This year’s 14th annual Raymond Ideas Challenge featured the top 40 “big ideas” from more than 100 applications. Students from across campus and varying majors were asked to explain “What is your big idea?” through both a written proposal and a video pitch. The top 40 ideas were presented live to judges with the selected winners honored at an awards reception.

In addition to the live pitches, the top 40 ideas also participated in an online video pitch competition hosted by Aggie-owned web platform qukku.com. The top three winners were selected based on the number of votes they received by the general public.

The Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Mays Business School hosted the May 6 event, which is held annually on Reading Day so that Texas A&M students of all majors and classifications can participate. Students were able to enter the contest individually or in teams.

Pitch presentations allow the students five minute to explain their idea and why it is unique to the judges, as well as their competitive advantage in the market and the overall goal of the student(s) and their idea. A question-and-answer session followed each presentation, in which judges raised concerns and questions that were not addressed during the presentation.

This year’s judging team featured approximately 130 judges from throughout the community and campus who have backgrounds in entrepreneurship, industry, government and academia.

The top awards went to:
– First place ($3,000): Customizable Prostheses via 3D Printing – Charles Sweeney and Blake Teipel
– Second place ($2,000): Wireless Mouse Tracking System – Richard Horner, Lindsey Jenschke, Cody Lewis & Nick Reinoso
– Third place ($1,000): EyeNav System – Lyndon Kageler, Omar Lira, Stephen Sun and Tiffany Turner
– Honorable mentions ($500)
– Lost & Found – Amy Brodeur, Joshua Dunegan, Daniela Garcia, Aaron John and Samuel Kancewick
– Hack.Connect – Jeffrey Zhao
– FireCAT – Ratika Gandhi, Vasiliy Khmelenko, Benita Mordi, Timothy Paulsen, Cameron Shaw and Kyle Yates
– Aggieland Exchange – Daniel Pattison

The video pitches that received the most votes were:
– First place ($1,000): Ea$yList – Tarang Lal & Paola Perez
– Second place ($500): Dutch – Pratheek Lakur & Krishna Murthy
– Third place ($250): Bridgin – Sangeeta Isaac

The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service’s Product Development Center (TEEX-PDC) sponsored a Go-to-Market Award. This year’s winner, FireCAT, has the opportunity to work with TEEX-PDC – at no cost – to finalize a marketable produce based on their idea.

For more information on the Ideas Challenge, visit http://cnve.tamu.edu/ideas.

Catagories: Mays Business, Programs, Texas A&M, Uncategorized

MBA Venture Challenge 2015

Online-shopping team ropers, buckets of water and a burst of light greeted more than 100 judges, faculty and staff gathered in the Wehner Building for the 13th annual MBA Venture Challenge.

The buckets illustrated a hydro-electric power generating device and the light represented a bioenergy. The challenge, hosted by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE), highlights the business aptitudes Texas A&M University’s Full-Time MBA program strives to teach: strategic thinking, diligent research, effective communication skills and professional networking.

In the week-long competition, 12 MBA teams analyze early-stage startup firms by providing a clear, unbiased and business-oriented evaluation of the businesses’ market and financial viability. This year’s companies were chosen from a pool of more than 20. They came from a variety of industries including life sciences, IT, retail, oil and gas, gaming and child safety.

The efforts of the MBA students culminated in an all-day event one week after they first met with their companies. Competition day is full of presentations, starting with two-minute elevator pitches. Next the 12 teams presented in four judging rooms, where they were given 15 minutes for their presentations and Q&A. Each judging panel selected one finalist to proceed to the afternoon finals presentations, and the remaining two teams moved to Round 2. Of the eight teams in Round 2, two additional teams moved on to finals.

The MBA teams are judged on their identification of their company’s issues, primary market opportunities, financial projections and the conclusions they drew from their research. Their research quality was also considered.

The judges – who are volunteers from the community – include investors, financiers, entrepreneurs and academics.

Taking first place in the competition were Prithviraj Chougule, Ali Arif, Zachary Friske, Daniel Gaona, and Lolina Pena, with “Ebio, LLC.” Their prize was sponsored by AT&T.

