BHP Junior Launches Music Career


Colin Leonard, BHP ’16

At McCombs students are urged to use their degree towards their individual passions from non-profit organizations to corporate relations. Only occasionally do we encounter a student that chooses to pursue the arts. Colin Leonard, BHP ‘16 and brother Drew Leonard, BBA ‘14, have found solace and success in the music industry. Colin has become a singer/songwriter and Drew is Colin’s manager.

Colin began songwriting in November 2012 and released his first album on iTunes shortly after. The album did very well receiving almost 2,000 downloads. Feeling confident in his abilities, Colin and Drew felt there might be a bright future ahead if they follow this path. The duo started a Kickstarter page asking for donations and met their goal of $8,000 in just 10 days. The page ultimately resulted in $11,000 in donations.

Most recently, Colin released Valleys EP, which debuted on iTunes under the singer/songwriter genre up against big names such as Ed Sheeran, Nickel Creek, and Passenger. Valleys held it’s own and reached #5 on the genre’s chart for 3 days and remained in the top 20 for two weeks. Colin and Drew are both very humbled by the success of the album.

The Leonard brothers have always had an interest in singing and music as they were both active in chorus groups at their local church growing up in San Antonio. Things really took off recently when Colin and Drew partnered together.

“We have meetings together, which is really just two brothers going to a coffee shop,” said Colin. During these meetings, the brothers talk about the future of Colin’s music career and how to create and maintain an online persona. “It’s been hard trying to strike a balance between being a real person that’s young and just 20 years old, but I’m also trying to pursue this professional career,” said Drew. Colin looks to Drew for creative support as well. When Colin writes a song he shares it with Drew for honest feedback that he can trust.


Drew Leonard, BBA ’14

“Right now it’s all about building connections and trying to manage his personal identity, being a young, goofy college sophomore, while also building a more serious and professional online personality that fans can connect with and respect,” said Drew.

Colin sometimes struggles with time management when juggling honors coursework; work at a local church, involvement with Younglife and his music career. However, he is fortunate to have made many friends in the honors program to lean on for support and help in navigating his commitments. “BHP is a great opportunity and I don’t want to waste that,” said Colin.

When asked which professor has been most influential, Drew expressed his gratitude to marketing professor, Jonathan Highbarger, for teaching practical and applicable skills. Drew graduated in May with a degree in marketing and accepted a full-time position with SHI, a technology sales company, as an account executive.

Colin will continue to grow as a musician and work hard in the Business Honors Program. He is projected to graduate in May 2016.

Check out Colin’s music on his website or iTunes.

Senior Reflections from the Class of 2014

Each May we have to say goodbye to around 100 BHP seniors as they graduate and move on to the next phase of their lives. The BHP Class of 2014 made their mark not only on BHP, but on McCombs and the entire UT campus. In fact, they even raised more than $22,000 from their class this past month to benefit the BHP Make-a-Mark scholarship fund, which funds merit-based scholarships for incoming BHP students. Before they left, we asked some of them to provide us with reflections on their time in the BHP. We look forward to welcoming all of the BHP Class of 2014 graduates to the BHP alumni family!


BHP has given me community, perspective and direction. My peers were the ones who motivated me to interview for a consulting position at Bain, and I couldn’t be more grateful to them as I look forward to what comes next. The faculty in BHP is incredible, and I have found some of my best mentors in my professors. I have been able to gain such a competitive education within such a supportive environment has made for an incredible four years that I will always cherish.

Holland Finley
Associate Consultant, Bain

I am so unbelievably honored to be a part of a community filled with driven, successful, talented people. The program has challenged me within and without the classroom, helping me to excel in academics and extracurriculars. I found a home in BHP and a group of friends for whom I am immeasurably grateful.

Mukul Ramakrishnan
Attending Medical School

The past four years in BHP have truly been the best of my life. I never anticipated the second family that I would find here or the vast amount of knowledge I would gain from my professors. My BHP roots will always stay with me throughout my career and will definitely give me a leg up in my future endeavors.

