BHP News The Business Honors Program Wed, 15 Oct 2014 21:00:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alumni Spotlight: April Underwood, Class of 2001 Wed, 15 Oct 2014 17:10:52 +0000 AprilApril Underwood, BHP ’01, is Director of Product for Twitter. She leads product strategy focused on harnessing the power of Twitter’s data through a diverse ecosystem of partners and developers.  April previously led product management, product marketing and business development teams at Twitter, focused on advertising products and Twitter’s API. Before joining Twitter, April held product roles at Weatherbill (Climate Corp), Google and Travelocity, and was a software engineer at Travelocity and Intel.

Tell me about your career path and how you ended up at Twitter.

After I left McCombs I moved to Oregon where I took a role as a software engineer at Intel, where I worked on internal software. I found I wanted to work more on a consumer-basing product, and I missed my family and friends in Texas, so in 2002 I took an opportunity with Travelocity in Dallas. I joined as an engineer, but my McCombs background made me well-suited for a variety of tasks aside from writing code. I was soon asked to be the point of contact on the technical side working with partners like Yahoo! and AOL. I transitioned into a product management role building out a platform to allow Travelocity to power travel experiences on more partner websites. I left in 2005 to get my MBA from Haas at University of California at Berkeley after which I went to work for Google. At Google, I worked on scaling how we brought new types of content to products like Google Maps and Product Search, and how to monetize those Google properties with advertising. After a few years of learning within Google, I was eager to take my experience to a startup, and I spent some time at a small startup. Unexpectedly, I got a chance to join Twitter (a product I already loved and a team I admired), and I took the leap. McCombs opened the door to the early roles in my career, which have consequently led to my current role at Twitter for the past 4 years.

When you were in school, Twitter didn’t even exist. Where did you think your career was going to go back then?

I graduated as the dot-com bubble was bursting in 2001 and it was a tough time in the job market. The first decision I made was that I wanted to go into an engineering role with the thought that I would go into a management or business role down the road. While I was in school, I had a part-time job working for a company that provided technical support for internet service providers, so I already had some experience in tech. I was pretty sure I would want to work in technology in some way, but the number of and types of opportunities has changed so much since that time. There are different types of products, technologies, and roles now than there were in 2001.

You have held various roles at Twitter. How did those transitions happen and do you have a favorite project you have worked on there?

I joined when Twitter was a much smaller company in 2010. It has been really special to be part of the growth of the company, and it’s given me the opportunity to develop products and teams from scratch. I really enjoy what I am working on right now, which is helping businesses understand how they can use Twitter data to make better decisions. I really enjoy the intersection of partnerships, product and technology — and building platforms. My experience at Twitter just keeps getting better and better as we grow our portfolio of products and more opportunities for leadership emerge. Perhaps even more importantly, I get the chance to work with smart and funny people who are not just co-workers but also friends. That’s a very high priority to me because we work hard and it makes busy or hard weeks less burdensome.

What are the main functions of the role you just moved into?

I run a team of product managers. We identify opportunities that exist, and focus a lot on defining the “why”, “for whom” and “what” of our products. We don’t do this alone – we partner closely with business teams, our engineering team which drives the “how” our products work, and spend time with customers and partners to inform our strategy and plans. We operate as a business within Twitter and have to make hard choices about which opportunities to go after since the possibilities are so unlimited.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The thing I enjoy most is the scale and uniqueness of our opportunity. With a billion Tweets produced every 2 days, we and our partners have only scratched the surface of what’s possible. I enjoy working on Twitter data because you can think of Tweets as the pulse of humanity. It is amazing to think of what kinds of problems can be solved with our data  – some have business impact and some make the world a better place.

How do you think your BHP and Management Information Systems (MIS) degrees have prepared you for your career?

MIS coursework was great preparation for what it is like to work on a team to build software. I learned how structure is required to build process and I learned the communication and interpersonal skills I needed to work well with other people. From the BHP side, I learned to not just focus on what you are building, but on why, who it is for, and ultimately what problems you are trying to solve That breadth of perspective made it possible for me as a 21-year-old new graduate to be able to join strategic conversations and ask the right questions of my peers and leaders in a work setting.

