BHP Advisor Tisha Monsey Wins Campus Advising Award

BHP Academic Advisor Tisha Monsey was selected as one of five winners of the campus-wide Vick Advising Award, administered by the Texas Exes. The award recognizes individuals who improve students’ overall experience at The University of Texas at Austin through outstanding advising. Tisha received nominations from nearly a dozen students for the award. Three of those students were able to attend the event last week where Tisha was presented with her award.

“I believe Tisha deserves this award because she is the perfect example of what advisors should be; kind, compassionate, present, and knowledgeable. Tisha is always looking out for us and very obvioulsy spends more than than she has to with us, which makes us BHP students all feel very loved,” one student wrote in her nomination.

“She works tirelessly to ensure both the mental health and academic success of her students. She cares deeply on a real and personal level. She is one of the reasons that my experience as part of a marginalized group on this campus has been so much better than anticipated, and most of all, she does all this without even realizing what a difference she makes,” wrote another student.

Tisha has been an academic advisor for BHP since 2014. Having worked at the University since 2009, she is very familiar with UT’s many resources and programs. She is passionate about helping students discover new opportunities and make sense of their experiences as they navigate their academic and professional paths. In addition to her role as an advisor, Tisha leads the BHP Leadership Kickoff, Peer Mentor Program, Freshmen Seminar class, Sophomore Socials, and Research Interest Group. BHP is indeed fortunate to have her on staff. Congratulations Tisha!

HBA ‘Ask Me Anything’ Event Allows Students to Get to Know Professors

Written by Michelle Lu

Students wonder a lot about their professors. In most of our minds, they are these enigmas of creatures who excel in subjects about which we know almost nothing. In class, they try to spread the wealth and share some of what they know with us. However, we’re left to wonder: what do they do outside of class? What do they think about outside of their job? Perhaps most importantly, what do they think of us? At the first-ever HBA organized “Ask Me Anything” panel on March 22nd, we found out.

We were fortunate to have in attendance Robert Prentice, LEB 323H and Director of BHP; Prabhudev Konana, MIS 301H; JJ Riekenberg, BA 324H; James Scott, STA 371H; Uttarayan Bagchi, OM 335H; Y Sekou Bermiss, MAN 336H and Bill Peterson, MKT 337H.

With a mix of anonymously submitted Google form questions and live hand-raising, all of students’ deepest inquiries were sure to be answered.  Questions started out soft, such as favorite restaurants (Dr. Bermiss and Dr. Konana have the same – Titaya’s!) and each’s behavior in high school (Dr. Peterson overcame a speech impediment and extreme shyness, while Dr. Prentice described himself as “vividly clueless,” almost passing out the first time he asked a girl out.) We discovered that Dr. Bagchi bites his nails (to which Dr. Konana leans over and inspects Bagchi’s hands, yelling “I’m checking!”) and that in another life, JJ would love to be a pilot.

In a flurry of fun facts, we learned that Dr. Prentice considers himself to be the world’s worst dancer, and Dr. Bagchi almost drowned in the Dead Sea. Dr. Scott reveals that he has a hidden talent of juggling – and much to the delight of students, demonstrates with breakfast tacos! Perhaps most unexpectedly, Dr. Konana said, “if any of my friends knew I was a professor now, they would laugh,” and in the 7th grade, JJ was dubbed “the worst speaker [her teacher had] ever seen in her life.”

On a more serious note, professors were asked what they hope students will take away from their class that they worry they aren’t getting. Dr. Konana emphasized the meaninglessness of money in success. Dr. Peterson discussed the importance of persuasive speaking. Dr. Prentice described the tendency of BHP students to start off valuing prestige and positions and only later remembering to “have a meaningful life,” while Dr. Bermiss simply states, “that Myers-Briggs is bad.”

