Lead Story

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans boosts ideas

Stephanie Burns, July 18th, 2018

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship welcomed 22 veterans to Aggieland for the 11th annual Reynolds and Reynolds Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) on the evening of Saturday, July 14.

EBV at Texas A&M University is an exceptional initiative that leverages the resources and infrastructure of higher education to provide entrepreneurial skills and small business management training to post-9/11 veterans with service-connected disabilities. Part of a nationwide consortia of nine universities offering EBV to disabled veteran entrepreneurs, the overall goal of Texas A&M’s program is to open the door to economic opportunity for our veterans and their families by developing their competencies in creating and sustaining a commercial venture.

The opening ceremonies were held at the Association of Former Students with a welcome address made by Kathryn Greenwade ’88 of the Association of Former Students and opening remarks made by David Shimek ’86 of the program’s underwriter, The Reynolds and Reynolds Company.

Honoring the past, encouraging the future

Ron Poynter, retired Army helicopter pilot and EBV Class of 2012 graduate, was recognized with the Robin ’76 & Robert Starnes ’72 EBV Outstanding Alumni Award and delivered an encouraging and thoughtful speech to this year’s participants. Poynter encouraged the 2018 class to stay focused and engaged in their industry’s trends and to be prepared for a lot of hard work.

The program consists of a 21-day online course followed by a nine-day residency at Texas A&M. During the in-residence portion of EBV, participants will spend the week attending lectures and workshops at Mays Business School’s Center for Executive Development, where they will learn about enterprise basics, lean startup methodologies and small business growth strategies. The bootcamp extends well into the evening hours with individual breakout meetings between participants and volunteer mentors from the local community. Thanks to the generosity of the program’s individual and private-sector sponsors, EBV is offered at no cost to the participants.

This year’s class includes business ventures ranging from an eco-friendly flower alternative to healthcare to drone-imaging services, with nearly every venture focused on employing and giving back to fellow veterans.

Charles Dhanaraj, assistant professor of management at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, will visit Mays in late March to collaborate with Management Professor Lorraine Eden. They are researching the legitimacy and survival of foreign subsidiaries, along with Stewart Miller, assistant professor of management at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business. Dhanaraj was awarded the 2001 Barry Richman Dissertation Award at the Academy of International Business for his Ph.D. dissertation, “Legitimacy and Stability of Japanese Overseas Subsidiaries.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Corporate ethics is a hot topic these days. But, at Houston-based Newfield Exploration the issue isn’t a new one. Newfield CEO and President David Trice recently discussed the company’s approach to ethics with first-year Mays MBA students. Trice also addressed the core values inherent in the company, says first-year MBA student Lisa Buckley. “You can never have too many reminders about the importance of ethics,” she says. In fact, Newfield’s core values are closely tied to the Aggie code of honor, as Joe Foster ’56 founded the company, which employs many A&M graduates. Buckley and several other first-year MBAs had the opportunity to interact with Trice and Steven Campbell, head of investor relations, during a luncheon. Not being a native-Texan, Buckley says she came to Mays to become part of the Aggie Network. She didn’t expect it so soon. “After my conversing with Steven during lunch, he has already helped me set up three interviews for possible summer internships,” she says. “The Aggie Network is real.”

Categories: Departments, Executive Speakers, Programs, Students

With state funding even more of a challenge for Texas’ institutions today, external support is critical to helping Mays achieve its goals. PricewaterhouseCoopers recently committed to establishing an Accounting Excellence Fund. Accounting Department Head Jim Benjamin says this $300,000 award will support research and curriculum development activities focused on assurance services, taxation, financial reporting and accounting systems.Benjamin credits Kevin Roach, Texas A&M liaison partner in Dallas, as well as Bill Atkinson ’82 and Ed Machir, Dallas partner and PWC Foundation Board member, for their commitment to Mays’ accounting program. Greg Garrison, national partner in charge of assurance services, will make a brief presentation of the gift at Mays in late March.

