Student Spotlight: Megan Tran-Olmsted

Megan Tran-Olmsted

Written by Allison Cowie

As college progresses, students realize that grades are temporary while the impact of service lasts forever. Senior Business Honors and Finance major Megan Tran-Olmsted definitely understood this as she went into her final year and has found numerous ways to give back to the program. Megan has represented Canfield BHP well, placing in multiple stock pitch competitions across the country, serving as a mentor for Wall Street for McCombs, and creating the curriculum for USIT, McCombs’s largest student-run investment team. Megan loves being able to teach others and seeing topics “click” for younger students. Helping younger students find and grow their passions is Megan’s way of paying it forward in respect to those who have helped her succeed. In honor of her contributions to McCombs and Canfield BHP, Megan recently received the prestigious R. Conrad Doenges Award for Academic Excellence and Leadership in the Canfield BHP.

Megan also serves as the co-chair of the Make-A-Mark campaign, which aims to bring the senior class together one last time prior to graduation. The campaign creates fellowship in addition to educating students on the importance of giving back as they transition into alumni. The first campaign event was held at El Mercado in March and many students attended and reminisced about past classes, funny stories, and even dreaded projects. As Canfield BHP students start specializing and pursuing their passions at UT, some find it hard to make time to catch up with peers, but Make-A-Mark events help remind everyone of the bond they all share.

While spearheading such a large campaign can be challenging, Megan recognizes the generous support she has received from Canfield BHP that has helped make her time at UT so impactful. In her eyes, contributing her time and effort to Make-A-Mark is her way of passing along the good fortune that the program has given her to future Canfield BHP students.

Upon wrapping up Make-A-Mark and her time at UT, Megan will spend a month backpacking through Europe before starting full-time at Goldman Sachs. Her final words of advice for younger students are, “Before jumping down a path, take the time to find out what you want in life and then consider how to achieve it.” The Canfield Business Honors Program is thankful for all of Megan’s contributions and is excited to see what she accomplishes in the future.

Student Spotlight: Dallas Killeen

Dallas Killeen

Written by William Acheampong

Senior Dallas Killeen is wrapping up his degrees in Business Honors, Plan II, and English Honors. During his four years at UT, Dallas made the most of his opportunities as a McCombs student. After his freshman year, he attended a faculty-led program to Hong Kong where he learned about supply chain management firsthand. While on the trip, Dallas visited a Target store in Pflugerville, a distribution center in Midlothian, and the Port of Los Angeles to see Target’s supply chain from beginning to end. Once in Hong Kong, he and the other students took a trip to mainland China to visit factory facilities. Reflecting on his experience in Hong Kong, Dallas recalls his time in the summer program as an immersive, experiential learning opportunity where he developed meaningful relationships with both other students and his professors. Although Dallas thoroughly enjoyed his summer in Hong Kong, his desire to continue his studies while exploring the world still lingered. During his junior year, Dallas decided to study abroad for the second time. This time Dallas spent the semester abroad in Madrid, Spain, where he took a handful of marketing courses. Living by the motto, “when in Spain, do as the Spanish do, and speak Spanish,” Dallas also took a number of Spanish classes to deepen his understanding of the Romance language.

When Dallas is in Austin, he is busy with a handful of student organizations, such as Texas Blazers and the Undergraduate Business Council (UBC). As a freshman looking for a welcoming community to call his own, Dallas joined UBC, a community of McCombs students who serve as representatives of the McCombs School of Business to create a better environment and improve the education of all business students. Now in his final semester on the council, Dallas serves as Traditions Chair, which allows him to plan events that further cultivate the close-knit UBC community. Similarly, Dallas is a member of Texas Blazers, an honorary service, leadership, and spirit organization devoted to serving The University of Texas at Austin. As a Texas Blazer, Dallas is an official host of the university and a mentor to students at Eastside Memorial High School.

Many of Dallas’ campus involvements pertain to service, leadership, and community-building. Naturally, during his junior year, Dallas became a Canfield BHP Peer Mentor, a role that allows him to mentor a group of freshman CBHP students during their first semester on the Forty Acres. A year later, Dallas is still a peer mentor and decided to take a second group of freshman under his wing. Through this role, Dallas has shared his experiences in order to inspire confidence and show students that they belong in McCombs just as much as anyone else. For Dallas, the most satisfying part of the job is being able to watch his mentees tackle the world on their own. Whenever Dallas ends a semester with his mentees, he reminds them to develop their own metric of success and to blaze their own trail during their time at UT.

