MBA Student Life in Austin:
The City, Campus, and Culture

As an MBA student at Texas McCombs, your world-class education comes with access to the vibrant city of Austin. Ranked as the #1 place to live in the U.S., there is always something to do in the Texas capital. Our local Longhorn network extends far beyond Texas McCombs, and you will enjoy all the outside-the-classroom perks that come with being a student at The University of Texas at Austin. 

The Silicon Hills

Nicknamed “Silicon Hills,” Austin has become a hub for technology and entrepreneurship. With companies like IBM, Google, Intel, Apple, National Instruments, Oracle, Dell, and Samsung growing their presence in the city, Austin ranks as the no. 1 place in America to start a business and the no. 2 best city for startups. Austin is home to about 5,500 startups and tech companies, hosts an annual Austin Startup Week, and is home to one of the biggest tech business innovation showcases in the world– SXSW.

The city is also geographically small enough that the Google Offices are only a twenty-block, bike ride from campus, unlike megalopolises like New York and Los Angeles.

“The largest factors of my attendance decision were corporate partnerships, program culture, and location. The growing presence of tech companies in Austin, TX was an attractive option for full time employment, and I loved the strength of the relationship between McCombs and the city. While it was important to me to join a prestigious program, I would not have done so at the sacrifice of a cultural fit.”

— Kyle Johnson, MBA Class of 2021

The University of Texas also has strong ties with growing industries in The Texas Triangle–Houston, Austin, and Dallas. In a recent interview with Menlo Coaching, Rodrigo Malta, Managing Director of MBA Recruiting and Admissions, highlighted the advantages of the incredible location of Texas McCombs, life in Austin, MBA Fellows Programs, and job placement opportunities outside of Texas.

Thumbnail to a video produced by Menlo Coaching of an interview with Rodrigo Malta

Austin and its neighboring cities, Houston and Dallas, offer more to students now than ever before with industries like tech, real estate, and consulting booming—all headquartered in central Texas.

In the interview above,  Rodrigo highlights that Houston is famous for its energy and banking sectors– Shell, BP, and Exxon-Mobil are all headquartered or partially headquartered in Houston, making the city a hot market for energy-focused MBAs. Investment banks in Houston also have strong energy practices,  broadening the scope of careers.

Dallas is a mix of little of everything, but consulting and manufacturing are especially strong with companies like BCG, Ericsson, and Toyota calling Dallas home.

“The city itself gives our students a lab in which to put into practice what they are learning in the classroom. What really differentiates us from other business schools is the relationship that the university has with the city of Austin.”  –Rodrigo Malta, in an interview with Menlo Coaching 

What’s on Campus

Step outside Rowling Hall, and be immersed by The University of Texas campus. Head to the gym for a quick workout, a swim, a quick basketball game, climb on our rock wall or relax in the sauna. Our facilities also offer massage sessions and classes in yoga, various levels of exercise, different sports training, CPR, First Aid and Wilderness Medicine, and more. 

Students are also granted free admission to museums in Austin. The Harry Ransom Center that specializes in collecting literary and cultural artifacts like the Gutenburg Bible and the first photo ever taken–the Niépce Heliograph. Our other museums around campus include The Blanton Museum of Art, the LBJ Presidential Library, the Texas Memorial Museum, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.

 

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The City’s Culture

In recent years, Austin has been noted as one of the best travel destinations with 27.4 million domestic visitors annually. During the day, outdoor enthusiasts can float along the Colorado River by paddle-board, canoe or kayak, dive into the Barton Springs Pool, or take a hike at the Barton Creek Greenbelt. At sunset, watch as hundreds of bats fly out from under the South Congress Bridge. 

Austin locals swimming in lake.

Locals enjoy the springs outside of Barton Creek pool. Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash.

Our “Keep Austin Weird” mantra is noted for the city’s live music, art galleries and shows, festivals of all kinds, and countless breweries. The popular South Congress Avenue, SoCo for short, is home to the famous “I love you so much” mural,  Homeslice Pizza, and many unique shops and boutiques.