Do you have advice for women going into the technology industry?

For women going to work in any field where they are the minority, I would encourage them to reach out and connect with other women within their company, and that definitely holds true for the technology industry. We have two organizations at Twitter that help women connect with others within the company, and it’s a hugely valuable network (and also a lot of fun). You can start similar groups within your company where they don’t exist.  Ask to have coffee with the senior women in your company. Usually they are happy to build those relationships.

What advice do you have for current students in the program?

Number one thing – take a shot at starting a company. I didn’t do it myself, but I think school is a great time to try. Alums, executives, and investors are more willing to help you out while you are a student than they may be after you graduate. For students not looking to make that kind of a leap, I would recommend taking on as many internships as possible. I had two internships and part-time jobs and I learned so much from those experiences. It is the best way to figure out what you like and don’t like.

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Corporate Partner Spotlight: Dell Thu, 09 Oct 2014 13:51:03 +0000 A year after going private, Dell and its employees are invigorated by the changes occurring within the company; Dell is moving swiftly in an ever-changing industry, delivering on its strategic objectives as the fastest-growing integrated IT Company in the world and enabling its customers to reach their full potential. They have been great supporters of the Business Honors Program and are the class sponsor for this year’s BHP senior class. Casey Lehmann and Mackenzie Lemmer are two BHP Alumni influencing Dell’s bottom line in an impactful way.

Casey and Mackenzie graduated from Dell’s Finance Development Program (FDP), an entry-level program that consists of four rotations over the course of two years within Dell’s finance organization. The accelerated development, breadth of career opportunities and executive exposure are key characteristics the FDP program provides to participants. We asked each of them a few questions to gather more insight into their experiences at Dell.


caseyCasey Lehmann

Degree: BHP and Finance, 2010

Current Role: Productivity & Transformation Organization (PTO)

Previous Roles: Mergers & Acquisition Integration Management Office and four roles through FDP: Services Finance, Software & Peripherals Pricing, Treasury, and Global Operations Process Enablement

What are some of the qualities of Dell that attracted you to work here? How do you see those permeate throughout the organization today?

The fast-paced, ever-changing, exciting, “never know what you’re gonna get today” vibe of the tech industry fits well with my personality.  Learning new things on a daily basis grasps my interests and keeps me growing in my career, a quality about Dell that differentiates it from other Fortune 100 companies. I’ve had six different roles in my first four years at Dell, which has allowed me to gain a broad perspective on the company as a whole, learn about various different types of finance roles and observe lots of management styles.  The broad range of diverse roles in a large company makes my options for my career path seem limitless.  I appreciate that Dell not only values its people through numerous development programs, but they also value giving back to the community.  Just last week, I had a team event where we volunteered at a local food pantry.  It’s great to work for a company that not only invests heavily in its employees, but also in its community.

How has Dell empowered you to develop the necessary skills to rise vertically within the organization?

The development programs at Dell are top-notch.  Dell invest in its employees through classroom-based curriculum that applies the theoretical information you learned in school to a real-life setting, simulation-based learning that tests how you would react in various pressure-filled situations, sessions on how to better your presentation skills, speaker sessions where you can learn firsthand from the advice of executives at the company, conferences, mentors, regular feedback, etc.  They work on building out not only your business & financial acumen, but also the soft people skills as well.  The skills I’ve learned in the program have definitely set me up for success in my future endeavors.

What is the biggest change you’ve seen as a result of Dell’s privatization?

Decisions are being made much faster and investments are being undertaken with a longer term focus in mind.


MackenzieMackenzie Lemmer

Degree: BHP and Finance, 2010

Current Role: Investor Relations

Previous Roles: Global Assurance & Transformation and four roles through FDP: EMEA G500 FP&A and Jr. Controller, EMEA Accounting, Public Special Pricing and Corporate Opex. (Note: EMEA stands for Europe, Middle East and Africa. EMEA is one of the three business regions for Dell).

Working in the technology industry is demanding and fast-paced, how do you manage these challenges in your role on a day-to-day basis?