Intern Spotlight: Janelly Areche

Written by Carrie Cruces

Janelly Areche

Majors: Business Honors, Management Information Systems, Plan II Honors

Position: Project Supervisor

Company: Amigos de las Americas

Topics: Work abroad, Nonprofit, Presentation Skills

Jannelly Areche is a Canfield BHP sophomore from Houston, Texas, who is also majoring in Plan II and Management Information Systems (MIS). She recently had the opportunity to intern with Amigos de las Americas in Costa Rica during her freshman summer in 2018. Amigos de las Americas is a nonprofit organization with 25 chapters across the U.S. Its mission is to inspire positive change in communities around the world by leading collaborative community development programs and cross-cultural immersion experiences typically over the summer and gap years. She felt challenged by the experience from the moment she arrived in Costa Rica, when she found herself leaving the airport with only an email of instruction on how to arrive at the Staff House three hours away. She had to backpack from one community to another every day as she worked with the local nonprofit Casa de la Juventud, which focused on sustainable projects in Latin America.

As Project Supervisor, she was in charge of preparing the community for the volunteers’ arrival and conducting bilingual trainings and workshops for them once they arrived. She visited all 50 volunteers every weekday to provide emotional and health support and to monitor their progress in the community-led project, stepping in to assist with problem-solving when necessary. On the weekends, she would lead camp retreats to different communities around the province, which consisted of working on projects and engaging in workshops that the community would choose. “My favorite part of the program was the weekends,” she shared. “It encouraged a blend of cultures because each participant needed to invite a local youth from their host communities to join them.”

The final project: a playground in El Pilar

Jannelly credits her freshman honors classes with preparing her for this internship, particularly the professional communication class (B A 324H), which developed her communication and presentation skills. She says she constantly used them throughout her internship when speaking to community members and leading meetings. B A 324H provided her with the opportunity to practice presenting constantly, which boosted her confidence when speaking in front of an entire community during a large community dinner.

Jannelly offers the following advice for current and prospective students: “Coming into this large university, it can be daunting to see all of the different paths you can take. Especially being in a business school, you might feel pressured to get an internship in the corporate world. While it is great to get business experience, it is not necessary. In the words of Marie Kondo, you should choose your involvement based on what sparks joy. Do not feel forced to take on a role because of how professional it sounds. Choose your involvement because of how much you genuinely enjoy doing the work, the impact it has on the community, and the opportunities for growth.”

Outside of class, Jannelly is involved in various organizations on campus, such as the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), Student Government, Orange Jackets, and 180 Degrees Consulting, which she says help her create a positive impact in her community. In addition to her involvement in these organizations, she holds a leadership role in ALPFA as their Service Outreach Director. In this role, Jannelly hosts service events with a variety of nonprofits around Austin with the goal of encouraging ALPFA members to identify which causes are important to them and providing them opportunities to do so.

 

Student Spotlight: Graham Smith

Written by Nandita Daga

Graham Smith

Majors: Business Honors, International Business with Entrepreneurship minor

Company: SMH International Consulting, Shanghai, China

Topics: International Business, Study Abroad, Global Learning

Graham Smith is a junior Business Honors, International Business major, and Entrepreneurship minor who spent his sophomore summer in Shanghai interning at SMH International Consulting. His desire to immerse himself in different cultures began after his freshman year with a Canfield BHP study abroad experience in Argentina, which he calls “transformative” in opening his eyes to the world of international business.

In Argentina, Graham took a course entitled Non-Market Strategies in Emerging Markets, which discussed tactics for successfully conducting business in emerging markets with unpredictability related to institutional voids, governmental regulation, and cultural differences. He was able to use these lessons during his internship in China. Although he faced a harsh communication barrier, his colleagues and peers understood a basic level of English and with patience on his part, he formulated strong friendships and was able to delve into the political and cultural scene.

