@MAYS M a y s Busin e ss S ch o o l , Te x a s A&M Un i v e r si t y | Fa l l 2 01 2
Mays Business School, Texas A&M University | Fall 2012
1 | Mays receives national recognition 2 | Mays represented at 2012 Olympics 2 | Venkatesh Shankar wins AMA Award for Lifetime Contributions 2 | Eden receives award for stellar service In Wehner
3 | Theo Killion receives Visionary Merchant Award 4 | Students learn from top executives
30 | The Container Store supporters fund endowment
5 | A fun-LUVing Southwest Airlines CFO 6 | Rail a vehicle for improving economic health 7 | The “small ball” of Buc-ee’s success 8 | Leading in volatility 9 | Insight on the world’s Currency Wars Features
10 | CED adds value to businesses, enhances faculty 14 | Mays students thirsty to help 16 | Marketers make food choices more difficult 18 | Chef Tai paves way for local gourmet food trucks
26 | What does $4,300 buy?
19 | Incubator Development course provides education in startups
26 | Faldyns foster Business Honors opportunities
current Student news
27 | Baggett '81 boosts business school
20 | First Professional MBA Program class convenes 21 | From the ground up: Mays at CITYCENTRE 22 | Mays Summer Learning Seminar 2012 23 | Entrepreneurship Bootcamp boosts disabled veterans 24 | My life @Mays 25 | Project Mays provides Bryan youngsters with books
Mays Business School Jerry Strawser, Dean Director of Communications and Alumni Relations Kristin King @Mays Editor Kelli Levey Contributing Writers Katie Fung, Kelli Hollinger, Kelli Levey, Krissy Mackenzie
27 | Loefflers’ generosity creates scholarship 28 | Couple’s faith in young people pays dividends 28 | Aggie parents endow scholarship 29 | Foundation named for “giving” creates scholarship fund 29 | Houston couple endows Business Honors scholarship
Design Linda Orsi, TAMHSC Marketing and Communications Illustration Alex Phillips Tamara Strecker Photography Michael Alexander Gabe Chmielewski Shannon O'Hara Nicholas Roznovsky Texas A&M Sports Information Office
30 | Family celebrates the legacy of J. David Mims ’71 Faculty research
31 | Michael Hitt recognized for being a top educator 32 | Audit firms impact tax avoidance 33 | R&D "balancing act" 34 | Short shelf lives dictate distribution 35 | Automation can save lives Faculty insight
36 | Arvind Mahajan provides faculty insight
@Mays is a semi-annual publication for the former students and friends of Mays Business School at Texas A&M University. This publication is made possible by the generosity of private donors. Monthly news updates are available in Mays’ online magazine, Mays Business Online, at mays.tamu.edu/news Information about the majors, degrees and programs offered by Mays Business School is available at mays.tamu.edu.
Update your mailing information at aggienetwork.com For our business graduates, we use the information The Association of Former Students provides. To update your mailing information, go to aggienetwork.com, choose the "Login" button found in the top maroon band and follow the instructions. © 2012 Mays Business School Mays Business School Texas A&M Univesrsity 4113 TAMU College Station, TX 77845
Full-Time MBA program ranked in top 10 by Financial Times for third straight year The Full-Time MBA program has been ranked #7 among U.S. public universities in the 2012 Financial Times rankings. This is the third straight year the program has been ranked in the top 10 among public programs by Financial Times. The Full-Time MBA placed at #51 overall in the world (down from #44 last year) and at #24 among U.S. programs (down from #21 last year). Since 2007, the Mays program has risen 34 places in the Financial Times MBA ranking. The program remains ranked as #1 in “Value for the Money” among U.S.-based programs, and moved up 4 places to #1 among all programs globally in the category. This designation indicates Mays graduates recover the cost of their degrees with post-graduation salary increases faster than graduates of any other other public U.S. programs. The program has been ranked #1 in this category for the past three Financial Times rankings. In other categories, the Mays program: • R anked 2nd among U.S. public schools and tied for 7th among U.S. schools in “Employment at three months” • R anked 1st among U.S. public schools and 6th among U.S. schools in “Aims Achieved” (the extent to which alumni fulfilled their most important goals or reasons for doing an MBA) • R anked 2nd among U.S. and U.S. public schools in “Salary Percentage Increase” (the percentage increase in average alumni salary from before the MBA to today as a percentage of the pre-MBA salary) Kelli Kilpatrick, director of the Full-Time MBA program, says the ranking places Mays among the most elite MBA programs in the world – “a tremendous accomplishment and, in my view, well-deserved recognition for our program.” The Full-Time MBA program broke into the Financial Times’ top 10 U.S. public programs in 2010.
Kilpatrick says this acknowledgement reflects Mays Business School’s dedication to excellence. “Our success in this ranking indicates the quality of our students and faculty. We strive to recruit the very best students and provide them with a highquality experience, both inside and outside the classroom.” “We are committed to ensuring our MBA students leave with the skills and abilities needed to be successful and manage their careers for a lifetime. The success of our graduates reflects well on our program, which helps us continue the cycle of producing business leaders,” Kilpatrick explained.
Undergraduate Program Rankings
U.S. Public (39th overall) Bloomberg BusinessWeek
U.S. Public (24th overall) U.S. News & World Report
Full-Time MBA Rankings
U.S. Public (24th overall) Financial Times
Hitt ranked as top global scholar Michael Hitt, a University Distinguished Professor in Management, was ranked the most influential scholar in his field in an article, “Scholarly Impact Revisited,” in the journal Academy of Management Perspectives. The authors ranked 384 of the most highly cited management scholars of the past three decades based on both their number of academic journal citations and the web references to their work on nonacademic sites – those that do not end in .edu – indexed by the Google search engine.
U.S. Public (30th overall) Bloomberg BusinessWeek
U.S. Public (tied 32nd overall) Bloomberg BusinessWeek
U.S. Public (1st overall) Financial Times “Value for Money”
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Mays represented at 2012 Olympics
Marketing professor wins lifetime award
Business students Deon Lendore ’15, Rita Medrano ’12 and Jaele Patrick ’12 went the ultimate distance of student athletes when they participated in the 2012 Olympics. The largest group of Texas A&M Olympians in school history — 23 students and two coaches — brought home four medals, including three gold. Aggie women’s swimming head coach Steve Bultman was on the Team USA staff and swimming letterman Rick Walker was on the Egyptian swimming staff. The Aggies representing 15 countries saw action in four sports — swimming and diving (12), track and field (8), archery (2) and basketball (1). Lendore, a freshman, anchored the team from Trinidad & Tobego to win a bronze in the men’s 4 x 400m track and field relay. The squad held off the British for the bronze medal position.
Venkatesh Shankar, a professor of marketing and holder of the Coleman Chair in Marketing, has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 American Marketing Association Mahajan Award for Lifetime Contributions to Marketing Strategy Research. The award recognizes an individual’s career contributions to the advancement of marketing strategy research, education and practice, said Rajan Varadarajan, the marketing department head and Distinguished Professor of Marketing and Ford Chair in Marketing & E-Commerce. The selection process is coordinated by the Marketing Strategy Special Interest Group of the American Marketing Association. From among the marketing educators nominated for the award, a committee of past recipients of the award and journal editors chooses the winner. Shankar was presented the award at the 2012 American Marketing Association Marketing Educators’ Conference in Chicago. Brandon C. Coleman, Jr. ’78, who endowed the chair that Shankar holds, said he is proud of his recognition. “Congratulations on yet another honor. We are blessed to have you represent the Marketing Department, Mays Business School and Texas A&M,” Coleman, who is president/CEO of Big Picture Thinking, wrote in a message to Shankar. Shankar said he is “honored and truly humbled” by the recognition. He said it was fortuitous that it coincided with the launch of his co-edited “Handbook of Marketing Strategy” — which has been dubbed “an essential resource guide for researchers, doctoral students, practitioners, and consultants in the field of marketing strategy.”
Deon Lendore received a bronze medal in track and field, while Rita Medrano competed in swimming and Jaele Patrick competed in diving.
Eden receives award for stellar service The Academy of International Business honored management professor Lorraine Eden with a John H. Dunning President’s Award, which was created to recognize outstanding service. The award was named in John H. Dunning’s honor to recognize his distinguished career in the field of international business and his contributions to the Academy of International Business. The award is traditionally presented by the immediate past president. Eden was also recently named “the most prolific author
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in the top 45 high-impact business journals for 2010” in an editorial by J. Lindon that appeared in Technovation that looks at faculty research productivity by department across the United States. Eden has taught in the management department at Mays since 1995. Her research focuses on multinational enterprises, particularly in the areas of transfer pricing (the pricing of intrafirm transactions within multinational enterprises), multinational-state relations and economic integration. She teaches courses on Multinational Enterprises, Transfer Pricing and the Economics of International Business. Eden is the former editor-in-chief of the Journal of International Business Studies (2008–2010).
Zale CEO accepts Visionary Merchant award Visionary merchants have one desire in common: to fulfill the dreams of others, said Zale Corporation CEO Theo Killion in a recent lecture at Mays Business School. Prior to his lecture, Killion was presented with the 2012 M.B. Zale Visionary Merchant Award for leading the company’s turnaround plan and returning Zales to historic levels of profitability. Killion spoke on the company’s strategy and its commitment to providing outstanding products, service and value to the customers of the Zale Corporation brands: Zales Jewelers, Gordon’s Jewelers, Zales Outlet, Piercing Pagoda, and Peoples and Mappins Jewelers in Canada. Killion’s management style emerged before he was even hired. After a friend became CEO of the company and invited Killion to work there, Killion visited three stores. “The sales people all had their heads down. They didn’t want to be there. I found it really exciting to think about turning that situation around,” he recounted to more than 450 students, faculty and guests who attended his April 4 lecture in Ray Auditorium. “I saw this company that had unbelievable DNA, a great rich story and a founder who had vision. My challenge was, how do you pull that forward?” When Killion became CEO in February 2010, he focused on strategy, marketing, quality products and credit promotions, while improving the quality of the guest experience. He said he wrote a three-year
plan – something he called “a bold step… There’s fire in the basement and fire in the ceiling, and we’re planning three years out.” Under Killion’s guidance over the past two years, Zales’ bottom line improved $141 million and its reputation has improved. “Zales was a mile long and an inch deep,” he says. “We’ve been working methodically to build up our work force so that our guests feel valued and excited and they know we really care.” Killion’s career in retailing includes extensive experience in human resources. Prior to joining Zale Corporation, Killion was with the executive recruiting firm Berglass+Associates, where he focused on companies in the retail, consumer goods and fashion industries. He has held leadership roles in human resources strategies at Tommy Hilfiger Corporation, The Limited Inc. and the Home Shopping Network. The Visionary Merchant Lecture concluded an invitation-only conference for retail executives, the Center for Retailing Studies’ annual Retail Sponsor Forum. Speakers for the one-day event included Mays faculty members and industry experts who addressed topics such as creating unique marketing campaigns, managing workplace violence and looking to the classics to understand human behavior. Cheryl Holland Bridges, director of the Center for Retailing Studies, said this year’s award is particularly meaningful to her organization. “Thirty years ago, M.B. Zale, the founder of Zales, gave Texas A&M a grant to establish the Center for Retailing Studies,” she said. Donald Zale, M.B.’s son, presented the award to Killion, who Bridges called “an extremely talented CEO who exemplifies M.B. Zale’s success as an innovative merchant.” “Mr. Killion was invited to come to the
company at a time of transition,” Zale said. “He said he would come on an interim basis, then he said, ‘All CEO’s are interim.’” Killion says he is not a visionary merchant, but that he accepted the award to keep from making the same mistake twice – he passed up coming to Texas A&M when it was one of four choices for his college career. “I don’t think of this award as being my award,” he said. “It belongs to the 13,000 people who come to work every day to help people celebrate the magic moments in their lives with a piece of our jewelry.”
Killion said he incorporated seven “P’s” in his plans: • Product “If the product is wrong, nothing else matters. If the product is right, everything else matters.” • Price “We have to be sure we are offering the price value proposition where our male customer can be the hero and she can fall in love with a beautiful piece of jewelry.” • Promotion Killion’s management team meets with consumers four times a year to “get their permission to be their diamond store.” • People Killion said the employees need to realize they work for the guests of Zales. • Place Zales invested in improving their stores, especially technology. • Process Do things smarter, not harder. Killion said his goal is to “Stamp out stupid.” • Profit You’ve got to make money.
