Student Spotlight: Oscar Lopez

Majors: Canfield BHP

Company: Google

Position: Public Policy Fellow for Public Knowledge

Topics of Interest: Tech Policy, Artificial Intelligence, Economics, Copyright Regulations


 

 

 

 

Technology moves fast. I mean, really fast! Not too long ago, people were taking pictures with hand-held cameras. Instead, we use our phones today. Now we have a crazy amount of technology available right at our fingertips. It’s a scary but awesome idea, isn’t it? From self-driving cars to AI at home, there’s a tech-revolution going on whether we like it or not!

Oscar Lopez is a sophomore and Canfield BHP major. Over the summer he held an internship with the Google Public Policy Fellowship in Washington, D.C. The program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students interested in Internet and technology policy the opportunity to spend the summer contributing to the public dialogue on these issues, and exploring future academic and professional interests. Because Oscar is from my hometown of Laredo, Texas, I listened eagerly as he spoke about his experience at the fellowship and his learnings on how the tech industry has changed and will continue to change moving forward. I also wanted to know how these changes will affect a small town like Laredo.

Tell me about the Google Public Policy Fellowship.

Google’s program gives undergraduates, law students, and others, the chance to work in DC – within a public interest organization – to have a deep dive into tech policies that range from broadband access to privacy. You know? The future of artificial intelligence. Throughout the summer, the rest of the fellows and I worked within our individual organizations. We worked on several things like SEC filings, conducted legal research, and posted blog pieces to reinforce our skills, while also getting real-world experience in public policy. We got to explore what the tech world is like in D.C.

Oscae Lopez poses in front of a Google mural

What piqued your interest in this internship specifically?

From a young age, I knew I was interested in public policy. Largely, out of a want to improve my community. In fact, while I was over there, I found out that Laredo is a city that has the worst access to broadband. My interest in public policy came from my community. My interest in technology came somewhat with my fascination in all of the technological advancements that have happened in the past few years. I knew that I wanted to do something that joined those two interests this summer. The moment I found out about the opportunity, I thought it was the perfect time for me to get involved.

Tell me about what you learned.

I really learned how the world works. How the policy world specifically worked for different organizations. How companies work together with members of Congress and federal agencies to enact change that will improve the country’s access to different technologies. However, I went in with some knowledge. So much of what I focused on was broadband access and copyright policy. Additionally, I worked on some of the implications and biases we come up with in artificial intelligence. These are all things I hadn’t really known a lot about before coming in. For example, I didn’t know what the legal precedent was or what the current laws around these topics were. My job required me to dive deep into bills of law, orders, and acts. It really forced me to learn and helped me gain a deeper understanding of something that I might not have known a lot about before.

How can future students with similar interests get involved in something like this?

I found this opportunity by searching for high-quality opportunities on Google and this came up. As soon as I saw it, I applied. Also, I highly recommend paying attention in BA101! The class was a huge help to me. It helped me enhance my resume so that it looked its best and truly prepared me for my interviews. I felt like I had all the abilities and knowledge necessary to excel. Additionally, I reached out to some people that worked in some of these organizations and asked them to provide an overview of what their work entails so that when it came time for me to interview, I had that knowledge. I also encourage everyone to have informational interviews. Reach out to people that can provide a useful network that you can use to learn more about what it’s actually like working in that field.

If you’re working at an internship in D.C. or just there for fun, Oscar highly recommends eating at Hill Country BBQ. It’s the only BBQ in D.C. that earned his seal of approval. If his taste in BBQ is anything like mine, then I’d be inclined to make the trip too! While you’re there, Oscar explained that everyone should visit the museums, the Capitol, courts, and monuments. He mentioned that even a nice walk through the beautiful neighborhoods would be a good idea.

Visit the Google Public Policy Fellowship site for more information about this opportunity. If you’d like to read more on Oscar’s work, check out his SEC filing here and read his article on how and why textbooks keep getting expensive.

On Diversity & Inclusion at McKinsey & Company by CBHP Alum Nicole Chu


Nicole Chu

Major
: BBA Canfield BHP, Management Information Systems; BA Plan II Honors

Graduated: 2016

Current Employer: McKinsey & Company

Current Title: Senior Business Analyst, currently doing a fellowship with McKinsey’s All In, Diversity & Inclusion team

The summer after my freshman year at UT, I participated in the BBA Business Law program in Edinburgh. People often claim that studying abroad can be a transformative experience–and for me, it was. I loved exploring Scotland, I met great friends, and–in the middle of a lecture on torts–it dawned on me that, contrary to what I’d believed for years, I didn’t want to go to law school.

So, in the fall of my sophomore year, I went back to the drawing board on careers. Looking back, I discovered consulting almost by accident. I took a summer internship at a consulting firm not knowing what to expect. That’s where I discovered that consulting involved many things I’d loved about the idea of practicing law–client service, critical thinking, and crafting narratives. I also fell in love with the collaborative nature of the work and the fact that it often required quantitative analysis (I’ve always been a data geek at heart).

For my post-junior year internship, I narrowed my focus to consulting. I spent that next summer as an intern with McKinsey’s Houston office. For ten weeks, I worked with an amazing team helping a retail client develop its five-year growth strategy. When I received an offer to return to McKinsey after graduation, I signed it on the spot.

I’m now starting my fourth year at McKinsey. I spent three years serving Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail clients across a range of topics, often gravitating toward analytical projects. On one team, I built a model to forecast the growth of key product categories based on industry trends, and on another, I designed a new organizational structure for a client merging siloed salesforces. Beyond my client work, I led Business Analyst diversity recruiting efforts at UT and for our Houston office.

