Student Spotlight: Kendall Baisden, Women’s Track Star

KendallBaisdenKendall Baisden is a junior in the BHP program and is a professional track athlete. Baisden was a star of the Texas Women’s Track & Field team the past two years before she made the decision this summer to go pro and take a year off from her schooling to compete and train.

Her ultimate goal is to secure a spot on the 2016 Summer Olympics Track and Field team and to win gold in the women’s 400m and 4x400m Relay. Over the summer, Baisden won two gold medals in the Pan American Games 400m and 4x400m relay. Those wins were added to a long list of her track accomplishments which can be viewed on She has a career best time in the 400m of 50.46. Sanya Richards-Ross, a fellow Longhorn, took gold at the London 2012 Olympics in the 400m with a time of 49.55.

Baisden started running track at the young age of 10. She tried out for the track team to improve her tennis game, and she says her track career just took off from there. “I was running with 8th graders in the 4th grade and taking first place. I grew to love it a lot more than tennis,” says Baisden. She credits running track with shaping her by teaching her discipline, the importance of long-term goals, remaining optimistic, and how to have good sportsmanship. She still follows tennis and considers Serena Williams to be her athletics role model, saying that her presence and the way she plays motivates her to be the best.

While she was at UT, Baisden was managing a demanding track schedule with her BHP courses. She had to prioritize what was more important each week and learn how to balance. She plans to come back to finish her BHP degree and possibly combine it with a supply chain management degree. “I love the people in BHP. They have big dreams like me,” she says. “BHP drove me to be innovative and dig deeper and apply it to life. BHP helped me decide to go pro and figure out what I was comfortable with. It taught me if I want to achieve my dreams, I need to dig down and think about what I want. I realized that going pro is the only way I am going to reach my goal.”

Baisden is currently in California training and although she says she can’t give her training secrets away, she says she is fully focused on track and is in an isolated and controlled environment where she is focusing on her body and her sport all the time. Even when she is not training, she is doing extra maintenance for her body.

“I want to show athletes that hard work, dedication and good sportsmanship are important if you want to be successful,” she says. “I want to show you can compete clean and be down to earth. You can be who you are and still be successful. Many athletes go pro for the money, but not for the love of the sport. The only reason I am still able to be successful and in this sport is because I love it so much and am so dedicated.”

Baisden’s business background has also made her cognizant of her own brand. Right now her brand is attached to Texas and her past success here, but she is currently working to figure out what angle she wants to take with her future brand, saying she wants to be a fierce athlete, but wants to win in an honorable and inspiring way and to reach out to youth to help them.

As a program focused on instilling integrity in our graduates, we admire her athletic integrity and look forward to following Kendall this year as she competes in professional meets and in the Olympics trials. The trials are held a couple weeks before the start of the Olympics and it will come down to the final race before she will know if she has a place on Team U.S.A.

Either way, Baisden says this is the start of a great, long career in track, and that if she makes it to the 2016 Olympics, it will not be her last Olympics, but the beginning of many.

Student Spotlight: Angela Meng – Professional VP for ABSA

Angela-MengAngela Meng is a junior majoring in BHP and MIS. This year she serves as the Professional Vice President for the Asian Business Students Association (ABSA). She has been very active in the organization since her freshman year and continues to do more each year out of a love for the organization and a desire to give back.

Angela attended Plano Senior High School and first became interested in the BHP through her older sister who went through the program. She ultimately chose BHP over other schools she had applied to because of the prestige of the program and the positive experience her sister had.

Angela’s sister had encouraged her to check out ABSA, and she was blown away from the very first meeting by the commitment the officers had for the organization. She fondly recalled her first ever general meeting where the officers dressed up in business professional under 100 degree Texan weather to present in front of the organization as a memory that inspired her to grow to become as dedicated as they were.   As a freshman, she got involved with planning their company field trip and helping with Scoring Careers, which involved cold calls to companies and a lot of logistics work. The position forced her to get out of her comfort zone. After serving last year in an internal role as social director, she returned to the professional side, serving as Professional VP this year.

In this role, she manages a committee organizing company general meetings, Scoring Careers, professional workshops and company field trips. Scoring Careers is a joint event with HBSA that happens the day before the McCombs Career Expo. It is a more casual event, which aims to put everyone, especially underclassmen, at ease before the official career fair. The event faced many challenges this year, and Angela was proud of the success of the event which she attributes to the hard work of many students who were involved in planning the event.

Her role in ABSA takes a significant amount of time, but Angela says she is more than happy to devote that time to the organization. “I have tried other organizations and been involved across campus, but ABSA is home to me, and no matter where you go, at the end of the day it feels good to go home.”

Angela has also been involved in UT’s Madrigal Dinner for the past two years, singing and acting in a 57-member cast. The dinner/performance takes place over just one weekend, but the group rehearses all of fall semester for it, putting in about 10 hours a week of rehearsals. “I happened upon it by chance, but it is a great source of stress relief for me, and it helped me make friends with students from other majors,” said Angela.

Angela added MIS as her second major after greatly enjoying her MIS 301H class. “I had been interested in Engineering and Computer Science, but when I took my MIS intro class, I was drawn towards the field. It is a cross-functional field. MIS professionals can act as the bridge between business and computer science functions.”

She already completed one internship after her sophomore year with Ericsson, working in sales support, and she will be interning this summer with Accenture in a management consulting role. Sales was never something she thought she was incapable of doing, but she learned from the internship that she was capable and even enjoyed sales work. She also enjoyed learning about Ericsson’s cutting-edge technology.

As a senior next year, Angela would like to continue serving ABSA and spend some time enjoying Austin before graduation. She is trying to stay open to opportunities and thinks this is the best way to make the most of your time at UT. “Don’t be afraid to try anything and don’t be narrow in your view of what you can do,” she says. “You gain something from all of your experiences that end up helping you in ways you might never realize until it happens .”

BHP Management Professor to Serve as Faculty-in-Residence at Google

Ethan_BurrisManagement Professor Ethan Burris will spend three months at Google this summer as a faculty-in-residence for their People & Innovation Lab (PiLab), a part of their People Analytics group. Dr. Burris will be designing and executing research projects related to managing employee voice – ideas and feedback given by employees. He will also be working with Google to create interventions such as policies, trainings and workshops based on the data received from his research.

Google’s People Analytics group employs a number of scientists collecting data from Google employees in an effort to base HR decisions on actual employee data. Dr. Burris is only the second faculty-in-residence ever in the People Analytics group for Google. The appointment will be the first time he has been able to focus solely on a single research project since graduate school and he is really looking forward to taking a break from juggling his many faculty priorities here at UT and focusing on research for a set amount of time.

The specifics of the research Burris will be conducting are yet to be determined, but will focus around his work on employee voice. His research on the topic has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review.

Employees at Google have a more active voice than those at many other companies and one area Burris will be researching is why Google employees feel more empowered to speak up so the company doesn’t lose that culture as they continue to grow. He will also be looking into whether there are pockets of employees they don’t hear from. After he compiles and reviews the research, he will be serving in a consulting role, helping them determine how to act on the feedback they receive and what new practices they might adopt.

Burris looks forward to publishing his research and sharing more about the experience with future students in his class. BHP Senior Rachel Solomon was a student in Burris’s Organizational Behavior class and thinks his experiences at Google will be a great supplement to the curriculum. “The BHP case-based curriculum is so valuable because it shows us how to apply the somewhat abstract theories we learn in class to the working world. But when a professor incorporates his or her own experience with a company, it is even more motivating and engaging because we can ask them more specific and in-depth questions,” she said.