A Big Thank You!

If you haven’t already noticed, Canfield BHP’s social media presence has been refreshed and updated constantly. We’ve made an effort to provide our students, parents, alumni, and readership the best and most engaging content possible. To accomplish this, we often source fresh ideas from you, our students! However, many times we brainstorm and generate content as a team. By we, I mean the Canfield BHP Student Marketing Team.

Madison Mohns Headshot

Canfield BHP Senior and Social Media Assistant, Madison Mohns

Although we’ve been at it for what feels like a very long time, it’s only been a year since I came along and started working with this incredible team of creative and ingenious people. But the person who kick-started this effort deserves all the praise in the world. That person is, of course, Madison Mohns. She’s a senior this year and will be graduating this month.

I speak for the rest of the staff when I say that Madison has been an amazing Social Media Assistant. The work and effort she has put into making our online presence what it is today has been incredible. It’s her proactive and creative ideas that keep our audience wanting more and engaging with us always. During Madison’s time here we’ve seen our presence increase dramatically. Through her efforts, Madison helped us achieve our goal of over 1000 followers on Instagram before the end of her tenure with us, an achievement we’re very proud of. Madison has been a big part of the team from the very beginning and though we’re sad to see her leave, we know she’ll do great no matter where she goes! 

As Canfield BHP Staff Director Shelley Nix put it, “Madison has been an integral part of building the Canfield BHP social media presence and she has taken it to a new level with her fresh and innovative ideas. I am so grateful for her contributions to the program and the Canfield BHP team.” 

Canfield BHP Director of Academic Services, Paul Pritchett, who has known Madison since the day she started on the Student Marketing Team, had this to say, “I remember when Madison was hired by our office as a freshman in the spring of 2017 to lead our social media team and be a peer advisor. We didn’t have an Instagram account and our overall social media presence needed quite a bit of work. Madison quickly jumped in and made a huge impact in our office, on social media, and of course in our program. Madison has been instrumental in helping Canfield BHP increase our out-of-state reach. Madison’s creativity, hard work, and passion for helping current and prospective students have helped to shape Canfield BHP into one of the top programs in the nation. I had the unique pleasure of being Madison’s supervisor, co-worker, advisor, and friend. I can’t thank her enough and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for her!” 

We can’t thank Madison enough for all that she has done for the program and our social media. We wish her the very best in all of her future endeavors but we know she will go on to do some amazing things. Any place would be lucky to have her. Thank you, Madison! We wish you all the best and more! 

 

Professor Spotlight: Jared Murray

As a statistician, Dr. Jared Murray is no stranger to uncertainty. In fact, he teaches STA 371H, which focuses on using probability, statistics, and data science to learn about the world and make decisions in the presence of uncertainty. In today’s climate, in which uncertainty seems to be a major theme, Dr. Murray emphasizes that he and his students must look for solutions, rather than problems, in the classroom and beyond. 

“The biggest thing, given everything that’s going on, is trying to have the attitude that we’re going to look for solutions, not problems, in this new format,” he said. “There are some things that I want to do that are just not going to be possible. There are some sort of modes of instruction that just don’t work anymore.”

For the past three years, Dr. Murray has been an assistant professor in the Department of Information, Risk, and Operations Management. Prior to teaching at UT, he worked in the Department of Statistics at Carnegie Mellon University and earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Statistical Science at Duke University.

“One of the things that brought me here was the people’s potential for the collaboration in the (Information, Risk, and Operations Management) group. In fact, there are some folks here that I had already been working with and since I got here, I’ve explored even more collaboration,” he said. “One of the really nice things about UT is that it is enormous. Whatever you’re interested in, you can find it going on here at UT. That’s been a really good experience for me.”

This year, Dr. Murray is teaching three sections of Canfield Business Honors courses. Traditionally, his class is discussion and activity-based, with lots of student collaboration. With classes now online, he has altered his teaching style to fit the needs of his students. 

