Discover Dell: Four UT Alumni Share Their Perspective on Life at a Changing Company

You’ve seen it all in the news: the battle to go private, the fights with Carl Icahn, the many months of uncertainty and change. But what is it like on the front line at Dell company headquarters in Round Rock, Texas? How are employees managing their careers, implementing long-term strategies, and driving change in the business under such intense media scrutiny?  Four UT alumni have volunteered to share their experience and advice with current BHP students.

Scott Sanders – Executive Director and UT Recruiting Lead

BBA Finance, ’91

Current Role: Scott is an Executive Director in the finance organization. He is a sales controller for US based large institutions, both private and public, including the University of Texas, Twitter, Facebook, and Starbucks.

 This is an unusual time in Dell’s history- there is both opportunity and challenge. What would you say to students who are uncertain about recruiting based off what they read in the media?

Going private gives Dell the opportunity to regain the entrepreneurial spirit it may have lost along the way as a public company. Dell has always been a place of tremendous autonomy, but it will be even more so once we are able to make decisions based on what is best for Dell versus what we need to achieve our quarterly earnings calls. This transformation is a great time for students to build their resume by experiencing a once in a lifetime transaction. I have learned the most in my career during big company changes, like an acquisition, SEC investigation, and going private. Embrace the change as a learning experience and be reassured: Dell is as involved on campus as ever, and is still recruiting for the same positions.

What advice do you have for students currently looking for a job?

Cast a wide net when networking and differentiate yourself through leadership and your ability to negotiate and influence others. Make sure you learn about the jobs available at a company and the culture of the company and be sure to take location into consideration.

Dell is an ever-evolving company. Where would you like to see Dell go in the next few years and what are some of the goals you have for your team during this transformation process?

I want to see Dell become a trusted solutions provider. That will involve successful integration of all acquisitions and successful business case delivery for the Dell Software Group. The sales force must develop new capabilities to deal with the complexity of selling solutions and software. My vision for my team is for them to be thought leaders, trusted business advisors, business control experts, and to be constantly developing themselves.


Angela Huang – Financial Development Program

BHP/Finance, Minor in Actuarial Math, ’12

Current Role: Angela works in End User Computing Solutions supporting the Americas and Global 500 where she manages inventory and margin transparency.


What makes you excited to come to work each day?

Learning the intricacies of the business, checking out our new products, and being able to make a difference.  The Financial Development Program forces you out of your comfort zone every 6 months, and I love that you can and ask tons of questions when you enter a new rotation.  It gives me the opportunity to learn so much in a short amount of time.

What was the transition from UT to Dell like?

I think coming from UT makes the transition to Dell much easier than if I were coming from another university outside of Texas because I know the city and I already have connections.  In terms of transitioning from a student to a full-time employee, it really helped that McCombs required an internship, which exposed me to what having a full-time job is like.  I still go to sleep much later than I should… that’s the one thing I still haven’t transitioned from.

What aspects of BHP have helped you the most in your career?

Team projects.  I’m constantly working with other people in my job, and having been through so many team projects with BHP has helped me be able to communicate more effectively and to lead a project.

– Case studies.  I used to groan about reading and discussing case studies, but it really has helped me organize my thoughts and understand how companies run as a whole, as well as why their strategy works or does not work.

Being surrounded by high achievers.  Dell is full of highly motivated individuals whom I admire.  It pushes me to work harder and be better, which is very similar to the BHP environment.


David Kuo – Financial Development Program

BHP/Finance, ’12

Current Role: David works as a financial analyst in Corporate Strategy, an internal strategic consulting team. The team tackles issues and opportunities defined by the CEO’s office and the Executive Leadership Team. It leads cross-company teams, delivers insights, provides actionable/practical recommendations, and drives implementation to transform Dell.

How do you manage all of the change in the industry and the company as it is looking to go private?

The go-private transaction really hasn’t affected my day-to-day activities. Whether the firm is publically traded or private hasn’t impacted my responsibilities, which include providing timely research, analysis, and recommendations on Corporate Strategy projects. Additionally, the leadership team has committed to continuing to invest in our young talent via our development programs.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job has been the diverse sets of experience I’ve received from the Financial Development Program (FDP). I’ve worked in the External Reporting team, where I helped prepare the 10-K/Q for filing at the SEC, and the Software and Peripherals Finance team, where I supported FP&A and business processes. I recently joined the Corporate Strategy team and am looking forward to future experiences at the company.