The second-place winners were Pei Lin Mei, Luis Matus, Mark McCord, Brad Myers, and Rachael McPhail, with “Ropesforless.com.” Their prize was sponsored by BB&T.

The third-place winners were Clayton Watson, Shanaly Daya, Spencer Dearinger, Ashwini Kalia, and Virgina Koran, with “SynShark, LLC.” Their prize was sponsored by JBKnowledge.

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Catagories: Programs


Lloyd McGuire is one of 31 students across the state to be selected as an inductee as a Future Texas Business Legends Scholar by the Texas Business Hall of Fame (TBHF), which carries a $10,000 scholarship award. The TBHF recognizes students who define entrepreneurial ventures with impact to future business in Texas.

McGuire is a lawyer and a military veteran. He was on the team that won the 2014 MBA Venture Challenge, in which more than 100 business and academic leaders from around the Brazos Valley judge the analysis and business plan presented by a team of MBA students at Texas A&M. McGuire and his teammates analyzed and created recommendations for a start-up, MyHeroClassifieds.com, a company dedicated to employment assistance for U.S. veterans. He was also on the team of Full-Time MBA students who swept the 7th Annual National MBA Case Competition in Ethical Leadership held in November 2013 at Baylor University’s Hankamer Business School.

“I’m humbled and honored to be a Future Texas Business Legend Scholar” McGuire said after the luncheon. “Being in the presence of Texas business legends was awe-inspiring. I’m incredibly thankful for the knowledge and skills I’ve acquired at Mays and am eager to put them to use upon graduation.”

Patti Urbina, director of the Full-Time MBA program at Mays, said McGuire has been a leader since he joined the Mays program. “If there is an award or an opportunity to lead, he is there, she said, “McGuire’s first response to his good fortune in the program is always, “how can I give back and help future MBA Aggies succeed, too?” He is co-founder of an annual reunion event that kicked off this fall. The “Brisket Bowl” includes a student-run cook-off and serves as a pre-tailgate event to promote camaraderie among the MBA graduates. Envisioned as a legacy event by the MBA Class of 2015, it will serve as a constant reminder of McGuire’s demonstration and the class’ commitment to the core Aggie value of selfless service to our program.””

The Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation is a non-profit organization of 70 directors who are business leaders from cities throughout the state. The organization’s mission is to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of Texas business leaders, to perpetuate and inspire the values of entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and community leadership in all generations of Texans.

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Catagories: Mays Business, Programs

My favorite quality of Mays students is their strong entrepreneurial spirit. They truly embody the Aggie core values and take full ownership of the programs in which they participate. I can find no better example of this entrepreneurial quality than with our Trading, Risk & Investments Program (TRIP) students this past fall.

In December 2013, a group of current TRIP students came to the program director and staff with a proposal on how TRIP’s enrichment activities could be improved for future students. After all, who better to help us evaluate our enrichment than the students themselves?

In the past, we spread out the enrichment activities over the three-year period to slowly build the students’ knowledge.  You can imagine our surprise when the students suggested we incorporate the many enrichment activities into FINC 368, the required course for TRIP students during the first semester of the program.

The students’ reasoning was solid: TRIP is already designed to be intense. To get in the program, students must first complete the five-essay application and then survive the six hours of speed interviews. Why not continue that trend during the first critical year and really help the students see what markets-related finance is all about?

We valued the students’ insight and applauded their initiative in wanting to improve how we serve our students and board members. We collaborated with them to revamp our enrichment, revising standard activities and creating new ones. For the next group of students admitted in November 2013, TRIP Group 6, a crazy year was about to begin.

Since January, the Group 6 students have:

  • Practiced their business dining etiquette during dinners with board members after class
  • Presented in teams to fellow students and board members information they had learned in classesTraveled to Houston to participate in a group trading game hosted by a board member company
  • Experienced the day-to-day operations of the corporate world by visiting trade floors
  • Improved their technical skills by completing a one-day intensive training in Excel
  • Worked in teams to compete in an all-groups BBQ cook-off
  • Learned about the physical commodity side of trading during a week-long trip to board members’ assets, including power plants, a grain elevator, a metals facility and drilling rigs
  • Increased their ability to make good decisions with a seminar devoted to critical thinking skills
  • Shadowed with one of our board members to develop a trade strategy

Currently, Group 6 is busy preparing for their first of three annual presentation competitions. After the competition, they will loosen their ties for Casino Night and play poker and blackjack with our board members. The next evening, they will say farewell to Group 4 at the annual end-of-year banquet.