One student asked for their biggest regrets; Dr. Scott quips, “this is like psychotherapy.”  Dr. Bagchi wishes he’d traveled more at a younger age, while many reminisce that they lost touch with old friends. Full of jokes, Dr. Prentice states that his is actually that he lost touch with his hair. As the panel continued, it was clear how much professors care about their classes and students. In response to “What keeps you up at night?”, many answered that it’s coming up with new things to teach us. They were also in consensus that they are frustrated with technology’s influence, and its effect on the attention we pay to assigenments.

Getting back to the light-hearted questions, we found out that Dr. Scott has been thanked in the dedication of a book called Statistics Gone Wrong, Dr. Peterson has a heartwarming love story with his wife, and Dr. Bermiss listens to gospel music before teaching a class, and “ratchet” hip hop when he’s alone. All in all, students switched between howling in laughter, eagerly anticipating the next answer, and shooting their hands up for a question of their own. Professors even felt that they’d gotten to know each other on a deeper level, and were glad that they were able to show students this side of them!

Other notable findings from the event:

  • Prentice hates going to Europe for the sheer reason of an unavailability of Diet Coke. Once, he packed and checked a suitcase full of Diet Coke when going there.
  • Konana wants us all to know that he’s not on Facebook as much as we think he is.
  • Once, while teaching a pricing class, Dr. Peterson publicly lost a game show about pricing.
  • JJ’s bad habit is “an impressive array of colorful language.”
  • A vivid student memory of Dr. Bagchi’s is being bear-hugged by current senior and Peer Mentor Humza Tariq.
  • Bermiss has been on SportsCenter “for all the wrong reasons.”
  • Scott considers convincing his wife to marry him his greatest achievement. “That makes two of us,” says Dr. Prentice, “mine is also convincing his wife to marry me.”

Be sure to stop by any professor’s office hours to ask them any lingering questions!

Students Compete in International Case Competition at USC

In February a BBA team of three BHP juniors and one iMPA junior competed in the Marshall International Case Competition at USC. Only 17 top-ranked international and U.S. business schools were invited to participate in the competition. Although the McCombs team did not make it to finals, they performed well and placed second in their prelim room.

Teams of students represented schools such as University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, and Washington University in St. Louis. International competitors included Copenhagen Business School, University of Auckland, and National University of Singapore. The format for the competition was a 15-minute presentation with 10-minute Q&A. Teams had 24 hours to read the case and develop their solutions.

This year’s case focused on Intuit, a software company that creates financial tools for consumers and small businesses. Intuit’s most popular products are TurboTax and Quickbooks. The case asked teams to predict the needs of small businesses in 2026 and help Intuit prepare to meet those needs. Teams could recommend adaptations of Intuit’s existing products, suggest a new product offering, pitch a merger/acquisition, or come up with other ideas.

Eric Saldanha, BHP junior, explained the McCombs team’s solution. “We argued that predictive analytics would be the future of business technology,” he said. “With the rise of Big Data, businesses will have massive quantities of data to mine. However, understanding and analyzing that data will be a gargantuan task that Intuit can help with. With recent developments in machine learning and rosy expectations for future growth, we recommended that Intuit make investments in machine learning now so that it is the go-to provider of predictive analytics software for small businesses in 2026.”

The team had a phenomenal time seeing the Los Angeles area, and meeting teams from domestic and international schools. They were able to spend time in Santa Monica and visit The Getty Museum. One of the organized outings for competitors was to a barbecue restaurant in L.A. for dinner. The Texas team was asked many times by other teams how the barbecue compared to Texan fare. The team happily told them Texas barbecue was better.

The competition was a great experience for the four students who represented McCombs. “We learned a lot from the other teams and how they approached the case,” said Saldanha. “For example, non-U.S. teams placed a lot more emphasis on international markets and the needs of businesses in developing economies.” The team relied on each other’s strengths to come up with their solution in the allotted 24 hours and to confidently present it to the judges.

Student travel to case competitions is supported through generous donations to the Business Honors Program. Thank you to our alumni, whose support allows students to have enriching experiences such as this one. If you would like to make a gift to the BHP Alumni Endowed Excellence fund, click here.