Why Dell? What does Dell offer new college graduates?

Dell offers the opportunity to interact with other top graduates from around the world. You will start with a class from varying backgrounds, rotate through diverse roles, and have the opportunity to work internationally on a merit-basis. Throughout this time, you will grow personally and professionally from your experiences with each other, all while developing a world-class network.


Brent Lovett  – Commercial Services Group

BHP/MIS, ’13

Current Role: Brent works in Platform Engineering Solutions Delivery in the Dell Commercial Services Group- Site Operations. Brent supports platforms for all non-production environments.

What is your favorite thing about working for Dell?

My favorite thing about working for Dell is the different technologies that I get to work with in my job.  Thanks to the size and reach of our company, I get to use tools on a day-to-day basis that others in my industry only get to dream about using.  It makes for work that is a lot of fun!

What surprised you the most about working for Dell?

I think what surprised me most was how tight a community my group at Dell has.  Coming into the organization, I was afraid that I would just be one of many, but I have found that quite the opposite has occurred.  Dell is truly made up of a bunch of smaller “families,” and my DCSG family has gone out of its way to welcome and include me.

Describe your favorite project.

My favorite work item so far has been assisting with how our new business group, the Dell Commerce Services Group, should operate from a platform engineering prospective.  I’ve had the opportunity to help design our new platform environment which is something that a lot of 22 year-olds in my area don’t get to experience.

What advice do you have for students recruiting with Dell?

Come join us!  A lot of times Dell is somewhat forgotten, particularly with MIS majors, but our trajectory is moving in the path of other big companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.  Our culture is moving in that direction as well.  Plus, who wouldn’t want to stay in Austin?

Connect with us: @CareersAtDell, @DellFDP,,,

Student Profile: Ryan Lieberman – Co-Founder of Camp SPARK

Ryan Lieberman, a freshman in the program, started Camp SPARK, with his brother Blake, in the Summer of 2010. As a freshman in high school, Ryan knew he wanted to gain experience in operating a business. He decided to merge his passions for community service and athletics to create Camp SPARK. The camp has come a long way from the first session held in Ryan’s backyard. It is now available nationwide. Learn more about Camp SPARK and Ryan’s plans for the future as a BHP student.

What is Camp SPARK?

SPARK stands for Strong Powerful Athletic Rocking Kids. The camp is as much about sportsmanship as it is sports and it helps kids learn social skills in a way that they can easily connect with and understand, through sports and activities. At Camp SPARK, campers play games altered to the camp such as “Extreme Duck, Duck Goose.” Children ages 5–13 can participate in Camp SPARK. It’s a camp run by kids, for kids, because the set-up is unique in that it’s a business opportunity for high school students to start camps for younger kids.

How were you inspired to start the camp?

I’m very much an entrepreneurial-type of person. I love the idea of being my own boss and working for myself. So, the summer after my freshman year of high school I started thinking of ways that I could start my own business to gain experience being my own boss and familiarize myself with the processes involved in building a business.

I’ve always been passionate about community service and have been very active in Big Brothers Big Sisters. The bond I built with my “little” is a big part of what inspired me to reach out to children. I love the idea of directly influencing someone’s life and seeing change happen – knowing you were part of it. As for the idea of a camp, I went to summer camp all my life and just loved it. I knew opening a camp would be fun, something I could do well, and it would lead to a good experience.

The support of my parents was also influential. My dad is my biggest role model and he really encouraged me to do what I love and run the show.

How did you get the camp up and running?

The first summer, my parents were very supportive of what I was trying to accomplish and agreed to sponsor the start-up of Camp SPARK. The camp was run out of my backyard the first year. To get campers, my brother and I called and emailed over a hundred parents from our school directory and got 12 campers to enroll for the week. I didn’t make a lot of money the first summer, however I learned a lot of lessons.

