Student Spotlight: Jacob Spangler

Sophomore Jacob Spangler is majoring in BHP, Plan II Honors, Government, and Supply Chain Management. He is in the Longhorn Band, serves as a peer mentor and recruiting liaison for the BHP, is a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, and is a Texas Ambassador with the Office of Admissions. We recently visited with Jacob to find out more about all he is doing.

BHP: You are involved in so much on campus. How do you manage all of your commitments?

JS: I am involved in things that I love to do. My activities don’t feel like commitments to me. I am excited to do as much as I can, so I just find a way to make time for whatever is on my plate. I have learned to be smart about what is involved with a commitment before signing on. Before each additional activity, I researched and asked people who were currently in the organizations about the time commitment. I know my limits and I have recognized what I can and cannot do.

BHP: You are in the Longhorn Band. What is it like playing at the football games and what has been your favorite part of being in the band?

JS: Longhorn Band is so much fun; I love serving as a member of such a wonderful organization. I get to see UT traditions and partake in something way bigger than me. Participating in a unique school culture has been such a treat that I know I wouldn’t have gotten at any other school. A particularly poignant memory for me is the Texas vs. OU weekend where I host my entire band section, all forty people, at my house. My friends in band have come to be my family, friends I know I’ll keep for life. Longhorn Band has come to define my college experience. I spend 9 hours over 3 nights a week, plus games, rehearsing: it is a lot of time, but so worth it. I also love being part of the games: football, along with volleyball and basketball, too.

BHP: What has been your favorite class so far?

JS: The Operations Management (OM) class taught by Edward Anderson I am currently taking has been my favorite class. I started this semester not knowing what I wanted to do, but from the very first class session, I knew I had a passion for the subject. I love the operational aspect behind consulting, the field I hope to enter after graduation, and feel this is a great route to get there. There is a science behind helping others find solutions to challenging situations, with never one correct answer. We looked at the restaurant, Benihana, in a case study. It was really interesting to study what the company’s strengths were and how it could use that to express its value proposition, while minimizing its costs.

BHP: You were a peer mentor for BHP this year. What is the best piece of advice you gave your mentees?

JS: I told them to calm down. BHP students are so motivated. It humbles me to be surrounded by such driven students, but I realized in working with them that they need to understand that they can handle the work, and that worrying about it isn’t going to help them. I told them they just need to be prepared and plan, but not spend their time stressing so much. I also reminded them that they don’t have to be perfect in everything, they just need to do what they love and it will all work out.

BHP: Are you doing an internship this summer?

JS: I am going to be working at ConocoPhillips in their supply chain area. I will be working in the procurement and exploration division, particularly in identifying new oil fields. I am taking a class on energy in modern America, which I think will apply to what I’ll be doing this summer. Energy is a hot topic right now, so I am excited to see its applications to industry. I found the internship through OCR and Conoco was so good to me when I interviewed that it made it easy to decide to take the internship.

BHP: Over the break you volunteered with a group of students in Ghana. Tell me more about that.

JS: I went with Global Brigades, a nonprofit microfinance program. There were 40 students from UT who went, and started a community bank. Most community members lived off of about $1 a day. We taught them some basic skills, but they taught us so much more. My experience made me appreciate what I have. The people were so wise and kindhearted. I can’t wait to go back; I plan to visit again next December and help with some of the program’s other initiatives. One key takeaway was the importance of school, that it is such a precious resource that we take for granted. It shouldn’t be a chore; rather, it should be an avenue we take advantage of through which we achieve our goals.

BHP: Do you have a favorite activity that you like to do in Austin?

JS: I like to go to the Master Pancake shows at the Alamo Drafthouse. I think they are hysterical. I also involve myself with Rec Sports whenever possible, and love going to eat on South Congress, especially at the trailers.

BHP: Do you have any goals for the rest of your time here at UT?

JS: I feel like I have already done a lot, and am grateful to the UT community for making that possible. BHP offers so many avenues for involvement. I would like to help coordinate an event for BHP like Discover BHP. I had such a great experience at Discover BHP and really fell in love with the program during that event. I would love to get more involved in tutoring, so that I may give back to the future generations of the campus community. I want to help make learning fun and help students be more excited about school.


This Week is Ethics Week – Join In and Renew Your Vows

This week, BHP Student Ethics Board will be hosting its annual Ethics Week, dedicated to reminding students of the value of ethics in school and the workplace. Events include the Ethics-themed HBA meeting and the ever-popular Renew Your Vows event, where BHP students can re-sign the Honor Code and enjoy some wedding cake. New events this year are an Ethics Board-hosted Afternoon Meetup in the BHP Office to chat about ethical issues and EthiCSI, an interactive crime drama filled with suspense (and cookie cake!). Attendance at an event gives students a ticket to a raffle with a grand prize, announced on Thursday.

