Jordan Nixon, September 2nd, 2022
“I’m not a big crowd follower,” he assures me, “but there’s a time and place for everything…sometimes you just have to go with the flow.” The story packaging this gem is one about Kevin gripping his duffel bag, pushing through a crowded airport in Germany, and rushing to catch a flight back to the United States for a $70 million presentation. According to Kevin, his flight was getting out of there even if no one else’s was—it wouldn’t be the first time he willed something to work. Ultimately, belief wasn’t enough.
Years have passed since Kevin Moore, now director of the esteemed MS Finance program, has run through an airport with his bag in hand. He has suitcases with wheels now. And even though his days as the guy who assures the big, bad firms of a good deal are now over, he knows a great idea when he sees one. So, when Sorin Sorescu, Executive Associate Dean of Mays Business School, appointed him executor of a program that would allow Texas A&M to compete at the highest level of finance, it was a no-brainer.
What made Kevin Moore, former analyst and part-time Tuesday night professor, qualified for such a lofty task? He had a unique set of qualifications and an atypical experience that made him the perfect fit. It was a match made in Kevin.
The House that Kevin Built
Plus, he’s big time. His students adore him. Brittny Efendy, Chemical Engineering ‘22 and MS Finance ‘23, and Michael Miller, Industrial Distribution ‘20 and MS Finance ‘21, cited Kevin in their figurative ‘memorable moment’ catalogs from their time in the program.
“He’s great.” -Efendy ‘23
Ask his team, and it is clear that they also think the world of him. A few minutes into our hour long conversation, I, too, have sent in a membership for the fan club.
In all of his grandeur, he’ll tell you that he is only as good as the people around him. And at 6:30 am in September 2021, his trusted circle—a group of accomplished Aggies— responded hurriedly to a call of duty, selflessly and willingly—frazzled nonetheless—on his behalf. The core group that would lead MS Finance down its intended path to graduating another prestigious class of future financiers rallied, committed and prepared to “point and shoot” as Kevin would say.
Forced to step away from his high-perching post due to a health complication, MSF needed to be rescued from the threat of crumbling under its own prestige. Luckily, Misty Page, Donna McClure and Rebecca Itz—“The All-Stars” as they are sometimes referred to— embraced the challenge. None of them opted to wear a cape while absorbing the weight of the MS Finance program because not all superheros do.
It’s September 2021, and in the midst of shaking off the fatigue from the infamous MSF August boot camp, Page, Associate Director of MS Finance, received news that dramatically changed her trajectory. At 6:31 am, she unofficially had two full-time jobs—only one of which she actually signed up for. Over an undisclosed period of time, she was the provisional Director of MSF. She inherited the responsibility of introducing 150 highly desirable students to the robust world of finance fully equipped with business attire, etiquette skills, and know-how; her hands were entirely too full.
In her new role, Page was responsible for maintaining the level of excellence in all things academics, career development, and corporate relationships. “There was no time to think, I had to act,” she said. She was on a mission.
Within the next few hours, the call reverberated through Mays Business School. From it, a small, but mighty task force consisting of Page, two student workers, and Itz, an academic advisor by day and Master’s Student during “off” hours, was born. And by 10 am, carried by adrenaline and a resounding theme of “what do we have to do to get the job done,” they had created a plan for the rest of the semester.
For the next six weeks, Page worked 70 to 80 hour weeks—a significant increase from her usual 45 to 50. That is until McClure, current Associate Program Director of MS Finance and proud Aggie, whose sole ties were in the Mays Career Management center, readily absorbed some of the load. In a way, as much as MSF was Kevin’s baby, she too felt a deep connection to the program and her students. Just ask the job offers she didn’t take because of the work she wanted to continue doing within the MSF program.
“I couldn’t even think about saying no, not stepping in, not doing whatever I have to do to make sure things go well” -McClure.