The next summer I was a lot more organized and a much better marketer. I set up a Facebook page and sent out a video link to my email list. I also received a lot of good word of mouth promotion.  Participation almost tripled to 35 kids a day. I ran the camp twice as long and profited nearly $13,000. The next year, we created a website and increased marketing. A larger facility became a necessity. I negotiated a deal with my school and relocated the camp. It worked out really well. That’s about the time I realized that I had a reproducible business and that if I could do this, other people could too. I began looking for city partners to initiate Camp SPARK in their area. Not just in Texas, but nationwide. We opened a girls’ camp that summer and our first camp outside of Dallas with my cousin Zach in Austin and they both went really well.

The following year we put an ad on Facebook and everything really took off from there. Over the last four summers we have grown from a backyard camp into a nine-location business in five cities across the country (Dallas, Austin, San Francisco, Boston and Denver). Hundreds of kids are now Camp SPARK campers.  We have four boys’ camps, five girls’ camps, six city partners and employ over 60 people.  We have an accountant, a lawyer and an insurance agent. We have learned how to create really good systems and how to protect our business and ourselves.

Each camp is tailored to the location. For example, in San Francisco, the surrounding neighborhood has a lot of under-privileged kids, so that camp is corporate sponsored and doesn’t charge campers and places a special emphasis on reinforcing the importance of education. It’s important to know the community and the needs of that community so a difference can be made.

What does the future hold for Camp SPARK?

I hope Camp SPARK continues to be as successful as it has been. Now that I’ve started college, I still want to grow Camp SPARK and keep it as a source of income, but I’m looking for someone to take over my role of overseeing all of the operations. Starting and running the camp has been an amazing experience and now I’m ready to see what my next endeavor will be.

What does the future hold for you?

Running a sports camp has been a lot of fun and a great experience.  I plan to start more businesses and hopefully continue with sports-related work, but not necessarily in the camp setting. I know I ultimately want to be my own boss, so any experience I can continue to gain in operating businesses would definitely be of interest to me. My plan is to use what I am learning to pursue my next business ideas and also to help other kids start their own businesses.  One of the things I am excited about within the Business Honors program is the people in it.  I am going to have great classmates to learn and work with, and hopefully one day start businesses together with.

Competition was Fierce at the BHP BBQ and Trivia Night

Written by Katelyn Markley

Last night BHP students and sponsors mingled over free BBQ at Scholz to kick off the school year.  Students also competed in five intense rounds of trivia with representatives from Dell, PepsiCo, BP, and PwC.

Teams were asked to create a team name. Names included “The Beans,” “Not Arkansas” and “BHPrentice” (there is little left to the imagination as to who may have been part of this team).

Round one focused on events taking place between 2000 and 2009.  Round two was an audio round, but not your typical “guess the song” game. Recordings of popular songs played by marching bands were provided, and contestants were asked to guess both song title and artist. Round three was a 50/50 shot. Unique words were given with two choices of the correct definition. Round four was the most challenging: women’s studies. Did you know Columbia didn’t open enrollment to women until 1983? Neither did my team.

To finish, the fifth round distributed handouts to each team with photos of Paul Rudd escorting 10 different celebrities to the prom. The challenge was to guess the names of his dates, which consisted of icons like Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Will Farrell and Sarah Palin.

There were a lot of confident teams as the last answer sheets were submitted to the trivia hosts. Runner up went to “Dancing with Miley,” and “Go Big or Go Home” took the win with 47 points out of 50. Both teams won Longhorn-branded footballs.

The event provided students with the chance to visit with corporate sponsors in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, hang out with fellow students, test their trivia knowledge, and enjoy free BBQ. Convenient networking and free food – what more could you ask for?

Alumni Spotlight: Amy Bell – ED and Head of Principal Investments for J.P. Morgan Social Finance

Amy Bell, BHP ’03, MPA ’03, is an Executive Director and Head of Principal Investments for J.P. Morgan’s Social Finance business unit in New York City. The portfolio Amy manages seeks to achieve positive impact on low-income and excluded populations around the world, in addition to generating financial returns. She is also co-president of the Board of Directors for the Microfinance Club of New York and is actively engaged with Net Impact, Student Sponsor Partners and the New York Road Runners.