Because the tech industry moves so quickly, priorities can often shift week-to-week, and even day-to-day, and I have to ensure that I have effective strategies that enable me to deliver my responsibilities at an extremely high level. Having an open communication channel with your management team is imperative to making sure that you are focused on the areas that will add the most value to the organization. I meet regularly with my manager to ensure I correctly prioritize my work.

What makes you excited about coming to work every day? What is your favorite part about working at Dell?

For me, it has always been about the people. I enjoy working in roles in which there is a strong team component, both internally and externally, because I like collaborating and sharing ideas. I really enjoy that the Dell Finance Organization is partnership-based, meaning that we support and partner with other organizations in the company such as Sales, Marketing, etc. It provides an opportunity to learn about our core business and see the full impact we have on our customers.

What advice do you have for students currently looking for internships and full-time jobs?  

When I was going through recruiting, I wish I had spent more time understanding how my prospective employers view the development of their workforces. I lucked out that I ended up at Dell, which is a company that invests a significant amount of time and resources into its people. My advice is to look for a company that is going to invest in you.


Feel free to reach out to Casey Lehmann or Mackenzie Lemmer with any questions you may have.

Connect with us!

Twitter: @DellFDP

LinkedIn: University Relations Page


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Student Profile: Rachel Gosch Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:46:49 +0000 RachelAfter spending the summer before her junior year conducting research, BHP senior, Rachel Gosch, was ready for a challenging internship this past summer. The mathematics major was interested in finding something technical that also involved consulting. At a loss for where to start, she Googled “Statistical Internships,” and discovered Summit Consulting.

Summit Consulting in Washington, D.C., was calling for an intern in their Federal Credit Modeling and Forecasting branch, which was right up Rachel’s alley. Rachel applied and completed two phone interviews before landing the position as a Summer Analyst with Summit. Once she accepted the internship, she spoke with her eventual mentor at Summit to determine which groups and projects would be a good fit for her.

Being in D.C., Summit works a lot with government entities such as the Department of Transportation. Within her branch, Rachel was placed on a team consulting the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Rachel and her team were tasked with two main contracts with the SBA. First was working on Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) of their different cash flow models. Her team acted as a third party consult to help the SBA forecast their budget and project how much to allocate to their different lending. The second task was to perform portfolio analysis on those lending programs to assess which lenders may be high-risk.  Rachel’s team then had to present their findings to the client, “The presentation skills I learned in BA 324 really helped me make the findings understandable and presentable,” said Rachel.

Working in the nation’s capital, Rachel had the chance to learn a lot about federal budget planning and allocations for groups such as the SBA, “I wasn’t expecting to learn so much about the SBA! I now know all about the different federal lending programs available for small business owners, how the process of receiving such a loan works, and the different criteria used to grade SBA-approved lenders,” said Rachel.


The six summer interns at Summit, including Rachel

Rachel spent 10 weeks in D.C. interning at Summit and one of her favorite parts of working at the consulting firm was the young atmosphere. “Summit is a young company, so most of the people that work there are around my age, which made fitting into the culture easier,” said Rachel. There were six interns total at Summit this summer and they became close doing things together outside of work. Of the six interns, Rachel was one of two undergraduates, the other was a student from University of North Carolina. The remaining four were graduate students at George Washington University (MBA), American University (MS), University of Tennessee (MS) and Rutgers University (MS).

In her senior year, Rachel is currently deciding between continuing her education or entering the workforce. She is actively applying to different master’s programs in Financial Engineering and Financial Mathematics. She is particularly interested in a Management Science and Engineering program at Columbia and will also likely apply to UT’s Business Analytics program. She is keeping her options open and also recruiting for positions dealing with statistics, data analytics and/or financial modeling.

Looking back on her time at UT, her fondest memory is all of the football games and seeing the tower lit orange, particularly when the team beat OU in 2013 and A&M in 2011.

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Walmart International CFO, Brett Biggs, Visits BHP Sophomores Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:31:33 +0000 brett-biggsStudents in the sophomore lyceum course were visited by Brett Biggs, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Walmart International. Biggs has been with Walmart for 14 years and has held various positions there moving around from strategy, M&A, Sam’s Club and Walmart’s treasury operations and capital markets. He has a vast understanding of Walmart’s operations and finances, which he was able to share with the students.