The goal of Ethics Week is to remind students that ethics matter – especially in business. “As business students, we have to be aware of our actions and their impacts. With the recent scandals in corporate America, it’s more important than ever that we pay attention to ethics. With Ethics Week, we want to continue the conversation about ethics, and make it fun and engaging,” said Kelly Hogg, BHP sophomore and co-chair of the BHP Ethics Board. All the events feature an activity to talk about the philosophy and practicality of ethics at school and work.

Ethics Week Events:

CBA 3.304, 11:30-2:30 PM

HBA Meeting
UTC 1.102, 6-7:00 PM

Renew Your Vows
CBA 3.304, 11:30-1:00 PM

Afternoon Meet-Up
BHP Office, 2-3:30 PM

Alumni Spotlight – Robin Boesch, Class of 2000

Robin Boesch, BBA ’00, transitioned from trading NASDAQ stocks in New York City to owning her own successful retail business,  y&i clothing boutique, with locations in Austin, San Francisco and Dallas. Robin never imagined that she would leave Wall Street to venture into retail, but loves owning her own business and growing the y&i brand. During her senior year, Robin started the BHP Make-a-Mark campaign and has remained active with the BHP since graduation, serving on the BHP Advisory Board for many years.



BHP: Tell me about your career path leading up to what you are doing now.

RB: I graduated with a Finance and BHP degree in 2000. I interned for two summers with Goldman Sachs. The first internship was with the real estate private equity group in Dallas after my sophomore year. After my junior year, I interned at the international trading desk in New York City. Goldman offered me a full-time position, and after graduation I moved to New York and worked on the NASDAQ trading desk.  I spent six years there as a trader, trading all versions of NASDAQ tech stocks including semiconductors, software, and hardware. After three years I was promoted to Associate and after five years I was promoted to Vice president. I also helped run the UT recruiting team during that time.

My last year there I was thinking about trying something else. I think there are pockets of opportunity in life and I felt like I was in one since I had made enough money to have financial freedom and I didn’t have anything tying me down. The timing was right to try something different. One of my  roommates in college, Robyn Sribhen White, and I had always talked about owning our own boutique. She went out to the West Coast after graduation and worked in retail and was doing well in that realm. We spent about 6 months coming up with a business plan for our own retail store and modeling out how our business would work. Once we decided to do it, I left Goldman and spent some time in New York and Europe, just enjoying life. Then I moved out to the West Coast, and our first location opened in October of 2006 in San Francisco. After a year we opened two more locations, one in Palo Alto and one in Austin. We ended up closing the Palo Alto store because it wasn’t the right market for us. I moved back to Austin in 2009. In 2010 we launched our online business and in 2012 we opened a Dallas store. We are now re-launching our website and are looking at additional locations in Texas.

BHP: How did you first get connected to Goldman Sachs?

RB: I had an officer position for HBA and it was my job to contact companies to speak to our members. I reached out to Goldman and built a relationship with a BHP grad there named Michael MacDougall. He told me about the internship in their Dallas office and I ended up landing the position.

BHP:What was the best and worst thing about working on Wall Street?

RB: The best thing about it was that it was so exciting. It was crazy every day. I also loved the amount of responsibility I was given right away. The NASDAQ market was going crazy in 2000, so it was sink or swim. They needed people to jump right in. If I had to pick a worst thing, it would probably be the “Type A Wall Street” personalities that you encounter. I really loved it though and only left because I wanted to do something else.  Goldman was an amazing place to work and if I had to do my life over again, I would do it exactly the same way.

BHP: How did you decide to get into the retail business?

RB: I never thought I would own my own clothing boutique. I thought I would  make partner at Goldman and stay there forever. But one day, along the way, I realized there were other things out there I wanted to do.  Being an entrepreneur is extremely interesting, it doesn’t matter what you sell, it is more about running your own business. I have known my business partner since I was 15, and I love working with her. We both just wanted something that offered more flexibility than our current jobs and we were ready to try something different.

BHP: What are your plans for y&i in the future?

RB: We would like to expand our current stores in Texas and are thinking about doing a concept store in California for shoes & jewelry. We also want to grow our web business, since e-commerce has been growing at such a fast pace.

BHP: Do you have plans to delve into any other retail markets with another store or brand?

RB: I have learned a lot about jewelry designers and clothing designers and there are always opportunities to invest in other businesses or partner with people on the design and production side. We are thinking of partnering with one of our current jewelry suppliers to help her grow her business. We bring our expertise of how to grow and run a business to designers and they supply the creative expertise. It is a bit like being a private equity partner because you are investing in others who have potential and helping them grow their business.

BHP: What do you sell the most of at your stores?

RB: Our current number one brand is actually a jewelry designer from New York. We also, of course, sell a lot of clothing including brands like Billabong, Joe’s Jeans, Yumi Kim, and many more. We pride ourselves on the fact that you can find an entire outfit for under $300 at our stores. Fashion is about expressing yourself, having fun, and building outfits, so we want to help our clients do that. We sell expensive and inexpensive merchandise together so that you can create a unique look without breaking the bank. Our aesthetic is based on a California casual girl, which is a combination my style and that of my business partner.

