BHP Alumnus Jeffrey Schwartz Launches App for Spontaneous Giving

Jeffrey Schwartz, BHP ’07, BBA ’07 feels he has found his true calling in the creation of NOOM (Next One’s On Me), a new mobile app he and business partner Sara Rodell created and launched in March. We sat down with Jeffrey to find out more about NOOM and what he has been up to since graduation.

How does NOOM work?

It is focused on product-based gifting. Right now it is only integrated through Facebook, but we are working on adding the ability to send NOOMs via text message and email. The sender sends a NOOM in one of three categories: treats, beer, and bar & bites. The recipient will receive a notification and it will go into their NOOM bank account. When they are ready to redeem it, they can then pull up a map of nearby NOOM merchants by category, and show the redemption screen to the merchant. The app is great because it doesn’t limit by geographic location. Once we are in multiple cities, users will be able to buy someone in a different city a drink or treat them to dessert in an easy way. We are aiming to be in three cities by the end of our first year. You can actually view a demo of NOOM on YouTube.

How did the idea come about for NOOM?

My business partner Sara Rodell came up with the idea. Friends had been doing her a lot of favors and she wanted to thank them, but didn’t have time to take them all out, so this idea emerged. My best friend from college connected me with Sara and we met at Spider House when I was in Austin for business to discuss her idea. I knew after only 30 minutes that this was what I wanted to do. It just clicked. Three weeks later I quit my job and moved to Austin.

What drew you to the idea?

I loved having a simple way to make someone smile. “The Art of Spontaneous Giving” is not just a tag line that we came up with for NOOM, it is really the reason we created the app. We want to be able to brighten people’s days.

What challenges have you faced or do you anticipate facing?

Merchant training will be difficult, as will user education. Making sure the merchants’ staffs understand what it is and what to do when someone redeems their NOOM is critical. We have also faced some challenges developing the app. We worked with a company in Dallas for the initial development and are currently looking to hire a developer in Austin.  We were recently asked to join ATI (Austin Technology Incubator), so we are very excited about that.

How do you think UT and BHP helped prepare you to take this on?

In BHP I did case-based exercises and was in small classes that really fostered learning. I think BHP helped form the foundation of what I am doing now. At UT I was able to develop my leadership skills by getting involved in organizations on campus. Through those organizations, I also grew my network and learned the skill of networking.

How did your career path begin after graduation?

Right after graduation, I went to work for Jefferies in NYC, doing investment banking. I was working about 14-15 hours a day. I was working in Restructuring and Recapitalization. I was there during 2008, so there was plenty to do during that time! I decided I wanted to do something that allowed me to create and not just restructure, so I started looking into business development and business strategy jobs. I took a job with Sony Pictures in LA in their Home Entertainment Division, doing business development and strategic planning. It was pretty much an in-house consulting job. I still felt I wasn’t able to create and cultivate like I was longing to. Around that time is when I met with Sara about her idea and the rest is history.

What lessons have you learned so far in your career?

One of the most important things I have learned  is the importance of managing expectations. It is a skill. You have to be able to clearly establish what is expected and when you expect it by. Managing a team can also be difficult, especially when you are younger than some of the team members you are managing. Even now when I am meeting with investors, I really have to convince them that I am capable of doing this, because I am so young. Another thing I have learned is that being able to put together the right team to support you is critical to your success.

Any other parting thoughts?

Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but it is definitely for me. If I don’t know the answer, I know that I have to find a way to figure it out or find someone who can help me. I like that and I think BHP prepared me to think in that way and be confident in my ability to get to solve problems.

Honors Business Association Elects New Executive Board

Congratulations to the newly elected 2012-2013 Honors Business Association Executive Board!

President: Forrest Ripley

Executive VP: Melissa Beaver

Academics VP: Nick Bedenkop

Communications VP: Elise Loney

Corporate VP: Justine Taylor-Raymond

External Relations VP: Dina Consolino

Financial VP: Stephanie Morgan

Social VP: Courtney Brindle

These officers will be working over the next year to provide more exciting academic, professional, social, philanthropic, and alumni networking opportunities for BHP students! Visit to learn more about HBA, what it has to offer, and how to get involved!

