coyle focused on identifying the anonymous customer/fan and using data to track their behavior. He explained how fans wants camaraderie, consistency, recognition, and access to sports and their team. He talked about how to engage fans who approach athletics with a lot of passion through digital marketing.

Darilmaz spoke about digital billboard marketing and using geolocation data to support marketing content for the audience. She also discussed the difficulties with digital advertising against the privacy vs. personalization trade-off.

Ram discussed his experience in Business-to-Business (B2B) eCommerce, working with artificial intelligence technologies, and collaborating with digital publication companies, to grow OLI’s social media presence. He added that comparative metrics on digital media is what governs strategy.

 

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

At Mays Business School, we step up to advance the world’s prosperity. Our mission is to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,400 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and for faculty research.

Categories: Faculty, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

2nd Annual Aggie PITCH Awards $50,000

COLLEGE STATION, APRIL 2, 2019 – The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its second annual Aggie PITCH on the evening of April 2, 2019. Aggie PITCH is open to all currently enrolled students and seeks to identify the best student business pitch at Texas A&M. 10 student teams were selected as finalists to compete for $50,000 in prize money. The finalist team members represented 6 colleges and over 15 majors. Each team was allotted 10 minutes to give a pitch on their business and field questions from a panel of expert judges. The 2019 finalists boasted impressive entrepreneurial endeavors that included medical devices, novel web applications, and products to serve the military and first responders. At the end of the night the top 5 teams were announced and awarded significant cash prizes. “As predicted, our second annual Aggie PITCH was an even greater success, with teams from across campus showcasing the fact that Texas A&M stands at the forefront of entrepreneurial innovation. Our students are poised to solve the biggest and greatest challenges facing society, and the McFerrin Center stands ready to help our Aggie Entrepreneurs along their successful journeys.”

2019 Aggie PITCH Winners

1st Place ($15,000): LCLIP, Ahad Azimuddin

2nd Place ($12,000): Zanbazan, Nargis Mourey

3rd Place ($10,000): Polylabs

4th Place ($8,000): Lazarus

5th Place ($5,000): SKYPAWS LLC

A full listing of the 2019 Aggie PITCH finalists and winners, including company descriptions, can be found at tx.ag/AggiePITCH

2019 Aggie PITCH 1st Place Winner: LCLIP

2019 Aggie PITCH 2nd Place Winner: Zanbazan

2019 Aggie PITCH 3rd Place Winner: PolyLabs

2019 Aggie PITCH 4th Place Winner: Lazarus

2019 Aggie PITCH 5th Place Winner: SKYPAWS LLC

Categories: Uncategorized

Shannon Deer, Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs at Mays Business School, hosted the 2019 Mays Business School Energy Symposium on March 15 at Texas A&M University’s CityCentre campus in west Houston. Attendees included current and former students representing Mays Houston-based degree programs in all areas of the energy sector.

Energy is one of the three Strategic Initiatives in Mays’ Strategic Plan.

Guy Baber ’06, Vice President of Investor Relations at Marathon Oil Corporation, delivered the keynote. He began with his family’s history in the field and his personal passion and commitment to the energy sector. His discussion included how market forces have changed the upstream landscape over the past several years and how investor preferences continue to evolve. He then fielded questions from those in attendance and remarked on how the industry will likely reach equilibrium once U.S. operators commit to growing production responsibly and living within cash flows.

…Read more

Categories: Centers, Energy, Executive Speakers, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, News, Programs, Research, Students, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

By Carleigh Lenz ’19

Scott Moscrip ’93 began his first successful company, Truckstop.com, in 1995 when internet entrepreneurship was on the absolute cutting edge. Truckstop.com provides a matching service for trucks and freight – “the eHarmony of shipping,” as Moscrip calls it. Some of Moscrip’s entrepreneurial roadblocks were clearly unique to the time (his early customers did not know how to access the Internet), but his experiences provided him with timeless lessons on entrepreneurship. Moscrip shared some of the lessons he learned from his successes and failures with students in the Mays Business School on March 1 as part of the Mays Innovation Research Center’s Professional Speaker Series.

The trucking industry is complicated in that each party is hostile toward the other. Truckstop.com provided companies and truck drivers with a neutral intermediary position to keep everyone happy. Mr. Moscrip found that the best way to please all parties involved is to be transparent. Much of the tension between the parties stems from distrust, but the transparency provided by Truckstop.com eased the nerves of Mr. Moscrip’s customers. He has worked hard to pay close attention to his customers’ requests and often hosts customer retreats to hear what people need from his service. He then uses his customers’ feedback to modify Truckstop’s service.

…Read more

Categories: Entrepreneurship, Mays Business, Mays Innovation Research Center, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

“Retail is about one simple thing: delighting customers”

Those are the words of Jim McIngvale, owner and founder of Gallery Furniture in Houston.

McIngvale, better known as “Mattress Mack,” spoke to more than 350 students, faculty, staff, and local business leaders for the 22nd annual M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Lecture Series on Feb. 27 at Mays Business School.