McClure accepted the portion of responsibility that focused on the relationships between employers and students. In layman’s terms, she was entrusted with the holy grail of the MSF Program: the advisory board. Connections are key in the highly competitive landscape of Financial Services, Consulting and Corporate Finance, and as an MSF student, advisory board members are the people to meet.
In the meantime, Itz, who describes herself as someone “who helps students achieve their academic goals for two overlapping degrees,” would try to keep everyone from falling off the rails while also handling the challenging logistics of two trips: one for the sophomores, which Moore traditionally handled, and a strategically unprecedented one for graduate students planned for December of that year.
The Last Puzzle Piece
Months into a concerted team effort, Chris Wilson, member of the MSF Steering Committee, Chartered Financial Analyst, and Chartered Market Technician ‘88, heard the call. He was offered an executive professor role for Kevin’s classes at the start of the second semester. It was an opportunity, well beyond his initial offer to guest lecture. And with a plethora of knowledge, experience, and qualifications that eerily resemble Kevin’s, he checked all of the proverbial boxes. Only, he had never taught a semester long class and lived two hours away, so this too, would be a squeeze.
Perspective. Perhaps attending program orientations as the father of Colin and Parker Wilson, both MSF ’23, foreshadowed his place at the front of the classroom the following semester. Or maybe acknowledging the impact of the fabled MSF bootcamps on his sons’ level of professionalism and preparedness gave him the energy to overcome his lack of teaching experience. Wilson has witnessed every side of the gem that is MSF and his reviews do nothing but glow—his enthusiasm radiated through our phone call. As a member of the Steering Committee, a group that oversees the entire program, he understood the hierarchy of associated companies; the gold standard companies hire the most Aggies. He observed the maturation of his sons in just a summer. He had the vote of confidence of the man in charge and all of the people who make things work. He was sold.
Moore’s confident and speaks with pace and certainty. Amidst stories regarding the determinants of success, the magic of high-caliber alumni networks, and the nuances of his journey, it isn’t until we get to his connection to the students—arguably the piece that differentiates MSF from other rigorous programs—does his demeanor change. His eyes water with passion and dreams. “Before anybody believed in them…before they knew they were going to be great…I knew.” The legend behind the high-functioning machine is, at his core, a man who believes in his students.
They all believe. MSF has a standard of excellence—admired by many, but executed by few—because every member of the team cultivates the growth, development and–ultimately–the success of the students, and to one another, at whatever cost. They are propelled by loyalty and service to a cause that is far greater than any one of them.
Since that early morning call, MSF Class of ‘22 has graduated, 150 of 152 students have acquired internships, and Kevin is back in his assumed palace within Wehner, albeit part-time. Representatives of 30+ MSF ally companies have taken over “industry briefs” once reserved only for experienced faculty; the number has ballooned from 4 or 5 to 11. And most notably, every person who has touched the MSF program in the last year expanded their capacity without thinking twice. They love what they do. They love watching their students, be they sophomores or recent graduates, blossom into high performing stars in the companies of the future.
Polished, High-Performing Professionals
According to the Advisory Board, as shared through McClure’s beaming smile, graduates of MSF are “polished, professional and they can perform.” So too, is the group behind them. They are leaders committed to building leaders. Achievers who nourish the minds of achievers. They are Aggies, and Aggies help Aggies become the best versions of themselves. The work that this core group has done in light of unforeseen circumstances is a reflection of the 100-year-old 12th Man lore that we Aggies hang our hats on. After all, we are one school with one vision sustained by a spirit that can ne’er be told.
Unlike the majority of his counterparts, Kevin Moore isn’t an Aggie by degree, but wholeheartedly one by action and association. His essence oozes throughout the home that he has built within Mays Business School. So much so, MSF students meet the expectation of excellence because, according to their esteemed leader, “winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing”. Marry the Texas A&M core values with industrious students, a dedicated staff, and an unmatchable drive of a prized leader, and you have your match, undoubtedly made in Kevin.