Ray Auditorium renewal Mays Business School’s largest classroom, Ray Auditorium, got a worldclass update over the summer of 2012. The 465-seat auditorium in Wehner 113 is now equipped with state-of-the-art sound and presentation equipment to improve the audience experience. Ever have trouble seeing the screens from the back of the room? The classroom now has three wide-screen multmedia projectors to increase visibility and flexility. Interested in seeing a recording of a speaker or event? A remotely controlled camera system will allow recording of video, audio and presentation materials, which can be posted online.
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“I love the people side of business – even more than the financial side.”
Students learn from top executives
Tom Jenkins ’92, UBS
“Start making the time to give back in as many facets as you can, especially to the school that you love so dearly.”
“Ninety percent of the matters we discuss in meetings are based on business fundamentals I learned in college.”
Dan Allen Hughes ’80, D.A. Hughes Co.
John Tippit ’88, Clear Channel
“It doesn’t matter what you do – you could be selling cars, working for the Peace Corps or cleaning houses. You need a strategy. Your plans have got to adapt to the environment.”
“You’re looking at the son of the man who created nachos.” Tony Liberto ’86, Rico Foods
Jim Stolarski ’83, Accenture
“Balance and timing are critical in business decisions.” Steve Bender ’78, Westlake Chemical
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“You have to learn early on how to deal with people across a variety of situations and to help them maximize the talents, both of themselves and also those around them.” Todd Tomlin ’93, Turnbridge Capital
A fun-LUVing Southwest Airlines CFO “The business of business is people” is the mantra of Herb Kelleher, co-founder of the nation’s largest domestic airline service, Southwest Airlines. Known for its positive culture and emphasis on its employees, Southwest maintains its focus on the fun-loving “business of people” in all departments — even in the professional environment of finance. Laura Wright, senior vice president and CFO at Southwest, recently spoke with Mays Business School students about the leadership, culture and finance at Southwest, as well as how the company preserves its distinctive reputation. Wright holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting with a tax specialization from the University of North Texas. She started her career after college at Arthur Young & Company, where she worked with the (then) “little” company, Southwest Airlines, as one of her clients. Wright says that most of her career moves “came when [she] wasn’t looking for change,” and in 1988, Southwest approached her about working in its finance department. Attracted to the company’s culture, Wright joined Southwest, and recently celebrated 24 years working at the company. According to Wright, Southwest has been a “tremendous growth story during her tenure.” She attributes its quick, exponential success to the company’s simple strategy: “Stimulate markets and create demand.” Southwest currently flies 698 airplanes, and with the recent AirTran merger, the company will soon expand into new markets and airports. It also has a New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol of “LUV” that it adopted in 1977, after starting service from Love Field in Dallas in 1971. With the rapid growth of Southwest, Wright says the common question around the office in the past few decades has been, “How do we maintain the culture of Southwest?” She revealed that the company annually evaluates its leadership based on the “Southwest Way” categories: a “warrior spirit” (innovative, determination, courage), a “servant’s heart” (considerate, living by the golden rule), and a “fun-LUVing attitude” (fun, interactive, positive). In addition, Southwest maintains its culture by hiring a specialized department of “culture keepers,” who coordinate events (such as “Finance
Olympics”) and birthday cards for all employees. “You must take time to celebrate and recognize employees if you want to keep them engaged and productive,” says Wright. Southwest is renowned for its emphasis on employees equal to its emphasis on stakeholders. Wright says the phrase often used to describe the company is that it is a “customer service organization that happens to fly airplanes.” She says, “Happy employees means happy customers, which means happy shareholders.” Working at Southwest isn’t all fun and games, though, Wright says. Leading the finance department, she makes tough decisions in response to economy downturns, rising costs of fuel prices and company merger issues. “The first thing I do in the morning is turn on CNBC to see gas prices,” Wright laughs. During the recent financial crisis and sharp rise of fuel prices, many airline companies cut costs by downsizing its workforce. Southwest didn’t lay off any of its workers. Wright says this was because the company “hedged costs well.” “It’s small things like using ground power instead of fuel to cool the plane while not in the air and adding winglets to the tips of wings that help us cut costs and keep prices low,” the CFO says. Wright also spoke with the business students about the key attributes needed for financial leadership. Characteristics such as being quick-learning, hard-working, good instincts, ability to understand both sides and driven were all on the list. Referring to what it takes for a successful career, Wright left the students with simple advice: “You have to want it.”
“The business of business is people.” Laura Wright, senior vice president and CFO at Southwest Airlines 5
Rail a vehicle for improving economic health As goes the nation’s economy, so goes the rail system, the CEO and chairman of one of the nation’s largest rail companies told Mays Business School students. “If the U.S. economy does OK we’re going to be really good, because you all love to buy things and it all has to be moved,” said Matthew Rose, CEO and chairman of BNSF Railway Company. “And if you believe in higher gas prices and population growth, then the railroads are in a really good position.” Rail is environmentally friendly, Rose says. It can move a ton of freight 500 miles on a single gallon of diesel – and three to four times more efficiently than trucks. “One large intermodal train can take 280 trucks off the highway,” he says. Rose has been CEO and chairman of BNSF since 2000. He was named president and chief operating officer in 1999 and for almost two years prior to that Rose served as senior vice president and chief operations officer of BNSF. Rose was 37 years old when Rob Krebs, his predecessor, told him he was going to appoint him the next leader of the company. The Fort Worth-based company operates one of the largest rail systems in North America, with 32,000 route miles covering 28 states and two Canadian provinces. In 2010 BNSF was acquired by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. When Rose is asked to respond to the common belief that he is heir apparent to the 81-year-old Buffett, Rose says, “I don’t talk about it at all. Seriously,” and redirects the conversation. When Rose was at Mays, Dean Jerry Strawser shared with the students a message Buffett wrote about Rose in his letter to shareholders. “When someone like Warren Buffett says you’re doing great things for society and mentions you by name, you know you’re doing something right,” Strawser said in his introduction. Rose started his career in a management program at
the Missouri-Pacific Railroad, and then held several positions in the trucking industry. He joined Burlington Northern Railroad in 1993 and had several positions in the Merchandise Business Unit. Rose holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Missouri, where he majored in marketing and minored in logistics. He is former chairman of the board of directors of the Association of American Railroads and a member of the boards of directors of AMR Corporation, AT&T, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Texas Christian University. He is also a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and the Texas Business Leadership Council, a member of Business Roundtable, a member of The Business Council and vice president of the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board. Rose says he rewards longevity in his company, which he calls counter to the current business philosophy of “get a job, jump companies, increasing 10 to 15 percent every time.” He says he would rather hire someone straight out of school and keep them for 30 to 35 years. “We really relish the experience and the time with the company,” he says. “We need that level of expertise to run our company.” Rose says he has been working on his company’s leadership model for 12 years. He thinks he can best benefit his company if he will: • Create a compelling vision • Model the way • Lead more; manage less • Communicate, communicate, communicate • Make development a priority. He encourages his employees to make development a priority, whether they take an outside course or learn a foreign language. “The average life cycle of a CEO is about five years, so the corporate culture typically expects that the path will roll back, and everyone says, ‘This too shall pass,’” he says. “But we’ve been at it for 12 years, and I truly believe I could leave tomorrow and it would continue. It’s no longer what the boss wants; it’s part of our fabric.”
“One large intermodal train can take 280 trucks off the highway.” Matthew Rose, chairman, president and CEO of BNSF Railway Company
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The “small ball” of Buc-ee’s success “You bet your nuggets we’re open”— This phrase, accompanied by a cartoon beaver sporting a red baseball cap, decorates interstates across Texas on the characteristic billboards Buc-ee’s is well known for. Arch “Beaver” Aplin ’80, founder and CEO of Bucee’s, has blazed the trail in the modern convenience store experience, and Mays Business School students were fortunate to hear from him in a recent lecture and small group discussion. “I was 22 years old and dreaming big,” Aplin says about founding his first Buc-ee’s. He graduated in 1980 with a construction science degree from Texas A&M, and after a few months of working in his family’s construction business, he meshed his love for building and his entrepreneurial talents and “on a whim,” opened Buc-ee’s in Lake Jackson, TX. He was fresh out of college— with big ideas, but no plan at all. Aplin recounts the now-humorous story of buying the property to build Buc-ee’s by writing a $52,800 hot check (which he doesn’t recommend to students) and quickly sorting things out. Before he knew it, he was in the business of Buc-ee’s, which has now expanded to 30 locations around Texas. Aplin offered some advice to the budding entrepreneurs at Mays— “Building a successful business is a lot of small ball,” he says. “There’s no grand slam, it’s all consistency.” He emphasizes that focus is one of the more crucial professional traits to possess. “Entrepreneurs want to do everything. They can’t say no,” Aplin says. “But it’s dangerous if you try to be everything to everybody,” which he admits he’s done before. “Nobody is worse at getting distracted than me,” he jokes of his entrepreneurial tangents. A few years ago, Aplin read a book about the founding of Starbucks and asked himself, “Why can’t I get into this $4 coffee business?” He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on equipment, training of baristas, and making space in stores, but the sales were
dismal because Starbucks and Bucee’s have differing atmospheres. The moral of the story? “Don’t run down every rabbit trail that’s out there,” he tells students. “Find your niche and stick with your momentum.” Aplin also advised students on branding. “Create a product or experience that expands your radius of influence by exceeding expectations,” he says. When Aplin started the Buc-ee’s business, he wanted his company to go above and beyond by being clean, friendly and in stock. He says that Buc-ee’s targets the female customer with the “fabulous restrooms,” well-lit parking lots, spacious aisles and clutterfree front windows. Paying attention to these details is key, Aplin says. “Step back and look at your business from the customer’s standpoint.” These details have set Buc-ee’s far apart from competitors. From beaver nuggets to wasabi peas, candied jalapenos and beef jerky, the Buc-ee’s brand has exploded into a cult-like following around Texas. Beaver Aplin is constantly looking for new ways to retain these customers and expand his business. “Having an exceptional product and exceptional people is what matters,” Aplin says. “And, of course, having a few funny billboards doesn’t hurt.”
“Having an exceptional product and exceptional people is what matters. And, of course, having a few funny billboards doesn’t hurt.”
Arch “Beaver” Aplin ’80, founder and CEO of Buc-ee’s
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Leading in volatility “I may not be good with talking about myself, but if there’s two things you can get John Hollowell to talk about for hours, it’s about how proud I am to be an Aggie, and how proud I am to work at Shell,” John Hollowell ’79 told Mays Business School students in a recent lecture and small-group discussion. The executive vice president for Shell Deep Water says Texas A&M taught him three things: How to work hard, how to relate with people and how to solve problems. “I owe this place a lot,” Hollowell says, crediting his Aggie education for propelling him to his current success. After graduating in 1979 with a chemical engineering degree, Hollowell went to work with Shell as an engineer. Moving up the ranks to his current position, he is celebrating 32 years with Shell this year and claims he’s “never had a reason to leave … Shell has great people and challenging, yet rewarding assignments.” The multinational oil company currently employs 93,000 people in 93 different countries. Hollowell flew in from his 37th country the night prior to his visit to Mays. Hollowell says the oil and gas industry is unique — it’s a volatile business with strategies dependent on the shifting external environment. For instance, the issues surrounding the oil and gas industry were once “How deep can we drill?” and “Do we have the technology to support our execution strategy?” Now the questions are “Can our company coexist with the culture in this country?” and “How do we find favor in the eyes of the media?” In other words, the focus has shifted from technical to non-technical issues, Hollowell observed. The oil and gas industry walks a fine line every day. “You can’t afford to make a mistake in this industry,” he says. “It’s like adding my daughter on Facebook — if I break the rules and post on her wall
or respond to a status update, I lose my right to be her Facebook friend.” Shell works “doubly hard” on its reputation, Hollowell says. “For customers, truth doesn’t matter. Their perception of your company is truth.” For this reason, whenever Hollowell is filling up his car at a Shell station and there’s a plastic bag over one of the pumps, he personally apologizes to each customer at the station. “You have one opportunity to touch base with the customer. If there’s a bag over the pump, you just lost that opportunity.” He adds that the customer “doesn’t care about the complex scheduling issues surrounding the closed pump — they just want to fill up their car.” Hollowell also chimed in about the 2010 BP oil spill, calling it “a time to lock arms with other companies.” In fact, Shell hosted several BP employees in their deep-water training facility when BP management had to relocate and work out of New Orleans. All BP meetings, nationally broadcasted interviews, and housing over a fivemonth span were based out of Shell facilities. After the oil spill, Shell had one goal in mind: be the first company to regain its permit for drilling. Not only did Shell succeed in this goal, they are currently recovering revoked permits 20-40 percent faster than competition. “How do we do it?” Hollowell asks. “We focus on the non-technical areas of advocacy, above-ground risks, and industry initiative.” In his 32 years at Shell, Hollowell has learned how to lead. He describes himself as a “technigeek” who had to learn finance midcareer, and claims that “companies who win in a volatile world mesh ‘technigeeks’ and business people.” He says running a company is like driving a truck: “You’re going to get in a ditch sometimes. The mark of a good leader is to have people working for you that jump out of the truck and start pushing it out of the ditch before you ask them to.” Hollowell says good leadership stems from three principles: Gaining trust; “Getting in the mud” with John Hollowell ’79, executive vice those under you; and leading president for Shell Deep Water from the heart, rather than the head. “You won’t make it if you don’t capture hearts.”