Tell me about your career progression leading up to your current position.

When I graduated, I went to Deloitte in Dallas and spent time as a fraud investigator. I was interested in consulting and international work, and there was opportunity there to do both. After a couple of years, I felt like I needed to expand my skill set and began exploring my alternatives. I interviewed for a position in investment banking with the J.P. Morgan team in Dallas and really clicked with them. In 2005 I joined as an Analyst in the Consumer Retail coverage group. I really enjoyed the work and thought I would be best served to spend some time at the firm’s headquarters in New York for a bit. I moved in 2007 to join our Mergers and Acquisitions group as an Associate, working with clients on their strategic goals, and never ended up moving back. I had always been interested in doing something in economic development and shortly after I moved here, the firm formed a Social Finance division. I did some volunteer work for that division while in my role in M&A. The volunteer work turned into a full-time opportunity, and I joined the Social Finance group in 2010 to manage an investment portfolio for the team. It was the perfect fit.

What kind of impact has your portfolio made?

We have $100 million that we are investing in best-in-class emerging fund managers who are able to identify financially sustainable businesses that work to improve the lives of low-income and underserved populations around the world. We refer to investments with this kind of dual objective as “impact investments”. We have committed just over half of the $100 million now. And as of the end of 2012, we had improved livelihoods for 14 million people through these investments. Those improvements include access to healthcare, education and a number of things that contribute to a more secure and healthy livelihood for an individual and his family. We don’t judge our success on the type of improvement but rather on how these companies are using their capital in an efficient way to generate impact.

In addition to success of the portfolio, we also want to demonstrate that  commercial organizations like JPMorgan Chase can engage in impact investing. Our group contributes research and thought leadership to deepen awareness and understanding of effective impact investing strategies. It is all part of a larger strategic effort to support this type of innovative finance worldwide and to create a positive impact in the communities in which JPMorgan Chase operates.

What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

Day-to-day, the bulk of what I do is focused on managing the portfolio – identifying and structuring deals and then managing our investments to achieve our financial and impact objectives. We have a high expectation for the portfolios. We are managed as a business and should be a financially viable activity, so I have a large responsibility for ensuring that occurs. We are essentially starting a new business from scratch inside of a large firm, so that is a challenge.

What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?

Because of the nature of the work that we do, we come into contact with incredibly smart people who passionately care about making an impact with the tools that the private sector offers. It’s hard work for anyone participating in this space, so to be able to find like-minded souls in this quest is fantastic. I also love visiting with our fund managers to see where our dollars are having an impact. That is very rewarding. Last October, I went to Kenya to visit with Wilmar Flowers, a company getting investment support from the African Agricultural Capital Fund, one of our investees. Wilmar is an exporter of smallholder-supplied flowers. Their flowers are sold in European markets. This company provides smaller farms with the opportunity to sell in markets where only large farms sold before, thereby increasing and diversifying their source of income. Today they purchase from 3,000 farmers across Kenya. Our fund’s investment will enable them to engage an additional 5,000 to 8,000 farmers in the coming years.

What does the Microfinance Club of New York do and why did you get involved in it?

It is an information platform for people who want to learn more about that sector. Microfinance refers broadly to the provision of financial services to low-income or underserved populations. Microfinance is what got me excited about leveraging a for-profit business model to create social or environmental change. I became a member of the Board of MFCNY in 2009, serving in various capacities and now act as co-president. It is very relevant to what I do now.

Philanthropy is a keen interest of yours. Why do you choose to give and what causes are you most passionate about?

It is important to me because I am only where I am today because of good fortune and the many good acts of people who supported me along the way. I didn’t set out to pursue a career to do well financially, but I have found one that allows me to do so. I want to use that money to provide support to others and communities that I feel a connection to. I want others to have the experience I had at UT, so I give to the university. I support breast cancer research and am very passionate about education, so I also give to that. I want to be active in giving to these causes now while I have the means.

What does corporate social responsibility mean to you?

It has a bit of a mixed reputation. There are a lot of companies that do it well, and I think what good companies do is find a way to make it relevant to the business and integrate it into the overall strategy, not just do it for Public Relations. There is a lot of talk right now about whether it actually generates shareholder value, and I think it does. When done well, it will generate real, long-term value for the company and its stakeholders.