BHP Admitted Students Came Out in Record Numbers to Discover BHP

On Saturday, March 31, the Business Honors Program hosted Discover BHP, a day-long showcase of the BHP community for admitted students and their families. Knowing that Discover was the closest these students would come to experiencing a day in the life of a BHP student before matriculating, we did our best to highlight every facet of our one-of-a-kind honors program. 

Together with my co-chair Bekah Thayer (’13), I had the opportunity to coordinate logistics and programming for the event, and we were extremely pleased to announce that Discover BHP 2012 had record-breaking attendance. Nearly 40 student volunteers graciously offered up their weekend to show some Southern hospitality to our approximately 300 guests. 

We kicked off the day at the Student Activity Center with a welcome from our faculty director, Dr. Robert Prentice, before splitting off into groups to conduct a raucous round of icebreakers on the East Mall. In the interim, Angela Mirabito and Samantha Perry, our academic advisor and admissions director, fielded questions from parents in a candid information session.

Introductions made and queries answered, we then headed to the McCombs School of Business for breakout sessions featuring our staff, students, and alumni.  Our guests partook in panel discussions on careers and internships, study abroad opportunities, and student life. 

Shortly after noon, we trekked across campus to Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium, where attendees received the invaluable advice of alumnus and keynote speaker Boris Siperstein (’95) over a plated lunch. Boris, who currently serves as chairman of the BHP Alumni Advisory Board, illustrated that BHP graduates have the multitasking skills to handle any number of complex interdependencies with a gravity-defying juggling act.  

Our admitted high school seniors then made their way back to the business school for a taste of the BHP classroom. Many were lucky enough to experience their first “cold call” in mock classes on corporate ethics and information technology. Parents were introduced to members of the BHP Parents’ Council via an interactive forum at Jester Auditorium.

The final activity of the day was a faculty panel featuring a dais of dedicated BHP professors. The faculty proved to be riotously hilarious, demonstrating that big personalities and excellent teaching are by no means mutually exclusive. 

Not fans of the abrupt farewell, Bekah and I extended an open invitation to our guests to partake in a tour of the honors residence halls and join us in the Hall of Honors for a brief reception. Amid mingling at this reception, a few truths readily presented themselves for observation and analysis. 

All our attendees came away with a strong understanding of our unique case-based curriculum and inexhaustible opportunities for leadership and professional development. More importantly, they came away with a feel for the unwavering passion of our program’s many talented supporters. Our human capital is by far our biggest asset, and our faculty, parents, alumni, and students are united by the singular goal of preserving the BHP’s reputation as the best undergraduate business program in the nation.   

I saw glints and glimmers of that same passion in the eyes of many admitted students. In fact, regardless of where they decide to pursue their degree, I have no doubt that the students I met at Discover BHP will go on to become the ethical business leaders of tomorrow, and I cannot wait to greet our incoming class of BHP freshmen this August at BHP Leadership Kick-Off!

Class of 2016: Welcome to The University of Texas at Austin! Welcome to the BHP! 

–Austin Rogers (’13)


Two BHP Seniors to be Initiated into the Friar Society

BHP seniors Michael Daehne and Andrew Townsell were selected for Friar Society membership. They will be initiated this Sunday, April 15th, at The Friar Society Reunion Breakfast. Each student initiated into The Friar Society has made a significant contribution to The University of Texas, whether tangible or intangible, one act or many.

The Friar Sociey was founded in 1911 with a mission to recognize students who have made significant contributions to the University. The society’s members embody the organization’s creed of recognizing history, serving the community, and bringing honor to The University of Texas. The organization and its members have served their university, state, and nation over the last 100 years as  governors, ambassadors, university chancellors, faculty members and presidents, congressmen and -women, judges…the list goes on. The society and its members are united by the purpose “to associate together leading members of the university for mutual benefit and cooperation, and to promote the best interests of the university and the student body.

More information on Friar Society can be found at Congratulations Michael and Andrew!

BHP Senior Panel: Finding Success in an Internship

Looking to succeed at an internship? Come hear best practices from notable BHP Seniors! You will have a chance to listen to advice and ask questions! Snack and drinks will be provided.

When: Wednesday, April 18, 5:00PM – 6:00PM
BBA Career Services Office (CBA 2.116)