“For customers, truth doesn’t matter. Their perception of your company is truth.”
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Jim Rickards shares insight on the world’s Currency Wars “Imagine a car driving down an icy road late Famous for his predictions of the at night. The road is windy and the car hits Federal Reserve’s major moves (including a patch of ice and begins to spin out,” Jim “Operation Twist 2” and the collapse of the Rickards opens to a room of Mays Business Lehman Brothers), Rickards told students, School finance students. “When you have the right analytical method, “Now imagine taking a picture of the your ability to look over the horizon is car while it spins out. Nothing seems greatly increased.” He emphasizes that wrong when you only look at the photo,” learning the “warning signs” is extremely he continues. “That’s how policy makers valuable knowledge. are looking at our economy. They see the The framework for Rickards’ analytical snapshot and claim ‘nothing is wrong’— method is derived from his extensive maybe a dent or small scratch on the car. But historical knowledge. we all know that the trajectory of the car is Currency Wars, which he defines as “the headed for disaster.” devaluation of one country’s currency Rickards is a nationally renowned against that of another in order to increase economist, lawyer and investment banker. exports and economic growth,” are seen A frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg TV throughout history. According to Rickards, and other top business shows, he is “one of the world saw its first currency war from today’s leading experts in national economic 1921 to 1936, when the end of World War security and monetary policy,” Finance I brought massive war reparations for Department Head Sorin Sorescu says in an Germany (who “turned their currency to email to Mays colleagues. Rickards currently litter,” he says). The period of 1967–1987 holds the position of senior managing marked another currency war, as the U.S. director at Tangent Capital in New York City abandoned the gold standard and entered and also advises high-ranking officials in the into a debt crisis shortly after. U.S. and abroad on financial issues. Rickards argues that the world is Rickards’ recent book, Currency currently facing its third currency war. He Wars, examines the interaction between puts the problem simply: “Too much debt, macroeconomics and national security. It not enough growth.” offers a pragmatic analysis of our nation’s Rickards explains that “government current financial situation, as well as what spending is not the engine it once was,” the road ahead might look like. primarily due to the massive devaluation of currency.
He offers four potential outcomes for the current crisis: multiple reserve currencies, a new currency called SDR controlled by a central bank, a return to the gold standard and lastly, chaos. “The Fed thinks they’re playing with a thermostat when it comes to the economy,” Rickards says. “When it gets a little warm, they make small tweaks to ‘fix’ the problem … they need to realize they’re really playing with a nuclear reactor. One wrong tweak and the planet will be melting.” Finance major Travis Crawford ’13 says, “Rickards brought to light aspects of the financial world that are rarely looked upon.” He adds that Rickards’ lecture “presented interesting aspects and valuable insight of currency devaluation and how it affects the current financial situation.”
“When you have the right analytical method, your ability to look over the horizon is greatly increased.” Jim Rickards, author of Currency Wars
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or many companies, the Center for Executive Development at Mays Business School functions like a silent partner. While companies are working each day to manage their daily operations and strategically plan for the future, the CED is working with them side-by-side to train their next generations of leaders. While clients of the CED may vary in size, industry and mission, they all are unified in their goals to develop the future leaders of their organizations. While many business schools offer executive education programs, one differentiator of the CED at Mays is that every one of its programs is custom-designed for the client. Through a series of meetings with the CED leadership, the organization identifies its goals, and devises plans for programming. Each program is tailored to the client’s needs, from the structure, to the content to the location. Programs are designed and taught by top faculty from Mays Business School, who are able to dive deep into each company’s individual challenges and opportunities. By designing custom programs for each client, Mays faculty can use company-specific examples — from citing the company’s actual financial statements to discussing accounting practices to using advertisements to illustrate marketing strategy. Ken Fenoglio ’70, vice president of AT&T University, says Mays’ executive education programs “have added significant, bottom-line value to AT&T … The most valuable aspects of the programs are
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their timeliness, depth and degree of customization.” He says the CED programs helped the company reach a priority set by its top-level executives: to raise the financial analytical competency levels of its management team. Fenoglio says the impacts of each training session have been immediate. “We have literally had Mays faculty discussing and teaching our financial results and earnings call within 24 hours of the call.”
“The most valuable aspects of the programs are their timeliness, depth and degree of customization.” Ken Fenoglio ’70, vice president of AT&T University
features Cultivating a partnership
The process for building the CED’s relationship with its corporate clients is lengthy and extensive, but it is rewarding, said Ben Welch, who has been director of the CED since late 1999. When a company indicates an interest in partnering with the CED, Welch meets with a top executive of the company. Once that relationship is established and the expectations are established, Welch and his team members meet with multiple members of the leadership team to identify the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. “This is what allows us to customize our curriculum — and the level of customization to each client is the number one accolade we receive from each client,” Welch explains. When Mays developed its relationship with Halliburton eight years ago, Welch met with Dave Lesar in his role as chairman, president & CEO of the company. Welch says Lesar declared: “When you have the visionary leadership from the top, this commitment becomes engrained as an integral part of the corporate culture.” That pattern has since been repeated with various other clients. Once the courses begin at the companies, Welch spends “a copious amount of time with the participants in an attempt to better understand their company and to pull from their examples.” Next, the Mays faculty members spend time at a client’s location to gain better understanding of the company so they can cite “real-life” challenges such as comparing a company’s financial performance to that of its top competitors. “The time on the front-end is intensive,” Welch says, “but the return on investment is immeasurable.”
As organizations grow, the need increases for leaders to have an understanding of all parts of businesses — not just specific areas of responsibility. To be effective, leaders have to be cross-functional, and able to add value across the board. Many of the CED’s most popular programs are designed to address this issue. In programs such as “Financial Leadership for Non-Financial Leaders,” employees learn the nuts and bolts of their organization’s financials, which enables them to make better strategic decisions for the company, and to think about how those decisions affect the company’s financial success as a whole. Taking it a step further, some organizations offer their employees a “mini-MBA” — giving them a broad overview of their entire business model. Fenoglio says he has seen the benefits of this strategy in action. “Our employees leave these programs with a much greater understanding of our organization, its real value drivers and how their efforts contribute to its financial success.” Another asset of the CED is the ability to analyze, adjust and enhance education plans based on the needs of the organizations. Some companies may start with a narrow focus for their programs, but as their challenges grow, so do the opportunities to increase the training of their employees. Cindy Bigner, director of global diversity and inclusion and the corporate liaison between Halliburton and Mays, says she appreciates the long-term relationships the CED fosters with its clients. She says the center provides more than just an education — it engages in a true partnership. Halliburton has expanded from an initial roster of five courses a year when they began eight years ago to its current schedule of 69 weeks, all around the world. “Everything they do for us is top-notch,” she says. “Our partnership is unparalleled.”
“Everything they do for us is top-notch. Our partnership is unparalleled.”
The customization of CED programs goes beyond the classroom. The CED serves a client base of about 1,500 people across seven U.S. states and six continents. Most programs last a week and contain about Cindy Bigner, 30 students. Almost 40 director of global diversity and inclusion, Mays faculty members Halliburton from all disciplines teach in CED programs. Most teach MBA and Executive MBA courses, so they bring their expertise in designing content for an experienced, executive audience. Bigner says though the faculty members are Texas A&M employees, she feels as if they are heavily invested in the success of their corporate clients. “They are professionals, and they work closely with us to make the class experience as challenging and applicable as possible,” she says of the courses. “We know they will emphasize our core values and our overarching goals because CED has taken the time necessary to develop a great understanding of what we do.”
Changing the way business looks at change
After their training sessions, participants return to their companies with new skills, a broader perspective and strengthened relationships with their coworkers. But the process doesn’t stop there. After each program, a review occurs to gauge its success, and any adjustments are made. Follow-up programs are usually developed, as well, to ensure long-term success and continued growth. Welch, said he has seen many changes over the years but he has also seen one constant: “the culture within CED, and our desire to impact lives.” Welch says the CED takes pride in delivering customized programs to each of its clients. And he says it is exciting to be involved with the development of the top asset of any organization — human capital. “Our collective efforts in CED help to shape the future of tomorrow.”
CED takes its training around the world Aberdeen, Scotland Baku, Azerbaijan Bogotá, Colombia Brussels, Belgium Buenos Aires, Argentina Cairo, Egypt Calgary, Canada Dubai, United Arab Emirates Jakarta, Indonesia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Lagos, Nigeria London, England Moscow, Russia Muscat, Oman Panama City, Panama Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Singapore Sydney, Australia Veracruz, Mexico Villahermosa, Mexico
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Give and take: The value of teaching CED courses Mary Lea McAnally, associate dean of graduate programs and professor of accounting, says teaching for CED brings her many benefits in her roles.
“Meeting executives and hearing stories of how they grapple with business problems lends richness to my research and teaching. Each time I am with a group of execs I deepen my understanding of the role accounting information plays in the real world. Plus, I leave with some very good stories to tell my full-time MBA students.”
Ricky Griffin, management department head and distinguished professor, says he values teaching in the CED and Executive MBA programs in addition to undergraduate courses.
“I find each venue to be unique, but each also helps inform the other. Teaching in CED helps keep me grounded. When you present an idea or concept to an executive audience you have to be able to explain how it applies to the real world.”
Michael Shaub, clinical professor of accounting, says he brings information from the CED’s corporate clients into the auditing class he teaches.
“I hate the word synergy but if I have any in my life, it is between my CED teaching and my auditing classroom. My CED experiences have regularly enriched the lives of my undergrad students. It also helps my students sense that the things we are learning have practical implications in the real world.”
Duane Ireland, distinguished professor of management, values the feedback on the relevance of the information he shares in his CED courses.
“Working with executives affords opportunities for me to ‘test’ different ideas I develop from time to time about what practitioners might do to increase the value they create for their organizations. In turn, feedback about the potential value of these ideas and the practices associated with them can be folded in my teaching of students pursuing their MBA and undergraduate business degrees. In this regard, I always gain significant insights about managerial practice by exchanging ideas with the successful executives with whom we are honored to work through our executive development programs.”
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CED Fact Sheet The Center for Executive Development at Mays Business School provides customized management training for organizations in a variety of industries. Each CED program is created in partnership with the client, and the structure, content, curriculum and location are designed to achieve the goals of each individual organization.
CED partners with faculty from across all disciplines at Mays. Currently, 33 faculty members teach in CED programs. Accounting Susan Fiechtner Michael Kinney Mary Lea McAnally Annie McGowan Clair Nixon Michael Shaub Jerry Strawser
Communications John Krajicek
Powell Robinson Bala Shetty
Finance Amanda Adkisson Arvind Mahajan
Management Murray Barrick Wendy Boswell Dan Chiaburu Lorraine Eden Ricky Griffin
Information Systems Xenophon Koufteros Madhav Pappu
Asghar Zardkoohi Ryan Zimmerman
Michael Hitt Duane Ireland Richard Lester Don Lewis Christopher Porter Michael Pustay Ben Welch Michael Wesson
Marketing Paul Busch Janet Parish Venkatesh Shankar Manjit Yadav
CED clients vary in size, industry, and mission, but are unified in their goal to develop the future leaders of their organizations. CED currently provides 83 weeks of programming a year, including programs for: • AT&T • BMC Software • Baker Hughes
• CenterPoint Energy • Halliburton • Opportune
CED also hosts programs for organizations such as the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement, Business Management Certificate for Engineering Students, Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Disabled Veterans and MWR Army Golf Course Managers.
For more information, contact:
Center for Executive Development email@example.com ced.tamu.edu Phone: (979) 845-1216
It’s time to invest in leadership.