Enrichment continues into the fall semester, as Group 6 plans to:

  • Team up with Group 5 students for an energy and private equity case competition
  • Refine their golf games with a board-and-student tournament in November
  • Enhance their Excel knowledge by completing VBA/macro training

By the time these Group 6 students head out on their first internship next spring or summer, they will have completed three years of enrichment activities in just one year since their TRIP interviews. It is an intense and busy year, but it well prepares students for the expectations our board members have of future employees.

On a related note, this time of year is always bittersweet as the students complete their final internships, finish TRIP, and move on to graduation and full-time employment. The program owes a big thank you to the Group 3/Group 4 student committee members who helped redesign and improve how we operate the enrichment function: Lance Lastovica ’14, Jim Gant ’14, Cory Hall ’13, Lindsey Cude ’13, Alex Faulk ’13, Andrew Brunkhorst ’13 and Michelle Horrocks ’12.

 

ABOUT TRIP

The Trading, Risk & Investments Program (TRIP) prepares students in the fields of trading, investments and risk management by combining exceptional class instruction with hands-on internship-based experience. Students will complete two paid internships with two different board member companies and graduate with at least an undergraduate degree (BBA Finance). TRIP is open to Texas A&M undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Students apply for acceptance into the Trading, Risk & Investments Program (TRIP) during the fall semester, once they have earned 30 to 75 credit hours (depending on his/her degree plan).

Catagories: Mays Business, Programs

Rebecca Cooke

A leader must become comfortable with power in order to exert influence — especially if the leader is a female — explained strategy consultant and leadership researcher, Rebecca Cooke, at the Women’s Leadership Initiative in April. The event was hosted by the MBA Programs Office at the Mays CITYCENTRE Houston facility.

In her presentation called “Exercising Power and Influence,” Cooke shared a series of concepts and strategies with the 90 women in attendance. First, she described the difference between power and influence. Power is essentially the work we can do over time, she said, while influence as demonstrated in leadership, allows us to perform work through others — a key capability for effective leaders.

When introducing Cooke — who has served as her executive coach — Mary Lea McAnally, associate dean for graduate programs at Mays, said each of the women attending the series is making a long-term investment. This was the second session in a four-part series, and Cooke plans to speak again next fall. “You are investing in something that will build,” McAnally said. “Go home and plant it at your jobs, in your families and in your communities.”

Cooke compared the communication patterns between men and women. Based on research:
• Men tend to be more direct communicators, succinct, contextually-focused, action-oriented and speak in terms of I/me.
• Women tend to be more indirect, elaborate, personally-focused, emotional and speak in collaborative terms of we/us.
The importance of this comparison is that it allows us to determine why men are more verbally influential as leaders than women.

Cooke noted some common mistakes that women make, including trying to do too much, limiting themselves to utilizing one or two types of power, using the wrong kind of power or not having the power to be effective in a particular situation.

She gave the women some specific advice, such as assessing their strengths and weaknesses, getting over power hang-ups, embracing their vulnerabilities and getting outside their comfort zone and trying new methods. “When interacting in a conflict situation, connect with the listener first with words like “I hear you…'” she advised. “Learn to use questions to direct the conversation.”

Cooke defined some of the types of power that emerge in the workplace:

• Coercive — the ability to hold others to their responsibilities and when they don’t, hold them to appropriate consequences
• Connection — power and influence based on who you know and effectively using those contacts
• Expert — power that is related to what we functionally know
• Informational — based on having access to valuable and important information
• Legitimate or positional — power that is related directly to our job responsibilities and authorities
• Referent — the power of people who are well-liked and respected
• Reward — power that is based on a person’s ability to grant rewards such as opportunities and recognition

Cooke also spelled out some of the constraints that tend to hold people back: Lack of awareness, lack of knowledge and fear. “We can’t grow unless we get comfortable with being uncomfortable,” she explained. Embracing effective power as leaders within the organization is one of the first ways to start.

