Lead Story

Professional MBAs develop leadership through a day of high-impact experiences

Kelli Levey Reynolds, June 5th, 2018

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

Tim Chester
Lecturer, Information and Operations Management

-B.A. in Political Science from University of Texas at Tyler
-M.S. in Sociology from Texas A&M University
-Ph.D. in Sociology from Texas A&M University

A week in the life of Dr. Chester is constantly busy, to say the least. In addition to teaching business programming fundamentals, he is currently employed at A&M as a senior IT manager for application development. He is responsible for the design and implementation of the campus’ distributed applications. Dr. Chester also owns and operates his own consulting firm, E-Internet Studios, in College Station.

Outside the Classroom:
Armed with considerable experience and technological know-how, Dr. Chester is responsible for writing the Web code for students’ online class registration, which will substitute telephone registration for the spring 2002 semester.

Haiyang Li
Assistant Professor, Management

-B.A. in Economics, Renmin (People’s) University of China, 1991
-M.A. in Business Economics, Renmin (People’s) University of China, 1994
-Ph.D. in Strategic Management and Innovation, City University of Hong Kong, 1998

Before accepting tenure from Texas A&M, Dr. Li served as an assistant professor in the Department of Marketing & International Business at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. His specialization concentrates on product innovation and business strategies of new technology ventures. Dr. Li currently teaches strategic management.

Outside the classroom:
Originally from Bejing, China, Dr. Li brings academic, as well as athletic, skill to Texas A&M. When he’s not in the classroom, Dr. Li can most likely be found playing an intense game of soccer, badminton or basketball.

Christopher O.L.H. Porter
Assistant Professor, Management

-B.A. in Psychology, Morehouse College, 1994
-M.S. in Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, 1996
-Ph.D. in Business Administration, Michigan State University, 2001

A member of the Academy of Management and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Dr. Porter has interned with the Secret Service and has worked as a consultant for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency and the National Juvenile Detention Association. Dr. Porter teaches and conducts research on managing conflict and negotiations in organizations.

Outside the Classroom:
When he’s not teaching, researching or watching documentaries about the police force, Dr. Porter enjoys cooking, art and spending time with his son, Nicholas.

Christo Pirinsky
Assistant Professor, Finance

-B.S. in Statistics, the University of Sofia (Bulgaria)
-M.S. in Statistics, the University of Sofia (Bulgaria)
-Ph.D. in Finance, Ohio State University

With an impressive history of past teaching experience under his belt, including serving as an instructor at both Ohio State University and the University of Sofia, Dr. Pirinsky currently teaches investment analysis. Specializing in investments, he has published several articles and has been the recipient of several academic fellowships.

On Texas A&M:
“I really appreciate the strong traditions and well-renowned academia,” he says. “The atmosphere here at A&M is very unique because everything concentrates on the university. It’s easy to lose your identity at most large schools, but students here seem to know who they are.”

Michael Grimaila
Visiting Assistant Professor, Information & Operations Management

-B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1993
-M.S. in Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1995
-Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, Texas A&M University, 1999

A native of Bryan-College Station, Dr. Grimaila has interned and conducted research for Texas Instruments and served as a system manager and technician for Lightwave Transmission Systems Division. He has also lectured and conducted research for Texas A&M’s Department of Electrical Engineering. In recognition of his excellence in the classroom, Dr. Grimaila has been the recipient of the IEEE/HKN Outstanding Professor of the Year Award two years in a row.

Outside the classroom:
While working as a Texas A&M Mentor, University Faculty Senator, and principal investigator for the electrical engineering department, Dr. Grimaila still finds time to contribute to the community. He serves as an active member in the College Station Police Department Alumni Association, the Brazos County Citizen Sheriffs Alumni Association, and the Bryan Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association.

Joe Reising
Visiting Assistant Professor,

-B.S. in Economics, University of Minnesota, 1988
-M.S. in Economics, Iowa State University, 1990
-Ph.D. in Finance, Texas A&M University, 1995

After teaching at California State University-Fullerton for six years, Dr. Reising says he “saw the light” and accepted a visiting professorship with Texas A&M. He currently teaches managerial finance and specializes in corporate finance and financial institutions at markets.

Outside the classroom:
Though his research interests include compensation, turnover, and legal/regulatory structure, the only type of course Dr. Reising wants to see at the end of a long week of teaching is a golf course. He also enjoys working on computers and weightlifting.

