BHP Students Collaborate With McCombs Faculty on Research

Throughout their four years at UT, McCombs students are presented with multiple opportunities to enhance their skill sets and expand their knowledge. For students interested in research, one of these opportunities is working with a professor as a research assistant.

Research rankingThe McCombs faculty was recently named the no. 5 most productive in the world for research in the 2014 release of the University of Texas at Dallas School of Management’s Top 100 Business School Research Rankings.

BHP students have taken advantage of the research opportunities at McCombs and have partnered with McCombs faculty and visiting scholars to not only learn more about their industry of choice, but to take part in the discovery process of expanding and improving that industry. Angela Morisette, Aaryaman Singhal and Jane Tedjajuwana are three BHP students conducting research with McCombs professors this semester.

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AngelaBHP and Marketing major, Angela Morisette, is collaborating with Jade DeKinder, an assistant professor of marketing in the program. The two are researching the stages of an initial public offering (IPO), where shares of stock in a company are sold to the public for the first time, and what factors contribute to a company’s valuation in advance of an IPO.

The research findings will be useful to Morisette this summer as she interns with machinery and equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar Inc. She plans to work in corporate marketing after graduation and feels her research background will have prepared her to appreciate the process that goes into interpreting big data and the complications that can arise.

“My experience with Dr. DeKinder has shown me that the starting point is often at the most basic level. You just have to ask and you can’t be afraid,” said Morisette. “If you think a professor is really cool or if you think the research they do is really awesome, all you have to do is ask to be involved, and you never know where that can go.”

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AaryamanAaryaman Singhal is currently working with management professor, Ethan Burris, investigating how employees should frame their ideas when selling them to their managers. Professor Burris and Singhal are looking at how framing the voice in a promotive fashion (focusing on new ideas) or prohibitive fashion (focusing on problems that need to be stopped) can impact how managers evaluate the quality and viability of those ideas, and ultimately determine which ideas make it from inception to implementation.

“I chose to participate in research because I enjoy learning from the research and being a part of the discovery process,” said Singhal. “I feel that I learn as much from research as from class and what I learn from research is on the cutting edge of what we know about people today. Through our research we learn more about how people think and operate in the world around them. It’s exciting to be making the new discoveries with regards to how humans behave.”

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janeBHP and Finance major, Jane Tedjajuwana, is collaborating with a visiting scholar and researcher from Sweden, Lisen Selander, and Information, Risk, and, Operations Management professor, Sirkka Jarvenpaa. The trio is researching digital activism and civic engagement at Amnesty International. As social media has made it easier for everyone to engage in civic causes, it has also created tension between activism based on long-term organizational memberships and a growing individualization focused on single causes in short-term forms. The project is in the early stage of data collection, both qualitative and quantitative.

Their research allows for Amnesty International, the world’s best-known incumbent in political activism, to understand the challenges in balancing the volatile nature of digital activism with sustained political engagement.

“I first learned about research opportunities available to McCombs students through an info session,” said Tedjajuwana. “One thing I really liked was the fact that research projects focus on a very specific topic, but explore it much more in-depth than undergraduate classes do.”

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Current BHP students interested in becoming a research assistant should connect with a faculty member whose research you find intriguing. Professors generally select students they’ve had in class or currently have in class as they often review their own research throughout the course.

Incoming students should consider joining the research-based First-Year Interest Group (FIG). The research FIG is designed specifically for freshmen of the program and meets weekly throughout the fall semester to discuss the importance of research and how to get involved in research at UT.

Junior Bradley Roofner Pursues Passion for Entrepreneurship

HatTee_logoWithin two weeks of starting at UT, BHP junior, Bradley Roofner, partnered with his roommate and Computer Science junior, Logan Brown, and co-founded HatTee, a company that sells golf caps that hold tees. Three years later the duo has taken full advantage of the entrepreneurial opportunities Austin and UT have to offer, increasing sales tenfold in under a year.

Roofner and Logan started their sales on campus, “We designed and ordered our own hats online and added the tee holsters ourselves,” said Roofner. “We began selling the hats to fraternities and sororities. We sold a lot of hats pretty quickly.”

The real turning point for their company came just five short months later when they showed their product in the PGA Merchandise Show in Miami, FL, one of the top shows for equipment manufacturers and people in the golf industry to launch their products for the year. “As college students we were able to approach it very humbly,” said Roofner. “We wore suits instead of the normal khaki pants and polo. People took interest in wanting to hear about our product.” It was at the merchandise show that Roofner and Brown met a majority of their current connections, including a contact based out of Thailand who coordinates the supply chain management of the product overseas.

Their success has not come without challenges, “Everybody has more grey hair than you,” said Roofner. “Being able to communicate on the same level and have credibility has been the most difficult part with each step of the company.”  Roofner found McCombs staff to be helpful during this process. John Butler, Director of The Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, reached out to Roofner and helped create the HatTee business plan. BHP marketing professor, Leigh McAlister also offered guidance, “She gave me some great advice to go after the higher clientele and not to lower our prices so we could offer a premium product,” said Roofner.

Bradley

Bradley Roofner (right) with co-founder and partner, Logan Brown. Photo credit: The Daily Texan

HatTee now works mainly with large companies, supplying promotional items for their client’s shareholders and investors. The company also sponsors various golf tournaments and charity events offering their product as giveaway gifts.