Biggs attended Harding University and majored in accounting. He stressed the importance of an accounting background, suggesting that students take at least 12 hours of accounting, not merely the six required for their BHP degree. Knowing how to interpret the numbers and how to relate to people are a winning combination, he told them.

His first job after graduation was with Pricewaterhouse in Dallas as an auditor. He went on to pursue an MBA from Oklahoma State University, then took a job as an M&A analyst for Leggett & Platt, where the company completed about 100 deals over four years. He joined Walmart in 2000 working in their M&A division. He joked that he was known by some  as “chief schmoozing officer” because he travelled all the time building a pipeline of relationships for joint ventures and acquisitions.

He showed a willingness to be thrown in the deep end, so the speak, and take calculated risks in his career and he was thus moved around by management and given new opportunities. “It is important to have the judgment to bring in the right people at the right time, be able to collaborate and have the humility to ask for help,” said Biggs.

One example he used was moving from finance to operations. Biggs served as senior vice president of operations for Sam’s Club, leading all facets of Sam’s Club operations in the southern part of the U.S., encompassing 230 clubs and 40,000 associates. He never would have thought of himself in operations, but at the urging of his CEO, he tried it and loved it, learning a great deal along the way. He relied on his team for help during this transition.

Being in operations meant that he had to handle many more personnel issues. When asked by a student about the most challenging situations he has encountered in his career, Biggs said the toughest decisions are around people. “It is most rewarding to watch your people do well, but most difficult to have to part ways with people who aren’t doing well,” he said. He talked about how much Walmart cares about their talent and how much time they invest in growing that talent and giving them opportunities to progress through the organization taking on roles with greater complexity and scale.

Biggs answered questions from students ranging from Walmart’s long-term strategy, partnerships in other countries and charitable endeavors. “There are so many opportunities to do good and help others when you are a company this size,” he said when discussing initiatives from sustainability, to jobs for veterans, to women’s economic empowerment. He also touched on Walmart’s big plans for E-Commerce and how they plan to compete with online giants like Amazon in the near future, saying to stay tuned for news in the future.

The students in the class enjoyed learning more about Walmart and Biggs’ roles at the company. Biggs described the culture at Walmart as “pay-it-forward,” saying that people will make time to help you and give you advice. We thank him for making time for our students and sharing with them his unique career path and advice!

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Internship Spotlight: Rachel Solomon – The Neiman Marcus Group Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:55:57 +0000 Rachel_headshot

BHP Senior, Rachel Solomon, has always wanted to work in high-end retail and when the opportunity presented itself for her to work at Neiman Marcus she jumped on it. She is very happy to announce the internship resulted in a full-time offer, which she just recently accepted.

Company: The Neiman Marcus Group

Intern Position: Buying/Planning Intern

Full-Time Position: Executive Development Program (to become an Assistant Buyer)

What steps did you take to secure your internship?

I used the Neiman Marcus Careers page to find the opportunity for the internship, and then met with HR representatives at the Fall McCombs Career Expo. I applied online in October, then took a retail math test and went through two rounds of interviews before eventually receiving an offer.

What were the responsibilities for this role?
I was a rotational planning intern, so I worked in the Home & Gifts and Men’s divisions with the Senior Merchandise Planners and Assistant Buyers. I helped recap sales history, forecast and project sales for future seasons, and allocate merchandise across stores. I also worked on a team project with the other interns to suggest the ways in which Neiman Marcus could leverage big data. We were lucky enough to present our findings to the senior executives in their boardroom at the end of the internship.

Describe the culture within the organization.
The culture at Neiman Marcus was one of my favorite things about the company. Going into luxury retail, I was expecting more of a cutthroat atmosphere, but what I experienced was just the opposite. Everyone was so warm and willing to help me with everything from my daily tasks to where I should take my visiting friends out to dinner. I cannot wait to go back to the office next fall and work with some of the most caring and creative people I have ever met.