BHP: Have you enjoyed being an entrepreneur?

RB: Being an entrepreneur is incredibly rewarding but it also has its ups and downs.The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that your time is your own and you get to do what you want, when you want. The downside is that there is no one above you to learn from because you are your own boss. My advice to entrepreneurs would be to find a business partner and look for mentors. I can’t imagine doing it without Robyn because working together makes the workload so much more manageable.

BHP: You started the BHP Make-a-Mark campaign in 2000. What prompted you to do that and why is it so important to you?

RB: The MBA’s were doing their Legacy campaign and I didn’t understand why we didn’t have one for BHP, so I thought it would be great to do something similar for the undergrads. The first year was successful, we had 98% participation and it brought the class together. I thought it was great that the funds would go towards merit-based scholarships, which have always been a big need for the program. Most of the scholarships offered at UT when I was there were only need-based and not merit-based, which made it less competitive for us to get the best students. Since then, I have stayed involved to try to help keep it going. At my 10-year graduation anniversary, I came up with the idea to add the alumni component and ask alumni to match the amount being raised by students. I am always trying to think of new ways to get alumni involved in giving so we can get the top students and make our program as prestigious as it can be.

BHP: Do you have any advice for current students?

RB: What you pick to do when you graduate doesn’t have to be what you do the rest of your life. That is hard for graduating students to understand, since their focus is often so narrow. They need to realize that there will be plenty of opportunities to do new and interesting things along the way. Also take as many elective courses as you can and study abroad. You will never get another opportunity to be in college again and have time to take classes that interest you. Explore  everything and use the university while you can.

Student Spotlight: Stephanie Morgan

BHP sophomore Stephanie Morgan, is taking advantage of as many opportunities as she can while she is in school. A Plan II Honors and BHP major, she feels she has the best of both worlds – receiving a strong liberal arts and business education. Stephanie has already participated in two study abroad programs, is an officer for the Honors Business Association, and will be interning with this summer. Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, she has already grown to love Austin and says she knows she made the right choice in choosing to come to UT and be in the BHP.

Being an out-of-state student, how did you hear about and decide to come to BHP?

I did my research and applied to a lot of universities. UT is one of the only universities where you can participate in a business and liberal arts honors program and still graduate in four years. I really liked the well-rounded approach to learning and MBA-style classes. I visited one weekend in the spring of my senior year and met the BHP staff and some current students, and just felt like it was where I was supposed to be.

You are the Financial VP for HBA. What do you enjoy about being involved with that group?

My favorite part is the opportunity to hang out with other BHP students outside of class in a non-academic setting and get to know BHP students in other grades. The BHP community is one of the strongest features of the major, and I think HBA is where you get the community feel the most.

You are interning with this summer. Tell me more about what you will be doing.

I will be working out of a fulfillment center in Phoenix which is the size of a football field. I will be managing a team of about 20 employees and will get to try all of the associate positions, so I will get to see the entire inbound to outbound route of a product.

What are you hoping to learn from the internship?

I am most excited about the leadership and management part of it. I think that is my strength and I am excited to learn more. I also think it will help me figure out if I want to go into supply chain for my career.

What was the interview process like?

I found out about the position because they were hosting a dinner and contacted HBA about meeting with student leaders. Because I am not a declared supply chain major, the position wasn’t open to me on OCR, but since I already had those contacts, I applied directly through the company. There was only one round of interviews. The interview had a behavior aspect and also a technical aspect, with a few supply-chain questions.

Tell me more about the summer study abroad programs you participated in this past summer.

I did two study abroad programs this past summer. I spent seven weeks in France and five weeks in Oxford. All of the classes that I took weren’t required for my majors, but were just classes that interested me. I took English courses taught by UT professors at Oxford.I took a French language course and a French culture course during my time in Lyon. Both programs were with other UT students. I didn’t know anyone else going and it was my first time going abroad, so it was a great growing experience. I became good friends with the other students and also got to stay with a host family in France, which was a great experience.

What are you involved in outside of class?

I am heavily involved with Texas THON. It is a non-profit organization on campus that raises funds for the Children’s Miracle Network at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. Our major event every year is called Texas THON. It is an event where people pledge to stand for 12 hours to raise money for the organization. The Miracle Kids are very inspiring and have been through more than most of us could imagine. I was the Catering and Sponsorship Chair this year, so I secured donations for food and prizes, and was heavily involved with organizing everything for the event. It is really important to me to be involved in community service and I have learned a lot from being involved in the organization. My management and business communications classes have been helpful to me in terms of leadership and it was neat to apply what I had learned. I also run a lot and ran the LiveSTRONG Half-Marathon recently. I enjoy staying active.

Do you have any words of advice for your fellow students?

Focus on things you enjoy. Don’t feel pressured to do what everyone else is doing. You will get the most out of your college experience by doing things that are important to you.