“It’s so important to try to remain adaptive and flexible and give ourselves and everybody else a break. I’ve really leaned into this model of having videos that students can watch before class and then really dedicating class time to conversation– group work and labs and things like that,” he said. “(Canfield BHP students) all learn really well from each other and it’s a really good way for them to see each other and interact with each other and get a little bit of that social contact that may be limited for a lot of folks right now.”

One challenge in particular that often comes with online classes is attendance, but Dr. Murray has been particularly impressed by his Canfield BHP students. Despite many extenuating circumstances, students have continued to show up and actively participate in his classes.

“There are some folks that I know are in dramatically different time zones or their living situations are difficult. It’s hard to have a lot of siblings at home when everybody is trying to learn online on a limited wifi connection. I’ve got a lot of folks that are way out in the middle of Texas and they’re like driving to places so they can sit next to a cell tower and you can get online,” he said. “It means so much to me that my students are going through all that just so they can get to class. I’ve been really impressed with their resilience.”

An Entrepreneurial Perspective in Lyceum from Cindy Lo

For those taking on an entrepreneurial path, Canfield BHP alum Cindy Lo is a wonderful example. Upon graduation, Lo took on roles in technical sales and consulting before founding the company she continues to run now: Red Velvet Events. 

Amidst all the business of being the CEO and Founder of an international events agency, Lo still finds time to come back to McCombs and meet with the sophomore Lyceum class each year. She said Canfield BHP funded her tuition and gave her amazing opportunities, so she loves coming back to the program and the students in it.  

“Someone else again funded my school and I always wanted to be able to do that. I feel like I’m in a place and a time in my life where I can easily give back in various ways,” Lo said. 

Lo especially hopes to encourage entrepreneurship during her visits because of the unique, go-getter nature of Canfield Business Honors students. Even if students don’t become entrepreneurs right out of college, Lo hopes that students are empowered to do so at some point in their lives.

I encourage (entrepreneurship) because of all the people I met through the (Canfield) Business Honors program, 90% of them are self motivated,” Lo said. “I guarantee you that anyone, as long as they can handle the grind, can be an entrepreneur. I hope that when students in the program hear me talk about it they see that opportunity.”

For Lo, entrepreneurship wasn’t something she saw herself doing in college. After working at a startup for a few years, 9/11 happened and she realized that there were other paths out there for her. Lo ultimately decided to pursue her passion for events and start her own company. 

“When 9/11 happened, I was actually outside of New York City. It made me wake up and realize maybe that’s not what I necessarily want to do forever and ever and life is too short,” Lo said. “At that point, the market was changing too. (The startup) where I was working changed directions. It gave me some time to rethink my path and through the help of some friends, I was pointed in the direction of events, but because no one wanted to hire me, I started this company with the intention of only running it for about a year and now we’re 17 years in.”

Lo said Canfield BHP played a large part in her life. From learning through group projects to gaining a better understanding of problems through case studies, Canfield BHP proved integral to her success. 

“Definitely the one thing that I really underestimated at the time, but now looking back, I realized a lot of this had to do with again, how (Canfield) BHP is situated and how the program structures classes around team projects,” Lo said. “Everybody has to understand how to assess the team dynamics, how do we get (the project) done in the timeline, and how do we work with everyone’s schedule. That alone has allowed me to be as effective as possible of a leader.”

Even more important than the projects, however, were the people in Lo’s class. She said being surrounded by students who were leaders on campus and self-starters made her want to be a  better version of herself.

“I was surrounded by a lot of natural achievers, and I took this for granted. I’ve learned over the years that I want to continue to surround myself with people smarter than me, so I can keep learning,” Lo said. “Canfield Business Honors allowed me to do that.” 