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL
Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Catagories: Programs

The top 40 finalists for this year’s Raymond Ideas Challenge have been selected, and their video pitches are now available online. The top three ideas from the online voting will receive prize money of $1,000, $500 and $250.

Each spring, the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship at Mays Business School hosts the Ideas Challenge, which asks students, “What is your big idea?” Participants submit their work to a panel of judges, who then narrow the field to the top 40 finalists, who compete for cash prizes. New this year is the requirement that finalists post their idea video online for voting by the general public. These videos should explain why each participant believes his or her idea is the best.

Qukku, the platform being used for online voting, is also an Aggie startup. Stephen White ’96 (PPA) is the founder and CEO. He participated in the MBA Venture Challenge in 2013 and also sat on the CNVE Executive Committee from 2007 to 2010.

Everyone is also encouraged to follow the contest online using the hashtag #CNVEIdeas. To vote for your favorite ideas, visit http://qukku.com/contests/2014RaymondIdeasChallenge94.

To learn more about Ideas Challenge, visit http://cnve.tamu.edu/programs/ideas-challenge/.

Interested in attending Ideas Challenge as a judge this year? Visit https://ideaschallenge2014.eventbrite.com/

ABOUT MAYS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,600 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Catagories: Programs, Texas A&M

Any Texas A&M University student interested in entering the annual Raymond Ideas Challenge can attend a workshop on Wednesday (March 5) in Wehner 190 and Thursday (March 6) in Rudder 302. Both will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

All students from across campus are encouraged to participate in the challenge by dreaming up the next great product or service and submitting their “big idea” in a written essay and two-minute video pitch.

The competition entry deadline is Friday, March 21, and the event is on April 30.  The host is Texas A&M’s Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship, which is at Mays Business School.

The Raymond Ideas Challenge is designed to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in Texas A&M students.

The students’  concepts will be presented to panels of judges from the business and academic community, who will challenge the students with questions. Students receive valuable experience developing business concepts and improving their writing and presentation skills. The competition also provides networking opportunities with the judges.

New this year is an online voting system, which will be used to select recipients of of $1,000, $500 and $250 prizes.

Assistance is needed in screening entries, and the opportunity is open to anyone in the community. If interested, contact Shanna Spencer at 979-845-0619 or sspencer@mays.tamu.edu.

For more information on the Raymond Ideas Challenge, go to tx.ag/ideasvideo or visit cnve.tamu.edu/programs/ideas-challenge.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Catagories: Centers, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Doss Cunningham '04
Doss Cunningham ’04

Doss Cunningham ’04 lives life according to his personal mantra: grow and give back. Cunningham, a graduate of the Professional Program in Accounting at Mays Business School, personifies an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to take risks in order to succeed.

Formerly on the way to becoming an accountant after graduation, Cunningham shifted directions when he learned more about Woodbolt International, a nutraceutical company based in Bryan. He was immediately drawn to the company but says family and friends were skeptical of his decision to join the startup. “Other people saw the risks,” he recently told a group of Mays Business Honors students. “I saw the opportunities.” After a few years at the company, Cunningham took over as Chief Executive Officer.

Founded in 2003, Woodbolt International supplies nutritional supplements to retailers in over 40 countries, including major clients such as GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and Costco. Woodbolt is growing rapidly: from $1 million in revenue and five employees when Cunningham joined in 2004 to a revenue run rate of $225 million and 130 employees today. Texas Monthly has also recognized the company in its ranking of the top 100 workplaces in Texas. Official rankings come out in April.

Cunningham praised the Bryan/College Station area for its great startup culture. “There is a lot of intellectual capital here,” he said. Cunningham credits Mays Business School in particular for helping build the foundation for his success. “Mays really gave me the tools and the skillset to be successful as an entrepreneur,” he said.

The chief executive described Woodbolt’s core values: fun, excellence, innovation, service, quality and, perhaps most importantly, people. “Our culture is about building effective people, not just effective business professionals,” said Cunningham. “Everything we do is about people.” The company encourages collaboration and fun among its coworkers, and is involved with local charities. Woodbolt also places a high emphasis on building trust with its customers and doing the right thing for product end users.

