Sophomores Shine in 151H Case Competition

This past Friday, every BHP sophomore competed in the BA151 Sophomore Lyceum Case Competition. The case, presented by Accenture, focused on KIPP Austin and identifying strategies that would increase persistence rates in post-secondary institutions for their students. Out of 30 teams, five advanced to the final round. Each team took a very different approach to solving the problem, and the judges were impressed with the level of thought that went into the cases. The final round was judged by Anthony Salerno, Director of the KIPP Through College Program (KTC); Robert Prentice, BHP Faculty Director; and three Accenture employees – Amit Patel, Jacob Spangler and Casey Sherley.

In the end, first place went to Muhammad Ghauri, Nazifa Mim, Jiaying Han and Vinesh Kovelamudi. Second place went to Anna Wang, Jessica Breckenridge, Vamshi Gujju and Morgan Moulckers. Third place went to Jonathan Burstain, Reagan Stuart, James Rodriguez and Elliot Kim.  Yesha Shah, Sarth Raj, Matthew Wolf, Erika Rodrigues, Aasim Maknojia, Hank Golman, Ashley Chen, and James Abbott also made it to the final round, but did not place.

Accenture will be packaging recommendations from all of the cases to present to  KIPP Austin. The names of the winning team members will be etched onto a plaque, which lives on permanent display in the BHP office. Congratulations to all of these students and special thanks to Accenture for providing us with such a great case and tremendous support for the competition this year!

First Place Team - Muhammad Ghauri, Nazifa Mim, Jiaying Han and Vinesh Kovelamudi

First Place Team – Muhammad Ghauri, Nazifa Mim, Jiaying Han and Vinesh Kovelamudi

Second Place Team - Anna Wang, Vamshi Gujju, Morgan Moulckers and Jessica Breckenridge.

Second Place Team – Anna Wang, Vamshi Gujju, Morgan Moulckers and Jessica Breckenridge.

BHP Alumni Involved in My All American Movie

BHP alumnus Adam Blum with director Angelo Pizzo and UT Legend Frank Denius.

BHP alumnus Adam Blum with director Angelo Pizzo and UT Legend Frank Denius.

Three BHP alumni, a fellow McCombs graduate, and a current student in the program have played roles in the development, production and marketing of the new UT football film, “My All American.”  The film shares the story of an incredible young man, Freddie Steinmark, who played for the 1969 Championship Team.  Freddie is a legend in the UT football community and UT alumni played a crucial role in bringing the film to life.

Corby Robertson Jr. (BHP Class of 1969) played linebacker for the Texas Longhorns football team from 1966-68, earning All American status in 1967. Corby was on the team with Freddie Steinmark and is featured in the book about Freddie, “Courage Beyond the Game,” which served as the basis for the movie. Corby has been working closely with the film’s executive producers throughout the filmmaking process.

Adam Blum (BHP Class of 2006) is an investor in “My All American.”  Adam also drove efforts to staff UT student interns in various roles, providing Longhorns a once in a lifetime opportunity to work on a major motion picture being filmed in their backyard.  Adam also played a key role in connecting the filmmakers to some of UT’s most successful alumni and top administrators and he loosely portrays Frank Erwin in a banquet scene in the movie.

Susan Thomson (BHP Class of 1999) is a marketing and strategy consultant on the film. She led several efforts to connect with current UT students and with high school football booster clubs across Texas.

Kell Cahoon (BBA 1982, MBA 1987) is a co-producer on the film as well as an investor in My All American. Kell is a writer/producer whose credits include “King Of The Hill,” “NewsRadio,” “Psych,” and “The Larry Sanders Show.” He has been involved with “My All American” since it’s inception.

Rachel Moore (BHP Class of 2017) is currently an intern on the film assisting with research, and outreach to current students.

The film was directed by Angelo Pizzo, the screenwriter for “Rudy” and “Hoosiers.” The movie premiered at the Paramount Theater in Austin last week and is now in theaters nation-wide. You can view a trailer of the film here.

Competition Funds Charities Close to Students’ Hearts

USIT competition

Team Inside Books

The Universities Securities Investment Team (USIT) recently held their 2nd annual Texas Charity Pitch competition. Student teams presented charities to a panel of judges in a competition for a $6,000 pool of donations. Teams are tasked with developing a presentation on the financial effectiveness of the charity they have chosen, and convincing the judges to award money to their charity. Several BHP students were among the winning teams.