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Thirsty to help, Mays students lead “The Wells Project” T he facts are out there— 884 million people in the world lack access to clean water and a child dies every 15 seconds
because of water-related disease. Five years ago, a group of Texas A&M students personified what Aggies do best— they recognized a need and did something about it. They created The Wells Project, an organization that raises awareness and funds for the current water crisis in Africa. “It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives, our own luxury, our comfort— especially when the message of society is often, ‘It’s all about me,’” Mays student Valerie Whitt ’12 emphasizes. “I remember being moved by the reality of the water crisis,” says Whitt, who served as the 2011 Wells Project president. “I realized how clean, safe water was something I took for granted every day.” The Wells Project’s mission also hit home with accounting major Will Whitehill ’13, newly appointed president for 2012. “I have a passion for the thirsty,” he says. “When I saw them on campus a few years ago and found out about the cause, I knew The Wells Project was for me.”
A growing issue
“Water is the most basic human necessity, but roughly one out of eight people do not have access to clean, safe drinking water,” Whitehill says. Often referred as the “silent crisis” for its ability to slip out of media headlines, the global water crisis claims more lives than any wars or natural disasters. It halts progress of developing countries, forcing the impoverished to live in vulnerability and uncertainty. “While we can conveniently walk to our sink and fill a glass of water without fear of getting sick and dying, there are hundreds of millions of people in the world that lack access to clean water,” says
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Whitt. “But instead of feeling guilty or overwhelmed by this reality, we can feel empowered.”
Empowered to create change
In 2007, a group of Aggies, motivated to create change, founded The Wells Project. The Wells Project is partnered with the Houstonbased nonprofit Living Water International. The organization seeks to engage Aggies in the global water crisis by funding clean water wells in communities across the globe. Whitt says the solution of drilling wells is “simple and sustainable.” “It is estimated that just one dollar can provide clean water for one person for an entire year,” she stresses. Whitehill calls the organization “more than a social group or resume builder,” but says, “The Wells Project is a place for students to work for a common purpose and to bring an end to something that is affecting 884 million people around the world.” The Wells Project members are divided into three teams: campus outreach, community outreach and an event team. Each member’s talents and passions are highlighted, as they “pour their energy” into campaigns around the Bryan/College Station area, says Whitt. According to Eric Newman ’11, the 2010 president and current advisor to the organization, The Wells Project’s reach isn’t constrained to A&M. “Here’s the coolest part,” he says. “What started at A&M in 2007 is spreading to campuses across the nation. This year, more than 20 colleges and universities (from Southern Cal and Pepperdine to Virginia and Georgia Tech) participated in 10 Days, The Wells Project’s biggest campaign.” “It’s been very cool to see the growth not only internally, but also
features externally as other schools develop their Wells Projects based off of Texas A&M’s model,” Whitt adds.
“10 Days” campaign
The Wells Project’s largest annual campaign centers on a simple premise — spend less to give more. The 10 Days campaign is a Living Water International initiative predominantly launched through The Wells Project on college campuses, and encourages students to make water their only beverage for 10 days. Students donate the money saved from not spending on coffee, soda, etc., and that money funds the drilling of wells around the world. Whitt puts the 10 Days Campaign into perspective— “Imagine how many lives you can change if you give up a couple coffees? If you and your roommates gave up a couple coffees? If every student at Texas A&M gave up just one coffee? It’s exciting to think about. You matter, and every little bit helps.” The 2011 campaign raised more than $70,000 nationally, with nearly $20,000 coming from Texas A&M.
The business of compassion
Although the organization boasts a wide variety of talents and majors (“from engineers, to business students, education majors and biology,” as Whitt says), Mays students have predominately led The Wells Project. The founder, Henry Proegler ’09 (finance), 2010 president Eric Newman ’11 (business honors/management), 2011 president Valerie Whitt ’12 (business honors/supply chain) and 2012 president Will Whitehill ’13 (accounting) say the invaluable lessons they learn in class translate into their leadership of The Wells Project. “The skills and abilities I have learned in my business classes have
Although the organization boasts a wide variety of talents and majors, Mays students have predominately led The Wells Project.
affected the way our community team interacts with the community and has opened my eyes to more efficient, effective and engaging ways to partner with businesses, schools and churches,” Whitehill says of his time at Mays. Whitt agrees, saying, “Being a business student has helped in the logistics and marketing of running a large scale campaign, as well as in the general management of an organization of 50 members and learning to lead effectively. We strategize how to best engage the students at Texas A&M, how to most effectively and clearly communicate our message, and constantly evaluate to see how we can improve and continue to grow and sustain this organization.”
A promising future for The Wells Project
Taking the reigns as president, Whitehill says he’s honored and privileged to serve in the position. “The presidents before me have established a legacy of dedication and service to the Wells Project, which is something I plan to uphold and instill in future presidents.” With a significantly increasing number of members each year, Whitehill has big plans for The Wells Project’s future, including events involving athletics, campus “water days,” and a group mission trip to an affected country. Regardless of the plans, Whitehill says The Wells Project’s purpose remains clear— “Creating awareness about the water crisis and its effects is at the forefront of what we do, so finding a way to make the campus more informed and passionate about the water crisis is one of our biggest goals as we prepare for this next year.”
It is estimated that just one dollar can provide clean water for one person for an entire year.
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Brains, bellies battle for the right food choices
elly Haws has keener insight into the world of marketing than most, with a job as an assistant professor of marketing at Mays Business School and a reputation as a top researcher of consumer behavior. Yet, making the right choices when shopping for her family — especially for her young children — can be tricky, even for Haws. She dons her marketing hat to read labels and determine if the advertising is accurate, but still feels instinctually attracted to the items she knows are not the healthiest, and is frustrated by claims that foods are healthy, when clearly there are better choices. Fat free? Sugar free? Zero trans fats? The claims seem endless, and are becoming more and more prevalent on supermarket shelves. So what is a good researcher to do? Haws is one of a small but growing number of marketing professors worldwide who study food-related decision making and the role that marketers and public policy have in influencing these important and common decisions. She researches consumer behavior, with specific focus on issues relevant to consumer welfare, and teaches consumer behavior at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A paper she co-wrote, “Eating with a Purpose: Consumer Responses to Functional Food Health Claims,” was published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. It says although marketers of food products claim their products provide more than basic nutrition, very little is known about consumer responses to these claims — particularly when inconsistent information is available about a particular ingredient. For example, if a consumer doesn’t
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know what “gluten” is, how can he/she make a decision about whether an item that is “gluten free” is a smart food choice? Over two studies, Haws and her fellow researchers demonstrated that consumers with lower health consciousness are particularly sensitive to conflicting information about the validity of functional food health claims; the presentation of conflicting information significantly lowers their likelihood of choosing a functional over a nonfunctional food. Thus, if a consumer with low health consciousness becomes confused by the claims made by food marketers, or if they feel the claims contradict each other, they are less likely to purchase that product. Consumers with higher health consciousness, though, are not as subject to the same phenomenon. When a consumer with high health consciousness is confronted with conflicting information about the function of a food, their likelihood of purchasing the food is not reduced. This seems contradictory. The more a consumer knows about health, the more likely they are to purchase a food that is marketed as “healthy,” even if the claims conflict. The reason? The study shows consumers with high health consciousness are driven by a confirmatory bias to believe the functional food health claims. They want to believe the foods are healthier, so they are more likely to be swayed by health claims on food products. This is a critical finding for food marketers, policy makers and consumers. Food marketers are interested in understanding the biases of consumers so they can more effectively market their
features products. Policy makers are tasked with analyzing whether or not practices need to be further regulated, and consumers want to arm themselves with the correct information so they make good food choices. Haws says though the latest scientific information should be disseminated to the public, public policy should ensure the claims that marketers use are not confusing to consumers. “Such confusion has the potential to lead consumers — particularly those who are less health conscious to begin with — to conclude that because they don’t know the best thing to do for their health, they will just do whatever they want instead. In line with recent efforts, the more simple useful nutritional information can be presented, the better.”
Focus on flavor, not health, makes the sale
Haws’ colleague at Mays, Distinguished Professor Leonard Berry, is a marketing professor and a board member of the Darden Restaurants, America’s largest casual-dining chain with a portfolio of seven brands. One of Darden’s most successful restaurant brands is Seasons 52, which features fresh grilled entrees under 500 calories. “Finding success in marketing more healthful food is tricky,” says Berry. “If the food doesn’t taste great and isn’t filling, forget it.” Food marketers and restaurant owners have discovered that persuading consumers to make sacrifices when it comes to eating is a tough sell. “Seasons 52 is successful in part because it combines healthfulness and taste — and doesn’t hype the healthfulness part, which would scare customers away,” Berry said. The restaurant chain is part of a trend to offer small-portioned indulgences such as mini-desserts or appetizers. On the other end of the spectrum, a good strategic move could be to offer larger portions of healthy fare, such as vegetables. This aligns with a paper Haws co-wrote, “Healthy Satiation: The Role of Decreasing Desire in Effective Self-Control,” which is forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Research. The paper demonstrates how some people — those with higher levels of selfcontrol — are better at getting their fix of unhealthy foods faster while continuing to enjoy consuming steamed broccoli for longer than their low self-control counterparts. The study shows that paying attention when you eat unhealthy food, savoring the sweets or salty snacks, will make you feel satisfied sooner. In one study, people who counted the number of times they swallowed while eating an unhealthy snack felt full sooner than those who didn’t. “Consumers can ‘save’ their self-control resources by not monitoring consumption of the most healthy of foods — in other words, they can keep on eating the broccoli or carrots if they don’t want to think about quantity control,” Haws explains.
Observing a supersized world
Another area Haws is studying is the concept of “supersizing” — pricing structures that reward consumers for buying more. A paper Haws wrote on the topic was conditionally accepted at the Journal of Marketing. She presented the paper in Vancouver at the Association for Consumer Research annual conference. The fast-food industry is the most prevalent user of the supersizing strategy, but evidence shows it can also work for healthy foods such as baby carrots. “People were more likely to buy a larger bag of carrots if it had a lower price per unit,” she explains. “There are trade-offs between thrift and health that lead you to scrap your health goal because you’re accomplishing another goal: saving money.”
“There are trade-offs between thrift and health that lead you to scrap your health goal because you’re accomplishing another goal: saving money.” Kelly Haws, assistant professor of marketing
“Finding success in marketing more healthful food is tricky. If the food doesn’t taste great and isn’t filling, forget it.” Leonard Berry, distinguished marketing professor
Haws found that the pricing strategies lead to greater purchase and consumption. The bigger the discount for purchasing a large quantity, the greater the chance that a consumer will purchase the larger quantity, regardless of the potential health impacts. Haws calls this “nonlinear pricing.” Specifically, as the quantity of the product increases, so does the discount per unit. But instead of sharing the larger quantity, the purchaser generally consumes the entire larger quantity — which is typically not the best choice for either the wallet or the waistline. An example of a reaction regulators and policy makers have taken is a ban in New York on large-sized soft drinks sold by restaurants. Soft drinks can now only be sold in 16-ounce or smaller containers, although consumers can purchase multiple containers if they choose. “While consumers may seek to consume food in moderation to achieve a goal of being healthy,” Haws explains, “financially, they may also desire to obtain good value for their money,” — a prime example of the battle between the brain and the belly.
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features Tai’s Mobile Bistro to serve both versions of favorites from the Veritas menu and some dishes created specifically for the food truck. “The food truck became a great vehicle for us to have lower-priced items to hit a greater variety of people. It made our food more accessible for more people,” Lee explains.
Mobile restaurants proving popular
Chef Tai paves way for local gourmet food trucks C
hef Tai’s Mobile Bistro, the brainchild of Tai Lee ’02, was the first gourmet food truck in the Bryan/College Station area. Voted America’s Favorite Food Truck on the Food Network in 2011, Chef Tai’s Mobile Bistro has grown to be a local favorite. Despite having no previous food truck experience, Lee set a precedent for future food trucks in Bryan/College Station. Lee graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in finance, and despite the differences between finance and the culinary field, Lee credits his success partially to his Mays Business School education. “Before I could start my dream of owning a restaurant, I had to come up with a business plan to show my financier,” he explains. “Even working now, I can analyze our statements and finances a little better than if I was just a chef. Being a finance major definitely helps me analyze our numbers to see what we need to do to survive as a restaurant.”