Student Spotlight: Gracie Chambers

BHP sophomore Gracie Chambers is a marketing major from Ft. Worth, TX. Gracie characterizes herself as a creative, with an entrepreneurial spirit. She’s interested in pursuing a career in technology, user experience design and fashion.

Coming from a high school of 82 graduates, she was looking for the complete opposite in a college experience – a large university with a winning football team! She was hoping to attend an out-of-state school, but she knew she must consider UT first. After visiting UT though, she fell in love with the campus, McCombs, and the city of Austin. The university had everything she could dream of in a college. The BHP program, with its small cohort, made her transition from a small high school to a large university ideal.

Gracie learned a great deal about business even before entering McCombs. In high school, she started her own clothing line advertising the “city pride” of Fort Worth. “I learned a lot from owning my own business,” she says. “One of the biggest things I learned was how to work with people older than me.  I learned to stand my ground, even though I was younger. I also learned how to manage people.”

Gracie admits that balancing her school work and her business was very difficult. She feels she could have taken the business to a different level, expanding into other cities, but she prioritized school and friends over the business. Due to the demands of her course load, she made the difficult decision to sell her company her freshman year. “I reached out to a few potential buyers who I thought might be interested. I put together a booklet with all of the products, and information about the company, and ended up receiving an offer from a store that sold my products.”

Selling the business was very educational for Gracie who learned all the steps firsthand, including evaluating financial statements, calculating the worth of her business, working with lawyers, negotiating with the buyer and settling taxes.

With the business sold, her focus turned back to academics. While being at McCombs has definitely been a new challenge for Chambers, the BHP community has been a highly supportive. “In BHP, I’ve made awesome friends who encourage me to keep doing my best in whatever I want to do,” she says. Gracie is also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, and is planning to join their executive team.

Professor Spotlight: Greta Fenley – BA101H

Greta Fenley teaches BA101: Professional Development and Career Planning, to BHP freshmen every Fall semester and is also the resident BHP matchmaker, but not in the way that you might think. Greta has an extensive personal network of working professionals and alumni, and she’s passionate about connecting you to the right person to jumpstart your own personal and professional development.

“You know, I don’t have a magic wand, but I make students realize that they do. My job is to empower students and make them understand that they can do anything they want to do.  A lot of students come in thinking that they have to do investment banking and consulting, but that’s not the case. I see my job as offering students the space to be whatever they want to be and validating them in that endeavor. And then I start connecting people to each other. Just the other day a student told me that the person I put him in touch with was doing exactly what he wanted to do, but he didn’t even know it because he didn’t even know the role was out there. Through connecting students, I can help them achieve their dreams.”

And even if students don’t realize what that dream is just yet, Greta believes that every path you take eventually leads you to who you’re supposed to become. “All the dots matter. Every experience you go through, you go through for a reason,” she says. “I hear a lot of students say, ‘oh I did that internship that I hated, or that class really hurt my GPA, or I didn’t even place in that case competition,’ but all those small experiences add up to big ones, and you can’t possibly see the significance of things in the moment.”

Greta described a time when she took an internship class in college because it was worth three credits and had no exams. She ended up gaining experience in career services through it, which helped her in a future job application for a career services role. “At the end of the day, the dots all connect and you’ll discover nothing was random.”

But if you’re still concerned that your dots aren’t connecting, go talk to Greta sooner rather than later.  “I wish students would come in before they got stressed out and started doing the ‘what if,’ game,” she says. She also suggests that students come in once a semester, because situations and interests change frequently. “There’s a lot of power in informational interviews, and when I can connect students with people who are like-minded and have been in similar situations, they feel more at ease with where they are. When students come in often enough, I get to know their personality better and what they’re interested in, and I can better connect them. But when students let things get out of hand and are too stressed out, that’s just unnecessary.”

Even if you don’t have any pressing career matters to discuss, swing by and talk to Greta about some of her passions, whether that be her two adorable granddaughters or being outside in nature. The best way to make an appointment with Greta is either through the online career services advising system or by emailing her days and times that work for you.