Bill Richmond
Visiting Associate Professor, Information & Operations Management

-B.A., Cornell University
-Ph.D., Purdue University

After working in academia for a number of years at Rochester and George Mason Universities, Dr. Richmond took a sabbatical from teaching and entered the technology industry. Through exploring a variety of career paths, including providing consulting services for Perot Systems, SAIC, and a dot com company, he gained valuable insight that’s come in useful in the classroom. Now a visiting associate professor in information and operations management, Dr. Richmond teaches e-commerce.

Outside the classroom:
Self-described as “family-oriented,” Dr. Richmond enjoys spending time with his wife, son, and two daughters when the workday ends. While family is his top priority, Dr. Richmond enjoys gardening and is particularly interested in tropical flowers and palm trees.

Sancy Wu
Lecturer, Information & Operations Management

-B.A. in Literature, National Taiwan University
-M.S. in Computer Science, Texas A&M University

With an extensive background in technology, Professor Wu brings valuable experience to her management information systems class. She has been a senior IT manager at Texas A&M’s Computing and Information Systems for the past 12 years. Additionally, she has worked for the Texas Transportation Institute and Texas Agricultural Experiment Station.

On Teaching:
“I feel I have something to contribute through my 20 plus years of experience in computers,” she says. “I can relate my real world experiences in my teaching, which can communicate more than a textbook could.”

Categories: Faculty

The Mays Graduate School of Business welcomes Class III of the Executive MBA Program. The program kicks-off with Residency Week, August 19-23, on the Texas A&M University campus. The group of 65 participants bring a wealth of experience from industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, energy, pharmaceuticals, retail and technology. These working professionals will earn a Master’s of Business Administration degree by attending classes held at the University Center in The Woodlands.

Categories: Programs

The Mays College’s Business Student Council (BSC) had an opportunity to interact with student leaders from the Undergraduate Business Council (UBC) at the Red McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas during a recent leadership retreat.

Sponsored by Enron Corp., the event was held at the company’s headquarters in Houston for incoming and outgoing executive officers of the two councils. The workshop covered topics ranging from fundraising to event planning and member motivation. In addition to sponsoring the core activities for the workshop, Enron also took participants to a Houston Astro’s baseball game.

The idea for the workshop was sparked at a conference the two councils attended last spring at Emory University. While several business schools were represented, the college’s BSC and McCombs’ UBC benefited most from each other.

“A&M and UT can learn from each other, and we wanted to capitalize on the ability and innovation of the top student leaders in Texas,” said Brian Essner, a senior finance major and a former BSC officer. “Enron’s support has been unbelievable and none of this would have been possible without their generosity.”

Categories: Departments, Programs, Students

Dr. Wendy Boswell’s research on stress was cited in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. According to Boswell, an assistant management professor, and her research colleagues at Cornell University, contrary to popular belief, not all stress is bad.

In fact, one kind, “challenge stress,” is what motivates people to do well, such as having projects, assignments and responsibilities. According to Boswell, this type of stress correlates to the things employees value like money, skills and promotions. Although the long-term effects of challenge stress aren’t known, employees still seek it out, noted Boswell in the Journal article.

While challenge stress often propels employees to perform better, “hindrance stress” often causes the opposite reaction. This type of stress is the negative junk associated with work — red tape, stalled careers and lack of job security. If faced with this type of stress for a long period of time, health problems can ensue, ranging from heart disease to immune system disorders, the article notes.

To learn more about how stress affects work performance, check out this article that ran earlier this year in Mays Business Online.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Featured Stories

The Mays College’s voice will not go unheard during the search for the new Texas A&M president. Dr. Bob Strawser, accounting professor and former A&M Faculty Senate speaker, has been named to the 24-member search committee, which is comprised of A&M faculty, staff and student body president as well as community and corporate leaders.

The recently formed committee will head the national search for the university’s next president after Dr. Ray Bowen ’58 steps down in June 2002. Also serving on the committee are Mays College Development Council members Jerry Cox ’72, Bookman Peters ’59 and Carroll Phillips ’54.

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Mays alumnus J. Robert Collins ’88 plans to waste little time in his new post as president of the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex). Collins, who goes by “Bo,” is hoping to transform the country’s leading energy and metals market, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.

Collins was appointed to the post after a highly successful run as senior vice president of natural gas trading at El Paso Energy in Houston, setting up the company’s trading program from scratch. Prior to joining Nymex as president, he served as a trade representative on exchange’s board.

