COLLEGE STATION, T.X. — Earlier this year, Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School boasted top ranking for Fortune’s list of preeminent Business Analytics programs. Now, in just their second year of ranking eligibility, the program has leapt more than 50 places on the U.S. News and World Report list of Best Online Graduate Business Programs. From a ranking of 6th in Texas and 72 overall last year, to this years’ 2nd in Texas and 16th overall – the Mays’ program performed exceptionally across a host of competitive metrics in the ranking’s methodology. Categories included: engagement, expert opinion, faculty credentials and training, services and technologies, and student excellence.

Atop the list of data points informing the U.S. News methodology was engagement, an area where the Mays’ MS Analytics program (Mays’ first online offering) really sets itself apart, according to program director Myra Gonzalez. “Our program is unique in that it’s one of the few online, non-MBA, part-time, business programs designed for working professionals.” Drawing on their own experiences in graduate school, Gonzalez and program manager, Javier Aldape, sought to make the process of completing the MS analytics program student-centric and seamless. They identified engaging and supporting students more holistically (beyond the enrollment process) as essential to student retention and – ultimately – graduation rates.

Creating a “one-stop-shop” for student services – to keep students focused on school and eliminate obstacles to program success – they cut the middleman across campus offices and partner with students directly to help them navigate everything from onboarding and financial aid, to tutoring, academic advising and business degree plans. “We know first-hand the balancing act that’s required to achieve simultaneous success in school, work and home life,” shared Aldape. “We wanted to reduce administrative burden and stress, creating opportunities for students to focus on their classes, finish their degree plans on time, and engage meaningfully with their peers.” Gonzalez concurs, “We hope students will reflect on this time as a positive one, despite the workload. By building relationships with the students in our program and providing a single point of contact for administrative details, we replicate the simplicity and personal touch of a small-school experience in tandem with the resources and educational value of a major university.”

First-class faculty also drove the program’s ranking. Unlike instructors for many online programs, Texas A&M’s MS analytics professors typically have terminal degrees, in addition to robust industry experience. “This ranking reflects the excellence of our faculty and the distinctive blend of skills they bring into the classroom,” shared associate dean of graduate programs, Jerry Strawser. “Outstanding academic credentials, paired with deep private sector experience, uniquely position our instructors to equip students with the tools to excel in this rapidly evolving field.”

Additionally, with online hybrid delivery that dates back to 2013, the program’s faculty are fully prepared to create a distance-learning experience that is both effective and provides comparable instructional value to a traditional classroom setting. Gonzalez is quick to note the distinction. “Our faculty’s distance-learning tenure significantly predates the wave of online courses we saw offered in answer to the Covid-19 Pandemic. This isn’t a new playing field for us; our instructors are highly accustomed to instruction in a hybrid face-to-face and online setting.”

The breadth of faculty credentials helps provide greater parity with classroom learning in a digital setting – a program priority its leaders pursue relentlessly. To that end, Aldape and Gonzalez have curated a state-of-the-art, intuitive learning management system that prioritizes user experience and accessibility. “By ensuring a frustration-free technology component to the degree, we’ve seen a major boost in student engagement with course materials and peers, as well as a more positive outlook and strong retention,” shared Aldape.

A standardized interface and simple navigation for course structure and material – regardless of the course – offers students one-click access to recorded lectures, syllabi, course content, contacting the professor, and networking with fellow students. Assignments and exams are integrated such that interaction with key content is a prerequisite to accessing subsequent coursework. The design of this “read, reflect, display, do” model aims to keep students focused and engaged, courses interactive and to reduce pain points. The system builds on a service model focused on student experience, helping them manage course expectations and facilitating connectivity between students, their cohorts, and instructors.

Lastly, among other marketing and engagement efforts that bolster expert opinion of the MS Analytics program, the value of the student capstone projects to their respective organizations is noteworthy.  As part of the capstone, students are tasked with building a predictive model in support of their current employers. The projects run the gambit from safety modeling, to expected well production, to predicting outages before they happen. For the 2021 cohort the average estimated annual value per student capstone project is $18.2 million in savings or new revenue for their organizations. “Our students are leveraging their extended education to drive demonstrable value for their organizations – and that is something we are exceedingly proud of,” shared acting Dean, R. Duane Ireland. “It really affirms the caliber of the students coming through this program;” with an average student GPA of 3.5 paired with an average 13 years of work experience; “for student excellence, we are setting the bar.”

For an overview of the Texas A&M’s MS Analytics Program, visit the MS Analytics site. The program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2022 cohort.  To request more information, contact Javier Aldape, Program Manager at 979-845-2149 or

Categories: MS Business, Uncategorized

The 8th Annual KPMG Fraud Case Competition was held on March 7th thru 10th at Mays Business School. Seven teams presented case solutions culminating the semester-long fraud case competition. Final judging of the competition was facilitated by Kelsey Wright, KPMG Advisor, with the help of several of her colleagues, representing KPMG’s US Forensic Advisory Practice.

The first-place team members are pictured below (left to right), Katie Patrick, Anna Schwartz, Abel Chan, Kylie Rodgers, and Hannah Schnackel:

Categories: Accounting

Twenty Aggie-led startups competed in the only university-wide business plan pitch competition.

