Student Spotlight: Don Dao

Don Dao

BHP Sophomore Don Dao was raised a longhorn; his entire family went to UT. Even with this upbringing, he envisioned himself leaving Texas for college, but after being admitted to BHP, he ultimately decided to stay in Texas and attend UT Austin.  Don loved how BHP provides the resources of a small centralized program, with  a tight-knit community and great professors.

He is happy he ended up in Austin and is enjoying the city’s strong entrepreneurial spirit. He has been involved in the Austin start-up scene, and has been able to network through the business school community and the Austin community to get his start-ups off the ground.  He believes the entrepreneurial route allows individuals to pave their own way and fosters innovation.

Don and four other UT students are following their own innovative path, having created a start-up called Condecca. Condecca is a recruiting platform that connects college students with employers for short-term internships, short-term projects, and contract work. Don and his partners found that many students struggled with securing a good internship as an underclassman when they had no previous job experience.  “It’s a niche in the recruiting market that we’ve seen. This platform will allow students to build up their resumes, get recommendations,  and get experience that they would not otherwise have access to if they didn’t already have work experience,” he said. He hopes to eliminate the paradox of having to have experience in order to get experience.

Don has also interned with a Houston-based business technology company and is planning on interning in risk consulting this semester. In addition to his passion for business, he also stays active in two charities, the Mona Foundation and Sunflower Mission. He has helped build schools in several countries through Sunflower Mission and serves as a liaison between Mona Foundation and the Texas Wranglers, for which he serves as Vice President. 

“Giving food, water and clothes only lasts so long. Giving the people there an education as a means to escape poverty and give back to their community, has proven to be one of the most effective ways to raise entire communities out of poverty,” he said.

Don will continue to pursue his startup interests, but in the meantime, he is seeking to intern for a consulting firm or a boutique investment bank this upcoming summer. He hopes to run his own consulting or VC business one day.

HBA Company Field Trip Takes Students to San Francisco

Written by Michelle Zhang

This past weekend, BHP students traveled to San Francisco, California to tour tech giants Google, Facebook, and Adobe, and to see the sights. Despite the gloomy clouds and uncharacteristically rainy days, students enjoyed visiting company campuses, hearing from alumni panels, and taking in the laid-back California scene.

Visiting the Facebook office.

The first company visit was to Facebook, where they received a warm welcome from BHP and Plan II alumna Surveen Singh and were given a comprehensive tour of the Facebook campus. Designed by Disneyland engineers, the campus was illuminated by vibrant, colorful walls and typographic signs showing off the various restaurants and amenities available to employees (including a dentistry, barbershop, and dry cleaners!). Students were particularly excited to spend a few minutes in the arcade, stocked full of old-school games such as Street Fighter and Dance Dance Revolution. The tour concluded with an alumni meet-and-greet at the Sweet Shop, where students and BHP graduates chatted over plates of smores cupcakes and lemon poppyseed bars.

The group outside of the Google office.

Next on the list was Google, where alumna Elyse May provided a quick walk-around tour of the Googleplex campus. Immediately hit by the scent of the food trucks parked outside, students continued through the fields of lawn chairs and volleyball courts — all painted Google primary colors, of course — and past such eccentricities as a large-scale model of a dinosaur skeleton. Back in the building, an alumni panel greeted students and answered questions ranging from undergraduate degree focuses to work culture.

Last on the company visits was Adobe, where students got to see the clean, modern architectural layout of the offices and amenities. The tour showed off Adobe’s recreation center, which featured ping-pong tables and large television screens, as well as its affordable and delicious cafeteria. Students spent some time at the earthquake-proof skybridge, peering out over the San Francisco landscape, before heading into the employee panel full of representatives from departments ranging from HR to finance. After the panel, students munched on some light appetizers and networked at tables with the employees on the panel, getting to ask some more in-depth questions about their experiences at Adobe.

Students in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Afterwards, students headed off into the city on their own that Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Popular destinations included the Golden Gate Bridge, Haight-Ashbury district, Ghiradelli Square, and Chinatown. For dinner, students met up at Firenze by Night in Little Italy to enjoy a five-course meal with various BHP alumni working in the area.

Come Sunday, students left the vibrant Bay Area to head back home, now dreaming of summer internships in sunny San Francisco on the creative campuses of Facebook, Google, and Adobe. Thanks to HBA Financial Committee for putting on a great CFT!

BP Offers Unique Opportunity Through Summer Program for Integrated Supply and Trading

Written by Austin Partridge

This past summer, I was fortunate enough to be one of 21 students invited from around the United States to take part in

BP’s Sophomore Experience, a program designed to introduce incoming and outgoing sophomores to BP and its Integrated Supply and Trading (IST) division. The IST division leverages BP’s petroleum infrastructure along with supply and demand information to supply products, trade, and manage risk for the company. After a quick flight to Chicago, we hit the ground running on day one, meeting some of the senior leadership at the company while learning as much about BP and IST as possible. One of the program’s aims was to educate us on how IST makes trades and explain their thought process for making them. We ended up learning about how the industry works and the basics of trading, all on the first day.

The chance to apply our newfound industry knowledge quickly presented itself. We soon found ourselves playing fast-paced supply chain games and working through challenging ethical case studies. Eventually, we sat down for our first trading simulation. In teams of two, we tried anticipating virtual commodities market movements by putting into practice everything we had learned so far, ranging from industry specifics to broad trading tactics. Ultimately, some profited and some lost, but I think everyone would have agreed that it was an incredibly fun learning experience.

While presentations and simulations taught us about IST, the lunches and dinners that we had were what really showed us what working at IST was like. BP wasted no opportunity to expose us to the company. Every meal, my peers and I were accompanied by different sets of people working for BP, including trading managers, current interns, traders, and analysts. I was exposed to about 20-percent of the IST’s team. While the focus was on the IST division, we also met people working in other areas of the company such as Marketing and Origination as well as Ethics and Compliance, giving us a comprehensive view of the company.

My experience introduced me to exciting career opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to. The trip allowed me to spend five days exploring Chicago, eating deep dish pizza, and socializing with students from across the country. On the final day, we even had the chance to meet with BP sponsored Paralympic Athlete Tucker Dupree. For five days, I developed an understanding of BP’s IST division while simultaneously having an amazing time. It was an experience I’d heavily recommend to anyone with even a faint interest in the petroleum industry, trading, or getting to meet great people.

Editor’s Note: BP is currently accepting applicants for their early experience programs offered to freshmen and sophomores, BP STEP, Integrated supply and trading Sophomore Experience and BP scholars program. Applications are being accepted through March 16, 2017.   The IST Sophomore Experience program will be held in Chicago from June 19-23, 2017. To learn more, please go to