Chris Pavlich
Management Consultant, Sense Corp

The Business Honors Program has defined my college experience. In the program, I have met some of my closest friends and have been able to grow into the person I am today. I will forever be grateful to BHP for everything is has offered me, and I plan to stay connected to the program for many years to come.

Oscar Barbosa
Financial Analyst, ExxonMobil

The BHP has been more than an academic program for me — it has been a community. The students and professors have not only pushed me to greater heights academically and professionally, but they have also been my closest friends and mentors.

–  Courtney Brindle
Business Analyst, Deloitte Consulting

The BHP has been my home for the past four years; it has provided me with the best undergraduate business education, amazing career opportunities, and many life-long friends. I could not have imagined a better college experience. The relationships that I have developed here will remain long into the future.

Robert Belanger
Financial Analyst, ExxonMobil

The Business Honors Program really fosters personal growth beyond the walls of the classroom. No matter what pursuits you have, you’ll be supported by a tight-knit community of accomplished friends that challenge you to outdo yourself and leave an impact somewhere on the 40 Acres or beyond it. It’s the call to always outgrow my comfort level that will carry with me after graduation day.

Nick Bedenkop
Financial Analyst, Frito-Lay

BHP has given me the unique opportunity of developing a more holistic view of the business environment.  I think that college students have a tendency to identify a subject they like and then narrow their focus on that particular topic – BHP gives room for students to create a basic understanding of and appreciation for multiple business functions, outside of purely finance or accounting, for instance.  This wider perspective is valuable to employers and has given me a competitive edge in the labor market.

Daniel Amin
Investment Banking Analyst, Goldman Sachs

I could not be more thankful for the incredible education I received from the Business Honors Program. The BHP has challenged me to become a more critical thinker and to continuously set higher academic and professional standards for myself. I have made lifelong friendships with my peers, advisors, and professors, and know I will have a strong support system from my BHP community in the future.

Bari Rabinovich
Assurance Associate, PwC

The Business Honors Program defined the majority my college enjoyment and success through the unique academic, professional, and social opportunities it provided. In addition to working with incredibly talented and passionate students and faculty, I made my best friends in college through the close-knit community of BHP. I am certain that the friends I met and the lessons I learned while in BHP will stay with me long after graduation, and I look forward to staying involved with BHP as an alumnus.

Forrest Ripley
Graduate School – UT Data Analytics Program

As a Student Recruiter for BHP, I always tell prospective students that the people in this program are what make it so great. The students in BHP are some of the most inspiring, talented, dedicated, and genuine people that I know, and they push me every day to be a better student, person, and friend. This network of peers has really shaped me into the person I am today, and the relationships I have made in the program will no doubt last beyond graduation. I am truly grateful to be a part of this community.

Josh Hu
5th year Masters in Professional Accounting (MPA) student

The Business Honors Program has profoundly shaped my undergraduate career by challenging me every day to think critically about the type of leader that I aspire to be in all facets of my life beyond the Forty Acres. I could not be more thankful for the education and professional opportunities the BHP has offered me throughout my time in McCombs, and most of all, I cannot fully express my gratitude for this wonderful community that is shared by all students, faculty, and staff in the program. A number of my fondest memories in and outside of the classroom over the past four years have been with my BHP peers, and I look forward to cherishing these lifelong friendships in the many years ahead.

Michelle Moon
Financial Analyst, ExxonMobil

BHP Senior Takes First Place in Case Competition While Studying Abroad

Josh_profileBHP senior, Josh Hu, was recently awarded the Barbara Jordan Senior Award, which honors two graduating seniors whose outstanding motivation has left a lasting legacy at McCombs. He also received a BHP Outstanding Student Award, chosen by BHP faculty, staff and peers.