What advice would you offer your peers in the Honors Program about getting the most out of an internship?
I think the most important part of any job is the people you surround yourself with. I would make an effort to get to know as many people within the company as you can, because it’ll tell you a lot about what the company stands for and what the culture is like. And as an intern, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people were not only willing, but excited, to tell me about what they do on a daily basis and even let me help. Sometimes I ended up doing work for people who weren’t my direct supervisors, which made for an exciting and well-rounded experience. So, I would say don’t be afraid to reach out to those around you because you never know what you’ll get to learn or do.

What was your favorite part about this internship?
I’ve always been interested in a career that would let me actively use both the right and left sides of my brain, so I loved the fact that I could spend hours in a database analyzing sales history and margins, then open a binder full of swatches and images to see exactly what the products I was analyzing looked and felt like. And at the end of my internship, I got to attend a weeklong event where many of our vendors came to present their products, oftentimes in the form of a fashion show. That was probably one of the most exciting weeks of my life.

How did you find your classes in the Business Honors Program at the university to be applicable during your internship?
I think the communication skills taught in BA 324 helped me to secure the internship, while MIS 301 provided me with a good foundation of technical skills that I needed while working in the buying offices. Sometimes I was even able to show other employees Excel tricks I learned in MIS, which was a good feeling over two years after having taken the class.

What are the most valuable lessons you gained from this internship?
Since I rotated in so many offices, I had the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of different people in the company. Oftentimes, I only worked in a particular office for two to three days. So I had to learn to adjust to new working styles and quickly prove that I had the skills necessary to help with whatever tasks my supervisors would assign. Since they hadn’t seen my previous work, sometimes that was challenging. But I learned how to briefly summarize other projects I had done and systems I had worked with over the course of the summer so they could figure out what I could complete without training, and what they would need to help me with.

What parts of your internship convinced you to sign on full-time?
I have always wanted to go into luxury retail, and have had my sights set on Neiman Marcus for years. I walk into the Austin store to find inspiration on a bad day, and I really can’t imagine anything better than working to fill the stores with the products I find so inspiring. Combine that with the fact that everyone I worked with this summer was so kind, helpful, bright, and driven, and there is no place I would rather be. I am so excited to begin this journey after graduation.

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ExxonMobil VP Ken Cohen Visits with BHP Sophomores Mon, 15 Sep 2014 20:41:15 +0000 Ken CohenBHP students had the unique opportunity to hear from ExxonMobil’s Vice President of Public and Governmental Affairs, Ken Cohen, last week during their sophomore lyceum course. Cohen has worldwide responsibility for the company’s public policy, government relations, communications, media relations, and corporate citizenship activities, all of which he touched on during his extended Q&A session with BHP Faculty Director Robert Prentice.

Cohen has been with ExxonMobil for 37 years. He earned his law degree from Baylor University, then had a short stint as a professor at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law at Indiana University before making the move to ExxonMobil. He has moved around quite a bit during his 37 years, but said he has enjoyed each role he has undertaken along the way. He encouraged students to find a work situation in which they are enjoying what is in front of them every day, and are not spending their time thinking about what they want to be doing next. “There is no typical day when you are dealing with the public, government, and media, and I have enjoyed every challenge,” said Cohen.

Students in the class learned more about the main functions of Cohen’s department, which include maintaining ExxonMobil’s “license to operate” in countries and communities across the world, negotiating access to resources, and reputation management. Cohen touched on recent headlines and explained how world events come into play in the work he does. ExxonMobil is the largest foreign investor in Russia and has major operations in the Middle East, so current events in those areas are a major focus of his work. These two examples alone shed light on the complex set of challenges Cohen and his team deal with on a daily basis.

In addition to his role as VP, Cohen also serves as Chairman of the ExxonMobil Foundation and the ExxonMobil PAC. He answered questions from students related to both areas. Students didn’t hold back on questions related to climate change, fracking, and PAC contributions. Cohen answered each one thoroughly and openly discussed the challenges ExxonMobil faces in the area of geopolitics, specifically related to controversial fracking practices.

One policy area that ExxonMobil is paying special attention to right now is education. Cohen said the company is closely following what is happening with higher education standards, specifically at UT Austin, because of ExxonMobil’s hiring interests and a desire to keep up the rigorous standards that have produced top employees for the company.

