BHP junior, Elise Loney, found her niche in the Honors Business Association (HBA) during her first year at UT. She has taken on numerous leadership roles within the organization, all leading up to her current title as President.
Why did you choose to come to UT?
Growing up in Lawrence, Kansas, I had always imagined I’d leave home for college. I applied to UT because of McCombs and its reputation as one of the best undergraduate business programs in the nation, and I was accepted into the BHP. I actually never thought I’d end up in Texas, but when my mom and I came down for Discover BHP, it only took five minutes of walking around campus before I turned to her and said, “This is where I belong.” I knew I had to be a Longhorn. I joke that it broke my dad’s heart I wasn’t going to be a KU Jayhawk, but in all actuality, my entire family has been incredibly supportive of my leaving the Sunflower State for the Lone Star State.
What is HBA?
The Honors Business Association is a student organization to which all BHP students belong. It provides opportunities for students to get together in a more social atmosphere and builds a real community base for the BHP. In addition to social events, students are given the chance to interact with professors in a setting that isn’t the classroom, and meet with a variety of company sponsors. McCombs students are told to join one professional group, one social group and one academic group during their time at UT; HBA is really all three in one.
How did you become involved in HBA?
I fell for HBA hard and fast. I heard a lot about it at Leadership Kickoff my freshman year, and all it took was one General Meeting for me to become hooked. I applied and was accepted onto the Communications Committee early in the semester, and completely threw myself into the responsibilities. It wasn’t long before I was known as the girl who stuck a camera in your face at every HBA event, and I couldn’t have been happier with the experiences I was having as an active member of the organization.
How have you continued to stay active in HBA?
My sophomore year, I became Vice President of the Communications Committee. I wanted to make Communications a more prominent part of HBA and to provide ways for members to learn the less obvious facts about each other. The results were fun activities, such as polls in the newsletter asking questions like “What is your most irrational fear?” and a game we call “HBAby,” where we collected baby photos from members and challenged others to guess the BHPerson.
I noticed there wasn’t much BHP apparel available to students. The only thing most students had was the BHP t-shirt that everyone gets after entering the program. I wanted to offer students another way to display their pride in BHP, so I designed a BHP sweatshirt to be sold to anyone in the program. They were a huge success, and all proceeds went right back into HBA.
Now, as a junior, I’m President of HBA. I eat, breathe, and live HBA all of the time, and I love it. As President, I attend a lot of meetings and take on responsibilities required to maintain HBA’s status of a McCombs affiliated organization. I also work with HBA’s Exec VPs, helping where they need it and doing what I can to delegate and make sure things run smoothly. HBA has given me so much during my time here at UT, and all I want is to give back in the best way I can.
For Academics, we have DWAPs (Dinner With a Professor) and PHITs (Professors Have Interests, Too), allowing students and faculty to get to know each other more personally. Financial and Corporate Relations work tirelessly to organize our annual Company Field Trip to an exciting location every year, giving students the opportunity to network with companies and alumni in the area. Philanthropy provides HBA members with ways to give back to the community through things such as Junior Achievement and Urban Roots, and Alumni works to host events that feature BHP alumni who can offer guidance and share real-life experiences with our members. Communications works endlessly to support the sense of community amongst HBAers, and Social is always finding ways for us to simply have fun, whether it be through playing broomball or hosting a formal at the end of each semester.
With no dues involved, everything is free to our member. Students are able to be involved to whatever extent they choose. HBA handles all the logistics, and the only things they have to do is sign up for the event, show up, and have fun.
What have you gained by being part of HBA?
There’s never a dull moment when you’re completely invested in something like HBA. Everything is always exciting and every week there are a variety of opportunities to get involved and have a great time. I definitely can’t imagine what my time would have been like at UT if I weren’t part of HBA.
During the Company Field Trip to Atlanta last year, we visited Coca-Cola and I had the chance to submit my application directly to their University Talent Program. Thanks to that, I got an interview, which lead to an internship, which resulted in a return offer that I accepted for this next summer.
HBA has given me so much. Through this organization, I’ve met some of my closest friends, I get a free meal every other Tuesday night, and I even found a job. I truly don’t know what more I could ask for.
What advice would you offer BHP students?
As HBA President, I can’t help but urge everyone to be as involved as they possibly can with the organization. On a more general note, though, I can only say this: if you try your hardest, it’s all going to work out. Trust me. You may be stressing about a million things, but if you care and your passion is there, just be patient and keep moving forward. In time you’re going to realize that it’s all turned out just fine.