The winning team pitched Inside Books Project, which is an Austin-based charity that sends packages of two to three books to prisoners across Texas. Team members Hasan Syed, Karna Venkatraj, Arel Rende and Phoebe Lin (pictured above) put a lot of work into their presentation and it showed.

“My favorite part about the Charity Pitch was receiving the opportunity to support Inside Books Project, a books donations organization that my teammates and I strongly believe in,” said Phoebe Lin, a BHP freshman. “As the only charity of its kind in Texas, Inside Books Project helps break the cycles of incarceration and poverty in the state.”

Inside Books Project has drastically expanded its operations in the past two decades, donating over 250,000 books since its inception in 1998. Because of their win, the charity will receive $3000 in donations from USIT.

Second place went to “The Arrow Group,” consisting of Abhinav Sridharan, Marylin Cai and Jay Mondkar (pictured below), all BHP freshmen. They won $2,000 for The Robin Hood Foundation. Robin Hood is a charity that practices venture philanthropy. The organization uses effective financial strategies to fund other organizations. Created by hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, Robin Hood provides funding to other charities in the New York City area in order to alleviate poverty, and also provides financial assistance, legal services and advisory consulting in order to help non-profits run their daily operations efficiently.

“Competing at the Texas Charity Pitch taught me how to use a business mindset for helping people and solving real world problems,” said Abhinav. “It was amazing to see the diverse causes each charity worked towards in the final round, and each team had a different dynamic that made all the presentations intriguing.”

“I also found my interactions with the judges very valuable. Many of them came from fields such as private equity, banking, consulting, and non-profits, and I learned a lot from talking to the judges about their careers once the competition was over.” Abhinav said he hopes to compete in more case competitions and stock pitch competitions in the future.

Congratulations to everyone who competed and thank you to USIT for hosting such a meaningful competition for the McCombs community!

USIT competition2

The Arrow Group


Students Learn About Startup Life from Alums at New Event


On Monday, November 9, the Honors Business Association held Start-Up Speed Dating, the first-ever event of this kind for BHP students interested in entrepreneurship. Approximately 30 students were able to meet with six prominent BHP alumni (listed below), all of whom found success in the startup space:

  • Travis Devitt (BHP/FIN ‘06) – current Director of Growth at Aceable and Angel Investor
  • Michael Koetting (BHP/MIS ‘13) – current Corporate Development Manager at Civitas Learning and Co-Founder of
  • Cindy Lo (BHP/MIS ‘98) – President/Owner/Event Strategist at Red Velvet Events, an international award-winning meeting and events management company
  • Elliot Oshman (BHP/MIS ‘00) – current Principal Program Manager at Amazon and former Director of Client Operations/Senior Technical Advisor/Senior Manager for Delivery Operations at Mass Relevance (now Spredfast)
  • Haley Robison (BHP/FIN ‘07) – current COO of the innovative outdoor equipment brand KAMMOK, MBA/MA in Education graduate from Stanford University, former curriculum designer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and former consultant at Bain & Company
  • Joel Knight (BHP/MIS ‘02) – Vice President of Customer Experience at WP Engine; formerly worked for several early-stage startups including Bazaarvoice, BlackLocus, and Compare Metrics

Rotating through small groups of 5-6 students each, the alumni provided valuable insights about their entrepreneurial experiences and shared the lessons they learned during their careers so far.

Interested in entrepreneurship but couldn’t attend this year’s Start-Up Speed Dating? Check out the below major takeaways that students learned from the event:

