Daniel Miyares: Student Spotlight

Daniel_MiyaresMaryland native Daniel Miyares has always had his heart set on the south. When he visited UT as a high school student, he fell in love with Austin’s great people, fun activities, and pleasant weather. He applied to BHP not knowing the magnitude of opportunities, benefits, and connections it has to offer. Once he began his freshman year, he quickly realized BHP was “pretty spectacular in terms of, not only the rankings, but the opportunities BHP provides on campus and post graduation.” He is a BHP and MIS major and will graduate in May 2019.

Daniel came to UT knowing that he wanted to get involved in the start-up community and create his own business, but as he started to define his college experience, a passion for social entrepreneurship and social responsibility developed. He is currently interning at a social enterprise in Austin, Care2Rock. The company will soon be pitching to a start-up incubator, and he is helping them prepare. Care2Rock is a small office, with only two full-time employees, and is in the early stages of development. Care2Rock is launching an online music tutoring platform that will positively impact the foster care community nationwide. During the course of his internship, he has identified a referral program to help them grow and expand their customer acquisition efforts, assisted in optimizing their operations, and supported other business efforts.

Daniel also interned for ZeeMee, a venture-backed startup based in Mountain View, CA, which provides an online platform for students to express themselves in a social-media friendly, three-dimensional way throughout the college and job application processes. ZeeMee is currently partnered with more than 200 colleges, from the University of Oklahoma to Carnegie Mellon, to Morehouse, who allow students to submit their pages as part of their application. Daniel worked with their outreach and their operations teams, and spent most of the last school year coordinating their internship program. Daniel characterizes ZeeMee as “an ideal of a successful startup because of their mutual respect for each other, unrelenting drive, and fun-loving attitude.”

On campus, Daniel is heavily involved in the UT Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency. Daniel was also part of the Launchpad program, a branch of Freshmen Founders, last year as a freshman, and is now directing the program. The Launchpad program works with aspiring first-year students who are excited about entrepreneurship, but don’t know how to start. The Freshman Founders Program offers a semester long, immersive introduction to the UT and the Austin startup community. The program is a sequence of entrepreneurial seminars, workshops, and events meant to allow participants to network with the Austin startup community, and aimed at teaching them about on-campus resources available for student entrepreneurs. The organization also connects students with mentors. Daniel says he has been blown away by what students have done this year in the launch pad program.

Daniel attributes much of his success to the community of high-caliber students he has bonded with in BHP. “They are not only highly intelligent and have founded their own companies, but they have great personalities and we can share laughs.”

Competition Funds Charities Close to Students’ Hearts

USIT competition

Team Inside Books

The Universities Securities Investment Team (USIT) recently held their 2nd annual Texas Charity Pitch competition. Student teams presented charities to a panel of judges in a competition for a $6,000 pool of donations. Teams are tasked with developing a presentation on the financial effectiveness of the charity they have chosen, and convincing the judges to award money to their charity. Several BHP students were among the winning teams.

The winning team pitched Inside Books Project, which is an Austin-based charity that sends packages of two to three books to prisoners across Texas. Team members Hasan Syed, Karna Venkatraj, Arel Rende and Phoebe Lin (pictured above) put a lot of work into their presentation and it showed.

“My favorite part about the Charity Pitch was receiving the opportunity to support Inside Books Project, a books donations organization that my teammates and I strongly believe in,” said Phoebe Lin, a BHP freshman. “As the only charity of its kind in Texas, Inside Books Project helps break the cycles of incarceration and poverty in the state.”

Inside Books Project has drastically expanded its operations in the past two decades, donating over 250,000 books since its inception in 1998. Because of their win, the charity will receive $3000 in donations from USIT.

Second place went to “The Arrow Group,” consisting of Abhinav Sridharan, Marylin Cai and Jay Mondkar (pictured below), all BHP freshmen. They won $2,000 for The Robin Hood Foundation. Robin Hood is a charity that practices venture philanthropy. The organization uses effective financial strategies to fund other organizations. Created by hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, Robin Hood provides funding to other charities in the New York City area in order to alleviate poverty, and also provides financial assistance, legal services and advisory consulting in order to help non-profits run their daily operations efficiently.

“Competing at the Texas Charity Pitch taught me how to use a business mindset for helping people and solving real world problems,” said Abhinav. “It was amazing to see the diverse causes each charity worked towards in the final round, and each team had a different dynamic that made all the presentations intriguing.”

“I also found my interactions with the judges very valuable. Many of them came from fields such as private equity, banking, consulting, and non-profits, and I learned a lot from talking to the judges about their careers once the competition was over.” Abhinav said he hopes to compete in more case competitions and stock pitch competitions in the future.

