Student Spotlight: Humza Tariq

Humza Tariq, BHP

BHP Junior, Humza Tariq, is the founder and president of the Texas Sports Analytics Group and co-chair for both the Texas Undergraduate Investment Team and the BHP Ethics Board. While balancing three internships, he has received University Honors for the past two years and is a Distinguished College Scholar.

You created your own student organization, Texas Sports Analytics. Can you tell us your motivation behind this?
Growing up, I really loved math, statistics, and sports. In high school, I read countless sports statistics blogs and saw different ways of looking at sports. When I came to UT, I spent the first two years thinking it would be great if there was a group on campus that was dedicated to doing research on sports through a statistical lens.

No similar organization existed to my knowledge, so I finally got the courage to start one with a couple of my friends. We then started to notice a large amount of job postings on social media sites for NBA teams for jobs that combined sports and data analytics. The ultimate goal for this group is to serve as a recruiting pipeline for students interested in working for large teams in the NFL and NBA, and hopefully in the future expand to golf and tennis leagues.

What have you learned from your various internships?
I have interned with a real estate company, a local private equity firm, and an investment bank. Through my experience, I have gained new skills and sharpened others. All of the internships have taught me about being an adult in the workforce and having to go to work every morning. They teach you to manage your time wisely when you are put on several projects that have deadlines around the same time. And, they give you an insight to certain sectors that you may or may not be passionate about. Overall, I recommend that every student at McCombs intern as much as possible, because it is really valuable.

How do you manage your schedule and excel academically and professionally?
Managing my collegiate schedule was tough at first—trying to balance class, studying, and extracurricular activities. It is necessary that everyone find their way to stay organized and keep up with assignments. I personally spend one day a week to get as much done as possible. Instead of sleeping in on Saturday, I will wake up a couple of hours early, study hard, and then I am set for the rest of the weekend and able to study normally during the week.

Budgeting time is also important. Be honest and realistic with yourself about how much time something will take. I plan out all important dates and assignments in a planner, but a personal trick I have found useful is texting myself things I need to do and leaving them as unread messages until they are completed.

Beyond academic and professional development, what else do you find important as a college student?
In the next few years I want to give back as much as I can. I want to having a prospective on the bigger things. It’s easy in the business school to get wrapped up in careers and jobs. It is nice to be driven and motivated, but you should never let it get in the way of friendships or having a prospective of what is going on in the world.  Sometimes you are so wrapped up that you forget what is around you and those less-fortunate.  I encourage my peers to see what one can do to help out the Austin community. I am working towards achieving this and I think we should all keep this in mind as students. It’s important to stay grounded and humble in all you do, no matter your level of success.

What do you want to do when you graduate? What are your future aspirations?
I always enjoy keeping my options open and having an open mind when it comes to career decisions. Outside of work, I am interested in non-profits, specifically in social finance—investing in businesses that do social good. I want to do some good in the world. If there is a way to incorporate finance, I think that would be really interesting.

Student Spotlight: Catherine King – HBA President

Catherine King - BHP student

BHP Senior, Catherine King, is the current president of the Honors Business Association. Catherine is majoring in BHP and MIS. This past summer, she interned for Shell Oil Company and is excited to announce she has three full-time offers from prominent oil and gas firms in the field of Management Information Systems.

Why did you choose UT and specifically the BHP program?
I was applying to colleges all over the nation hoping to leave Texas to try something new. I found out about BHP, applied, and was accepted. After touring the BHP program office and sitting in a couple of classes, I felt that it was more of a community than any of the other campuses I had visited. I could just tell that students were in a very collaborative and positive environment rather than an environment where students pit themselves against each other.

I am from Austin and I thought it would be too much of the same. I was happy to see that the campus is a completely different environment than Austin itself. All of my childhood friends went to different universities so it was not like a repeat of high school. It was a completely new experience, and I found a great community in BHP, which is also why I joined HBA.

What advice would you give to any students interested in MIS?
I think people fear MIS because they think it is all programming, but it is not. We connect the end user and the programmer to ensure that functionality and end user goals are met. It is all about communication and knowing how the technical people do what they do. If you can communicate well and are interested in technology, MIS is for you.

What enticed you to become a member of the Honors Business Association?
I joined Delta Gamma sorority right before freshman year began. I realized that organizations make the campus smaller and with Delta Gamma I had the social side, but I wanted an academic organization as well.

Honors Business Association was able to fulfill my need to be part of an extended academic community. I attended the first meeting for the free food and heard the president and executive members give an overview of HBA. They all were so funny and light-hearted. I didn’t expect that from an organization in the UT business school. It had the perfect balance of professionalism and fun.

I quickly realized that HBA makes you a very well rounded student. We are not just academic, but we are also philanthropic. We have academic events with professors. You can visit their homes, dine at restaurants, or play golf with them to get to know them on a more personal level. We also have networking events, socials, and formals to enhance your academic pursuits. HBA gives you an overall experience in Austin and BHP.