Two months ago, I was offered a chance to marry two passions–interpreting data and advancing diversity–by joining McKinsey’s All In, Diversity & Inclusion team. In my current role, I apply the skills I developed as a client consultant to support McKinsey’s own strategy and initiatives for advancing gender parity, diversity, and inclusion.

Students often ask why I joined McKinsey and why I’ve stayed. For me, three things stand out:

  1. Emphasis on diversity and inclusion. McKinsey’s groundbreaking research establishes a compelling business case for gender and ethnic diversity; it also informs our approach to improving diversity and gender parity in our own firm and beyond. We have vibrant affinity groups for LGBTQ+ and black professionals, as well as U.S. networks for Hispanic/Latinx colleagues and Asian/Asian-American colleagues. We are also proud champions of the UN Women HeForShe campaign. I am inspired every day to be part of a team dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion within our firm and furthering the conversation around the world.
  2. Caring colleagues. At McKinsey, I feel supported as a whole person. Teammates celebrate my successes and help me through tough times. I have a set of close mentors – some assigned, like my professional development manager, and others that I met on teams or at office events–who I can call anytime to talk through a challenging problem or figure out what to choose for my next project. My colleagues have also been there for me outside of work. In April, I unexpectedly had to take short-term health leave, and the support I felt was incredible, from McKinsey HR to my colleagues, who checked in regularly and helped me navigate my return to the firm. I’ve made lifelong friends here, and it’s reassuring to know they have my back at the office and beyond.
  3. Strengths-based mentorship. Many people come to McKinsey excited to grow professionally, and mentorship is deeply ingrained in our culture. That said, I was surprised at how strengths-based our feedback culture is. Prior to McKinsey, I tended to fixate on constructive “things to improve” feedback and gloss over any praise. At McKinsey, we believe people should build on their strengths to become distinctive leaders, which is why feedback sessions always start with what I am doing well and how to take those skills to the next level. During my years with the firm, I’ve had incredible McKinsey mentors who have helped me recognize my strengths. Not only that, but they also actively created opportunities for me to lean into those skills, and I’ve grown exponentially–personally and professionally–as a result.

For any UT students interested in learning more, feel free to drop me a note (and please forgive any delay in responses).

Hook ‘em,

Nicole Chu

New to Texas? Here Are 5 Ways to be a Successful Canfield BHPer by Katherine Wu

Students from the Canfield Business Honors Program pose for headshots outside the McCombs School of Business on May 14, 2019. Photo by Lauren Gerson DeLeon.

Check out these five ways to be a successful Canfield BHPer! Student, Katherine Wu explains below:

If you think you know what you want to do after college, great! If not, also great!

There are so many resources for both ends of the spectrum! In the first business honors class freshmen take during fall semester—BA 101H—there are so many resources, seminars, and activities you do that can clarify your interests and potential career paths. However, if you’re really set on a certain career path, I would highly recommend taking advantage of the amazing resource that is Greta Fenley! She is the Canfield BHP career advisor that has an abundant amount of connections and can connect you with alumni who are in your field of interest.

Please join clubs/get involved on campus!!

I really can’t stress this enough! It’s also always great to have a mix of on-campus involvements—one great piece of advice my peer mentor gave me freshman year was to have interactions with both business-related and non-business organizations. Getting involved provides you with community here on campus, and some clubs can also be an avenue for career help.  Some orgs can provide early education, mentorship, and helpful tips for recruiting. I came into UT knowing pretty much nothing about these clubs, and if it wasn’t for older friends at UT who had advice, I probably would have been clueless.

Enjoy the city – here are some Austin places I love

Austin is the best city. From breakfast tacos to snow cones to all the fun things there are to do, there’s seriously so much to love. I highly recommend taking advantage of everything the city offers, and to start off with a list of favorites, here are some places easily accessible from campus that I love: Austin Public Library (brand new and beautiful), Cabo Bob’s (they make tortillas right in front of you!), Mango Mango Desserts, and Zilker Park. If anyone is in need of a foodie or hiking buddy, I’m here to give any recommendations or explore with you!

Capitol and downtown at night as seen from the 4th floor President’s Office of the Main Building.


BONUS tip for new Texans: It might seem like everyone else is from Texas, but embrace that!

Coming into UT, I didn’t know a single person—and then when I got to UT, I felt like I was the only person not from Texas. It might be a little nerve-wracking at first, but soon enough, the Texas culture will make you feel at home! Everyone is so nice here, and even though the single most frequently asked question I get is “why did you choose UT,” it’s always fun having your fun fact be “I’m not from Texas!” (I even used that in an interview). Canfield BHP is also the best community, and it made the transition to UT so much better due to all our bonding and instant friendships. With CBHP, it’s not even a big deal to be from out of state. 🙂

Katherine is a rising CBHP & Finance sophomore from Inverness, IL, where she graduated from William Fremd High School. This summer, she interned within the Equity Research division of Morningstar, a global investment research firm headquartered in Chicago. On campus, Katherine is involved in Texas Equity Group, Young Life, and Undergraduate Real Estate Society; she also leads Young Life at Anderson High School in Austin. Katherine loves hiking and the outdoors, exploring the Austin food scene, and yoga.

If you’d like to hear more from Katherine or want to ask her a question, contact her at:

Email: katherinewu@utexas.edu
Phone: (224) 279-9180