The sophomore lyceum class has a focus on leadership and ethics, so Cohen also discussed the qualities he feels are important in leadership: honesty, clarity, and being a good team member. In addition to exhibiting these traits himself throughout the discussion, he also mixed in a good dose of humor, keeping the students engaged. BHP students in the sophomore lyceum course will hear from 10 executives this semester, all of whom will offer great insight into their industries and valuable advice on leadership. Many thanks to Ken for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with our students!

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Annual BHP Community BBQ Kicks Off the School Year Fri, 12 Sep 2014 19:31:19 +0000 BBQ

Last night, around 200 students attended the annual BHP Community BBQ, where they chatted over free BBQ at Scholz Garten and then competed in six rounds of trivia with representatives from BP, ConocoPhillips, Dell, Deloitte, Dropbox, PepsiCo and PwC.

Teams were asked to choose a team name. Some of the names that garnered the best reactions from the crowd were  “Sorcerer’s Prentice,” “Staff Infection” and “Dr. Konana’s Voiceover IP.”

Trivia rounds done by “Geeks who Drink” were witty and hilarious. Rounds included: “Bad YouTube Karaoke,” which required participants to identify songs that someone had completely botched and posted on Youtube; “Wallstreet Balderdash,” in which teams had to identify the true meaning of made-up words used by those working on Wall Street; and “Do Give Up Your Day Job,” a round which brought to light some interesting past occupations of famous celebrities.

The competition was fierce and in the end teams Deloitte and Lets Get Fiscal tied for first place, but a tie breaker question set team Deloitte apart as the first place winner. Deloitte team members included:


Top row (from left to right):
Arvind Sivakumar
Rabin Shetty
Sai Yeluru
James Abbott
Malorie Liljenwall (Deloitte rep.)

Bottom row (from left to right):
Mickey Li
Kevin Yu
Sophia Ding
Macy Huang
Lisa Feng
Nazifa Mim
Kevin Chiu (Deloitte rep.)

Special thanks to our sponsors: BP, ConocoPhillips, Dell, Deloitte, Dropbox, PepsiCo and PwC!


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BHP Alumni Mentor Network Provides Valuable Connection Thu, 11 Sep 2014 21:12:23 +0000 BHP is now in its third year of a new alumni/student mentoring program which connects sophomores and juniors in the program with alumni who have been in their shoes and want to give back to the next generation of BHP students. We have had great participation from both students and alumni and encourage any alumni of the program to sign up here by this Friday if you want to be matched with a student this year.

*Note that the student registration for the program is now closed

Sayli Khadilkar

BHP Junior Sayli Khadilkar was paired up with Class of 2009 alumna Maggie Wallace last year. Sayli said the experience proved to her that one of her favorite things about BHP – the supportive, ‘pay-it-forward’ culture – carries on even beyond graduation. The two have never met in person, but have had a productive mentoring relationship through phone calls and emails.

Sayli signed up for the Alumni Mentor Network because she knew it would be a great opportunity to get to know a BHP alum. And she hoped to gain insight and advice that would help her through the rest of my time at UT and with her future career goals.

For Maggie, she wanted to pay it forward, saying that she received a lot of guidance from both older students in the program and BHP Alumni, and that those mentors played a critical role in helping her figure out how to spend her time at school and what to do after graduation.

Students are matched with mentors based on their majors, career path, and other interests. Sayli and Maggie definitely clicked and found their common interests. “We learned that we were in the same study abroad program in Paris and that we both love many of the same restaurants in Austin,” said Maggie. “It has been wonderful to develop a personal relationship with Sayli”

“I was very surprised by how real my mentor was with me,” said Sayli. “I asked my mentor anything from interview tips to study abroad travel advice, and felt completely comfortable asking seemingly silly questions. I loved how candid our conversations were, and really appreciated that my mentor was always willing to help me.”

Maggie Wallace - mentor(small)Maggie is a strong advocate for the program. “I definitely recommend the Alumni Mentor Program to other BHP alumni. Not only is it a way to give back to the BHP community, but it’s a lot of fun to relive what it was like when I was going through it years ago. I believe that mentoring is the best way to use one’s own experiences, both successes and failures, to help shorten the learning curve for others.” She says it is most important to her that Sayli knows she is there to support her and listen to her, not only to give her advice. “I want to be available to help here navigate stressful times and make the decisions that really count.”