“What was really appealing about my last job was the opportunity to come in and rebuild something that needed it,” Collins told the Journal. “I see the exchange in much the same way, considering all the possibilities that are in front of us.”

Categories: Former Students

Dr. Rajan Varadarajan, head of the Department of Marketing, has recently been named a Distinguished Professor of Marketing by Texas A&M President Ray Bowen and Provost Ron Douglas.

“This appointment evidences something we already know — Rajan is a scholar and individual of the very highest caliber,” said Dean Jerry Strawser. “On behalf of the Mays College, I am proud to congratulate Dr. Varadarajan on this prestigious and well-deserved honor. We are truly fortunate to have him as a member of our Mays College family.”

Varadarajan, who also serves as the Ford Chair in Marketing and E-commerce, has been awarded numerous honors for his research, including the Texas A&M University Distinguished Achievement Award for Research in 1994 and the Texas A&M Mays College of Business Distinguished Research Award in 1990.

In addition, Varadarajan has authored numerous journal articles on corporate, business and marketing strategy as well as co-authored a textbook.

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Staff

Enron, Memorial Hermann Healthcare Systems and Teradata, a division of NCR, have joined 21 other companies as members of the advisory board of the Mays College’s Center for the Management of Information Systems (CMIS), bringing the board to its largest ever number of corporate members.

CMIS advisory board members help plan strategies to keep students abreast of the business technology marketplace. The three newest board member companies join Wal-Mart, VALIC, USAA, TXU Business Services, Tactica Technology Group, Neiman Marcus, MBNA America, ExxonMobil, Federal Express, Frito Lay, Inc., Information Advantage Associates, J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Conoco, Inc., Dell Computer Corp., COMPAQ, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, EDS, BP Amoco, Anadarko Petroleum Company, Accenture and EnFORM.

“In the fast-changing world of technology, partnerships between academic institutions and industry are vital to the education of students destined for the technology world,” said George Fowler, CMIS director. “It is wonderful to have so many valued companies on the CMIS board of advisors. I am pleased that the numbers continue to grow, and I am very pleased that this growth includes such a variety of industries.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty

Although they’re not racy stories that are likely to compete for tabloid headlines, they are definitely top reads among prospective MBA students.

In its third year, Business Week Online‘s MBA Journals brings to life the stories of several dozen MBA students from around the nation. Among the 11 new first-year students who’ll be recounting everything from the application process to their first exam over the 2001-2002 academic year are Mays MBA students Megan and Drew Hess.

Selected among 150 first-year students, the husband and wife team will periodically submit journal entries to the series, which is available only on the Web.

According to Wendy Flynn, assistant director of the Mays MBA Program, the journals will provide a great opportunity for exposure to the Mays program. “Everyone in the Mays College is very excited about this,” she said. “Special thanks to Megan and Drew for taking the time to apply, as well as to others who applied to Business Week for these positions.”

Stay tuned to Mays Business Online for more about the Hess’ experience as MBA Journal Writers. You can check out the series by visiting the B-School section of Business Week Online.

Categories: Departments, Programs, Students

Under the direction of Dr. George Fowler, the college’s Center of Management Information Systems (CMIS) is in the process of developing two new programs. Starting this fall, the CMIS Scholars Program and a mock interview program will help give students expanding opportunities within the information technology field.

“As director, my goal has been to reorient CMIS to project focus,” says Fowler, who assumed the role in January. “CMIS is an academic center. We concentrate on determining what kind of employees the industry wants and on forming partnerships with leading companies to help produce the kind of students that fulfill those expectations.”

According to Fowler, the CMIS Scholars Program will be sponsored by five companies from the corporate advisory board and will give five chosen students within the Department of Information and Operations Management (INFO) the opportunity for an internship as well as a $2,000 scholarship.

The mock interview program has companies from the corporate advisory board send representatives to A&M to stage simulated job interviews with INFO students. The representatives then will provide them with critiques and pointers for improved performances.

Along with these two new activities, Fowler said he will keep an existing program designed to have a company present students with a problem that MIS majors would likely come in contact with in a potential job. The students then have a week to come up with a presentation of their grasp on the problem and a proposed solution.

“It allows students who don’t have the best grades to shine through,” Fowler said. “It gives them an opportunity to be seen by corporate representatives. I am proud of our students. And I like to think that CMIS contributes to making them good students for good companies to hire.”

Categories: Departments, Faculty, Programs