What advice do you have for current BHP Students?

When I look back at my career to date, one element that has been consistent throughout is that I have been fortunate to have good relationships with people who have been willing to mentor me. I have worked hard to maintain those relationships, and they, in turn, helped me with big decisions and to grow in my career. Seek those relationships out and make sure you tend to them, even if you move to another job or another state. I hope I can do that for someone else during the course of my career. Good relationships are critical in every facet of your life, both personal and professional, so don’t take them for granted.

Internship Spotlight: Michael Valdez – BHP Junior

BHP junior, Michael Valdez, knew beginning his freshman year that he wanted to do an internship with Google. Starting the search for an internship early paid off when Michael was offered an intern position at the Google headquarters in Mount View, California. Michaels tells how his initial plans were to continue on to law school, but after a summer in Silicon Valley, life as a Googler may prove more persuasive.

Location: Mt. View, CA

Title: BOLD (Building Opportunities in Leadership Development) Intern

What steps did you take to secure your internship?

I started the summer after my freshman year. I participated in BOLD Immersion, where Google invites college freshmen to their headquarters to meet and greets to feel you out and get to know you. I applied for the BOLD Internship that following November. This specific internship has an expedited application process; there are no essays, but a lot of interviews. I knew exactly what team I wanted to be a part of so I made sure I did a lot of research and prepared for every interview.

What were the responsibilities for this role?

I worked with the Google Grants Team, which donates AdWords to non-profit organizations. My role was to use statistics to help the team out and look at the program as a whole. I used a lot of statistics, data analysis and Excel.

Describe the culture within the organization.

Unique. The biggest part was the transparency, being open and honest with both Google users and employees. We made a dedicated effort to allow employees to be open and give feedback. There wasn’t any sort of Ivory Tower feeling. My boss worked on the ground floor. I had access to my manager and my manager’s manager. I was able to meet and have lunch with the VP and SVP of my department. There are no closed-door offices; the people were welcoming and easy to talk to.

What was most surprising or unexpected thing you experienced?

It was better than college. I honestly didn’t think any job would be better than college. Google had a college vibe with free food and transportation. Employees even call the workplace “campus.”

What advice would you offer your peers in the Honors Program about getting the most out of an internship?

It’s most important to be assertive in meeting people when you get there. I would constantly try to set up lunch and coffee appointments with people within Google. Not just recruiters, but people in other departments too. Go out and just really enjoy your experience. Don’t just get to know the people in your area and pigeon-hole yourself. Silicon Valley is especially open to that type of culture.

How did you find classes in the Business Honors Program to be applicable during your internship?

A lot of things I was doing I realized — wow, I just took a final on this six weeks ago. I used a lot of things I learned in Statistics 371H such as regression analysis, data analysis. Really just math in general was useful. Professor Kumar was awesome. He did a good job of getting that material drilled into our heads and really making sure we were ready to take on these roles.

How did this organization ensure you got the most out of your internship experience?

Google pulled out all of the stops. You’re assigned to a mentor that has nothing to do with your job, just to help integrate you into the Google community and show you around. Then you have a manager that sets your objectives and helps you with what you need to do your job. I met with my manager day-to-day and discussed my OKR objectives and key results. Interns are also grouped into a BOLD Team, which sets up classes for you to go to weekly and listen to executive speakers. There were tons of events put on for BOLD interns.

How did this internship affect or influence your future career?

Right now my major is Management Information Systems (MIS) and my original plan was to continue on to law school. However, after my experience in the tech world I now realizeI’m not going to law school. I feel really good about my tech skills, like coding. Google is really good about getting you comfortable around technology and keeping you confident in knowing what you’re doing. I really like the tech world and I really like Silicon Valley. I hope to go back next summer.

What are the most valuable lessons you gained from this internship?

Communication is probably the best means of advancing yourself in your internship no matter what you’re doing. Communicating with your team about what you’re doing and being collaborative is the key to success. Being able to create well-written emails is so important to an internship or really any job. It’s not about your area of expertise, but how well you’re able to communicate those findings.