As President, what do you plan to do differently with HBA?
What we have been doing the last couple of years works well, but my executive members have had some new initiatives that we are committed to starting. We created a buddy program that pairs a new freshman with a sophomore buddy. We started recycling at meetings. And that is only the beginning. Small, yet strategic, enhancements to our current activities and initiatives will make a big difference and will make our organization more effective.

What keeps a member actively involved in HBA?
People who get involved in the beginning find those 30 members you become really good friends with. They go to all the meetings and events. If you want that close set of friends, you can find them in HBA and continue with them throughout your career at UT. If you are looking for that sense of community and haven’t found it outside of the business school, HBA is always a home to the BHP students and I think everyone that is active or inactive feels that,they are always welcome.

Alumni Spotlight: Shirelle Noble, Class of 2009 – rewardStyle

Shirelle NobleShirelle Noble, BHP ’09, joined Bain & Company after graduating from BHP. After spending a few years working as a consultant, she felt it was time to make a move and found a great opportunity to do just that with rewardStyle. She is currently leading business development and partnership efforts for rewardStyle.

How would you describe what rewardStyle does?

rewardStyle connects digital style publishers and global retailers to provide marketing solutions across the web and social media.  At our core, we help fashion bloggers earn commissions from the products they promote on their blogs by providing them with tools and education. We connect the bloggers to our retail partners, who pay for the organic promotion and distribution of their products to the bloggers’ audiences. We do this by managing a technology platform which sales and other key metrics. Our tracking and platform allows us to report back to both the bloggers and retailers on performance. In short, rewardStyle is basically how fashion bloggers are able to make money from linking to products.

We didn’t invent affiliate marketing, but we were the first to make it accessible for fashion bloggers and influencers across the web. We are the market leader in our space. It is a very niche space, but also a profitable one. We work with all the major retailers in Europe and the U.S. and we are also expanding to Asia. We were also the first to launch shoppable Instagram through our product called LIKEtoKNOW.it, which has been a game changer in social media. Since Instagram doesn’t let anyone use links within their feeds, the LIKEtoKNOW.it solution allows consumers to find out what their favorite bloggers are wearing on Instagram by registering for the email service.

Tell me about your roles in sales and business development.

I was brought on board at the end of 2013 to run the team that cultivates relationships with our publishers. My role was largely focused on scaling the team and establishing strategies to keep up with our rapid growth. Our company has grown very rapidly- I was the 48th employee and now we are over 110 employees. We continue to scale to meet the growing demands of both our retail and publishing clients. At the end of last year, I transitioned into business development because of my background in strategy consulting. I was given a project to assess our European business, so I lived in London for three months to identify the growth opportunities and create the strategy plan fro 2015.

Tell me more about what you were doing for that project.

The crux of the problem was to understand the opportunity size for our European business and how to capture it in 2015. At the time, the European business was lagging the U.S., so I looked into all the individual markets to understand why.  Each European country is so different from one another, so we stopped treating the markets equally and started to think about each individual market’s revenue potential. The change of mindset has been very successful.

What work experience has been most rewarding for you so far?

The European strategy project has been most rewarding to me. When I was at Bain, I wasn’t able to see the results of my work in the real world. The European project is a great example of applying the consulting approach, but also leading the implementation. Six months later, I’m excited to see how my work is directly impacting the company.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Implementing the solutions I create and being in a fast-paced industry that is growing rapidly. We like to joke that all of our problems are “good problems to have” because they are all related to growth. A major plus of this role has been the opportunity to wear different hats and raise my hand to work on projects that interest me. Working internationally is something I love and rewardStyle has given me many opportunities to pursue that passion. I grew up in Indonesia and went to high school in Jakarta before coming to UT. Being part of the team that figures out the strategy for these new markets is something that really gets me excited and makes me want to work hard for the company.

rewardStyle has experienced rapid growth during the time you have been there. What kind of unique opportunities and challenges has that presented?

From the tech side, it is the ability to keep up with the growth of our products and data. One of the most interesting problems we are facing today is around email. Because the core product of LIKEtoKNOW.it is an email service, we are sending more than a million emails a day. It’s challenging to keep up with the volume and provide the best consumer experience.

What’s on the horizon for rewardStyle and how does that tie into the work you are doing?

International expansion is a major focus for the company, and I am leading the establishment of our first office in China. We are also continuing to grow our core services and LIKEtoKNOW.it, which is approaching one million registered users.

What experiences and skills did you gain at Bain as a consultant that have made you successful at rewardStyle?

The ability to critically think about a problem and determine the information I need to make an informed decision. I gained the ability to present a compelling recommendation to my team and build confidence in the solutions and plans I create. We are a young company, but it is a very supportive environment. One of the benefits of being in the social media/tech space is that innovators are young.

What advice would you give your college self?

Take advanced accounting, don’t avoid it! I was a BHP/Finance major and I didn’t take it because I was worried about ruining my GPA, but I wish I had gotten more of those hard skills. I also would have learned to code, even just some basic stuff. If I were a freshman, I would be looking at how I could gain some coding experience, whether in school or through a summer program. Being able to maintain a website and know some database architecture is helpful. I am trying to learn more now.