By Lara Robertson, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS March 8, 2022 – The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its fifth annual Aggie PITCH at the Doug Pitcock ’49 Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center Monday evening. Now open to both current and former students, Aggie PITCH is the only university-wide business plan pitch competition at Texas A&M and seeks to identify the best Aggie business pitches from across industries and sectors.

For the 2022 event, a total of 20 startups were selected as finalists to compete for the coveted McFerrin Cup and a share of more than $35,000 in prize money. Split into three divisions —Full Pitch for both current and former students and Elevator Pitch open to both — the competition gives startup founders the opportunity to pitch their business in a fast-paced, high-energy format to a panel of anonymous judges and an audience of students, professionals, mentors, possible investors and fellow Aggie entrepreneurs.

In the Full Pitch divisions, 10 teams were each given 10 minutes for their pitch. In contrast, the Elevator Pitch competitors were only given a 1-minute allotment for their pitch. Although the anonymous panel of judges was tasked with ranking and selecting the winners of the Full Pitch division, audience members were invited to take part and cast their vote to select for the winners of the Elevator Pitch division.

Finalists’ ventures at this year’s Aggie PITCH represent a variety of industries including agriculture, information technology, consumer products and energy technology, among others, and are now automatically admitted into an exclusive group of startup founders who are eligible to represent Texas A&M University at national and global entrepreneurial competitions.

Flux Works LLC took home first place in the Full Pitch division for current students and was awarded $7,500. Bryton Praslicka ’24, startup lead, reacted with, “Winning to us means that people are excited about our technology. People believe in our technology. And winning this demonstrates that, and that’s really incredible.” Flux Works LLC, a developer and manufacturer of magnetic gears, has now met their fundraising goal and plans to use the prize money to buy back their intellectual property from Texas A&M and move into product development.

Taking home top honors and also $7,500 in the Full Pitch division for former students was Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie). Ovie aims to solve the problem of food waste in homes with a digital smart tracking system and plans to use their winnings to purchase prototype samples to get their product into user homes for testing. “Winning Aggie PITCH is so amazing because it validates our idea, where we’re at. And to have our peers and industry professionals that we respect acknowledge that our company is on to something, and believe in us, it means the world. It’s fuel,” stated Ovie lead Stacie Thompson ’02.

“Aggie PITCH continues to be a highlight of our year at McFerrin. The energy in the room is palpable, from both the pitch teams and the audience members getting to experience an event like this,” stated Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center. “In only our fifth year of Aggie PITCH, we’ve continued to see growth in both the quantity and quality of pitch competitors. Seeing entrepreneurs, specifically Aggie entrepreneurs, pitch their startup businesses to such a diverse, engaging crowd is something I’ll never grow tired of.”

2022 Aggie PITCH Winners

Full Pitch Division | Current Students
1st Place ($7,500): Flux Works LLC [Bryton Praslicka ’24, Daniel Zamarron ‘22]
2nd Place ($5,000): Teale [Narendra Vishnumolakala ’22, Connor Ust ’22]
3rd Place ($3,500): Flow-Pax [Haley Clark ‘23]

Full Pitch Division | Former Students
1st Place ($7,500): Wide Afternoon, LLC (Ovie) [Stacie Thompson ‘02]
2nd Place ($5,000): ClaraTech [Clara Orlean ‘20]
3rd Place ($3,500): SageSpectra [Madi Heck ’21, Mark Golla ‘22]

Elevator Pitch Division
1st Place ($1,500): South Texas Security Gates [Carson Neal ‘22]
2nd Place ($1,000): Imperium [Donald Bowen ‘25]
3rd Place ($750): Unravl Hair [Zanbria Asante ‘18]

A list of past Aggie PITCH winners can be found at

About McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The McFerrin Center’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and former students.

The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty and staff.

The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts upon opportunity. In this spirit, the McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship offering more than 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.


Media Contact: Lara Robertson, communications manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, 979- 845-1724,

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

Joseph Escobar ’22 stays busy between being a student managing partner for The Reveille Fund, starting his own small business, leading the Aggie Investment Club, and recently appearing on Mays Mastercast.

Growing up in El Paso, Escobar turned his attention to investing when his high school economics teacher decided to take some liberties with his curriculum. After running through the basics of macroeconomics for a month, Escobar’s teacher switched to financial literacy.

“My teacher said: I’m going to teach you how to file a tax return, how to make a stock portfolio, how to balance a budget with an annual income, and how to figure out what the cost of college is going to be,” said Escobar. “That gave me a whole lot of insight.”

Growing Interests

As his interest in investing grew and high school came to a close, a meeting with a Mays Business School recruiter turned into a visit to campus, and through the contributions of donors and the support of scholarships, Escobar soon found himself at Mays Business School.

“When someone comes over here from El Paso, it’s mesmerizing how many more opportunities there are,” said Escobar. “I was able to get hands-on experience from very successful alumni and faculty so soon.”

A few years down the road, Escobar is a stand-out student in the Adam C. Sinn ’00 Department of Finance, already differentiating himself from his peers through involvement in several clubs and his passion for the “fast-paced, highly competitive” elements of investment banking. Through stock-pitch competitions organized by the Aggie Investment Club and a trip through Aggies on Wall Street, Escobar would connect with Britt Harris ’80, chief investment officer of the University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company (UTIMCO). When The Aggie Investment Club was struggling to set up a student-run investment fund on their own, they reached out to Harris.

