Lead Story

20th annual WIT conference – Beelieve it or not!

Mays Business School, March 20th, 2019

Attendees at the annual Women in Technology Conference celebrated the 20th anniversary “Beelieve it or Not.” With a theme of hard-working bees, the conference brought together women to network and learn from others currently building their careers in information technology. It was hosted by the Center for the Management of Information Systems (CMIS) on March 1 in the Annenberg Center at George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University.

Female students with an interest in information technology participated in roundtable discussions on topics such as lessons learned from senior executives, managers, professionals, and new graduates in the workforce. They discussed advice such as leadership, work-life balance, and new technology trends.

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SEC-member schools, business leaders and professionals attended the 4th annual conference to explore best practices in diversity and inclusiveness

Business leaders, working professionals, diversity officers, human resource officers, and others gathered at Texas A&M University for the 4th annual SEC Business School Diversity Conference on Feb. 27 through March 1.

Hosted by Mays Business School’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the conference focused on strategic planning for diversity and inclusion leadership.

The keynote speaker was Damon Williams, head of the Center for Strategic Diversity Leadership & Social Innovation and a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Equity and Inclusion Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. He is one of the original architects of the Inclusive Excellence concept in American higher education and a nationally known leader in diversity leadership and responsibility.

As in previous SEC diversity conferences, held at Missouri, Arkansas, and LSU, the meeting aimed to:

  • Identify, advocate, and disseminate best practices and promote new initiatives about diversity and inclusion in business.
  • Conduct and promote research initiatives aimed at minority business students, staff, faculty and other stakeholders.
  • Empower academic and private sector professionals to become knowledgeable and engaged in diversity and inclusion practices.
  • Provide colleagues with professional development and resources to advance equity in recruitment and the classroom.

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Categories: Dean Eli Jones, Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Spotlights, Texas A&M

Each fall semester, Mays Business School students have the opportunity to apply to attend the SUMMIT conference. SUMMIT’s mission is “to empower students as developing leaders through purposeful reflection and honest self-awareness.” This weekend-long overnight conference includes dynamic speakers, small group activities, team building, and time dedicated to personal reflection. The conference took place this year from Feb. 1-3 at Stoney Creek Ranch, and on the final day the students were given the chance to anonymously share their key takeaways.

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Categories: Diversity and Inclusion, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

Many people believe an entrepreneur is someone who starts a business, but at their core entrepreneurs are simply problem solvers.

While studying to receive a degree in International Studies, Bryce Watson ’16 was invited to travel to China to aid a local non-profit. During his time there, Watson heard countless stories of the harsh working conditions that factory employees faced every day. Employees worked 80-hour weeks in dangerous environments for little pay, and many had been seriously injured on the job. By the end of his trip Watson had heard enough. He returned to Texas A&M University determined to find a way to improve workers’ rights in developing nations. “I wanted to do something about this,” Watson said. “I didn’t just want to learn about it, I wanted to solve the problem.”

Watson quickly realized he was attacking a complex issue. “We started to discover that these multi-national corporations have hundreds of sub-contractor manufacturing facilities that are only audited once or twice a year,” he said. “They have very little incentive to make sure their operating procedures are safe for their employees.”

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Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Former Students, Mays Business, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Students, Texas A&M

The Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M University was bustling on Feb. 18 with business and community leaders serving as judges for the 2019 MBA Venture Challenge. Fourteen teams of Full-Time MBA students eagerly awaited their time to shine in front of the judging panels with the hope that they would take home 1st place at this year’s competition.

The MBA Venture Challenge is an annual competition held in partnership between the Mays MBA Program and the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship. The 2019 MBA Venture Challenge wrapped up its 18th year with three winning teams going home with a total of $10,000.