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For the third consecutive year, the Mays MBA Program has been ranked among the 100 best in the world by the London Financial Times, the pre-eminent worldwide business publication. This ranking places Mays MBA program in the top 5 percent of the approximately 2,000 MBA programs worldwide. The Mays program ranks 69th overall, up 13 places from last year. Of the 100 ranked schools, 56 are located in the United States. U.S. programs typically dominate the top 10, such as the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard Business School and Stanford University. “Our increase in rankings reflects the quality of our students and faculty,” says Dean Jerry Strawser. “This ranking places us solidly among the top 20 public business schools and continues to indicate the high value of a Mays MBA, as we were ranked second among all U.S. schools in ‘value for the money’ behind only Brigham Young University.”The Financial Times evaluation, in its fifth year, conducts two surveys, one of institutions offering graduate business degrees and the other of students who graduated from the respective schools’ programs three years ago. The surveys are designed to gauge career progression as accrued from the MBA, including salary, salary increments and international mobility. It also includes institutional diversity, including number of women and international students; and quality of the schools’ research, including number of journal publications by faculty and rating of doctoral graduates for programs that produce them

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Thanks to a specially constructed networking environment, students are learning firsthand how to keep information systems and networks safe. The new Business Information Security Laboratory (BISL), within the Department of Information & Operations Management (INFO), gives students real-world experience in defending their systems against cyber attacks.

The laboratory was designed by Michael Grimaila, a visiting professor in the INFO department, to provide students an independent environment where they can learn how to prevent cyber attacks without disabling Mays’ or Texas A&M’s computer systems.

“The sandbox environment isolates the BISL from the university network to allow the safe study of real-world cyber attacks that could destroy or disable computer systems,” Grimaila says. “Tomorrow’s business managers need to be firmly grounded in information assurance principles and practices. Presidential Decision Directive 63 made it clear that our national security, in part, depends upon the information assurance and security of critical infrastructure industries, which are predominately private sector businesses.”

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Each year Mays Business School recognizes outstanding staff members for their hard work and exemplary service. Those honored for 2002 were (from top) Bettie Poehl, Department of Information & Operations Management; Robert E. Brown Jr., Department of Accounting; Kris Morley, Fellows Program; and Sabrina Saladino, Department of Management.

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Dr. Leonard L. Berry, Distinguished Professor of Marketing and the M.B. Zale Chair in Retailing and Marketing Leadership, presented at the 2002 University Distinguished Lecture Series at Texas A&M in December. His lecture, “Improving Health Care Service in America,” was based on his behind-the-scenes research endeavor at Mayo Clinic focusing on healthcare service.

Categories: Departments, Executive Speakers, Faculty

Most people think of capital as money to be invested, but Finance Professor John Groth researches another kind of capital — human capital and the largely untapped creativity of people.

Groth’s latest research paper, “Creativity and Human Capital: International Implications,” explores the human and economic effects of exploiting people’s creativity or letting it expire unnoticed. He presented the paper at the annual International Business and Economic Conference in December.

“When you consider the role of ideas in human history, you realize that creativity is a stronger force than any army in shaping people’s lives,” says Groth. “And today, with a broader definition of creativity, increasing human capital demands more opportunities.”

Groth’s broader definition of creativity expands the range of creative events beyond the inventor in his laboratory or the painter in her studio, to encompass the ingenious ways ordinary people deal with their lives.

“As educators, we need to find ways to convince business leaders and managers to take advantage of the potential contributions brought about by the wider distribution of creative talents and the real diversity of human capital,” Groth says. “I want students, in particular, to come away with the idea of using each person’s individual strengths as opportunities to advance projects important not only to company profits, but to the well-being of society as a whole.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty

The Academy of Marketing Science recently named Professor Rajan Varadarajan the recipient of the Distinguished Marketing Educator Award. Varadarajan, who serves as head of the Department of Marketing, has received numerous awards for both outstanding research and teaching.

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Associate Professor of Accounting Annie McGowan’s article — “The Relation between Cost Shifting and Segment Profitability in the Defense-Contracting Industry” — was featured in the October issue of The Accounting Review, published by the American Accounting Association.

The article was co-authored with Valaria Vendrzyk, a graduate of the accounting Ph.D. program. Vendrzyk is now on faculty at Virginia Tech.

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