However, Cunningham especially emphasized the importance of clarifying a sense of personal identity and happiness and using these insights to forge the right career path. “You only get one chance at life,” said Cunningham. “There’s no better time in your life than now to take a risk.”

Sarah Solcher ’15 reflected on the event as a positive learning experience. “I truly enjoyed hearing from Mr. Cunningham because he shared big picture advice encouraging entrepreneurship as well as day-to-day actions that led to his success,” she said. “I was encouraged to evaluate and confirm my life purpose to be effective in my personal and professional lives.”

Cunningham explained to the students that with the right attitude and a unique skillset, anyone could be an entrepreneur. “You don’t have to be an idea guy or an inventor to be an entrepreneur,” he said. “What a lot of people don’t have is a business background. That was something I was able to bring to the company.”

Cunningham offered five key takeaways for the students:

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail, because you grow through failure.
  2. Define your purpose and what will make you truly happy.
  3. Maintain a work-life balance; it is critical to learn how to manage both your personal and professional lives.
  4. Never stop pursuing education, whether it is through mentors, books, conferences or another outlet.
  5. Be confident enough to make tough decisions and stand by them.

“Mr. Cunningham encouraged us to find a life mantra and to have confidence in ourselves,” said Joshua Scott ’14.

Cunningham described his own life purpose as using his success and many blessings to give back to others, especially by serving as a mentor. He said his most rewarding opportunity has been hiring and developing people.

“What are you ultimately trying to do in life?” he asked the students. “The answer to this question is your compass.”

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Catagories: Executive Speakers, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

MBA Venture Challenge
MBA Venture Challenge

In the 2014 MBA Venture Challenge, more than 100 business and academic leaders from around the Brazos Valley judged companies created by the MBA students at Texas A&M University. The judges ranked early-stage startup companies and provided valuable feedback.

Taking first place in the competition were Janette Barnard, Matt Johnson, Lloyd McGuire and Robyn Peters, with “MyHeroClassifieds.com.” Their prize was sponsored by AT&T.

The second-place winners were Joseph Cole, Ben Feldman, Aiden Johnson, Ankit Talwar, Sabrina Wade with “Loco Inc.” Their prize was sponsored by Aggie Angel Network.

The third-place winners were Benjamin Holler, Shaune Kolber, Eric Piskura, Eric Snowder and Rachel Turner, with “Scepter Medical Devices.” Their prize was sponsored by JBKnowledge.

New to the competition this year was an Elevator Pitch Round.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Catagories: Centers, Departments, Featured Stories, Programs, Students, Texas A&M

Mary Lea McAnally
Mary Lea McAnally

Women have always been capable of assuming leadership roles in public service, but they have not always been qualified to lead, sometimes lacking the training, skills and experiences necessary to lead. So said Catherine “Kiki” McLean at The Women’s Leadership Initiative event hosted by Texas A&M’s Mays Business School in Houston on Jan. 15. McLean explored this important distinction in her remarks entitled “Making It in a Man’s World — A View from Inside the Beltway.”

It seems that at least once a year—usually when the latest statistics are released reaffirming the vast discrepancy between the percent of women in the workforce and the percent of women in corporate leadership positions—the voices of an indignant few raise the topic of women’s underrepresentation in leadership positions. But just as quickly, the subject retreats underground for a prolonged period of chilly status quo, like Punxsutawney Phil after spying a glimmer of sunshine. It bears mentioning that earlier this month, Catalyst reported yet another year of essentially no growth for women in corporate leadership positions. According to the nonprofit focused on women and business, women held 16.9% of board seats and 14.3% of executive officer positions in 2013 compared to 16.6% and 14.6% in 2012, respectively. As a faculty member and senior administrator at a business school whose mission is to create knowledge and develop ethical leaders for a global society, I include myself among the indignant.