Student Spotlight: Rahul Das

Name: Rahul Das

Major: Canfield BHP, Plan II Honors, Marketing 

Previous internship: Southwest Airlines

Topics of Interest: Social entrepreneurship, adoption studies, design thinking, soccer, IM volleyball, sharks

 

For students who want to pursue non-profit work while in college, Rahul Das proves it’s possible. As someone passionate about education and entrepreneurship, Rahul spends the majority of his time working as Chief Operating Officer of a student-led non-profit, The Exponentialists. 

The mission of The Exponentialists is to empower students in underserved communities through entrepreneurship. Rahul and the rest of the team spend their time mentoring students at  Eastside High School to help them start their own small businesses. 

“We teach them about important business and entrepreneurial concepts. By the end of the year, (the students) have fully developed business ideas,” Rahul said. “Then they have the opportunity to pitch (their idea) to a panel of Austin entrepreneurs and investors to win seed funding for their idea or an invitation into our incubator program.” 

In addition to working in the Austin community, Rahul has gone abroad to fulfill The Exponentialists’ mission. This past summer he went to Medellin, Colombia to run an entrepreneurship camp called Los Exponencialistas. 

“We ran a week long camp to 56 students who come from rural areas who wouldn’t know the tools otherwise without our help,” Rahul said, “We’re planning on going back to Medellin in the winter to do another camp. We’re trying to reach out to Mexico City and have something lined up there as well.”

In addition to working with The Exponentialists, Rahul is a student-leader in the University Management Business Research Association (UMBRA), an organization that consults pro-bono for local Austin businesses, and a bedtime reader for Helping Hand Home, a home for mentally-abused or neglected children. 

Rahul said he’s incredibly grateful for the opportunity to act on his love for non-profit organizations throughout college. He said Canfield BHP has helped him follow his passions and encouraged him to become a better person throughout.

“(The classes) force me to learn how to be independent and think critically and foster analytical thinking skills,” Rahul said. “Also, the community within Canfield BHP, whether it’s the alum or the current students, push me to be a better version of myself.”

Destination Southwest – A Talk with Mike Van de Ven

Written by Zoya Saxena

UT graduate and alum Mike Van de Ven returned to the classroom, this time sitting on the other side of the lecture hall. Van de Ven, Chief Operating Officer of Southwest Airlines, visited the sophomore Business Honors Lyceum to share advice with the students and talk to them about his time in college and career at Southwest. 

Ever since he watched UT play A&M during the Thanksgiving football game, Van de Ven  knew he wanted to come to UT. When applying to college, Van de Ven was also searching for the best school to complete his degree in Accounting.

 “UT has a great return on investment. I am proud of the quality of education which you can receive here in such a cost effective manner. That’s why I love this school,” said Van de Ven. 

Van de Ven said that he feels reenergized when he returns to campus and that his passion for education and development of young professionals is what keeps him coming back. 

“A while ago, my wife and I sat down and asked ourselves what we truly care about. I thought I would have a long list, but we were only able to come up with a few things: young people, education, and bringing that (talent) into our company,” Van de Ven said. 

Many students were curious about Van de Ven’s time at Southwest and what made him make the switch from accounting to the airline industry. Van de Ven explained that his job in accounting allowed him to identify problems or issues, but that he wanted to make a larger impact and be part of resolutions.

“It’s not about the money. It’s about the job. The best part about Southwest is that if you enjoy what you are doing, there is no limit to the work they allow you to do,” Van de Ven said.

Van de Ven also stressed the value of people, relationships, and the community. He said that anyone in the workplace needs to pass what Van de Ven has coined ‘the lunch test’. Van de Ven believes this mantra is a reason why Southwest is a successful people-focused and community-driven company.

He said, “You should be able to go to lunch every single day with the people you work with. It’s not necessarily the smartest person in the room, but it’s someone you can have a dialog with, and someone who brings an interesting perspective.”

At the end of the discussion, Van de Ven left the students with three key pieces of advice:

  1. “Stay connected to the people around you.”
  2. “Be yourself out there.”
  3. “If you are not having fun, don’t do it.”