“He’s been one of the most influential people I’ve listened to and learned from,” said Escobar. “He just has an extremely deep amount of knowledge to share.”

Harris expanded the vision for what would become The Reveille Fund, interlocking it with a class at Mays Business School, allowing more students to have hands-on investing experience. While Escobar and the other officers of the Aggie Investment Club originally aimed for $100,000 to be set aside for the fund, Harris and UTIMCO allotted $7.5 million in January 2021.

“It was definitely an amalgamation of anxiety, of wanting to know what the future held during the first month. I still have anxiety, you know, how the fund will do week to week, month to month and that’s I think that’s a good thing,” said Escobar. “When I got to the moment where I’d had that first class, I just felt I had this big duty and responsibility on my shoulders.”

As the fund finishes its first year, Escobar and many other students have found the growth they experienced extremely rewarding. By the fall of 2021, The Reveille Fund had passed 9 million in assets under management.

“It’s like when you see NFL athletes crying when they win the Super Bowl,” said Escobar. “All that hard work, all that dedication, all of it was worth it in the end.”

Investing in his education and his future

Escobar attributes his success in his role within the fund and the Aggie Investment Club to the valuable mentorship he has received from Harris, as well as Mays Business School faculty members Dr. Sorin Sorescu, Dr. Christa Bouwman, Brent Adams, and William Jene Tebeaux and the support of Former Students, particularly Bryan Farney ’06.

“They’re so loyal to Texas A&M and so dedicated to educating students on real investing and how real investment managers make money in the market,” said Escobar. “They’re very helpful in going from all this theoretical talk and debate to action items.”

Although he felt the pull to go to New York City, Escobar turned down multiple offers in Manhattan and will be working for the Jefferies group in their energy investment banking practice in Houston.

“I wanted to be working with good people and I got the impression I would be when I interviewed with Jefferies. I’ve seen it myself that Aggies end up in New York or end up in San Francisco,” said Escobar. “But I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and I’m happy I chose to stay.”

Escobar will graduate in May but is excited to keep in touch with Mays and give back when he can.

“I just say to myself: How could I raise or help contribute to the prestige of Mays? Mays Business School, in terms of its national rankings, is so appealing to undergrad students that want a competitive, exciting career. Hopefully, one day I can be in a place where I can donate back and hopefully mentor as many students as I can.”


Categories: Finance

Clara Orlean ’20 sees her family’s influence emerging strongly in her life’s professional path. Her father opened her eyes to entrepreneurism and both of her parents encouraged her to pursue a graduate degree. Now the recent graduate of Mays Business School’s Full-Time MBA Program has created ClaraTech, which assists older adults with their growing need for technology support. The idea for this start-up business was based on her mother-in-law’s experiences during the pandemic.

Orlean’s efforts thus far in building her business have proven successful. The increasing demand prompted Orlean to leave her full-time job at ExxonMobil to devote herself to ClaraTech in February 2021. Nine months later, Orlean had the winning pitch in the services category of the Lift-Off Houston Business Plan Competition, hosted by The City of Houston and Capital One Bank.

Getting Her Bearings

However, her entrepreneurial path took some unexpected turns. After studying Global Supply Chain and Operations Management as well as Business Management at the University of South Carolina, the sixth-generation Texan joined Gexpro, an electrical distribution company formerly owned by GE. She participated in the leadership program, rotating to work in a different division every 6-8 months. “In every rotation, I had a different focus, including warehousing, operations, inside sales, outside sales, and pricing,” she said. “I received a really holistic view of how a company is run from a lot of different roles and management perspectives.”

Eventually, Orlean decided to pursue an MBA, a dream sparked by her father’s experiences. “My father has always been very entrepreneurial. He started his own law practice and is a real estate investor in his free time in Fort Worth. He’s always looking for new ways to fill an unserved need,” she said. “I knew that my undergraduate degree only would get me so far in the corporate arena—or it would just take a long time to rise up the ranks and get promoted the natural way. An MBA helps you fast track.”

Orlean’s plans for graduate school were almost derailed when she didn’t score as well as she initially hoped on the GMAT. While contemplating what to do next, she found herself checking out the website of her mother’s alma mater, Texas A&M University, and noticed the admissions deadline for Mays FTMBA program. She reached out the next day and was encouraged by Assistant Director Katie Stober to retake the GMAT. After earning a much higher score, Orlean soon found herself moving to College Station.

Starting a New Chapter

The young professional decided to fully commit to the full-time 18-month program at Mays Business School in College Station, instead of combining graduate school and work. “I knew myself and that wasn’t going to work for me after trying to work and study for the GMAT,” Orlean explained. “I knew I was going to be able to make a good jump in my career because I pressed the pause button and attended the FTMBA program. That allowed me the opportunity to interact with the myriad of companies who were coming to interview Texas A&M students and attending the career fairs.”

She quickly found that the program was preparing her to take her business knowledge and skills to the next level. “I took basic business courses in my undergraduate degree, but the FTMBA program at Texas A&M took that subject matter to a deeper level,” she said. “I learned to look at things from a manager’s perspective. I was able to connect my learnings and prior work experience, connections that would be very useful in my career.”

