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.

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 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.



Alumni Spotlight: Jeff Wilser – Class of ’98

Jeff Wilser, BHP ’98, isn’t a typical BHP grad. He may have started on the path of a typical business grad, but that path veered into something quite different. Jeff is a writer, and has just published his third book. Most of his writing is on the topic of guys’ perspectives on relationships and culture. His website touts that he is, “likely the only person alive to have written for both GQ and The Knot.” He has made a number of TV appearances and frequently contributes to various magazines and newspapers. We sat down with Jeff, who currently lives in New York City, to find out more about his career path and what is on the horizon for him.

You have quite a variety of experience. Take me through your career trajectory.

I started in corporate finance at Intel and I realized early on that it wasn’t what motivated and challenged me. I actually had a spreadsheet with pros and cons of different career options, including being a history professor or a writer. I decided to try one more business before totally switching, so I went to Gap, Inc. in San Francisco as a senior analyst in marketing strategy. I stayed there for about a year and then moved to New York to get my Masters in Fine Arts (MFA), with a concentration in Fiction.

I didn’t really do any writing prior to that. The first short story I wrote was for my MFA application.  There was only one tiny problem with Fiction writing: I wasn’t very creative. But I found that I really enjoyed non-fiction. My first paid job was writing about bars. It paid $12 a review. I lost money every review because my tab was more than my pay. It snowballed into nightlife writing. I got more editorial experience and was doing a lot of freelancing for other publications. I was mainly writing about pop culture, relationships and men’s interests. I was approach by a publishing company about writing a humor book about “man rules.” Also around that time, I was approached about starting a website that would be a resource for men getting married called The publisher liked my voice and wanted me to write it. Then I started writing about that subject for various magazines. I just released my third book and am also doing some marketing strategy and analysis work for a company on the side.

At this point in your life, what do you enjoy doing the most?

Writing-wise, I tend to gravitate towards guys’ thoughts on relationships, but have enjoyed going outside of that this year, like talking about the world’s next super powers, or military history, or how California is exporting more wine to China. Writing gives you constant intellectual nourishment. I am enjoying more exploration of niche topics. I wrote an article about ancient monks this year.

You have made some bold career changes. Did you view those as risks? How did you overcome the fear of learning and doing something new?

I definitely viewed them as risks and it was actually part of the appeal. I am a bit of a risk seeker. I joined the Marine Corps when I was at UT. I liked the idea of testing myself. This was another way of testing myself. Sticking with the chosen path of finance would have been the safe and optimized path as far as money, but I knew it didn’t really jive in my gut with what I wanted to do. I knew at that gut level that the writing path squared with my deeper motivations, so I was able to ignore the risk and move forward. My business background also provided a safety net. I knew I would always be able to find another job in finance or marketing if I wanted to.

Tell me about the books you have written.

The first book I was approached about writing was The Maxims of Manhood: 100 Rules Every Real Man Must Live By. I don’t claim to be an expert. I just try to be entertaining. After I published that book, I was framed as a “man expert.” My second book was The Man Cave. Clearly that’s my Pulitizer-bait. Andrea Syrtash and I wrote a new book about how dating rules are all dumb, titled It’s Okay to Sleep with Him on the First Date: And Every Other Rule of Dating, Debunked.

I wasn’t prepared for people I knew actually reading my books. When my first book came out, people I hadn’t talked to in years were contacting me about it. That book was very personal. I included more than I would have if I had thought through who would be reading it. It was both cool and horrifying that people I knew – and my parents—were reading it and asking me about parts of it. It is very hard to write about relationships while you are in a relationship and I have made mistakes in the past, revealing maybe more than I should. I don’t do that anymore, but it is still awkward to write about my private life in detail. It is a major career hazard.

As someone who has never been married, what prompted you to start, a website for grooms, and why do you think people connect with your advice?

It was important to us to have a mission of brutal candor and be really honest. We felt like the other websites out there for grooms weren’t true to how guys think. The publisher actually really liked the fact that I wasn’t married. I wasn’t biased by my own experience and I wasn’t accountable to a wife and could be really honest. I do a lot of research and do a lot of interviews to try to instill grooms’ perspectives and voices into my articles.

I think people connect with the irreverence. A spoon full of sarcasm helps the wedding planning go down. The tone is different. I think guys can really relate to my voice.

How do you think BHP prepared you for all you have done?

It pushed me to ask questions, challenge myself, and do new things. I love that I have BHP as my background. My favorite class was advanced stats with Dr. Jay Koehler. He talked about how so much of the world is explained by statistics. It has influenced my writing. That business background—I hope—gives my writing more texture. It has been useful to have a business foundation.  Having done business at the beginning of my career, it gave me more confidence to do something very different and really do what I wanted to do.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned in your career so far?

Say yes. It was especially important at the beginning of my writing career. I had a lot of wacky writing offers that didn’t make sense at first. I tended to say yes and that has opened surprising doors. Now I can look back at my career and see a through-line. The hub is guy’s perspectives on relationships and culture. While I was doing it though, it felt really random. I was open to rolling the dice on new projects, and there were a lot of positive ripple effects.

What is next for you?

I am working on a new book of personal essays about the awkwardness of dating as an adult, defined as being of a certain age when most of your friends are married. There is pressure when the rest of your friends are all married and have children. Also, more freelance writing for magazines.

Any words of wisdom for current BHP students?

I don’t know how wise this is, but I don’t think there is a chosen path that anyone has to follow. No matter what you are studying now or what your interests are now, that might change. Don’t be afraid to explore other interests. Even though it might not be the logical next step, it might pay off in the long run.