Taste and price have helped the mobile bistro not only win in the national arena, but also remain a local favorite. The selection as America’s Favorite Food Truck gave Lee the $10,000 grand prize and the chance to appear on season three of “The Great Food Truck Race.” Lee was given a 2012 Community Impact Award by the BryanCollege Station Chamber of Commerce. In August 2012, Lee expanded his fleet. He bought a food truck from fellow restaurant Madden’s and rolled it out with the intent of giving more people accessibility to gourmet food than the initial mobile enterprise. Gourmet hamburgers and tacos will be the highlighted fare. “Our original food truck has the price point of $8 to $12 due to the nature of menu ingredients that were expensive in nature such as American Wagyu beef and shrimp or crabs,” he explains. “We will continue more of high-end ‘bistro-ish’ ingredients and menu at the original food truck. On our new truck, we are pricing food at $5 to $6 range to open up more doors for more budgetconscious crowds like our Aggie students or young professionals who want to have a wholesome quality meal without shelling out more than they have to.”
A grounded beginning
In 2007, before becoming part owner of Chef Tai’s Mobile Bistro, Lee helped create Veritas Wine & Bistro in College Station, where he is the executive chef. While Lee was honing his craft at Veritas, his parents became familiar with the food truck business that was blossoming in Southern California. In 2009, they suggested to Lee that he join in with his own food truck. At that point in his life, Lee felt like he didn’t have the time to do a food truck. “I told my parents, ‘I am doing high-end food. Why would I want to do low-end?’” Lee recalls. After visiting his parents and experiencing some food trucks that served gourmet food, though, Lee changed his mind. In 2010, Lee opened Chef
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Gourmet burgers and tacos will be the highlighted fare of Chef Tai’s second food truck, Numero Dos.
Incubator Development course provides education in startups T
he terms “incubation” and “acceleration” took on new meanings for Mays Business School students enrolled this semester in an incubator development course. Nearly all of the undergraduates in the one-time course had never visited a business incubator or accelerator prior to registering for this unique experiential-learning class. They overcame a steep learning curve by visiting incubation programs in Austin and San Antonio during the Spring 2012 semester. During their out-of-town and local visits to incubators, students interviewed incubator managers and community leaders with experience in economic development. As students learned more about the business incubation industry, the incubator research project evolved — making for quite a challenge near the end of the semester as students became more involved with their sister class in the College of Architecture. Architecture students produced space plans and custom furniture designs for a proposed “student startup space” at Texas A&M University’s Research Park, based on end-user needs articulated by Mays students. Both teams of students revised their course deliverables several times to incorporate new data as it was developed and shared. For the business students, this meant working to rewrite their business plan for a campus incubation program to assist student entrepreneurs. In response, architecture students had to “redesign the redesign of their redesigned architectural design plans,” as one senior noted. Students in both classes agreed that the process was like launching a startup business because collaboration between students was required to produce a cohesive, feasible product. At the end of the semester, both classes presented their proposals to Jeffrey Seemann, vice president of research at Texas A&M University and chief research officer for the Texas A&M University System, during a stakeholders presentation that included Jorge Vanegas, dean of the College of Architecture, and other university and Texas A&M University System officials. An estimated 70 guests, including Richard Lester, executive director of the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship,
and CNVE advisory board members, convened to hear students’ presentations and participate in tours of the student business incubation program facility. This 4,704-square-foot office space, dubbed “The Startup Space” by the students involved, serves as the campus classroom for the project. Students from any discipline can stop by for advice and vie for the office space. Students from around campus were invited to enter a contest to help name the project, which was initially called “Startup Aggieland”. The project attracted national attention, as well. Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin served as a panelist in Washington, D.C., in October 2012, during a discussion of academic entrepreneurship. It was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the White House Business Council. Mays students collaborate with students from the College of Architecture to research and design space for startup businesses.
Texas A&M President R. Bowen Loftin was invited to speak about the incubator at a national forum in Washington, D.C., in Fall 2012. The topic: “Student and Faculty Enterpreneurship and Innovation.”
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current student news
Mays Business School welcomes its first Professional MBA program class This August, Mays launched its new Professional MBA program with a 36-member inaugural class. After an orientation on the Texas A&M University campus, the students began course work at the new custom finished facility at CITYCENTRE in Houston that will house both the Professional and Executive MBA programs from Mays. The Professional MBA’s 36 entering students have an average of 5.5 years of work experience and represent 33 organizations. Mike Alexander, director of the Professional MBA program, said that the students represent a fantastic first class for the program. “Our new students are smart, driven, and highly engaged. I look forward to watching them grow as a class and as individuals under the guidance of our world-class faculty in our new facility in CITYCENTRE.” In addition, Mays admitted its 14th Executive MBA class this year, which is the first class to move from its previous location in The Woodlands to the CITYCENTRE facility. The 54 entering Executive MBA students have an average of 18 years of work experience and represent 47 organizations. Mays also has a Full-
Time MBA program that runs 16 months on the Texas A&M campus. Mary Lea McAnally, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays, explained that adding the Professional MBA rounds out the school’s suite of MBA programs “We are now able to offer programs to people at all levels of experience. We can accommodate both working professionals and students who want to study full time. This increases the accessibility of a MBA degree from Mays Business School. I am tremendously excited about the future of our programs.” Lisa Raines, a senior analyst at NCI Building Systems Inc., says she is “beyond excited to come back to the Texas A&M family” to pursue her graduate degree through the PMBA program. “From personal experience, I know A&M not only offers a world-class education, but it also fosters lasting relationships. Texas A&M is a family, and that is exactly what the inaugural Professional MBA class has already started to become. As the first class we are excited to set the standards high by striving for integrity and academic excellence. We are eager to apply what we learn during weekend classes to our jobs on Monday morning.”
The first Professional MBA class started in Fall 2012.
CITYCENTRE Three in Houston, home of the Professional and Executive MBA programs, opened in October 2012. 20
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current student news
From the ground up: Mays Business School at CITYCENTRE
Mays Business School has recently completed its new, custom finished facility at CITYCENTRE. This state-of-the art education facility will house the Professional and Executive MBA programs, and will be the new home for Mays Business School in Houston.
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current student news
Summer Learning Seminar continues practical education offerings One hundred and eighty people soaked up tips for tackling long-term business strategy and strengthened ties with their fellow attendees during the 2012 Summer Learning Seminar at Mays Business School. During the daylong free event, “Tackling 100-year Decisions: A Fresh Look at Business Strategy,” current students and graduates enhanced their knowledge and networked with one another while reconnecting with Texas A&M and Mays. “We pride ourselves in developing lifelong learners,” explained Mary Lea McAnally, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays. She said the program was designed to keep academic conversations going — particularly during the summer months. “As I see all the information we are receiving today, I am reminded of a quote that says education is not so much the filling of a bucket as it is the lighting of a fire. Today is designed to give you some fuel to burn. Take what you’ve learned today and become the spark.” The seminar sessions examined the historic implications of Texas A&M University’s move to the Southeastern Conference, analyzed innovative corporate strategy, investigated the importance of internal marketing and shared practical tactics for sustainable growth.
SEC switch all about Texas A&M
Keynote presenter Jason Cook, vice president of Marketing & Communications
Ideas Challenge showcases creativity from across campus In the competition to create the “next big thing,” the participants in the Ideas Challenge presented innovative business ideas to about 80 judges. The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship hosted the event, which
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“You have to have entrepreneurial alertness and see opportunities others don’t.” Michael Hitt , University Distinguished Professor of Management
at Texas A&M, spelled out the steps in A&M’s switch to the SEC. He described some of the remaining steps to “claim the state of Texas,” such as billboard ads across the state and TV spots that highlight the academics of the universities in the conference. “Texas A&M has always been an SEC school in terms of traditions and values, we’ve just been stuck in the wrong conference,” Cook said. “Now we’re on a good path with a new athletic director who knows the SEC and has been an athletic director there for seven years. The first thing he said is that it’s about student athletes and the fact that students can get a degree that they otherwise might not get. He sees athletics as a great marketing tool for the university.”
Michael Hitt, University Distinguished Professor of Management and Joe B. Foster ’56 Chair in Business Leadership at Mays, said the examples he cited could translate easily from the business world into
was open to Texas A&M students of all majors and undergraduate and graduate classifications. Construction science major Patrick Daniels received $3,000 for his first-place project, “I.Q. Stat: Intelligent Climate
Control.” The second-place project, “PolyFilm Absorbable Adhesion Barrier,” was entered by biomedical engineering major Qun Liu. He received $2,000.
an individual’s role as a leader. He urged the audience to stay innovative and keep a strategic mindset to remain competitive. He said a strategic and entrepreneurial leader exhibits vision, continuous development of capabilities, innovation, building and sustaining a competitive advantage. “You have to have entrepreneurial alertness and see opportunities others don’t,” he said. “Teams beat better teams because they see weaknesses in their opponents. You have to always be watching for your opening.”
Marketing within also essential
Paul Busch, professor of marketing at Mays and Regents Professor, called internal marketing — also known as employee relations — “the missing link in strategy implementation.” “Use internal marketing to improve external marketing,” he concluded after several interactive exercises with the attendees. “Recognize the cost effectiveness of internal marketing, and treat employees as customers.”
Three projects tied for third place: • “House of Geekdom” by university studies/business major Shelly Brenckman, • “Garment Drying Tags” by Accounting/PPA – MGMT major Ben Bates and Accounting/PPA – MIS majors Allison DeHaven, Erin Evetts, Kelsey Hermanson and Valerie Hernandez, and • “Kinectic People Power LLC “ by university studies/business major Shelly Brenckman.
current student news
Entrepreneurship Bootcamp instills optimism in disabled veterans The 23 veterans who looked a little unsure when they started their weeklong Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans (EBV) at Mays Business School were smiling and confident six days and dozens of hours later. After presenting business plans and answering questions from a panel of EBV graduates, the 2012 class members laughed together and looked eager to start their business ventures. The EBV offers training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from their service to our country. The EBV at Texas A&M is a significant collaboration between the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship and the Center for Executive Development at Mays. The cost is about $5,000 per participant, but thanks to the generous support of corporate sponsors and private individuals, the veterans are allowed to attend the entire program — including tuition, travel and accommodations — at no cost. Pamela Curry, the EBV program coordinator and unofficial “mom” to each class that comes through A&M, commented on the friendships that formed throughout the program. “The first night, I prayed that the right people would be brought together,” she recalled during the commencement ceremony. “God put a magnificent puzzle together, putting these people together. Each group that comes through this place, I think it can’t get any better – and then it does.”
Class member John Signorino called the program “a one-week MBA course on steroids,” and remarked on how “professionally and smoothly” it was presented. “You brought people from all around the country and all walks of life and executed the whole thing beautifully so that it impacted every one of us. We really appreciate it.” At Texas A&M, ranked 7th nationally by the Military Times Edge for being a “veteranfriendly” campus, information shared by top faculty members and seasoned business owners provided a baseline of knowledge for participants. This year’s class members hailed from around Texas, Georgia, Louisiana and Florida. Their projects ranged from the technical to the eccentric to the touchyfeely, and everything in between. Pam Tilley, creator of a plush toy shaped like a soldier’s helmet that will generate funds for veterans, dreams of selling them in H-E-B stores. Douglas Frederick of El Paso hopes to move to Georgia and emulate the renovation reality show “Property Brothers.” Liza Matos is working to export computers to Median, Colombia. Cornelius Nash, a graduate from the EBV’s 2010 class, returned from Tombstone, Ariz., to serve on a panel to give advice and answer questions. While he was attending his class in 2010, the Marines chose his company as a subject matter expert on improvised explosive devices. “The things I learned in EBV and the mentors I met continue to help
me to this day.” His wife attended the EBV family program at Florida State. Rep. Bill Flores spoke to the veterans at the opening dinner. Gen. Hal M. Hornburg, a four-star U.S. Air Force general and commander, was the keynote speaker at the commencement ceremony. He told the graduates in their closing ceremony that life is “all about balance,” then he thanked them for their service – “not for what you have done, but for what you will do. Be a beacon in your communities, be a stalwart in the PTO meetings and the civic organizations. Take the things you’ve learned here and use it to make this a better place.”
Five years and 500 graduates later Statistics from the national EBV program: • 69% have launched a new venture since attending EBV • 65% of the ventures remain operational • 13% went back to school instead of starting their ventures • 5% went to work for someone else • 16% are still in the planning stage • 91% use the EBV Technical Assistance Program About the EBV consortium
One of the 23 members of the EBV’s fifth class called it “a one-week MBA course on steroids.”
The EBV Consortium was formed in 2008 as a national educational initiative designed to help veterans with disabilities to make the transition to self-employment, develop professional networks and ultimately start and grow sustainable businesses. In addition to Mays Business School, the EBV Consortium is composed of the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University, the Anderson School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles, the College of Business at The Florida State University, the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, the College of Business at the University of Connecticut, the E. J. Ourso College of Business at Louisiana State University and the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.