The FTMBA program’s self and leadership assessments, as well as intimate coaching sessions, also provided a transformative mirror for improvement and building confidence. “I had never really looked at myself under a microscope,” she said. “It was very insightful and caused me to strive to be a better version of myself. The Full Time MBA Program promoted a culture of continuous improvement. You get really comfortable giving and receiving feedback.”

Orlean believes the FTMBA provided a strong foundation for her entrepreneurial venture, even though she wasn’t aware she would be launching a business at the time. “The practical knowledge I gained in the FTMBA coursework has allowed me succeed as a new business owner. I understand my financials and know how to speak to them in pitch competitions and business meetings,” she said. “My critical thinking skills, self-awareness, and ability to work with others have improved. These are skills that have been extremely helpful as a new business owner.”

The Aggieland environment

She credits the FTMBA program with creating a special comradery among her cohort, which continues to this day. “Since we were all in College Station and solely working on our MBAs, we spent a lot of time together inside and outside the classroom,” she said. “From tailgates to football games, to intramural sports, and nights out in Northgate, we really grew as friends.”

She also found time to become involved in key Mays leadership roles. “I really enjoyed giving back to the program by serving on the MBA Association Board and working in the admissions office for the FTMBA program,” Orlean said. “I loved talking to prospective students, helping them through the application process, showing them around Aggieland, and celebrating with them when they were accepted into the program.”

As an added benefit, she met her soon-to-be husband, Alex Orlean ’11 ’20, in the FTMBA program, and they grew close working together on group projects. She noted that the FTMBA’s assessments helped her better understand the complimentary nature of her own personal work style as well as that of her future husband. “We found that we worked really, really well together,” she said. “When there was conflict on the team, we worked through it together.”

Finding Her Own Path

After graduation, Orlean joined ExxonMobil, where she worked in procurement for the transportation and logistics team. But the COVID-19 pandemic soon forced the company into lockdown. Orlean began working from home, and re-evaluating the type of life she wanted to lead.

A few months later, her mother-in-law, Terri Orlean, reached out for advice on how to organize the various Zoom links for meetings as well as help on other technology issues. Soon her mother-in-law began advertising Orlean’s skill and patient counsel to her friends, who all needed help. “I saw the very rapid and uncontrollable dependence on technology that we all had to figure out quickly. I also saw that there was such a need for a service here that wasn’t being offered,” the resident of Houston, Texas said. “I started helping older adults with tech before work and during my lunch breaks.”

The need continued to grow, soon leading to Orlean’s realization that a promising business concept had found her. She created ClaraTech in October 2020—and five months later, the company had grown enough that its founder left ExxonMobil to concentrate full-time on building her new venture.

The young company takes a personalized approach to service. Orlean develops a tailored technology plan for each client, including identifying the best technology for a specific situation and then training the older adult how to use it. In some cases, this technology supports older adults who have mobility or hearing impairment. “People don’t know what opportunities are out there to make life easier,” she said. “If we can introduce some tips, tricks, or ways in which older adults can use technology to stay safe, connected, and independent, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Over the past year, she’s refined her business model based on what she’s learning from multiple datapoints. While she continues to work primarily with individual older adults, Orlean also has received invitations to train care providers and employees of small businesses.

She also is initiating technology workshops in Houston-area retirement communities, which she sees as a huge gap in services. “Tech education is not provided at retirement communities, and I really believe it should be,” she said. “They want to learn, but nobody’s taking the time to show them how to use their iPhone or how to FaceTime. My goal is to change that so retirement communities regularly have tech education on their activity calendars.”

Increasing Tech Literacy

Realizing the growing opportunities for ClaraTech, Orlean decided to participate in the Lift-Off Houston Business Plan Competition. Impressed by ClaraTech’s business plan, the organizers invited the Aggie to pitch in a Shark Tank-like competition in front of influential decision-makers. “It was my first pitch competition, and I hadn’t done anything like that before,” she said.

Her pitch in the services category earned her first place and $10,000 to cover costs associated with growing her business—and she credits the FTMBA program for preparing her for the intense competition. “The MBA program gave me the confidence to stand up in front of the room and pitch my business. It was nerve-wracking,” she said. “My big transformation in the MBA program was my confidence and belief in myself. Texas A&M’s MBA program allowed me so much time to progress and to get over my fear of public speaking. It turns out that I’m pretty good at public speaking once I got over the fear.”

She’s also really good at identifying the needs of older adults and is committed to figuring out how to help them incorporate technology more seamlessly in their lives. “I want to impact more people and help more older adults stay safe, connected, and independent through technology,” Orlean said. “I want to change tech from being this frustrating thing that is a barrier making their life more difficult into a tool that can enhance their lives. Tech can and will change the lives of older adults if we provide this service, education, and training in a way that is tailored to them.”

Orlean is grateful for how her family and her “chosen family” from Mays FTMBA Program have influenced her life, both in personal and professional life. Now she wants to remain connected to Mays to reciprocate—and to keep learning. “I have a deep desire to stay involved and give back. I have really enjoyed staying involved with the admissions team to serve as a panelist and just helped with a marketing campaign for the MBA programs,” she said, adding that she remains close to her classmates. “We had our annual reunion for the FTMBA program called Brisket Bowl back in October of last year and had about 20 of our classmates come from all over the country to be together. It was like we didn’t skip a beat.”