Sayli is grateful for this constant support from her mentor. “Participating in this program has made me realize how lucky we are to have a strong alumni network and how important it is to continue to give back to the program even beyond graduation,” she said. “The Alumni Mentor Network has been a really valuable experience for me, and I can’t wait to be a mentor in the network after I graduate.”

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Event Recap: BHP Class of 2018 Leadership Kickoff Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:05:54 +0000 Written by Kristi Tamberelli, BHP Leadership Kickoff Co-Chair

2014 Freshmen Group Photo

I love event planning and knew I would enjoy the preparation and creativity involved in co-chairing Leadership Kickoff, the signature event for incoming BHP freshmen. Now that the planning has ended and the kickoff is over, I realize my favorite part of co-chairing this event was actually getting to watch the freshmen interact and create lasting friendships. I still remember how much fun I had at BHP Leadership Kickoff my freshman year, and I felt so honored to help make that same experience a reality for this year’s freshman.

For a BHP freshman, there’s no better way to start the next four years than to attend the BHP Leadership Kickoff. This past weekend, students gathered to get a taste of how amazing their college careers are going to be, all while learning how to work together and become leaders alongside their fellow classmates. Here are a few of my favorite reasons why BHP Leadership Retreat will end up being a highlight in your college career at UT.

BHPeople. First of all, this weekend is all about making friends. It’s the first time you’ll realize how incredible the people you are surrounded by are, and it’s only the start of meeting colleagues and building connections. Students spend a majority of the weekend with their peer mentor groups that they work with throughout their first semester of college. This year’s peer mentors are dedicated, relatable, and fully equipped to help freshmen have a smoother transition into college. I loved getting to know each of the peer mentors this weekend and watching them interact with their students.

BHPlayoffs. This year we switched things up! Instead of having each peer mentor group perform a skit in front of the rest of the groups, we created a series of challenges to be performed. Students competed in challenges ranging from coming up with the best team cheer to shaking ping pong balls out of a Kleenex box using their best dance moves. According to the students, the playoffs were a hit, and all the mentors agreed that it was an exciting switch up from the skit tradition.

BHPledge. Towards the end of the first day of the retreat, all the students get dressed up for a more serious portion of the weekend. Every BHP freshman takes a pledge to act ethically in BHP and in their future careers. The ceremony included speakers from the BHP Ethic’s Board, as well as BHP Faculty Director Robert Prentice, followed by each student signing the pledge. This part of the retreat is really special to me because I think it’s unique that we take the time to emphasize ethics and set the expectations high from day one.

There you have it. In BHP, you can have it all: friends, healthy competition, and ethical behavior—but that’s only the start. After all, what starts here changes the world. Best of luck Class of 2018!

Ropes Course

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Company Partner Spotlight – Deloitte Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:54:31 +0000 Each year BHP students join the Deloitte family through internships and full-time positions. Deloitte works with clients in four key business areas — audit, financial advisory, tax and consulting. We are pleased to have them as a partner for BHP this year. Students will have the opportunity to interact with their team members at multiple events throughout the year. We asked some of our recent BHP graduates working for Deloitte to share more about their experiences working for the company, as well as offer advice to current students.

Deloitte - RebeccaRebecca Robertson – Technology Consultant, Austin Office

BHP and MIS, 2011

Describe your favorite project so far in your role: I’ve been on 5 different projects since starting with the firm, and all of my experiences have been fantastic!  I’ve had the ability to travel to multiple states (including a trip to Canada), work in 5 different industries, and understand the unique issues that our clients face.  Each project has been a stepping stone as I build my consulting skills, gain technical experience, and begin to think from a client’s perspective.

What is the best thing about working at Deloitte:  Deloitte goes to great lengths to support its people and help them achieve personal and professional goals.  For example, I am heading back to grad school next fall fully sponsored by Deloitte through a program called GSAP (Grad School Assistance Program).