The winning teams – announced at a networking and awards reception immediately after the Venture Challenge – are:

  • First Place: Hasan Ahmed, Ahad Azimuddin, Hang Quan, Shelley Ruohonen, Jordan Williams; Medicinbox LLC
    • $5,000 sponsored by the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Second Place: Mark Dearden, Ahmed Ibrahim, Korbin King, Michael Reasor; VoCo
    • $3,000 sponsored by the Aggie Angel Network
  • Third Place: John Buancore, Cole Dietz, Clyde Fomunung, Chris Raman, Koki Tobita; Krueger Labs, Inc.
    • $2,000 sponsored by Fibertown
  • Elevator Pitch: Mark Dearden, Ahmed Ibrahim, Korbin King, Michael Reasor; VoCo
    • $500 sponsored by Mays Business School

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Categories: Entrepreneurship, Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, MBA, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, News, Students, Texas A&M

Poonam Tare’s former classmates united together to purchase her Aggie ring when she returned to Texas A&M University from abroad. Tare is a Master of Science in Management Information Systems student who began the program in Fall 2016. Unfortunately, after the Fall 2017 semester, she was unable to continue her education and took a medical leave of absence to return home to India. This semester, Texas A&M welcomes back Tare to campus as she has returned to complete her degree by December of this year.

Many of Tare’s classmates graduated in May 2018, and they wanted to do something special for her by purchasing her Aggie ring. A group of former classmates reached out to Veronica Stilley, the director of the MS-MIS program, to verify that Tare was eligible to order her Aggie ring. A student must have 90 completed undergraduate or professional hours, 45 completed institution undergraduate or professional hours, and a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPR to be eligible to order an Aggie ring – a coveted symbol of the Aggie network.

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Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Selfless service, Students, Texas A&M

Americans will spend a record $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Beyond significant others, consumers are purchasing more on gifts for children, parents, friends, coworkers, and even their pets.

Cheryl Bridges, a noted expert in retailing and interim director of the Center for Retailing Studies, said, “Although fewer Americans are celebrating the event, spending is up due to more experiential gifting,”

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

By Leonard Berry

Published in The Conversation

“Cancer survivor” has become a catch-all phrase to refer to living individuals diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer clinics and clinicians, patient advocacy organizations and media reports commonly use the term.

Using cancer survivor as a descriptor is certainly an act with good intentions. After all, people diagnosed with cancer have a diverse array of physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs – and the language of survival can be empowering to many of them. For this reason, institutions that focus on cancer have framed the term broadly. For example, the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship has defined cancer survivor as “any person diagnosed with cancer from the time of initial diagnosis until his or her death.”

Nevertheless, as marketing professors who study how to better serve patients, we were struck by the notion of applying the term “cancer survivor” so broadly that it would even include people who ultimately die of cancer.

Should the same term be used for the entire spectrum of living people who have experienced cancer, which represents more than 100 distinct diseases affecting approximately 14 million people in the United States?

A complex issue

Indeed, the published research on this question reflects its complexity. An analysis of 23 studies of how people diagnosed with cancer view the term “cancer survivor” shows that although many embrace it, others see it as inappropriate. Some of them fear not surviving if cancer recurs; others think the term itself is disrespectful to people who die of cancer or believe the term better fits people with cancers more serious than their own.

Still others simply don’t want to live with the “survivor label” or don’t think the term reflects who they are. In studies that ask patients to make a discrete yes–no choice about whether they identify as a cancer survivor, the percentage who say “yes” ranges from about 31 percent to 78 percent, depending on the type of cancer and other individual factors, with breast cancer patients generally showing greater affinity for the term than patients with other types of cancer.

Recognizing that forcing a yes–no choice on this delicate question is not ideal, we partnered with Dr. Katie Deming, a radiation oncologist at Kaiser Permanente, and Dr. Jeffrey Landercasper, clinical adjunct professor of surgery at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, to conduct our own study of how current and former patients perceive the term “cancer survivor.” We measured reactions to the term in three ways: a seven-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree, a 100-point allocation exercise from 0 (negative) to 100 (positive) on a continuous scale, and an open-ended question, “What is your personal opinion about the phrase ‘cancer survivor’ and why do you feel as you do?” We analyzed more than 1,400 surveys completed by patients, primarily with breast cancer, who belong to the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation’s Army of Women, an organization that connects researchers with people who want to participate in breast cancer research. About three-quarters of our respondents were currently undergoing cancer treatment.

Our findings reinforce the concern that motivated our study. Respondents’ average scores for the two quantitative questions were slightly above the scale midpoints, indicating many people are negatively disposed to the term. The open-ended question was especially revealing in documenting not only how respondents regarded the term but also why. Overall, about 60 percent of comments were negative, 29 percent positive, and 11 percent neutral.