Categories: Entrepreneurship, MBA

Tara ’91 and Todd Storch ’91 have embraced a life of entrepreneurship, using their passion, knowledge, talents, and network to bridge emerging gaps and build strong teams to help companies improve their service. Those same resources have been instrumental in their efforts to build their personal passion project.

This project emerged in the aftermath of great tragedy, when the couple’s eldest daughter, Taylor, died in a skiing accident on a family vacation in March 2010. Realizing that Taylor would not recover, the couple chose to donate their daughter’s organs to give life to others. “Out of all the hard decisions we were making, saying yes to organ donation was an easy one. Taylor was such a giving child that we knew she would have wanted to help others if she had the chance. Tara and I both knew our family had the opportunity to make something good out of this very terrible situation,” Todd said, a testament to their resilience.

With their decision, Taylor’s organs saved and improved five lives. Realizing the need for more organ donation registrations and understanding, the Aggies created a 501(c)(3) named Taylor’s Gift Foundation. The non-profit has united all aspects of the Storches’ lives—from their education at Mays Business School, to their personal friendships, to their corporate careers—and now they are leaders in a societal movement.

From West Texas to Aggieland

Both Tara and Todd have West Texas roots—Tara was raised in Abilene while Todd’s earliest years were spent in Sweetwater and Midland. Both also are the first Aggies in their family.

But each took a different path to get to Texas A&M. Tara initially planned to follow in the footsteps of her two older brothers, who attended Texas Tech University. However, she changed her mind after visiting Aggieland with a friend late in her senior year of high school. “Texas A&M had a completely different feel. That was the biggest thing, how friendly and warm people were,” she said. “It just felt like where I belonged.”

In comparison, Todd always knew he was College Station-bound, but attended the University of Texas at San Antonio as a freshman to stay close to home. “I always wanted to be an Aggie, and quite honestly, I don’t know where that came from,” he said. “But, I do think it came from other people I talked to who were Aggies. There was just something special about Texas A&M and I knew I had to go there.”

The couple’s paths first crossed during a Business Analysis class, taught by Professor Louise Darcey, soon after Todd enrolled. “Todd sat behind me, and I thought he was cute, so I passed him a note saying something silly, I’m sure. Passing notes was the 1988 form of texting,” Tara remembered with a laugh. “That note started a great friendship.”

Both were drawn to studying business, with Tara focusing on marketing while Todd embraced accounting and finance. Tara was involved in Fish Aides, Fish Camp, MSC Hospitality and with sorority life as a Kappa Alpha Theta. Todd was a leader in Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity. They both appreciated the university’s commitment to students and the wealth of opportunities that Texas A&M and the business school offered to explore emerging areas of interest. For example, Todd credits his business classes and Texas A&M’s computer lab for giving him a deeper context about technology’s role in business and hands-on skills at a time when personal computers and the internet were just emerging. While a student, he was one of IBM’s first sales staff at Texas A&M, encouraging Aggies to buy new IBM laptops. “Looking back at it, I feel that Texas A&M was on the forefront,” he said. “They exposed me to this entire new digital world that was like a gold rush about to start back in those days.”

The couple gives special credit to the College of Business Administration Fellows program (now known as Mays Business Fellows) for increasing their professional opportunities. They pointed to the Business Fellows’ week-long trip to New York City and the many professional speakers who came to the Fellows’ meetings as opening their eyes to the wide range of possibilities they would have after graduation.

Being Business Fellows also offered the additional benefit of getting a paid internship with a major company, which has the potential to result in a job right after graduation. As an outcome of her internship, Tara accepted a position at Kraft General Foods in Dallas. Her decision prompted Todd, who was the first in his family to graduate from college, to reconsider his initial plan to move to New York City to work for Arthur Andersen; instead, he took an accounting and operational consulting job at the company’s Dallas office.

Changing Directions

Tara worked at Kraft for three years before shifting to selling advertising at KPLX Radio, one of the biggest Metroplex radio stations. “I worked at Kraft because I had an internship there and enjoyed the work and the people, but knew it wasn’t the best fit for me about a year in,” she said. “It was just time for my next step. My manager knew I was losing interest, so she encouraged me to interview elsewhere. She was so supportive and knew I was good with people and sales. She knew the sales manager at KPLX Radio, so she made an introduction. I really respected her for being actively involved with me moving on instead of trying to hold me there.”

Using her characteristic approach of making the most of her current situation, Tara committed to being the best sales representative possible while working for KPLX. However, she didn’t hesitate to step away from corporate life after giving birth to Taylor in 1996. “Being a stay-at-home mom was something Todd and I had desired from the moment we started a family,” she explained. “It was important to both of us. This was a no-brainer decision for me to leave corporate life to focus on being a full-time mom.”