“From the first time I stepped foot in Austin, I’ve been amazed by the energy and vibrancy of the city. Although all great business schools offer tons of resources, Texas McCombs’ seamless integration with the surrounding city was a huge factor in my decision. There’s nowhere else I could experience being at the nexus of equally amazing academic, technology, and entrepreneurial communities, all whilst eating some proper Texas barbecue.”   — Alice Xu, MBA Class of 2021

For a night out, visitors and residents alike head to Sixth Street or Rainey Street, two of the busiest bar districts, for their late-night drinks. Sixth Street is the main entertainment district in Austin with something different at every end with an abundant amount of bars to choose from. Rainey Street, while busy, is more relaxed. The street is lined with houses that were renovated into bars and is popular for its brunch scene on Sundays.

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Our Longhorn Community

Texas McCombs welcomes around 270 full-time MBA students a year, which is perfect for fostering a collaborative, tight-knit student environment. With over 40 different professional, social, and community-centered student organizations, there is a place for everyone.

The Texas Alumni Network is one of the largest in the world with more than 500,000 UT Alumni, 100,000 McCombs Alumni, 25,000 MBA Alumni and more than 30 Alumni Chapters. 

“I had three main reasons to choose McCombs: The collaborative culture of the school that leads to owning one of the best networks, the world class career management center that guides you through one of the best recruiting experience ever, and the new mini silicon valley of the USA – Austin. After all, MBA for me was all about building professional relations, career progression, and exposure to potential hubs of the future.”

 — Haimanti Gupta, MBA Class of 2021

We are deeply committed to developing a supportive alumni network and dedicated career staff that can tailor your experience to get you where you want to be. With more than 200 unique employers and over 1,300 on-campus interviews,  rest assured that the Texas McCombs MBA program will help you launch your dream career at every step of the way.

Master's candidates are presented with their degrees during a MBA graduation celebration at Gregory Gym on May 19, 2017. Photo by Lauren Gerson DeLeon.


Stay up to date with all things McCombs by subscribing to our newsletter and visit our website. Follow our Instagram to see more about If you have any questions, please reach out to MBA Admissions. Hook ’em!

Diversity Weekend 2019 Recap

This October, the MBA program welcomed 84 future MBA students to Austin for our annual Discover McCombs: Diversity Weekend, which focuses on increasing underrepresented populations in business school. The two-day event brought attendees together to meet current students, alumni, and McCombs faculty and staff to see first-hand all that Texas McCombs has to offer. 

McCombs pop up banner that reads "powering positive change."

Networking in the Heart of Austin

The event kicked off on Friday, October 25th at Facebook Austin for a welcome reception filled with food & drinks and networking. Partnering with Facebook was integral to delivering an authentic Austin business experience for our guests.

Kyle Johnson, MBA ’21 and a student ambassador for MBA admissions, shared his thoughts as an event co-lead at the networking reception:

I am excited to be here at Diversity Weekend. This was a pivotal event for me last year when I was deciding what school to come to. I had a great time interacting with prospective students and giving them a candid view of what life as a Longhorn is like.”

The fun didn’t stop there. After the reception, attendees received glow sticks in different colors and were invited to hang out at Upstairs at Caroline, a popular Austin nightspot, for a casual night out with current MBA students.

Getting to Know Texas McCombs

group photo of current students at diversity weekend.

Current MBA students gearing up to welcome attendees.

On Saturday, October 26th, starting in the morning, attendees gathered for breakfast and were warmly welcomed by McCombs’s Assistant Dean of the Full-Time MBA Program, Tina Mabley. Then, panels of students shared their experiences in the program and MBA Career & Talent Development Consultant, Scott Brownlee, presented our globally-recognized Career Management team and resources. An alumni panel closed out the morning with a discussion about navigating post-MBA life.

 

“I think it’s really important to have events like these because there’s a lot of stereotypes about business school,” said Kathie Xiao, MBA ’20, “Someone might look at the stats when they’re applying to business schools and feel like they don’t see themselves in those statistics. We’re really making an effort to make everyone feel included and have a good experience.” 

At noon, attendees joined a networking lunch with current MBA students. Complementing the student panel, this is where MBAs were able to offer more personalized, candid insight and valuable tips for applying to McCombs. Among the topics discussed in conversations were “class culture,” “commuting to campus,” and how the cost of living prices compare across Austin. 

After lunch, we were proud to spotlight two of our professors for Mock Class Breakouts: Professor Badolato from the Department of Accounting, and Professor Murphy from the Department of Management. These class breakouts gave applicants the opportunity to immerse themselves in student life by highlighting classes from our core curriculum, which every student takes during their first year in the program.