Josh spent last semester studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland. While he was there, he had many unique and memorable experiences, including participating in an international case competition, which his group actually ended up winning.

joshscotlandHu was taking a Financial Services Marketing Class in Edinburgh that challenged students to find a solution to a case presented by TESCO Bank. The class was split up into groups of four and the situation became even more unique because Hu, the only McCombs student in the class, was paired with other exchange students from around the world including: Hong Kong, England and Scotland.

An executive from TESCO Bank asked the groups to come up with a mobile banking app for clients to access account information at their own convenience. There was a lot of freedom and flexibility with this project and the students were told to use both research they could find as well as research they would conduct themselves.

Many banks in the U.S. now offer mobile banking applications, so Hu started his research in the states, “I was surprised to find that the states are actually very technologically ahead in terms of innovation and new ideas for banking,” said Hu. Through his research, he was able to bring a lot of ideas to his group, like mobile check deposits.

JoshProjectHu’s group put together consumer focus groups to gauge what consumers valued, liked and disliked, “Using feedback from the focus groups, we found that the number one reason people aren’t using mobile banking apps is fear that there’s a lack of privacy,” said Hu. The group used this information in their final presentation to emphasize the safety of the app to the consumer. The combination of new, innovative features and making sure the app is secure to use, won the competition.

“Going abroad was a chance for me to be an ambassador for my school,” he said. “The perceptions of Americans aren’t always positive while abroad so I thought of it as I’m representing my school, and the students at McCombs are great, and I wanted to show them that and that I had a lot to contribute to the group.”

Hu is back on the 40 Acres now. His group’s proposal for the new application was presented to TESCO executives in February and was very well received. Each group member will receive a new tablet for their winning idea.

After graduating from the program in May, Hu will stay another year to complete his MPA degree. Before finding a job, Hu plans to travel around Asia.

BHP Students Mingle with Professors at HBA Events

Konana DWAPThe Honors Business Association (HBA) hosts Dinner with a Professor (DWAP) events throughout the year to connect BHP students with professors outside of the classroom. “After the DWAPs professors have more participation in class since students know the professors more which makes them more comfortable,” said Rachel Solomon, outgoing HBA Academics VP. “It also gives professors an opportunity to learn what we are doing outside of class and how what we are learning in the classroom is being applied.”

HBA hosted DWAP events with the Dean of the McCombs School, Tom Gilligan, and BHP MIS professors Ashish Agarwal and Prabhudev Konana in April. For both events students were invited into their homes and were able to share dinner with the hosts and their families. “DWAPs are very popular events,” said Solomon. “They always fill up. Students really enjoy the professors and want to spend time with them outside of the classroom. Professors and the dean have a lot to do, but they take time to be with the students for a night.”

Konana DWAP3The HBA MIS DWAP is a tradition now and an event that students look forward to every year. The event was held in the home of Ashish Agarwal and co-hosted by Prabhudev Konana. The two professors enjoy sharing Indian culture with the students and call their DWAP a Bollywood dance party and Indian feast. This year 70 students attended. Students really look forward to letting loose and having fun with the professors. “Dr. Agarwal and Dr. Konana want everyone dancing and they teach them dance moves. Everyone gets really excited to see the professors dancing,” said Solomon. Neal Makkar, a junior in the program, has been to the MIS DWAP multiple times and really enjoyed it this year. “I noticed my friends all enjoying the Indian food, some for the first time,” he said. “It was incredible to see how willing people were to learn the Garba dance style – the entire group participated!”

Dean Gilligan hosted a smaller group of 15 students at his house. “I was expecting it to be formal,” said Solomon, “but he kept it very casual.” Students who attended were treated to a short tour of the back of the house and the backyard. They had dinner with him and his wife and enjoyed learning more about them and sharing more about themselves. “He made us feel very welcome and at ease. It speaks to the openness and transparency of the school that he was willing to answer all of our questions and no topic was off limits,” said Solomon.

HBA hosts around four to five DWAPs a semester. The Business Honors Program is grateful to HBA for organizing these events and to the faculty and administrators who generously give of their time to host them.

Konana DWAP2