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current student news
My life @Mays: Alex Phillips, What’s in my backpack My “little red book” is filled with notes, thoughts and ideas for Business Student Council. I’ve met a lot of great people at Mays and I’m looking forward to helping create valuable experiences for other business students through BSC.
My laptop is indispensible. I use it daily to take notes in class, check grades and design graphics for T-shirts and other projects – a hobby I began in high school.
Name: Alex Phillips Major: MIS Class: 2014 Hometown: Spring, Texas Office: President, Business Student Council
I couldn’t live without my iPhone. On an average day, I send or receive about 200 text messages and emails for work and Business Student Council. I stay on top of it all with my phone’s calendar, notepad and alarm clock.
During my sophomore year, I became an MIS major. I’m currently taking a networking class and am really looking forward to taking more classes and diving deeper into my major.
My backpack is going on its third year in college. I haul books, notes and my laptop to class – so much that the front pockets are held together with black duct tape.
Readers are leaders, so I’ve been reading about different leadership principles. I hope to use what I’ve learned to help develop my fellow BSC officers and myself as leaders.
I came to Texas A&M because I love our school’s traditions and I just felt at home here. At Mays, the opportunities are endless. We have amazing professors, an incredible building and so many ways for students to grow through organizations and programs. I’m currently the president of the Business Student Council and we’re heavily involved in serving Mays and the community. My life at Mays can be hectic sometimes, but I know that my classes, friends and experiences are preparing me to be a leader after graduation. 24
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current student news
Project Mays provides Bryan youngsters with books Project Mays 2012 recently put books into the hands of 450 prekindergartners in Bryan. Project Mays is the service committee of the Business Student Council, responsible for the largest community service project at Mays each year. This year’s theme was “One Book, Two Books, Old Books, New Books.” On the annual Revelation Day in May, about 75 Mays students read to Carver Early Childhood Center students and gave them books and school supplies. Project Mays supplemented the Bryan school district’s Be The One Reading Literacy Campaign effort to give books to all 8,500 elementary students and encourage them to read during the summer. Project Mays delivered more than 8,000 books to Bryan ISD children and raised more than $40,000 toward the effort. Project Mays collected monetary donations and more than 550 new and gently-used children’s books. “The support Project Mays has received from Mays students, faculty and staff has been incredible, and we are so thankful we are able to work with Mays to make a difference in these students’ lives,” says Leigh Anne Castles, vice president of Project Mays. “The students at Carver were so excited to have college students in their classrooms, and this project would not have been possible without the support of Mays and Bryan ISD.”
“The support Project Mays has received from Mays students, faculty and staff has been incredible, and we are so thankful we are able to work with Mays to make a difference in these students’ lives.”
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Faldyns foster Business Honors professional development opportunities Rodney L. ’88 and Karen Faldyn donated $100,000 to create the Business Honors Professional Development Endowment at Mays Business School. The funds will provide support for Business Honors activities such as student competitions, student conferences, student domestic and international travel experiences and general operational expenses. Faldyn says he and his wife want to help Business Honors attract and educate the “bright, top-notch students from around the country.” He says the major “has developed into such a prestigious program, we wanted to help in attracting quality students into the program when financial constraints might otherwise be a deterrent.” When Faldyn graduated in 1988 with a degree in accounting, he began with a job with Touche Ross & Co. (predecessor to Deloitte & Touche), where he had done an internship. He is currently president and CEO of Academy Sports + Outdoors in Katy. “I have had the good fortune of hiring a lot of students over my career from the Mays Business School,” he explains. “Work ethic, integrity and leadership abilities are key building blocks in beginning and sustaining any successful career. These are common traits among Texas A&M graduates.“
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Baggett ’81 boosts business school with professional development endowment Shortly after graduating, David C. Baggett ’81 quickly transitioned from student to ardent supporter of Mays Business School. Baggett’s fast track to graduation with honors at age 20 quickly led to his first job, with Deloitte & Touche. He was the youngest partner in the history of that firm when he was promoted to partner at the age of 29. At his alma mater, he was one of the youngest members appointed to the Accounting Advisory Council and he is now the longest-serving member of that group. Baggett has helped with the development of programs — advising on curriculum and program strategies, mentoring students and recruiting graduates, and assisting with fund-raising. “He began contributing financially to our program immediately after graduation, and the amount of his contributions have increased proportionally with his success in business,” says James Benjamin, accounting department head at Mays and Baggett’s long-time friend. His most recent gift to Texas A&M of $500,000 went to create the Denise and David C. Baggett ’81 Professional Development Endowment in support of the Business Honors Program.
Baggett has always seemed more interested in the impact of his support on the accounting program, Mays and Texas A&M than in recognition for his gifts, Benjamin says. “I am gratified but not surprised with his latest commitment to the Mays Business Honors Program,” Benjamin says. “David has also been a great personal friend and advisor, and I know that he has been a significant, positive influence in my life.” In return, Baggett says Benjamin has had a profound impact on his professional and personal life. He adds, “Denise and I are blessed to be able to give something back to Mays Business School, and trust that our recent endowment will be meaningful to students in the Business Honors Program for many years to come.” Baggett was recognized in 2011 as one of the Mays Outstanding Alumni Award winners. Mays Dean Jerry Strawser says the Baggetts have benefitted many with their generosity. “Through their most recent commitment to support our students’ professional development through study abroad and participation in other extracurricular opportunities, they will open many doors for our students and truly influence their lives,” he says. Dean Strawser continued, “In addition to his ongoing financial support and other fundraising efforts, Baggett has supported Mays in many other ways including hiring
numerous Mays graduates, mentoring MBA students and using the Mays Center for Executive Development for the advancement of his colleagues.” The pair are involved in several charitable endeavors, including the establishment of the David and Denise Baggett Teaching Award for Accounting Professors in Mays. Baggett serves on the Dean’s Development Council and the Accounting Department Advisory Council, and he is on the Champions Council of the 12th Man Foundation. In 2005, Baggett founded Opportune LLP, an energy consulting firm that assists clients with corporate finance, complex financial reporting, process and technology, strategy and organization, dispute resolution, enterprise risk, tax and outsourcing. Opportune serves clients throughout North America and Europe through offices in Houston, Denver and London. The company ranked fourth in the 2011 Aggie 100, which recognizes the fastest growing Aggie-owned or Aggie-led businesses in the world. Baggett lives in the Houston area and serves on the board of directors of NorthStar Energy and Marlin Midstream. He previously served on the boards of AMPAM, Genesis Energy, Encore Energy Partners and ERCOT, the independent system operator for electrical markets in Texas. He is actively involved in the several trade organizations, including the IPAA and the Turnaround Management Association.
Loefflers’ generosity creates scholarship for undergraduate business students Robert (Bob) ’77 and Janet Loeffler wanted to help students with financial needs gain degrees in business, so they contributed $200,000 to fund the Robert D. ’77 and Janet K. Loeffler Scholarship in Business. The scholarship is intended to aid students whose academic record and personal commitment qualify them for admission into Mays Business School, but who do not have the financial resources
needed to fund their time at Mays. The fund will provide a scholarship to a new fulltime student, and the student will continue to receive the scholarship each year he or she is a full-time student in good standing pursuing an undergraduate degree at Mays. Bob Loeffler said he learned a lot about leadership and engineering from his undergraduate degree at the U.S. Naval Academy, but he got his start in business at Texas A&M, where he earned an MBA in 1977. “I was with H-E-B for 33 years, and over that time we hired many graduates of Texas A&M who have gone on to have their own very successful careers with the company.”
Loeffler said many bright students don’t have the financial resources needed to attend a school like Mays. “Hopefully this endowment will result in a Mays school undergraduate degree every four years for a deserving and bright student – and a subsequent successful and rewarding career.” “The Loefflers’ generosity is truly a gift from the heart,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “They are providing the opportunity of a lifetime for an outstanding young person. Bob and Janet’s most gracious gift will have such a significant impact on the young people who receive their scholarship.”
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Scholarship fund represents couple’s faith in young people Mays Business School, the 12th Man Foundation and Breakaway Ministries have helped a Houston couple stay connected to Texas A&M University for the two decades after they graduated. Now the pair can assist individual students through the scholarship fund they established. The Marian L. ’82 and Willie T. Langston II ’81 Business Honors Scholarship Program was created through a $500,000 gift in early 2012. The Langstons’ connection with Texas A&M has continued beyond the pair’s bachelor’s degrees in accounting: their daughter Laura graduated from Texas A&M in 2010 in marketing and supply chain, daughter Becca is a freshman at Texas A&M majoring in education and son Will attended Texas A&M briefly before joining the U.S. Army. Willie Langston, a managing partner at Avalon Advisors, was the top student in management his freshman and sophomore years and the top student in accounting his junior year. He was named one of Mays’ Outstanding Alumni in 2007 and serves on the Dean’s Development Council at Mays. The scholarship recipients will be selected based on academic achievement, extracurricular activities and financial need. The Langstons asked to be notified each time the scholarship is awarded because they would like to meet the recipients. “Any student who receives a scholarship gets tremendous benefit,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “However, those receiving one of the Langstons’ scholarships get an additional bonus – the opportunity to know and learn from Willie and Marian. Their love for young people and passion for education are simply unmatched.” The Langstons have taught high-school-aged students at their church for years, and they frequently visit the Breakaway Ministries
“It is amazing what our students can do when they’re unleashed and allowed some freedom to bring their ideas to life.” services at Texas A&M. “We just have a heart for young people,” Marian Langston says. “We want to help mentor these recipients and them help them along their paths in any way we can.” Willie Langston says the scholarship will reinforce to the students that they are valued. “It is amazing what our students can do when they’re unleashed and allowed some freedom to bring their ideas to life,” Willie Langston says. “Dean Strawser has done a great job of unleashing the students and of hiring good people to work with them and let them accomplish all they are capable of.” When Langston was in college he was president of both the Baptist Student Union and the Business Student Council and he helped organize the first College of Business Career Fair – which has evolved to a semiannual event that is one of the largest studentrun fairs in the nation. He says he has gotten to know several of the BSC presidents over the past 10 years, and he is amazed at what they accomplish. “What it is now is massive compared to what we did. I’m really proud to see what all they are doing,” he says. “The Business Student Council has become a special and strong organization within our school rather than an afterthought. It is an exciting time at Mays.”
Aggie parents endow scholarship for business students Laura and Kim Eubanks did not attend Mays Business School, but they are so impressed with the School and its students that they created a scholarship to help ensure its continued excellence. Eubanks says he and his wife are “three for three, with 12 years’ worth of Aggies,” referring to one son who graduated from Mays, one who is currently enrolled as a finance major, and a daughter about to enter Texas A&M. The Laura and Kim Eubanks ’79 Endowed Scholarship, created by a $125,000 donation to Mays Business School, will be used to fund scholarships for full-time students at Mays — focusing on those with financial need. “I have been so impressed with the students. They are are all unbelievably respectful and prepared — a great reflection on
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Mays,” describes Kim Eubanks. “We have a heart and a bias toward not only the academically excellent students, but more than that, to someone who is struggling financially.” Mays Dean Jerry Strawser appreciates the Eubanks’ contribution. “Laura and Kim’s most generous commitment will provide a wonderful opportunity for future Mays students. Their gift is one from the heart and will assist students who might not otherwise have an opportunity to attend Texas A&M University and Mays. This is a gift that will change lives.” Kim Eubanks, who is president of oil and gas exploration and development company Camwest in McKinney, received his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from Texas A&M and an MBA at the University of Houston. He says his affinity for Mays stems from his sons’ experience there and his interactions with Dean Jerry Strawser and the Mays faculty. “[Strawser] has extraordinary character and is so gracious…,” he says. “I can see how his character and his energy shape the business school. The faculty there excel not only academically, but also in the way they care so phenomenally about their students.”
Foundation named for “giving” creates scholarship fund
Houston couple endows Business Honors scholarships
A pair of Mays Business School graduates have made a $100,000 gift through the foundation they created named the II Corinthians 9:7 Foundation. Accordingly, the donation will fund the II Corinthians 9:7 Foundation Business Honors Scholarship. The organizers of the donor foundation, Jarrett ’93 and Tracy ’92 Anderson, live in Austin. Tracy graduated with an accounting degree while Jarrett graduated with a degree in business management. Jarrett subsequently also graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 1996. The couple has previously funded a separate endowed Presidential Scholarship at Texas A&M. Jarrett explains the pair created the foundation to benefit others because “we acknowledge our blessings and appreciate that our success is not derived exclusively from our efforts.” He noted the impact and importance of Texas A&M in preparing him and Tracy to achieve such successes. The scripture referenced in the name of the donor foundation states, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Jarrett stated that he and Tracy are honored to be able to give back to Mays Business School and support its efforts to attract highly-soughtafter students. As administrators of the donor foundation, the Andersons look forward to meeting future recipients of the scholarship. “The Andersons’ gift is truly one from the heart and reflects their foundation’s name and mission,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “I can only wish that the students who are fortunate enough to benefit from their generosity reflect upon the message in II Corinthians 9:7 as they live their lives and assist others.”