Alumni Panel at Diversity weekend

Texas McCombs MBA alumni panel at Diversity Weekend, 2019.

Diversity Weekend came to a close with several speakers sharing insight on why getting an MBA is a worthwhile venture. First, Executive Communication Coach, Nadina Sandlin, led a workshop on understanding and communicating your value and personal brand. Similarly, our keynote speaker and Microsoft’s Head of Global Talent Optimization, Monica Pool Knox, spoke about her professional journey after getting her MBA at Texas McCombs, and how the program helped shape both her career and the way she thinks about the world around her. Finally, if there were any lingering questions, a second panel of first and second-year MBAs discussed their paths to pursuing their degree, the culture and community at McCombs, and what life in Austin is truly like.

“Austin is very diverse in every sense of the word: Diversity of thought, experience, backgrounds,” said Kyle Johnson. “You can be who you want to be here, and I love that.”

Diversity weekend organizers

MBA Admissions staff Jaden Felix and Rebecca St. Nicholas, and students Carmen Kuncz, Lola Sholola, Vicky Wu, and Kyle Johnson.

Texas McCombs is grateful to all that attended, and to the teams of people that made this event so successful. The event might have ended, but our commitment to fostering a welcoming space for our community is constant.

“It’s two years of your life,” said Kathie. “You really want to be able to give back and leave the place hopefully better than when you came.”


If you have any questions, please reach out to MBA Admissions. For more information on our community and programs, check out our website. Hook ’em!

National First-Gen College Day
at McCombs

In conjunction with UT’s First-Generation College Celebration and the National First-Generation College Celebration this week, we’re proud to highlight several first-generation students in our Texas McCombs MBA community. 

Jose Carlos Rojas

Jose's headshot photo.

Jose Rojas
MBA at Houston ’20

Jose is a first-generation college graduate and Texas McCombs at Houston MBA ’20 student. The hardest thing about being first-gen, he says, was having, “no reference point,” he could go back to as he immersed himself in college. He explains the journey as being lonely as his parents tried their best to understand and help him adjust to this new environment. Despite the challenges, his motivation and dedication to his family were key factors to his academic success. 

 

“After my family and I moved from Chile, I always felt an obligation to make my parents’ sacrifices worth it. I see them work very hard and I continue to strive to alleviate some of that burden from them. I started looking at MBAs once I saw my career pick up steam. I have gathered a lot of technical knowledge through my experience and felt that I needed to round myself out by pairing it with some business acumen. I chose Texas McCombs because of its great reputation, world-class faculty, and the flexibility it allowed me to have without having to quit my job.”

When asked about what advice he would give to other first-gen students, Jose strongly believes in the value of community, and that you don’t need to go through this difficult journey on your own. Currently, he’s working on getting his younger sister into college, and trying to ease any stress points she’s presently encountering that he’s been able to overcome.

“Surround yourself with people that will help, motivate and care for you. There’s value in not making college just about studying: Join clubs and activities to immerse yourself into your college and get a full experience.”

Emy Hernandez

Emy with her parents at graduation.

“For my parents, they came with nothing and gave me everything.”

Emy is a Texas McCombs MBA at Houston alumna. Her family, who only had a primary school education, inspired her and her sister to pursue higher education, instilling the value of having access to education from an early age. For Emy, having a strong community and support system to guide her has been a key factor in her success. 

“Find your community within the school that you are in, and find a mentor, staff member, or professor who can help guide your decisions. Being the first in your family to attend college, whether undergraduate or graduate school, can be intimidating and it is important that students know there is someone who can guide them.”

Along her journey towards higher education, Hernandez had difficulty dealing with Imposter Syndrome. Nevertheless, Emy is proof that you can overcome any challenge with hard work, dedication and strong support systems.

“Do not be afraid to take the next step in your personal and professional life; whether you’re applying for a new job or pursuing an additional degree. I am a Latina, queer, daughter of immigrants, inner-city Houston-raised, and graduate of a high school known as a ‘drop-out factory’ – the statistics were against me. It wasn’t easy, and today I am proud of what I have accomplished and I know my parents and my community are too.”

Waldo Arreola

Headshot for Waldo Arreola

Waldo Arreola
Full-Time MBA ’20

Waldo is a first-generation Full-Time Class of 2020 MBA at Texas McCombs. As a child, he was raised by “hard-working immigrant parents” that highly encouraged his intellectual development, and his interest in puzzles and systems within math and science, which eventually led to a bachelor’s degree in engineering & management. 