Congratulations to everyone who competed and thank you to USIT for hosting such a meaningful competition for the McCombs community!

USIT competition2

The Arrow Group


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.

Alumni Spotlight: Mac Shropshire, Class of 2010

mac shropshireMac Shropshire graduated from BHP in 2010. After working for four years at Halliburton in an accounting function, Mac took a finance role with Resource Environmental Solutions (RES), a company focused on providing ecological offsets. Mac is currently a Financial Analysis Manager for RES. RES is currently looking for students interested in interning over the summer. If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Mac at mac@res.us.

What does Resource Environmental Solutions (RES) do?

We provide ecological offset solutions to clients when they have unavoidable impacts that they are required to mitigate for prior to receiving a permit. We work with oil and gas, refining, government, essentially anyone whose project cannot avoid an environmental impact. They are required to offset the damage they are going to do prior to receiving this permit. The rule was established under the Clean Water Act.

RES was founded in 2007 and last fall we acquired a company called EBX, which had been doing this kind of work since 1997. The industry kicked off under the first Bush presidency. He instituted a “no net loss” wetlands policy, and then the modern mitigation banking industry further cemented with something called the Final Rule in 2008, which encouraged third-party mitigation, as opposed to only government-run programs.

You have been there for nearly two years now. How has your role changed in that time and what are you responsible for?

As time has gone on, I have been able to shoulder more responsibility. I started doing solely management reporting and project valuation work. Now I find myself regularly pulled into sales, land, and regional planning meetings. Essentially all aspects of our financial decision-making.

Working at a startup, I’m required to wear many hats: financial planning and budgeting, M&A work, such as acquiring EBX, management reporting, and raising capital. We are moving to a new ERP system, and I am helping with implementation for that. I got to flex some writing and powerpoint muscle when we created a presentation for lenders to increase our borrowing base.

Prior to your work at RES, you were an accountant for Halliburton. Why did you decide to make the move from accounting to finance and to move to RES?

I was approached about RES by a recruiter. I had been looking to move to a smaller organization and the industries that RES worked in aligned with my personal interests. I thought I would enjoy working for a start-up where I would have a wider breadth of responsibilities. At larger companies, you are asked to do more specific work, and your involvement in other areas is limited.

I am still involved in accounting work and my accounting education gave me a great background, but going to a smaller company gave me the opportunity to be in a finance role. I was always more interested in finance work. I was actually given a test when I applied for RES that was a case study for finance, not so different from what I saw at McCombs. My performance on that test was a reason I got the job. I was thankful for the number of case studies we got in BHP. I really felt prepared for that test using skills I developed in BHP.

What was your role at Halliburton and what skills did you gain from your experiences there?

When I started my career there, I did management reporting work, then I transitioned into SEC reporting. I was vetting numbers and drafting footnotes for public filings. I also got to work with the investor relations team. Halliburton really helped me in terms of learning what it is like to work in a controlled environment. It was also helpful to learn interdepartmental coordination skills. They had 80,000 employees by the time I left and I was working with people from various countries and departments around the globe. Doing SEC reporting, it is incredibly important to get multiple sources to vet a single number, so that really helped me with my attention to detail.

RES is committed to environmental responsibility. What do you most enjoy about working for a company that is committed to a cause?

It makes it easier to work the long hours when your company has a mission that you support. It has been very eye-opening to me to see this as a path to sustainability. It was a novel concept to me for there to be a for-profit business that is helping the environment. In its infancy, ecological offsets were primarily done through government-run in-lieu fee programs, and a lot of time the work wasn’t getting done.  In contrast, RES has restored over 32,000 acres of wetlands and 155 miles of stream (with 0% site failure) and planted over 8 million trees. We have done a lot of amazing conservation work as a for-profit company.

There is a lot of discussion right now about ecological offsets. Where do you think RES is headed in the future and what role will they play in that growth?

Newer ecological offset markets for us have been water quality and endangered species offsets. A lot of the work we have done historically has been under the Clean Water Act, but these newer markets are driven by state laws and the Endangered Species Act. I also see us expanding our geographical footprint. Sometimes it requires a company like RES to come into a market to bring it up to speed and to bring them away from government-run programs and into mitigation banking.

RES has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing private companies in America by the Inc. 5000 list for the past five years. What are the challenges of working at a company growing so fast?

I would say meeting everyone. When I started here there were only 40 people and now we have more than 80. Every hiring decision is an important one. You have to look ahead to hire for the work you are doing in the future, not just today.

Looking back on your time at UT, is there anything you wish you had done differently or any advice you have for current BHP students?

I would have branched out beyond the business school and taken more science classes than what was required of me. I would have used my elective classes to take science, computer programming or MIS classes. I have had to teach myself a lot of that.

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.