As Tara stepped away from her corporate career, Todd’s career began to skyrocket. He remained at Arthur Andersen for another year before moving into radio sales and sales management for 11 years. He then transitioned to the Center for Sales Strategy (CSS), a privately-held consulting company that helps organizations develop sales management and salespeople to improve revenue and strategic outcomes. Todd’s timing in joining CSS proved to be auspicious as digital social media platforms were just emerging and were not yet viewed as game-changers in marketing. “I helped develop a digital plan for one of the largest sales organizations in the country, Katz Media,” Todd said. “We built out a digital plan back when Twitter and Facebook were seen as a joke.”

Outlive Yourself

Everything irrevocably changed in 2010 after Taylor’s death. The Storch family, which also includes Ryan ’21 and Peyton, a nursing student at Texas Tech Health Science Center, never had a conversation about organ donation before Taylor’s death. Yet when they were approached by a nurse about considering organ donation, Tara and Todd said yes without hesitation.

Even in their initial heartbreak, they realized that their decision honored Taylor’s legacy. “People flocked to Taylor, and she inspired people,” Todd said. “We’ve heard many beautiful stories about her over these last 11 years on how kind, caring, and respected she was. She was truly loved by others and had a true gift in lifting others up that was mature beyond her years.”

Seeing the impact of this decision on the rest of the family and close friends triggered their curiosity to learn more about organ donation. The couple was surprised to learn that only 2% of Texans were registered as organ donors in April 2010. That sparked a fire in Todd to do what he could to encourage organ donor registration in hopes of significantly raising that number.

As true leaders and entrepreneurs, the couple stepped into this societal gap to encourage organ donor registrations and spark others to share about the importance of organ donation. That decision also included Todd resigning from CSS to start a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Taylor’s Gift Foundation. It quickly became a national award-winning non-profit, winning “Best New Charity in the Nation” by the Classy Awards after only one year of being established.

The couple began to put themselves out there publicly, sharing their story to help other families in the same devastating situation. “The pain of losing Taylor was very difficult to talk about publicly when I first started doing speaking engagements, but I found that sharing our story was also helping others,” Tara said. “Sometimes hearing from someone who has walked a very difficult path, but still has joy in their life, can help others who are in a dark place find some hope. That was the spark that helped me continue.”

The family’s experience continues to grow Taylor’s Gift, which uses the marketing tagline “Outlive Yourself” to encourage individuals to consider the power of organ donation. “When people think of organ donation, they usually think of death. But organ donation is all about life,” Tara said. “Outlive Yourself is all about leaving a lasting difference in the life of others, and organ donation can be a beautiful way to outlive yourself.”

The couple wrote a book titled, “Taylor’s Gift: A Courageous Story of Giving Life and Renewing Hope” about their experience, which was a best-seller and won “The Most Inspirational Book” at the Books for a Better Life Awards in New York. Additionally, they began to increase organ donor registrations and helped others discuss organ donation more openly. This happened through national features on Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and People Magazine. They were honored with being People Magazine’s “Heroes Among Us” for their efforts surrounding the importance of organ donation.

Todd and Tara also realized that they needed something creative to make Taylor’s Gift more tangible. The couple reached out to OPI, which agreed to create OPI “Taylor Blue,” a nail color that was inspired by Taylor’s beautiful blue eyes, and that helped share the Outlive Yourself message globally.

And, unsurprisingly, the Storches relied on the Aggie Network for assistance. Near the top of the list was Hans George ’91, another Business Fellow and Todd’s fraternity brother and first roommate after college. George, who was a vice president at Nike, helped champion the company’s creation of “Outlive Yourself Socks” that incorporated the “Taylor Blue” color of Taylor’s eyes and five stripes to symbolize the individuals who were saved by Taylor’s gifts of life through organ donation. The proceeds of the sales support Taylor’s Gift Foundation and Taylor’s Place at the new Southwest Transplant Alliance Organ Recovery Center.

The non-profit continues to evolve, as Todd stepped into the role of chairman emeritus and Tara took on the role as the volunteer President. Tara continues to speak regularly at different events around the nation, sharing the heartfelt story of her daughter’s legacy. The next chapter of Taylor’s Gift also is broadening to start providing emotional support to families who have donated their loved ones’ organs through their Kindred Hearts Program, which is a partnership with Heritage Health Solutions. Also, to expand the program, Johns Hopkins University and NYU have partnered with the foundation on a pilot program and research study about the Kindred Hearts Program.

Back to Business

After dedicating three years to Taylor’s Gift, Todd built and executed a transition plan for the foundation’s sustainability and continued growth. He then returned to the corporate world in 2013 where he continues today focusing on technology and leadership. He’s worked as a vice president and general manager for a technology company called FormStack, a software-as-a-service platform, as well as CEO of Kindrid, a high-tech payment platform delivering solutions to non-profit and church sectors. After working in strategic development with companies in technology, Todd was recruited to become CEO of a national media publishing company. He recently was named chief revenue officer for Futuri Media.

These companies value Todd’s deep experience, his vulnerability and how he has learned to strategically leverage his knowledge and skills to benefit the company as well as its customers. “A strategic entrepreneur is constantly looking to innovate and improve an existing organization or company where you work or belong,” he said, adding that this mindset requires, “the constant curiosity and ability to find, unlock and implement value with people, processes, new markets, new customers, and new products.”

Tara believes it’s this ability that sets Todd apart. “He has this innate skill to hone in on people’s talents to bring out the best in employees and teams,” she said. “He’s so good at developing teams, culture, and talent in people, all the while being very approachable.”