During his time as an undergrad and graduate student, Arreola struggled to adjust to the demands that time management and personal accountability have on students. However, having strong mentorships and student involvement helped him stay engaged, help others and invest in his future.

“Be curious! Ask questions! Connect with people! Get involved! First-generation students might not have as many resources as others, including networks, and might have the added pressure of supporting family members with their personal success, so it is critical to be engaged and deliberate as you pursue your personal and professional goals.”


If you have any questions, please reach out to MBA Admissions. For more information on our community and programs, check out our website. Hook ’em!

The Military Community at
Texas McCombs

Texas McCombs recognizes the value military veterans bring to our programs. Our community is one of support and dedication helping prepare you for career success, which is why our MBA is consistently a top program for veterans. This November, in honor of Veterans Day on 11/11, the MBA program honors all of our active and former military students and supporters.

Scholarships, Financial Aid and Career Support

All veterans are eligible to receive our merit-based admissions scholarships and are automatically considered for these upon applying to the program. Veterans will also automatically receive a waiver for the application fee upon submitting their application to the program.

The UT Austin Office of Student Veteran Services is available to help MBA veterans navigate federal and state education benefits as well as connecting them with additional grants and scholarships that may be available to them. Student Veterans Services also offers academic support, health care, and wellness services and helps foster a community among veterans across the UT Austin campus.

No matter what your goals are, our MBA Career Management team, with dedicated counselors for each program, based in Austin, Houston, and Dallas/Fort Worth, offers endless resources for helping you discover your strengths and relevant transferable skills that will make you stand out.

Military Student Organizations

Texas Veterans in Business is the primary student organization for military MBAs. TViB draws parallels between military principals and skills to be successful in business. The org is also a great way to get connected with other military MBAs and participate in community events. 

The Student Veterans Association is dedicated to creating a welcoming social environment for veterans and their families, providing information on relocating to Austin, and offering programs to promote academic and professional success.

Rebecca Larson, President of the association says their goal is to provide a sense of belonging at UT. “We also aim to be a positive example and advocate for other non-traditional student population,” she says. “Our events provide a social setting for our members and their friends and family to bond, relax, and network with those who share a similar background.”

Austin and the Military Community

The city is not only “The Live Music Capital of the World,” but is also a growing hub for technology, healthcare, media and more. WalletHub ranked Austin as the No. 1 place to live for veterans based on employment, economy, health, and the quality of life in 2018.

There are several organizations in Austin that host celebrations or events for our military community throughout the year, including the annual Austin Veterans Day Parade, the Austin Veteran Arts Fest, and Capital Factory’s Veterans in Tech Summit.

The Air Force debuted its latest technology innovation hub in Austin last summer within the Capital Factory. AFWERX Austin specializes in integrating innovative technologies with Air Force programs, augmented and Virtual Reality technologies for Airmen training, and rapid testing and evaluation with Air Force stakeholders. 

Austin is also home to the U.S. Army Futures Command, which has grown from 12 to 24,000 personnel, in only one year. The command was created to oversee the Army’s modernization efforts and is now the Army’s largest reorganization effort in more than 40 years. Austin was chosen as the headquarters location for the “combination of top-tier academic talent, cutting edge industry and an innovative private sector,” said Secretary of the Army at that time Mark T. Esper. UT Austin is serving as a long-term partner and a research hub for the Army Futures Command as faculty and students work with the Army on areas of mutual interest and help to solve problems to serve our country.

Events to Learn More About our Military MBA Community

This year, we are offering two webinars for our future military MBAs. These webinars are virtual info sessions hosted by admissions staff and current students to talk about our programs, student life, career transition, and the application process.  

Military Community: Texas McCombs Full-Time MBA
Wednesday, November 6, 2019,  12:00 – 1:00 PM CST
Register Now

Military Community: Working Professional & Executive MBA
Thursday, November 14, 2019, 12:00 – 12:45 PM CST
Register Now

Discover McCombs: Military Weekend

Our annual MBA Military Weekend is also coming in April. This event is your opportunity to meet and network with MBA faculty, staff, veterans enrolled in our program, and McCombs military alumni. Military Weekend will also feature resources to help you successfully transition from your military career to a top MBA. Registration for Military Weekend is coming soon so please monitor our events page.