How would you describe the Deloitte culture: Deloitte is made up of smart, motivated, and energetic people.  I enjoy coming to work every day because of the people that make up my project teams.  We also take the phrase “work hard, play hard” very seriously.

Top traits you are looking for from a student interested in working for Deloitte: It may seem counter-intuitive, but when we hire students into our technology consulting group, we aren’t necessarily looking for those that are experts in computer programming.  We interact a lot with the students we recruit to understand their personalities and determine if they would be a good fit with our culture.  Ever heard of the “airport test”?  We definitely use it!

Advice for current students: Your undergraduate experience is all about prepping you for the “real-world” in whatever field you decide to pursue.  I would encourage students to try new ideas and don’t be afraid to be wrong or make mistakes.  McCombs is the best environment to learn from failures.


Deloitte - MichaelName: Michael Koetting – Consultant in Strategy and Operations (S&O), Dallas Office

Finance, BHP, Plan II, 2012

Describe your favorite project so far in your role: I got to work on the team managing and executing Deloitte Consulting’s sponsorship for SXSW Interactive.  My role bounced all over the place to include executive communication, content design and development, all the way to band screenings for our major event.

What is the best thing about working at Deloitte: The people are awesome. Almost as awesome as the alternative travel program.

How would you describe the Deloitte culture: Supportive

Top traits you are looking for from a student interested in working for Deloitte: Passion for learning and a quick learner, strong communication skills are all consulting traits in general.  Deloitte specific, be a people person for sure.

Advice for current students: Succeeding in the classroom is important but a strong network is just as important


Deloitte - YolandaYolanda Han – Tax Senior, Houston Office

 BHP and MPA, 2012

Describe your favorite project so far in your role: With Deloitte Tax, it is more common to have long-term clients rather than just one project at a time that you complete and then move on from. My favorite client/project I have been on was an oil and gas client with both partnership and oil and gas specific issues. I worked directly with the senior manager on my questions to get to our final deliverables. Due to the unique staffing of this client, I had the opportunity to step up and take ownership of the client. I was able to really grow my skills and gain technical experience while taking on a role greater than my title at the time.

What is the best thing about working at Deloitte: I love all of the people that I get the opportunity to work with at Deloitte. Whether it’s my peers or the partners at this firm, everyone genuinely cares about my well-being and happiness. I have found some great mentors at this firm and have discovered how much this firm invests in each individual’s growth.

How would you describe the Deloitte culture: I think Deloitte has a very open, supportive, and friendly culture. Whether its client work, personal issues, or your career path, you could reach out to anyone you run into at Deloitte and that person will take the time to help you. It is very much a community in which everyone supports one another and is invested in each other.

Top traits you are looking for from a student interested in working for Deloitte: We are always looking for students who are driven, eager to learn, work well in teams, and have strong communication skills. All of our work is done in different project teams and these skills become crucial both for interacting with the client and interacting with the team in order to work towards a successful end deliverable.

Advice for current students: McCombs offers a wealth of opportunities to grow and get your foot out the door. I would encourage students to build their relationships with their professors, to pick their brains and learn about their backgrounds and real-world experiences. McCombs also offers a multitude of workshops to prep their students for the “real world” from etiquette dinners to mock interviews. I would recommend students take advantage of all of these programs at their disposal in order to learn about all of their options and practice their skills.


Deloitte - JulieJulie Chong – Audit Senior Assistant, Dallas Office

BHP 2012, MPA 2013

Describe your favorite project so far in your role: My favorite project has been analyzing financial statements of nonprofit organizations in the Dallas area for those that applied to receive a grant. It was interesting to take an inside look at how nonprofits operate financially and socially and ultimately be a part of future social efforts in my community.

What is the best thing about working at Deloitte: Deloitte truly cares about its people. They know that happy employees want to do a good job and they enjoy their time at work. Deloitte recognizes that and motivates us with an unheard of number of paid time off (in addition to holidays), push for work/life balance, and other benefits.

How would you describe the Deloitte culture: Work hard, play hard!

Top traits you are looking for from a student interested in working for Deloitte: We look for students who are authentic and who strive to be key team players.

Advice for current students: Figure out what your top priorities/values are in life and stick to them. Don’t let your job or location determine that for you.

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