Hosted by the Center for Retailing Studies, the M.B. Zale Visionary Award honors innovation and success in retail. Donald Zale, the son of the Zale Corporation founder, presented McIngvale with his award prior to his presentation.

For more than three decades, Gallery Furniture has been a staple of the Houston community. From their years of excellent customer service to McIngvale’s television catch-phrase “Gallery Furniture saves you money!” to the furniture retailer’s involvement in the local community – Jim McIngvale is a retail icon. …Read more

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

Students from the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business School traveled to New York City in January to receive scholarships and awards from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF) and National Retail Federation (NRF) Student Program.

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

“The YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund case study competition this year focused on the Globalization of Fashion. Students were required to select a fashion retailer to expand globally into another country where they had no current brick-and-mortar presence,” explained Cheryl Bridges, Interim Director of the Center for Retailing Studies and Executive Professor. “Our students had to create a marketing and financial plan for their choice, and support their project with primary and secondary research.“

The FSF scholarship winners from Mays (pictured above)
Jacquelyn Armstrong `19 for her project: Anthropologie to Paris, France
Avery Heldenfels `19 for her project: Restoration Hardware into China
Samantha Hunt `19 for her project: Academy Sports+Outdoors to Mexico
Manu Garikipati `20 for her project: Nordstrom to Dubai

Garikipati also received $10,000 in scholarships and finished as a top 5 finalist for the NRF Next Generation Scholarship.

FSF winner Heldenfels remarked “During my time in NYC with the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund, I was given networking opportunities I never thought could happen. I was able to meet many influential executives and students in the fashion industry that are changing retail’s future. YMA FSF granted me an open door to their network of Alumni and Sponsors, which has already been incredibly valuable as I start my career.” Heldenfels was also selected as the NRF Texas A&M student ambassador for the 2018-2019 academic year.

NRF 2019
Addison Maynard `21 received the Rising Star scholarship for NRF 2019. “One of the most impactful aspects of the NRF Student Program was the mentor round table discussions,” she explained. “Being able to engage with presidents, CEOs, and founders, of leading retail companies such as Nordstrom, Pet Smart, and Brooks Brothers, was amazing. Being nominated as the 2019 Rising Star allowed me to grow my knowledge of the retail industry, meet impressive people that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting, and exposed me to what my future could become.”

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL
At Mays Business School, we step up to advance the world’s prosperity. Our mission is to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. Mays Business School educates more than 6,400 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its programs and for faculty research.

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

For the second year in a row, students from Mays Business School joined undergraduates from 20 colleges across the U.S. to participate in the University Student Outreach Program and Trade Show in Chicago, hosted by PLMA (Private Label Manufacturers Association).

The PLMA Trade Show highlights innovative private label brands and products from food & beverage, houseware, kitchenware, outdoor living, home & health, and more. More than 1,500 companies from 40 countries showcased their products. Exhibitors ranged from small producers to well-known national brand makers like Aspen Products, Delta Brands, and Jelly Belly who also supply store brands.

Students received hands-on learning experiences about private/store brands, retailers, and manufacturers to bring new products to store shelves. Each student paired with an exhibitor on the trade show floor to observe manufacturers pitching their products to potential buyers.

“The PLMA University Outreach Program was one of the most incredible and invaluable learning opportunities I’ve received in my education,” explained marketing major LeAnn Percivill `21. “I learned about global industry trends, how grocery retailers are staying competitive, and personal stories of triumph and success in the private label food industry. This gave me the opportunity to connect with suppliers and buyers from all over the world, from small pasta suppliers in Italy to large cookie suppliers in Canada.”

Mays participants received mentorship from industry leaders including: Deborah Ginsburg – CEO of Strategia Design, Peggy Davies – Vice President Association Relations at PLMA, Sam Mayberry – COO of Food Lifeline, John Evans – Director of Private Brands for Weis Markets, and Judy Clark – Senior Vice President of Sales for TreeHouse Foods. Educational sessions included topics on building a career, the role of store brands, eCommerce in today’s retail industry, along perspectives from retailers and manufacturers.

Jody Hall, Director of Resourcing, and Rovey Gutierrez, Global Resourcing Manager, from Center for Retailing Studies corporate partner H-E-B also provided mentoring opportunities for Radney and Percivill.

“I had the honor of shadowing H-E-B buyer, Rovey Gutierrez, while he was searching for water bottles to be sold under the H-E-B Hill Country Fare brand. He carefully explained the role of the manufacturer,” said marketing major Katherine Radney `18. “Rovey and his colleague, Jody Hall, set an amazing example with vendor relations. They both approached each of these manufacturer relationships with the utmost respect, doing business in a kind way that clearly makes the industry and world a better place.”

Students also attended the annual meeting for WISE (Women Impacting Store Brands Excellence), an independent non-profit professional development organization that promotes diversity and inclusion in the private label industry.

“This program offered me lifelong connections, wisdom, and inspiration and I can never thank the program or the Center for Retailing Studies and PLMA enough for the fantastic opportunity,” Percivill added.

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