Among the negative responses to the term “cancer survivor,” the most common theme had to do with its disregarding the patient’s fear of recurrence. One woman’s response captures the essence of this concern: “I feel like I’m tempting fate when I say I’ve survived it.”

Other women who felt negatively about the phrase made statements such as “I don’t deserve to carry the title proudly because I didn’t ‘suffer’ enough to earn [it]”; “I prefer not to define myself by my cancer diagnosis or status”; and “it erases the experience of those who [still] have or will die of the disease.”

Patients who felt positively about being called a cancer survivor often said they took pride in the accomplishment of surviving cancer – as one woman put it, “of winning the battle against this life-threatening disease.” Another said the term made her feel “empowered, instead of victimized.” Others cited the sense of community conferred by the phrase, specifically a “personal connection to other cancer patients.”

Our statistical analysis comparing respondents with negative perceptions versus positive perceptions of the term indicates that undergoing active cancer treatment, advanced cancer stage, and older age at diagnosis or study participation are associated with less positive perceptions.

Health care language should do no harm

The key takeaway from our study, and from other published research on the topic, is that using a single label to describe a diverse population of cancer patients in blanket fashion inevitably leaves a substantial percentage of them feeling unrepresented, perhaps even alienated, by the term – even though many others derive positive benefits from using and hearing it. In short, because the group of people typically described by the term is far from a monolith, a single phrase that is subjective rather than factual is unlikely to be up to the task. The label “cancer survivor” is not based on any specific fact related to a person’s particular treatment or diagnosis; it is plainly subjective.

Language used with and about patients is important and can cause needless distress when used without care. Why not let patients choose the language of their cancer-related identity so that it best reflects their own individual experiences and preferences? Existing research, including our own, suggests that the question is worth considering.

Categories: Featured Stories, Marketing, Mays Business, News, Research, Spotlights, Texas A&M

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

By Kiera Merritt ’19

The United States Department of Labor predicts, “Today’s learners will have eight to10 jobs by the age of 38.” A majority of these future jobs do not even exist yet. For instance, people interested in both robotics and law could become robotics ethicists to mitigate issues such as ownership of and culpability for decisions made by machines. Because of modern technological innovation, once unimaginable opportunities are becoming new careers.

On Jan. 25, Christopher Bishop – a nonlinear, multimodal careerist – provided students at Texas A&M University with insight into succeeding in these fields of the future. Throughout his life, Bishop continuously redeveloped his skills and created new jobs for himself.

He toured internationally as a musician with artists such as Robert Palmer and Chuck Berry; wrote advertising jingles, including the original “Gimme a Break” Kit Kat jingle; turned a conversation on a commuter train into a 12-year career at IBM; and now delivers presentations on the future of work around the world.

Each time Bishop switched careers, he focused on three fundamental tools for success:

  • Voice. Identify your own brand. Invest in what makes you stand out. Frame your persona on your own uniqueness.
  • Antenna. Connect your interests to events in the world. Seek sources based on your values and interests that help you stay informed. These sources include magazines, newspapers, blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts, or other forms of media.
  • Mesh. Share yourself with those who value your skills. LinkedIn is a valuable tool. Expand your network by adding at least five people each week. Reach out to others who share your interests and goals, and join groups to expand your connections. This puts you on the radar of people you would otherwise miss.

While creating new jobs can be a daunting process, the trepidation behind progress is nothing new. In fact, in 1589, Queen Elizabeth I refused to issue a patent for a mechanized knitting machine, “for fear it [would] put [her] poor subjects out of work.” However, the new workforce should look to the future without hesitation because, as Bishop stated, “As long as there are problems, there will be jobs.”

The Mays Innovation Research Center hosted this event.

Categories: Centers, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories, Jobs, Mays Business, Mays Innovation Research Center, News, Research, Spotlights, Students, Texas A&M

The Mays MasterCast is the flagship podcast of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. We share insights into how business and business school works, while sharing our culture and lives with listeners. Guests include current students, professors, alumni, and friends of the university who have distinguished themselves in the business world. In every episode, the hope is to find counterintuitive insight, vulnerability, and humor. Our goal is to be the world’s premier business school podcast.

Categories: Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Staff, Students, Texas A&M