While in Shanghai, he also took on another challenge: developing a team proposal for The President’s Award for Global Learning. This initiative grants $25,000 to seven teams to implement a project outside the United States in categories of entrepreneurship, social impact, or furthering research. Graham’s interdisciplinary team, spanning business, computer science, and liberal arts, partnered with a public education nonprofit, FUNPRES, and a host school, Colegio Don Bosco, to introduce computational thinking education in El Salvador. While ultimately not selected for the award, Graham finished the experience with a 76-page proposal and invaluable skills in project development, international relations, and interdisciplinary thinking.

Graham will be in Costa Rica this summer as part of a Texas McCombs Social Entrepreneurship Practicum. To secure an internship in Costa Rica following the practicum, he has been reaching out and building relationships with potential employers. It is telling of his charismatic personality that these connections have transformed into friendships. Graham’s mission in life is “to inspire people to be unapologetically themselves,” and it is no surprise that his sincerity and authenticity endear him to people across the world.

His path has not been entirely straightforward, however. He started off in McCombs as a Business Honors and Finance student, then switched to Management, and later Marketing, feeling unsatisfied with all of them. Although International Business is not a common major and is often viewed as impractical for getting a job, Graham invokes a Jim Carrey quote: “You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” He points out that on an international campus like UT’s, there are numerous opportunities if you look for them.

Graham immerses himself in his surroundings. For the last year, he’s been going to Ecstatic Dance Austin every Sunday. It’s a place where people come together and free form dance to global music. He also listens to 5 hours of Spotify a day (Grateful Dead and The Beatles are his top artists), enjoys meditating on campus at the James Turrell Skyspace, and likes reading philosophy in his hammock. If interested in hearing more about his own experiences, be sure to reach out – you’ll leave the conversation a little bit more enlightened about the world around you.

Student Spotlight: Eileen Bau

Written by Stephanie Cantu

Eileen Bau

Majors: Business Honors, Plan II Honors, Marketing

Company: BHW Group, Austin, TX

Topics: Online Publications, Creative Work, Music/Entertainment

Junior Eileen Bau is currently enrolled in rigorous academic courses for her joint degrees in Business Honors and Marketing as well as the Plan II Honors Program, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be creative too. “I’m currently working on a piece called ‘Why the Shrek Soundtrack Slaps.’ It’s an analysis of a couple of songs from the Shrek 1 and 2 soundtracks and why they went over so well with audiences.” This piece was eventually published in UT’s online music publication, Afterglow, where Eileen serves as a writer. She is also the design director for Apricity Magazine, which is an annual multimedia global arts magazine that competes at the collegiate level.

Eileen applied to these two publications because she didn’t feel like she was doing creative work that could go into her portfolio. She shares, “I never knew what I wanted to do growing up or coming into college, but I now know that I want to work in pop culture, media, entertainment, music, fashion. I realized that having experiences that were more creative and that could produce work for my portfolio was more conducive to interviewing and applying to more creative brands. I wanted to show that throughout college I had solid business experience for my first two years, but that I was also able to pursue passion projects.”

In the fall, Eileen continued an internship she started over the summer with BHW Group, a custom web and mobile app development company. Her job duties included building links between the company’s website and other websites in order to boost the page’s rank on Google. She served as the main point of contact between BHW and other websites and was also responsible for figuring out what kind of content to create. “I learned through this internship that while I can do SEO stuff, I really want to work in brand strategy. I really liked the content strategy part of my role, which was thinking about which content we should put out and what is relevant right now.” She credits the rigor of Canfield BHP and Plan II classes as the most valuable preparation for her internship. “Regardless of what you learn in class, you’re never going to be able to learn everything that you have to know for a certain role because roles are very specific and companies are very specific about what they want done. So, it’s more about how fast you can learn on the job and how well you can adapt. I think having to adapt quickly to my harder classes has helped with that kind of training.”

Despite the challenges of being in two honors programs, Eileen finds reward in the diversity of things she gets to learn. “Having a balance is really important because otherwise it’s really easy to get pigeonholed into just one thing. I think [being a joint major] also gives you a competitive edge because you have a very diverse viewpoint, and a very diverse way of looking at things and problem-solving.” Eileen also encourages current students to pursue what they are passionate about, which can aid in developing these diverse perspectives. “In college when you’re shorter on time, if you get roped into things that you are ultimately not passionate about, it will show up in your work; it’s not a silly thing to pursue what you like,” she advises.