  1. Optimize for opportunity. Travis Devitt, who joined a startup after working in hedge funds for eight years, advised students to look beyond perks or salaries and choose jobs that give us the greatest opportunities for growth and advancement. Often these opportunities can come at startups, where employees are given a lot of responsibility and are continually challenged to help the company grow.
  2. Entrepreneurship has no GPA. Michael Koetting put it this way: if you go into your test tomorrow and absolutely bomb it, that grade will stay with you in some form or fashion for the rest of your college career. The impact of failure on your GPA is somewhat irreversible, but the same isn’t true for entrepreneurship. Failures don’t put a stain on a resume, provided you learn from them. In fact, they can often be good things. So when it happens, pick yourself up and move on.
  3. Get plugged in to the Austin startup scene. Austin provides a plethora of events for budding entrepreneurs, and these events are a great way to meet other people in the startup scene. A subscription to Austin Startup Digest will help you learn about these types of events. Once you’re there, network, learn from other entrepreneurs, and find out about some of the most innovative ideas coming out of Austin.
  4. Do what scares you – but don’t make decisions out of fear. Haley Robison told students that she took her current job at a startup because it was the one job that scared her the most. She said she knew that she would be challenged, that she was passionate about the idea, and that it would help her grow. However, she also said that fear shouldn’t rule your decision-making process. Don’t do something because you’re afraid of what will happen if you do something else. Do it because you want to.
  5. Act on your idea now. If you have an idea and you think it’s worth pursuing, start testing it out now. See if you can get people to listen to you, and try to gauge their response. When building a team, make sure you get people who really believe in what you’re doing. If you can’t get a couple of friends who are passionate about working with your idea, chances are you’ll have a hard time convincing investors to invest in your company.

After a successful first event, HBA looks forward to continuing its partnership with BHP alumni, exposing students to the wide variety of career options available to them through BHP.


Student Spotlight: Humza Tariq

Humza Tariq, BHP

BHP Junior, Humza Tariq, is the founder and president of the Texas Sports Analytics Group and co-chair for both the Texas Undergraduate Investment Team and the BHP Ethics Board. While balancing three internships, he has received University Honors for the past two years and is a Distinguished College Scholar.

You created your own student organization, Texas Sports Analytics. Can you tell us your motivation behind this?
Growing up, I really loved math, statistics, and sports. In high school, I read countless sports statistics blogs and saw different ways of looking at sports. When I came to UT, I spent the first two years thinking it would be great if there was a group on campus that was dedicated to doing research on sports through a statistical lens.

No similar organization existed to my knowledge, so I finally got the courage to start one with a couple of my friends. We then started to notice a large amount of job postings on social media sites for NBA teams for jobs that combined sports and data analytics. The ultimate goal for this group is to serve as a recruiting pipeline for students interested in working for large teams in the NFL and NBA, and hopefully in the future expand to golf and tennis leagues.

What have you learned from your various internships?
I have interned with a real estate company, a local private equity firm, and an investment bank. Through my experience, I have gained new skills and sharpened others. All of the internships have taught me about being an adult in the workforce and having to go to work every morning. They teach you to manage your time wisely when you are put on several projects that have deadlines around the same time. And, they give you an insight to certain sectors that you may or may not be passionate about. Overall, I recommend that every student at McCombs intern as much as possible, because it is really valuable.

How do you manage your schedule and excel academically and professionally?
Managing my collegiate schedule was tough at first—trying to balance class, studying, and extracurricular activities. It is necessary that everyone find their way to stay organized and keep up with assignments. I personally spend one day a week to get as much done as possible. Instead of sleeping in on Saturday, I will wake up a couple of hours early, study hard, and then I am set for the rest of the weekend and able to study normally during the week.

Budgeting time is also important. Be honest and realistic with yourself about how much time something will take. I plan out all important dates and assignments in a planner, but a personal trick I have found useful is texting myself things I need to do and leaving them as unread messages until they are completed.

Beyond academic and professional development, what else do you find important as a college student?
In the next few years I want to give back as much as I can. I want to having a prospective on the bigger things. It’s easy in the business school to get wrapped up in careers and jobs. It is nice to be driven and motivated, but you should never let it get in the way of friendships or having a prospective of what is going on in the world.  Sometimes you are so wrapped up that you forget what is around you and those less-fortunate.  I encourage my peers to see what one can do to help out the Austin community. I am working towards achieving this and I think we should all keep this in mind as students. It’s important to stay grounded and humble in all you do, no matter your level of success.

What do you want to do when you graduate? What are your future aspirations?
I always enjoy keeping my options open and having an open mind when it comes to career decisions. Outside of work, I am interested in non-profits, specifically in social finance—investing in businesses that do social good. I want to do some good in the world. If there is a way to incorporate finance, I think that would be really interesting.