I also want to say how thankful I am for my BHP education. So many of the friends and support groups I have today are from fellow BHP-ers. Networking is really about finding a great friend group, staying in touch with them, and growing together throughout your career.

Where do you see yourself if 5 years?

I have no idea. It is hard to say! I will still be in the tech space and hopefully at a company that is growing quickly!

Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Allison Kubis

Allison Kubis Exxon

Company: PricewaterhouseCoopers
Position: Advisory Intern, Management Consulting in the Technology, Information, Communication, and Entertainment Vertical and Finance Horizontal.

What did you expect to gain from your internship this past summer?

I hoped to gain some insight into the consulting world. How it is working for a client, the typical work/life balance, etc. I previously had an internship with a company in industry, so I wanted to see the similarities and differences to learn what I liked and disliked before interviewing for full-time positions.

Did the internship meet or supersede your expectations? How?

The internship totally exceeded my expectations. I was able to work not only on client work but also some internal initiatives. The client work was interesting and I really enjoyed being able to help PwC improve and gain more revenue.  On top of that, I met a lot of wonderful people, both interns and full-time employees on my team. Also, my career coach was great and even gave me the opportunity to sit on his project for a couple of days so I could see what other projects were like.

Tell me about an interesting encounter you had during your internship.

One of the most interesting days I had was actually the first one of my project. I sat in on an “Account Planning Workshop,” where managers, directors, and partners of the firm met to discuss a potential client. It was awesome getting to meet so many of the people who are the upper management of that area in PwC. I also liked seeing the detail that the firm goes into when pursuing a client, its people, and its problems.

What did you learn about yourself that you did not know before?

I learned that I am a quick learner and able to work without many details. I also learned that I need to focus on my reader when creating a document and organize it so that it’s easy for them to consume. I also learned where my mental capacity is.

Consulting is known for long hours, and I learned the point at which my brain stops working and I need a break, whether it’s eating, working out, or driving home.

What did you contribute to the company?2015-07-20 10.12.10

I contributed by working on a few things for my client, but I also worked for PwC internally. I did research and created slides for a partner as he was preparing to pitch some work to a potential client. On top of that, I also worked on some competitor and sector research for an event that PwC was interested in getting more involved in.

What advice do you have for other students who are recruiting for internships?

After this summer, I would definitely recommend that students try different areas with each of their internships. I know it can be easy to accept a return offer or stick with what you know, but you learn so much more when you try new things. I’m glad I went in the opposite direction for my second internship because I learned a lot about what I want out of my full-time job, so I know what companies to target.

Summer Internship | Student Spotlight: Benedikt Kroll

BenedicktCompany: Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.
Position: Sales & Trading Rotational Intern

What did you expect to gain from your internship with Goldman Sachs?

I expected to gain a better understanding of international markets, a broader exposure to global capital movements and a more quantitative approach to forming and expressing trade ideas.

Did the internship meet or supersede your expectations? How?

My three rotations were spent on macro-oriented desks in currencies, rates, and equities. I had exposure to the biggest financial macro markets via instruments ranging from simple linear spot to rate curves and vol surfaces. The culture at Goldman encourages collaboration above most competitors, which  made finding ideas and learning a very easy and natural process.

Tell me about an interesting encounter you had during your internship.

I met a lot of amazing, often very young people in senior roles at Goldman. The best isolated encounters I had were with senior people, because they cared more for who you are as a person than your straight ability. In one particular encounter I talked for around an hour with one of the partners about my childhood, upbringing, and extracurricular interests without ever touching on financial/work related topics. For me that was particularly memorable because it showed that Goldman cared not only for my technical and commercial development but was concerned with my development as a person and independent thinker as well.

What did you learn about yourself that you did not know before?

I learned a good deal about what I value in my work and employer from both a professional as well as a personal perspective.

I learned the importance of quickly arriving at a good estimate of the best course of action as well as how to approximate the best balance between sticking with it and re-evaluating as you get new information.

What did you contribute to the company?

Most of what you contribute as an S&T intern is bringing a different perspective to known problems/inefficiencies. Much of your internship is spent being mentored. Trading in particular is and for the foreseeable future will remain, an apprenticeship business. That being said I contributed on a few projects relating to problems ranging from more technical goal oriented projects to simple daily recaps and resultant trade ideas/daily positioning game plans.

What advice do you have for other students who are recruiting for internships?

If you’re thinking about what role you might fit in, I think the biggest questions you should ask are

1) what time frame you like your problems to be – do you want to spend minutes, days, weeks, years on projects. What’s your attention span?

2) how much risk you’re willing to take with your life. Are you ok with being in a role where there’s no structure to your advancement or do you need it laid out for you. Can you take being fired?

3) what you value in your life and how you want to spend your time thinking about the world. Do you want to think about people, organizations or economies? Do you like the role that your job plays in helping society move forward?

If your work is going to play a big role in how you spend your time and live your life – in finance the hours alone oftentimes force this – your job should reflect who you are.