Always Ready to Return

Now married for 28 years, Tara and Todd remain firmly committed to both Texas A&M and Mays Business School. Both are regular speakers at various Texas A&M events, including Fish Aides, Musters in Texas and Arkansas, Mays Business School marketing and non-profit classes, Business Fellows, and fraternity and sorority meetings. Tara was on the board of the Aggie Women network while Todd serves as a member of Mays MS Marketing Advisory Board. “It’s been such a joy to give back,” said Tara, who received the Aggie Women Network’s Legacy Award for her work with Taylor’s Gift. “Whenever we’re asked to do anything to help at A&M, we do everything we can to be there.”

The Storches also have come full circle personally in relation to the class where they initially met. “In 2016, we were on a campus tour with our son, and we called Professor Darcey to let her know that because of her class, we met, got married and now have a son who was going to be an Aggie,” Tara said. “Then our son, Ryan ’21, who was in the Business Honors program in marketing and a Maroon Coat, had Ms. Darcey as a professor before she retired. It was just amazing to us that our son had the same teacher as we did at the business school!”

Focusing on the Good

Years ago, the Storches had to make the best out of the worst situation, so they decided to focus on the good, which is not easy to do. “The good was that Taylor saved lives and so we decided to create something to honor her legacy and keep her spirit alive, while helping others,” Tara said. “Our sweet girl is still impacting lives to this day.”

Despite enduring one of the most difficult crises—the death of a child—that a family can face, Tara and Todd have found ways to thrive professionally and personally. Both credit their faith for their strength and Texas A&M for creating a strong business foundation that has helped them succeed in a variety of professional roles where they were able to leverage change as entrepreneurs. They also are thankful for the power of the Aggie Network. “When you have an Aggie Ring, you immediately have a bond with Aggies everywhere,” Todd said. “So many of these Aggies came to our side to carry us during those dark days of grief and have celebrated with us in times of joy and success.”

Todd and Tara Storch truly exemplify the Aggie Core value of Selfless Service. What they have done nationally brings to light the importance of organ donation, which is a selfless gift in itself. By contributing their time and talents to Mays Business School and Aggieland, they are outliving themselves by making a lasting difference in the lives of Aggies across the globe.

Categories: Entrepreneurship

More than 200 current students attended the inaugural event featuring 55 Aggie 100™ recruiting companies.

By Lara Robertson, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS February 22, 2022 –The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship hosted its inaugural Aggie 100™ Career Fair Friday, Feb. 11 at Texas A&M University’s Memorial Student Center. Exclusive to past Aggie 100™ honored companies, the career fair aimed to connect company representatives recruiting for internships, part-time and full-time positions with current students from across a variety of majors, interests and sectors. Fifty-five companies, 50% of which were represented by the company’s Aggie founder, were on hand to recruit, meet and connect with the more than 200 current students in attendance.

Held annually since its inception in 2005, Aggie 100™ honors the 100 fastest-growing, Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world. Additionally, it provides a forum to pass lessons to the next generation of Aggie entrepreneurs and has grown significantly in its 17 years. After hearing the consistent message from honorees each year that “Aggies want to hire more Aggies,” the McFerrin Center established the Aggie 100™ Career Fair.

Christine Hollinden ‘87, owner/principal at Hollinden Marketers + Strategists and four-time Aggie 100™ honoree, noted that this job fair was unique in that in addition to recruiting students, the companies were able and eager to network with and support each other in identifying good candidates due to their shared entrepreneurial experiences and connections to Texas A&M.

“Texas A&M is known for producing outstanding students,” Hollinden stated. “[The Aggie 100 Career Fair] gives the opportunity for students to really look at entrepreneurial-minded firms, these fast-growth organizations, as a great career opportunity, a great employment opportunity.”

Jackson Wiese ’25, a business honors major, made a point to attend to “meet entrepreneurs and [participate] in a community of entrepreneurship” and noted he particularly enjoyed the unique opportunity to connect directly with founders and companies across diverse industries.

“It’s no secret that the Aggie Network is strong and well-known globally, and this career fair was about us doing our part to plant more seeds and grow more opportunities,” Blake Petty ’98, executive director of the McFerrin Center, said. “At McFerrin, our passion and focus are on those with an entrepreneurial interest or attitude, so connecting current students with proven, successful Aggie 100™ companies is an obvious next step for our support of Aggie Entrepreneurs.”

Next year’s Aggie 100™ Career Fair is already in the planning stages, with many of this year’s recruiting companies signed on for the event.

About McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship serves as the hub for entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University. The McFerrin Center’s goal is to enhance entrepreneurial education by providing training, networking and assistance to enterprising students, faculty and former students.

The McFerrin Center enables the startup and growth of countless businesses and provides competitive opportunities, professional development and financial support to aspiring entrepreneurs in the Aggie community through the support of a robust volunteer mentor network, corporate supporters, faculty and staff.

The McFerrin Center defines entrepreneurship as an attitude that acts upon opportunity. In this spirit, the McFerrin Center strives to deliver programs and events that are inspiring, engaging, motivating and life-changing. This philosophy has resulted in the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship offering more than 30 unique programs each year that positively impact the lives of thousands of students, veterans and other professionals seeking to blaze their own trail as an entrepreneur.