As for the future, Roofner and Logan are currently talking with potential buyers of the patent. While they have enjoyed growing their company and learned many valuable lessons along the way, Roofner would like to see the HatTee brand taken further, “We see the future of the product as one that can be most successful when it reaches the average golfer. We aren’t the best company to make that happen, we lack the brand presence and marketing force to bring the idea to the masses,” said Roofner.

They hope the right buyer could take their product the rest of the way there. Regardless of what happens to the product, it was a great learning experience for Roofner and affirmed his passion for entrepreneurship.

 

 

Kyle Campbell Competes For Mr. McCombs Title In Style

Kyle Campbell with escort Jemma Miller

Kyle Campbell with escort Jemma Miller

Written by Kyle Campbell

On Friday, Jan. 31 I had the amazing opportunity of representing HBA in the Mr. McCombs Pageant. This fundraiser, organized by the org reps of the Undergraduate Business Council, pits representatives from other McCombs organizations against each other in a fight for the title of “Mr. McCombs.” The winner also gets to choose which charity the proceeds go to.

This experience was grueling, competitive and exhilarating all at once.  The other contestants and I spent at least a month practicing the choreography for our opening dance, and trust me it took a LOT of practice until we were ready for the big stage.  Every week we would show up to rehearsal, and our choreographer, Tenci, would ask if we wanted to run through the whole thing to see what we remembered.  After stumbling through the few twists and fist pumps we could recall, we would share embarrassed looks, pat each other on the back, apologize to Tenci, and start learning the dance all over again.  The coolest thing is that after suffering through a dance none of us had any business attempting we became friends.  We added our own moves, started to learn about each other, and we were no longer competitors, but just 10 guys trying to get through a performance without embarrassing themselves because a few of our cheekier friends tricked us into agreeing to compete (Natalie Parma if you’re reading this I’m talking about you.)

Students that heart Kyle, showing their support at the pagaent

Students that heart Kyle, showing their support at the pageant

Finally the night of the competition came.  We all had to somehow make it through a choreographed dance, Q&A period, swimsuit competition and talent portion without falling or fainting from the pressure of performing in front of hundreds of UT students. As the opening notes of “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt” started to play I wiped the sweat off my palms, ran out on the stage, chest bumped Archie Agarwal, the UBC Representative, and began maybe the most exciting hour and a half of my college career.  While being escorted by the lovely Jemma Miller and wearing a batman onesie, I talked about how if I could have lunch with anyone it would have to be Dr. Seuss. I showed off what I would wear to the beach.  But the highlight of the night definitely came out of the talent portion.  I began by playing Chopin’s “Revolutionary Etude” on my piano, but after about half a page I ripped the sheet music off and broke into what I hope was an extremely moving and powerful rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”

In the end I lost the crown, but I came away from the experience with nine new friends, and memories that will probably stay with me for a very long time.  The Mr. McCombs pageant was an incredibly fun and fulfilling way to raise $2,158.81 for a great cause, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been a part of it.

Internship Spotlight: Courtney Brindle – BHP Senior

Courtney Brindle spent her summer interning with PepsiCo in the Frito-Lay Supply Chain division. She ended up having an opportunity to learn more about the tie between corporate strategy and social responsibility through her involvement with Food for Good. Find out more about Courtney’s experience at PepsiCo and what she learned during her internship.

Company: PepsiCo

Title: Supply Chain Intern

 

 

What steps did you take to secure your internship?

I spoke with people I knew who worked there to get a feel for the company and the process. I then met recruiters at the Career Expo and talked with them for a while. I left my resume with them after the conversation, they called me in for an interview, and the rest is history.

What were the responsibilities for this role?

Although Frito-Lay Supply Chain hired me, I worked mostly with a social business group that is part of PepsiCo called Food for Good. As part of this team, I had many responsibilities including routing trucks, keeping track of data, building models, designing processes and researching, and recommending directions for the group. I did work a few weeks in FLNA Supply Chain, and there I did mostly data analysis to find streamlining opportunities to increase efficiency.

Describe the culture within the organization.

The people at PepsiCo are truly one of its best assets. Everyone is not only very competent, but also friendly and helpful. Family is very important at PepsiCo, as is work-life balance. But at the end of the day, everyone knows that if something needs to be done at work, your team will stay until it is finished. That’s how they stay at the top!

What was most surprising or unexpected during your experience?

I was surprised at the ease with which I could interact with senior leadership. They were open to one-on-ones and I heard from many of them throughout the summer.

What advice would you offer your peers in the Honors Program about getting the most out of an internship?

If you ever feel “bored,” find something you can do of value. Ask your manager or your team for a project – the more you take on, the more you learn. Also take the time to talk to the other interns and people in the company.

How did you find your classes in the Business Honors Program to be applicable during your internship?

The BHP has been useful because the students and professors in each class have challenged me. The students in BHP make you think both quickly and outside the box, and the discussion in classes has made public speaking become second nature. I didn’t know just how much BHP pushed me until this summer. I was able to handle important work, take on a large amount of responsibility, gain trust, and give presentations to executives with confidence.

How did PepsiCo ensure you got the most out of your internship experience?

I was lucky in that I was able to see different aspects of a business. I was able to see a small, start-up kind of business with Food for Good, and everything that went along with that. I was also able to sit in on meetings, work with real data and drive real results for the larger organization of Frito-Lay.

What are the most valuable lessons you gained from this internship?

I have learned that two of the main keys to happiness in a career are the value you feel you add to the organization and the people with which you work.