I listened intently as McLean traced the roots of her professional success back to a childhood in which she was raised by a single father who never informed her that there were dreams in life she could not pursue. Later in life, two older brothers working in Washington, D.C., helped the San Antonio native embark upon a career in national politics, where she actively participates in bringing about the dawn of a new age of women in leadership. As the counsel for Porter Novelli’s global public affairs practice and a key strategist for six U.S. Presidential campaigns, including serving as senior advisor to the 2008 “Hillary Clinton for President” campaign, McLean knows a thing or two about women in leadership. So when she pointed to the subtle but important distinction between women’s capabilities and their qualifications, I sat up and took note. I recognized McLean’s words as a clarion call to educators around the country, spurring us to redouble our efforts to close the gap between capability and qualification.

A number of business schools have already taken significant and innovative strides toward that end. These include Simmons School of Management’s 16-month MBA program designed specifically for women’s career and leadership success, Stanford’s weeklong executive education course designed to help women achieve their personal and professional goals, and a new class offered by Harvard Business School called “How star women succeed: leading effective careers and organizations.”

Mays Business School has joined the effort. Our multi-faceted approach to developing qualified women leaders incorporates what McLean referred to in her remarks as “leading out.” The traditional definition of a leader is someone in a formal position with the authority to manage and/or control a group of subordinates. More recently, leadership has come to be recognized as a dynamic process in which an individual exerts influence over others to achieve a desired goal. Leading out reflects this broader understanding of leadership. Simply put, leading out means influencing peers within or outside your organization as well as colleagues up and down your organizational chain of command. (Several years ago, the notion of “leading up,” or managing your manager, came into vogue. This is an important facet of leading out.) From my vantage point as an educator, the idea of leading out is central to preparing qualified women for leadership roles in all walks of life.

Mays’ four-pronged approach to developing female leaders starts with self-reflection as an essential leadership practice. Our female MBA students engage in this activity through a series of self-assessments that help them understand their strengths and develop greater emotional intelligence. We teach our women how to leverage their self-knowledge to become more effective and efficient at influencing. Second, required classes focus on leadership, teamwork, communications and problem-solving skills because these are essential to influencing others. Third, our women students apply their leadership skills and knowledge through high-impact, hands-on learning experiences outside the classroom. These include leading crisis management efforts at the renowned Disaster City® complex in College Station, Texas, analyzing the market and financial viability of early-stage ventures, or participating at national case competitions. Two of our female MBAs recently applied their skills, training and experiences to help lead a four-person team to first place in the team competition at the 7th Annual National MBA Case Competition in Ethical Leadership at Baylor University, while garnering individual prizes for the Best Presenter and the Best Q&A.

We augment these three educational components with the Women’s Leadership Initiative, a series of interactive women-only seminars that help our female students make valuable professional connections while learning firsthand from successful female leaders. In our first such event last fall, Rebecca Cooke, a strategy consultant and executive coach, discussed the importance of being “gender bilingual.” This ability does not entail learning to talk like a man but rather learning to understand and influence men in a manner that is authentic from a female perspective. Earlier this month at our second event, McLean discussed the important role that leading out can play in national politics, particularly when it comes to influencing lobbyists, regulators and other power-brokers. As one of the co-founders of the No Labels movement in Washington, D.C., she is currently working to empower partisan politicians to start talking to each other across the divides—in hopes of achieving common goals. In two more events this year, Cooke will discuss how women can exercise power and influence through one-on-one conversations, emails and meetings (April 5th in Houston) as well as explore how women define their roles both deliberately and unintentionally (September 2014). Through these events, our female students have the chance to hear amazing stories from female role models who have been in the leadership trenches and lived to tell about the experience.

While there is no simple remedy or single solution to closing the gap between women’s leadership capabilities and their qualifications to lead, there are innovative educational approaches and signs of success all around us. In her closing remarks, McLean proclaimed 2014 as an inflection point in the evolution of women in leadership. The actions we take today will ensure that our children grow up in an era when women are viewed as qualified candidates for the highest political, civic and corporate leadership positions in the land.

About Mays Business School

Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School educates more than 5,000 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in accounting, finance, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain management. Mays consistently ranks among the top public business schools in the country for its undergraduate and MBA programs, and for faculty research. The mission of Mays Business School is creating knowledge and developing ethical leaders for a global society.

Catagories: Programs, Texas A&M