Media Contact: Lara Robertson, communications manager, McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship, 979- 845-1724,



Categories: McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship

11 faculty members at Mays Business School rank in the top 2% of scholars worldwide. A broad-scale effort analyzing citations of almost 7 million scholars was conducted by Stanford University and Elsevier BV, resulting in a publicly available standardized database containing the top 2% of cited scientists in the world.

We are so fortunate to have such a vibrant group of faculty at Mays Business School who are invested in providing lasting impact at the college and beyond. They include Michael A. Hitt, Leonard L. Berry, R. Duane Ireland, Venkatesh Shankar, David A. Griffith, Rajan Varadarajan, Albert Cannella, Lorraine Eden, Murray R. Barrick, Xenophon Koufteros, and Chelliah Sriskandarajah.

2021 Top 2% Researchers worldwide include Mays faculty members

Categories: Faculty, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Rankings, Research, Texas A&M

According to Fortune magazine, Mays Business School at Texas A&M University has the top online business analytics program in the country. Factors highlighting the success of the MS Analytics program include selectivity, demand, and brand, per Fortune’s methodology.

One component to the ranking outcome emphasizes the MS Analytics program enrolling its most recent class with an average of over 12 years of full-time work experience and an average incoming undergraduate GPA of 3.42. With a mix of computer science, business acumen, business math, and statistics, this online/face-to-face, flexible format degree allows students to select from many diverse paths in data science while incorporating business and leadership skills.

“We are so pleased to see our program recognized at the national level,” said Jerry Strawser, associate dean for graduate programs. “This ranking reflects the outstanding efforts of our program leadership – Myra Gonzales and Javier Aldape – as well as the faculty and staff who create a valuable learning experience for our students.”

MS Analytics program director Myra Gonzalez shared, “As a young, quickly-growing industry, we are committed to the mission of Mays Business School: to be a vibrant learning organization that creates impactful knowledge and develops transformational leaders. We designed our program to be an inclusive learning environment, while also focusing on an excellent customer experience (CX) through our cohort model. Those efforts, in addition to our quality faculty and curriculum, have enabled a strong graduation rate launching excellent data leaders into the marketplace.”

With over 300+ data science/analytics programs in the nation, students have many options. Texas A&M’s MS Analytics offers a formal education led by prestigious faculty with terminal degrees or strong ties to industry. Each year, the program enrolls 65 students from all backgrounds. Faculty and students create synergy in the program. “Our faculty members’ capability, paired with our students’ persistence and thirst for excellence, enable the quality and the success of the MS Analytics program,” added Gonzalez.

“In today’s challenging and rapidly changing global markets, firms gain significant benefits by using sophisticated tools and techniques to analyze, interpret, and use data in competitively relevant ways,” shared interim dean, R. Duane Ireland. “Our MS Analytics program presents learners with opportunities to develop skills through which they can help their firms succeed by working with data effectively. We are thrilled for our MS Analytics program to receive Fortune’s number 1 ranking! Congratulations to our outstanding students and to our faculty and staff who collaborate with them.”

Texas A&M’s MS Analytics program is currently accepting applications for the fall 2022 cohort. Visit the MS Analytics site for an overview. To request more information, contact Javier Aldape, Program Manager at 979-845-2149 or

Categories: Analytics, Featured Stories, Mays Business, News, Programs, Rankings, Texas A&M

By Amy Dahmann, Texas A&M University Mays Business School

COLLEGE STATION, Jan. 14, 2022 – The Mays Business School Center for Executive Development (CED) at Texas A&M University was recently awarded Full Membership status in UNICON — The International University Consortium for Executive Education. UNICON’s members comprise the most relevant, successful, and sought-after learning partners for leaders and organizations who want to improve performance. The consortium is a vital resource for executive education providers worldwide.

The Mays Business School CED at Texas A&M University was awarded Full Membership status during the November UNICON board call. Having demonstrated their commitment and engagement, the board approved Full Membership status for four Associate members. The EDHEC Business School, the Irish Management Institute (IMI), and The Carey Executive Education program at John Hopkins University’s Carey Business School were also awarded Full Membership status.

“We are honored to be awarded Full Membership status in UNICON and join their global network of executive education colleagues,” said Dr. Ben Welch, Assistant Dean for Executive Education for the Mays Business School CED. “The past two years have shown us that executive education must continue to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of organizations, their leaders, and their people. Being part of UNICON allows us to both learn from and share with our peers. Together, we’ll shape the future of our industry,” Welch said.

For more information, go to

A leading global consortium of business‐school‐based executive education organizations, UNICON is committed to improving and advancing the Executive Education industry. Founded in 1972, UNICON is comprised of more than 100 of the world’s top university-based executive education providers. UNICON’s primary activities include conferences, research, benchmarking, sharing of best practices, staff development, recruitment/job postings, information‐sharing, and extensive networking among members, all centered around the business and practice of executive education.

The Center for Executive Development (CED) at Mays Business School provides fully custom executive education programs for companies that aim to cultivate ethical leaders. It is the CED’s mission to educate and empower transformational leaders for a global society.

Categories: Center for Executive Development, Mays Business, Programs, Texas A&M