Diana and Todd Brock ’85 committed $300,000 to Mays Business School because they say they want to help boost the program that accommodates the “best and brightest” at Mays. The Diana and Todd Brock ’85 Business Honors Scholarship Program targets full-time students enrolled in the Business Honors major. Todd Brock says his positive experiences with Mays students and graduates prompted the gift. “I am super impressed with the upper end of the business school, and I want to do what I can to promote it,” he says. “I want to perpetuate the Aggie name and good reputation.” He says business contacts he encounters across the country are aware of the quality of Mays students. “There’s a pride issue involved here. I want to perpetuate the good Aggie name.” Mays Dean Jerry Strawser expressed appreciation for the Brocks’ generosity. “Through their most generous commitment to our school, the Brocks are allowing Mays to recruit and attract the very best young minds,” he said. “Our Business Honors students are recruited by top public and private universities in the United States. The financial support their gift will provide demonstrates our commitment to their education.” Brock says he has hired numerous business graduates in numerous businesses he operates through his private equity group. “I don’t have to tell my employees to hire Aggies, the Aggies sell themselves,” he says. “Once they come in for the interviews and show what they know and how polished they are, they are good candidates for the jobs we have available.” In addition to his experiences with Texas A&M as an employer, his three daughters are current or former Texas A&M students.
“We acknowledge our blessings and appreciate that our success is not derived exclusively from our efforts.”
“I am super impressed with the upper end of the business school, and I want to do what I can to promote it.”
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The Container Store supporters fund endowment honoring Williams The Container Store is honoring the late Mona Williams by establishing an endowed annual scholarship for students of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays Business Mona Williams School. The company contributed $25,000 to endow The Container Store Mona Williams Women Making a Difference in Retail Scholarship. Williams was a 30-year employee, former vice president of buying at The Container Store and a trailblazer in the retail industry. To honor the company’s largely female employee base, the scholarship will be awarded to one young woman each year. “Words can’t describe the tribute that Mona deserves as a result of contributions and work. She was an incredible friend and colleague,” says Chief Merchandising Officer Sharon Tindell. “We know Mona’s spirit and legacy will live with us forever, as she made
such an indelible mark on our business, our brand, the retail industry and all of us who worked with her over the past 30 years.” Additional funds for the scholarship endowment have been donated by employees and friends of Williams, as well as vendors with whom she dealt at work. “The Container Store has been a strong supporter of our education in retailing,” said Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “This tribute to Ms. Williams is one that will honor her achievements by supporting the next generation of female leaders in the industry.” The first recipient of the scholarship is Texas A&M marketing student Allison Miller ’14, who is involved with the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays as an M.B. Zale Leadership Scholar and a member of the Student Retailing Association. She is also involved in the business mentorship organization Progressively Reaching Excellence in Professionalism and was honored with the Young Women in Excellence Award for completing 80 hours of personal progress and community service.
Allison Miller received the first Container Store scholarship named for Mona Williams.
About The Container Store: Founded in 1978, Dallas-based The Container Store offers more than 10,000 innovative solutions designed to save space and time. The retailer couples its one-of-a-kind product collection with expert customer service delivered by its highly trained organization experts. The Container Store is a sponsor of the Center for Retailing Studies at Mays.
Family celebrates the legacy of J. David Mims ’71 Becky and J. David Mims ’71 committed $25,000 to endow an undergraduate business scholarship at Mays Business School. The purpose of the Becky and J. David Mims ’71 Scholarship in Business is to impact students pursuing an education and excellence in the business world. It has become even more special to the family with the loss of David last year. In the winter of 2010, David Mims sat at his desk in Midland, Texas talking about the university that had meant so much to him. He remembered his days in the Corps of Cadets, the friendships he forged around campus and the difference that his time spent at Texas A&M had made in his life. It was during this time that he made the decision, with his wife Becky, to establish a scholarship at Mays Business School to invest in future generations of Aggies. “Mentoring young people was important to him,” Becky Mims says of David. “His business degree had provided a good life for him and our family, so we talked about doing something to give back.” Equipped with a management degree from A&M and a 30
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master’s of business administration from Auburn University, where he met Becky, David and his bride moved to Houston in 1973 where David was a national bank examiner and worked for Southwest Bancshares Holding Company. Then, in 1977, they moved to his hometown of Midland and David joined his father in the insurance business, two things Becky said he swore he would never do. But David found success in that business due to his example of integrity that gave his customers comfort they would be taken care of when they worked with him. “His priority in business was to be a man of integrity, to practice honesty. He treated people how he wanted to be treated. He was a Christian man of incredible values,” says Becky. Becky and David shared these core qualities with their daughters Melanie Curtis and Allison Greer, and now the Mims family hopes to share David’s legacy with many more Aggie business students who receive their scholarship. David Mims passed away on September 11, 2011, but thanks to the gift that David started and his family’s promise to continue it in his memory, his impact on Mays Business School and the young people he cared so much for will live on. “We are so thankful to the Mims family for their generous commitment to our School,” says Mays Dean Jerry Strawser. “Their decision to honor David’s lifetime and legacy of excellence will provide opportunities for our students for many years to come.”
Scholarship and knowledge creation — fundamental to education
ichael Hitt makes doing the right things look easy, and when he is mentoring others, he makes them feel as if the right decisions were theirs all along — even if he quietly helped nudge them in that direction. In other words, he is a gifted teacher. He is also a prolific researcher at Mays Business School with a knack for putting his research into action. He has coauthored or co-edited 26 books and authored or coauthored many journal articles, and the attention to his research on strategic management attracts top scholars in other fields.
An article in the Academy of Management Perspectives recognizes Hitt’s scholarly influence on audiences outside his field — indeed, outside of academia — based on the number of citations and Google entries. The article, “Scholarly Impact Revisited,” lists Hitt as the most influential scholar in management over the last 30 years. The Times Higher Education in 2010 listed him among the top scholars in economics, finance and management and he is tied for first among management scholars with the largest number of highly cited articles. Hitt’s professional accolades are many: He is a University Distinguished Professor in management at Mays Business School and holds the Joe B. Foster Chair in Business Leadership. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado and an honorary doctorate from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. He has served on the editorial review boards of multiple journals and is a former editor of the Academy of Management Journal and a former co-editor of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.
Teaching, research entwined
Hitt says the relationship between research and teaching is complicated and that the two can’t be easily separated. “The detractors don’t realize how research changes what we teach in the classroom. For example, in my field, the textbooks in the 1980s did not have much text, they were composed of almost all
case studies. Now the content of those books is almost all based on research that is translated for practice.” Without research, instruction becomes static, Hitt explains. “Outstanding teachers always want to learn more about what is emerging. For me, what is exciting is what will benefit the undergraduates and the graduates. It’s not just my specific research, it’s reading what other people are learning. I don’t have to invent or discover everything, but I do think it’s my responsibility to be aware of all that I can.” Hitt says the laboratory for his research continued on page 32
Awards and Accolades • Ranked most influential scholar in his field • Former editor of the Academy of Management Journal and a former co-editor of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal • Fellow in the Academy of Management and in the Strategic Management Society • Former president of the Academy of Management and of the Strategic Management Society • Member of the Academy of Management Journals’ Hall of Fame • Best article published in the Academy of Management Executive (1999), Academy of Management Journal (2000) and Journal of Management (2006) • Award for Outstanding Academic Contributions to Competitiveness (1996) and the Award for Outstanding Intellectual Contributions to Competitiveness Research (1999) from the American Society for Competitiveness. • Irwin Outstanding Educator Award and Distinguished Service Award from the Academy of Management (2001) • Best Paper Prize by the Strategic Management Society (2004)
“Outstanding teachers always want to learn more about what is emerging. For me, what is exciting is what will benefit the undergraduates and the graduates. It’s not just my specific research, it’s reading what other people are learning. I don’t have to invent or discover everything, but I do think it’s my responsibility to be aware of all that I can.”
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faculty research continued from page 31
is the workplace. “I study organizations — what the executives and employees do — and I study entrepreneurs.” He collected data from 640 entrepreneurs across four countries, a task that took two years. “That information has implications far beyond what I am even going to be able to do with it.” Jerry Strawser, Hitt’s dean at Mays Business School, calls him “truly a one-ofa-kind scholar. … The numerous awards and accolades he has received reflect the fact that his research findings direct the work of other scholars and the course of future study in the academic profession. In addition, he studies relevant issues that affect the business world and impact economic development. In short, his research affects both the academic and business worlds and is used both in the classroom and in the boardroom.” Kai Xu, who has completed her second year in the doctoral program under Hitt’s guidance, calls him “a very established but incredibly nice professor.” She says: “He always helps his students in a very insightful but also respectful way. Sometimes, you cannot even feel the help until someday you suddenly realize how helpful he is and how valuable his advice is in your research projects.” Joanna Campbell, who recently defended her dissertation successfully and remains at Mays, says Hitt is very passionate about research, and that his work has had an enormous impact on the field of strategic management. She calls him one of the most prolific management researchers as well as a great role model for young scholars. “He has made major contributions to multiple research areas, including mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and human capital. Yet, he is one of the most humble people I know. He also knows how to translate his research and make it accessible for people outside of academia, including executives.” Campbell says Hitt’s patience is valuable when working with doctoral students. She adds, “while he always offers his input, he lets us make our own decisions, even if he disagrees with them. In the end, he is always right, but I think he would rather let us learn from our mistakes than force someone into doing something they are not comfortable with.”
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Industry expertise of audit firms helps companies Prior research finds that there is substantial variation in firms’ ability to avoid income taxes. One possible determinant of this tax avoidance variation is the influence of industry expertise of a firm’s external auditor. In other words, the tax-specific expertise of the external auditing company a firm hires potentially makes a big difference in companies’ level of tax avoidance, and ultimately, net income. Mays Business School faculty members and researchers Sean McGuire (an assistant professor in accounting), Thomas Omer (Ernst & Young Professor of Accounting) and Dechun Wang (assistant professor in accounting) set out to investigate the relationship between firms’ level of tax avoidance and the proficiencies of the external auditing companies those firms were hiring. “We started this project because we were interested in the influence of the external audit firm on their clients’ tax avoidance activities,” says McGuire. “Many corporations hire their external audit firm to provide tax services in addition to their audit services. Accordingly, our goal was to investigate whether the tax expertise of audit firms that provide tax services to their client influences their clients’ level of tax avoidance.” McGuire defines tax avoidance as “any strategy that reduces a firm’s tax liability, used by companies to generate cash savings and increase after tax earnings by reducing their tax expense.” “Consistent with other academic research,” he explains, “we view tax avoidance as a continuum that ranges from clearly legal strategies, like investments in municipal bonds, to those of questionable legality, like tax shelters.” The research relied on previous audit studies that define expertise in terms of industry and audit office fees. Two types of industry expertise were identified to measure the level of expertise in firms: overall expertise and tax expertise. Both overall and tax expertise are designed to capture an audit firm’s tax expertise within a particular industry and city office. However, overall expertise includes audit expertise, rather than solely the firm’s level of tax proficiency.
To gather the information, McGuire says the researchers estimated companies’ tax-specific industry expertise based on an audit firm’s market share in a given industry and city. “We calculated market share using publicly available data from Audit Analytics,” McGuire shares. The results of the research found that firms who hire industry experts exhibit higher levels of tax avoidance relative to firms that do not hire industry experts. McGuire expounds upon the research results, saying, “I think the most interesting finding is that the clients of audit firms that have overall expertise — combined audit and tax expertise — exhibit high levels of tax avoidance. This finding suggests that the combined tax and financial reporting expertise of audit firms allows them to develop tax strategies that benefit their clients from both a tax and financial statement perspective.” The research results provide a number of significant contributions to tax avoidance literature. Not only do the findings contribute to the stream of research investigating the variation in firms’ tax avoidance activities, but they also provide evidence on the association between the industry expertise of the firm’s external auditor and the firm’s tax activities. According to McGuire, prior research documents substantial variation in firms’ level of tax avoidance. “Given that there are obvious benefits to avoiding income taxes, like higher net income, it is important to understand why some firms are more successful than others in avoiding income taxes,” he says. “It is also interesting to examine whether the industry expertise developed by audit firms, in terms of taxspecific expertise and auditing expertise, influences the tax avoidance of their clients.”
The “balancing act” of multilateral R&D alliances Think about basic economics — when you specialize in one skill and your neighbor specializes in another, you’re both better off when you collaborate and trade amongst each other, rather than relying on your own advantages. Firms are increasingly recognizing this principle holds true when it comes to research and development (R&D) information sharing among firms. Businesses form research and development alliances when developing new products. An R&D alliance is a formal relationship between two or more firms to pursue mutually beneficial goals. The firms remain independent entities, but enter into an agreement to combine their knowledge bases in order to expand and refine innovations. “It’s simple,” says Lorraine Eden, a management professor at Mays Business School. “Two brains are better than one.” Many industries are involved in R&D alliances, including pharmaceutical, automotive, electronics and chemical companies. When the costs and risks of developing new products are both high, these firms are more likely to enter into an R&D alliance, says Michael Hitt, a University Distinguished Professor in management and Joe B. Foster ’56 Chair in Business Leadership. Dan Li, now teaching at Indiana University, worked at Texas A&M with Eden, Hitt and R. Duane Ireland, Distinguished Professor in management, Conn Chair in New Ventures Leadership and Academy of Management Journal editor, on a recent study to examine which type of government structure is most effective for
these alliances.They focused their research on multilateral alliances (three or more firms) and compared them with bilateral alliances (a joint venture between two firms). “Very few have studied multilateral alliances,” Hitt said in describing the research’s uniqueness. Eden adds: “People have been researching bilateral alliances for the past 20-30 years, but there’s not been much written on multilateral ones.” Hitt describes information sharing between firms as “a real balancing act.” Individual firms must manage the information they share and the information they protect. “In a joint venture,” says Hitt, “if everyone invests money, there’s an incentive to share information and be fair.” They wanted to learn if this remained true when the number of partners increases. According to Eden, much of the intended knowledge sharing within the alliances involves “tacit information” — information that must be thoroughly explained and demonstrated by one firm to another. She argues that selecting the type of governance (equity-based or contractual) structure can be critical to the success of the R&D alliance since equity ownership, where one firm owns a piece of the other firms, can help facilitate planned knowledge sharing among them. At the same time, however, sharing knowledge often leads to “unintended information leakages,” which causes problems among the R&D alliance partners. “There’s a real hesitancy,” Hitt says. “When you’re in an alliance, you have to trust your partners, who are potential competitors, to be fair.” Their study examined 2,500 alliances — 1,700 bilateral and 750 multilateral.
The researchers also compared governance structures in two types of trilateral R&D alliances: chain and net. The study found that 18 percent of trilateral alliances use a chain-based approach, which involves a passing of information from one firm to another, and 82 percent of alliances use netbased approaches, or group sharing. As the complexity of the alliance increases, the probability of cheating also increases. For example, the alliance between pharmaceutical companies becomes more complex if the companies are from different countries, mainly because intellectual property rights vary internationally. The research found that equity governance structures, rather than contractual structures, combat the uncertainty information-sharing firms face as complexity escalates in multilateral alliances. Equity ownership can help compensate for complexity and free-rider problems, while also helping to facilitate intended knowledge transfers. The greater the emphasis on equity share, the smoother the facilitation and transfer of information, the research notes. The authors found that, for both knowledge sharing and knowledge protection reasons, firms were more likely to use an equity governance structure in multilateral than in bilateral R&D alliances. Similarly, net trilateral alliances were more likely than chain ones to use equity governance structures. Eden suggested that the study offers a confirmation for firms interested in governance mechanisms. “Companies will be able to look at the findings and determine what type of governance is best for their alliance.”
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A distribution solution of blockbuster proportions Companies that produce items such as biochemicals, ready concrete, milk, eggs and even DVDs always arrive at an important question: What is the quickest, most effective way to distribute these short shelf life products? Chelliah Sriskandarajah, the Hugh Roy Cullen Chair in Business Administration in the department of information and operations management at Mays Business School, worked with Mays associate professor Neil Geismar and Milind Dawande from the University of Texas at Dallas to explore the solutions to these companies’ issues with distribution of perishable products. The zero-inventory production and distribution problem (ZIPDP) is a common problem encountered in situations in which a product cannot be inventoried because of its short shelf life. Short shelf life is determined by either physical characteristics (such as perishable food items or chemicals) or by the limited duration of market interest (such as magazines, DVDs and electronic games). The research was initiated at the request of the vice president of operations at Blockbuster, Inc.’s, distribution center in McKinney, Texas. “He asked us for help to make his system run more efficiently,” Geismar explains. The facility supports 5,600 retail stores via 40 regional hubs, or “pool points.” “Quick delivery of DVDs to the retail outlets is important because DVDs have an extremely short product life cycle, which can be attributed to the ephemeral nature of most entertainment products, to the release of new titles on DVD every week, and to the release date requirements imposed by the movie studios,” Geismar says. ZIPDP’s challenge is to coordinate the production and transportation operations so that the total cost of operations is minimized while the product lifetime and the delivery capacity constraints are satisfied. Geismar puts it this way: “The product’s limited lifetime implies that no inventory can be held between production and delivery; hence, the two functions are tightly coupled.” The researchers examined a popular method of distribution, the pool-point delivery model, which is also known as the “hub-and-spoke” delivery model. In poolpoint distribution, the product or service is delivered to dispersed clusters of demand points by first delivering large quantities 34
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ZIPDP answers some of the following questions: • When and how much should be produced at the plant? • Should the production rate be increased? • How many delivery trucks should be deployed? • When should the trucks leave the plant? to pool points (hubs), which are centrally located in their respective clusters. The large quantities of products are then dispersed into small carriers for point-to-point connections (spokes). This system is used by a wide variety of industries: airlines (large jets fly between hubs, small ones from hubs to other cities), freight distribution, light petroleum products, candy distribution, automobile distribution, and newspaper delivery. Each of these industries requires two steps of distribution— first to the “hubs,” then to the “spokes.” Combining pool-point distribution and zero-inventory products is no simple feat. Geismar’s research discusses a few realworld examples of this type of distribution, including the production and distribution of ready concrete for the construction of venues for the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics. This example served as a case study for the researchers to investigate when considering the production and distribution of Blockbuster DVDs. Geismar says the research primarily focused on two objectives relevant in the
practice: Minimizing the sum of production and delivery time, and minimizing the total cost for producing and delivering products. The research also examined minimizing mean flow time, minimizing maximum lateness, and minimizing the number of late deliveries in the pool point distribution system. The research details how these systems operate and provide “efficient algorithms to find optimal schedules for various objectives,” the research states. The researchers’ paper was the first rigorous study of pool-point distribution in a zero-inventory system. Geismar notes that managers’ supply chain decisions are based on production times, delivery times, the cost to hire each truck, and the cost to increase the production rate, so the results of the study proved effective and beneficial to companies facing distribution issues similar to Blockbuster. Geismar’s research sums it up this way: “By analyzing overall system cost, we provided managerial insights into how different costs for trucks and for production rates affect the optimum decisions on how many trucks to hire and on which production rate to use for various objectives.”
Automation in medical records could save lives Medical errors account for 98,000 deaths each year in the U.S., according to a 1999 report published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). In a more recent report, the IOM claims medical errors harm 1.5 million people and cost $3.5 billion every year. Interestingly, the report claims that medical errors are not due to incompetent people, but to bad systems that include the processes and methods used to carry out various functions. These staggering numbers and facts have caught the attention of many researchers, including Ram Janakiraman, assistant professor of marketing at Mays Business School, Shelley and Joe Tortorice ’70 Faculty Research Fellow and Mays Teaching Fellow. Janakiraman says he has always been interested in several aspects of healthcare. “As a marketing researcher, the context of doctor and patient relationships greatly interests me,” he says. This interest led him and a group of other researchers from around the nation to explore and analyze the impact of system automation on medical errors. Janakiraman explains that medical errors are most commonly traced back to the manual transmission of information across different functional units of the hospital, manual calculations of doses and unmonitored clinical interventions. The big question surrounding the research, he says, was, “Can automation really reduce the rate of errors in various hospital wards?” Janakiraman’s co-researchers on the article in Information Systems Research were Ravi Aron, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School; Shantanu Dutta, vice dean for graduate programs and professor of marketing at USC Marshall School of Business; and Praveen Pathak, American economics institutions professor at University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration. The researchers hypothesized that the automation of information throughout the hospital can reduce the rate of medical errors because it removes the ‘human touch.’” The researchers recognized the sensing, control and monitoring functions as having potential for automation. One example that could be automated is logging the time an item is removed from storage. Rather than recording in a logbook, a technician could
swipe a digital card to record the time. Janakiraman says this research is important for a number of reasons: No study has empirically analyzed the relationship between automation and medical errors using actual hospital data and no study has looked at the differential impact of automating these three functions on the incidence of two types of medical errors (procedural and interpretative errors) in hospitals. Also, no other study has examined the effect of quality training programs and their complementary effect on automation of error prevention functions using actual data. “Collecting this data was a humongous feat,” Janakiraman says. The researchers used panel data of incremental automation over time of the error prevention functions and actual rates of medical errors at several wards of two large, top-notch hospitals. With this data, Janakiraman describes the two categories of medical errors the researchers found: procedural errors (deviations from norms irrespective of what the context and circumstances are) and interpretative errors (deviations from norms that are classified as errors based on the underlying circumstances and the context). Results from the study confirmed Janakiraman’s hypothesis: automation of the three core error prevention functions (sensing, control and monitoring) helps reduce both kinds of medical errors (procedural and interpretative). In addition, the researchers found evidence of a significant complimentarity between automation of certain functions and the training of clinical and nonclinical workers in quality management.
“The research demonstrates that there are hidden benefits to the automation of manual functions that are often not captured in a cost benefit analysis.” Ram Janakiraman, assistant professor of marketing
“The research demonstrates that there are hidden benefits to the automation of manual functions that are often not captured in a cost benefit analysis,” he says. Janakiraman plans to continue with his research on healthcare — this time focusing on hospitals’ decision to adopt various technologies, rather than just the impact of technology.
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Let’s get acquainted Arvind Mahajan is a Texas A&M University System Regents Professor, Lamar Savings Professor and Professor of Finance. He is also director of the Aggies on Wall Street Program, the MS-Finance program and the CFA Institute Partner Program. I am reading Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman — a Christmas gift from my children. Kahneman is Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton and received the Nobel Prize in Economics. I had the privilege of spending some time with him when he visited A&M some years back. He explains in this engaging book why we make the choices that we make and how they can deviate from rationality (a standard assumption in finance models). His work has direct bearing on decision making in many disciplines, including finance and our personal lives. I Recommend students read The Great Books of the Western World; Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy; Outliers, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers; How Will You Measure Your Life? To keep up with business trends, I recommend my students read The Wall Street Journal (a daily publication) and The Economist (a weekly publication). Both publications are well written and provide news and analysis of current global economic and political issues. I think research and teaching are intertwined. Good research requires one to be at the cutting edge of one’s discipline. Good teaching requires the educator be well “educated” oneself, i.e., understand other disciplines enough to see the linkages and the relevance of one’s discipline with other strands of knowledge, and with the human circumstance in general. My teaching philosophy IS that while teaching and cultivating minds is a very serious business, a good teacher can make learning exhilarating. I use the Socratic Method to the extent possible and find use of wit and humor as great lubricants for the smooth running of a demanding class. mY current Research is focused on explaining one observed anomaly, called momentum, in the pricing of financial assets. Many hedge funds use this to craft strategies which generate “abnormal” profits. Existence of such profits is a direct affront to received financial theory which assumes efficient markets where such profits are absent. This research, coauthored
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with my former doctoral student and colleagues, shows that most of momentum returns are not “abnormal.” They can be explained by a unique conditional risk inherent in such strategies. In short, when properly analyzed, momentum may not be an anomaly. During my time off, you will find me spending time with my family and friends, outdoors with my dog, Sarge, watching old movies or traveling. I’m interested in Eastern philosophy and post-industrial thought; current global economic and political events. I find it challenging yet stimulating to attempt reconciling aspects of eastern philosophy with what comprises a “successful” person in the world I live in. I am also fascinated by the fast paced economic and political dynamics around the world. If i were not a professor, I would be managing my family’s printing and publishing business or working on Wall Street. my one piece of advice for my students when they graduate from A&M is remain curious, experiment, work hard and live life with gusto.
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