Current Military MBAs

Caroline Green
Full-Time MBA ’21

Caroline Green completed a six-year military commitment in June 2019 where she worked as an Internal Medicine Physician in the U.S. Air Force. She holds a B.S in Biological Sciences and a B.A in English from the University of Norte Dame and an M.D. from Georgetown University School of Medicine. She decided to pursue her MBA to help push for systematic change in the U.S. healthcare system and hopes that learning “the language of business” will help her advocate for both doctors and patients.  

Why McCombs?

Coming from a medical training background, I honestly didn’t know where to start in evaluating different schools.  Researching school culture was difficult as I was applying from an overseas location, but I combed the school’s website, followed the school’s social media platforms, and was able to get a great sense of the culture from questions I asked during my interview. I knew Austin has great hospital systems as well as a medical school with a strong focus on healthcare innovation, so proximity to these institutions was also attractive. McCombs also has a very flexible curriculum that would support my career ambitions.”

I felt that this school genuinely emphasized its commitment to support veterans, women, and mothers. I am a member of all of these subgroups of students, and felt very welcomed and encouraged to apply. I felt that the interest and attention each individual gave me was genuine and heartfelt.”

Austin Price
Full-Time MBA ’21

Austin Price served for six years in the Marine Corps as an Intelligence Officer after graduating from the United States Naval Academy. He led teams in analyzing crucial developments of technology and the broader international relationships in geopolitics. He decided to pursue his MBA after realizing that he was interested in the tech sector, pushing innovation, or in the finance sector, analyzing markets.

Why McCombs?

“I knew that I wanted to work within the tech or the asset management space. McCombs immediately leaped out as a clear leader in both areas, with the massive growth in the Apple, Google, Facebook, and Oracle presence in the area and the MBA Investment Fund, the first and one of the largest of its kind. When I came to interview, I immediately connected with a fellow veteran in his first year in the program, and his description of the program and the amazing new facility completely sold me on coming here. Having now spent several months in Austin and in the program, I am so glad I came here. I would put our location, climate, job opportunities, and local affordability against any other MBA program.”

“The passion with which every student seems to live their life surprised me. No matter what you want to focus on, from studies to community impact, to the Austin food or outdoor scene, to just plain fun, it is easy to find someone who is willing to do something with. I can just drop a message into one of our Slack channels and be playing volleyball at Zilker Park a few hours later.”

headshot for Elijah Tramble

Elijah Tramble
MBA at Houston  ’20

Elijah Tramble is an Active Duty Acquisitions Officer in the Air Force and a Working Professional MBA student at our McCombs campus in Houston. Elijah saw the opportunity to continue his development and gain a diverse perspective in a weekend program..

Why McCombs?

“I was spending a lot of time researching evolving trends in space and cyber technology while implementing organizational change initiatives to improve the products we developed. I became really interested in how to build a highly effective organization that stayed on the forefront of technology. I knew how the military did it, but was interested in how other small and large organizations dealt with this challenge. Business school seemed like a great environment to learn from the diverse experiences of faculty and classmates. I was impressed by the excitement and quality of the people I met when visiting McCombs. The professors not only had an academic perspective but most of them also had practical experience to share. The admissions counselor – Jennipher Cole, was authentic and incredibly helpful throughout the process making it an easy decision.”

Cameron Gilmore's headshot

Cameron Gilmore
MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth  ’20

Cameron Gilmore proudly served as a logistics officer in the United States Army. During his time he was able to serve as a platoon leader, executive officer, company commander and senior program manager. Cameron realized that while he had leadership and operations experience he was lacking the corporate experience and context that would separate him from other top candidates.

Why McCombs?

“I chose McCombs because it was the top-ranked program in Dallas/Fort Worth that placed an emphasis on community partnership and student collaboration. In addition, the career services support alongside the University of Texas brand and network made my decision easy. I have used my time at McCombs, in conjunction with working in financial services, to hone the skills necessary to best position myself for success as a leader in Corporate America.”

 


Stay up to date with all things McCombs by subscribing to our newsletter

We hope you’ll come visit us in Austin to learn more about how the Texas McCombs and UT Austin Communities support our Military MBAs. If you have any questions, please let us know.

Hook ‘em!

First Look: Executive MBA
Class of 2021

The Round 1 application deadline is approaching for our Executive MBA, currently ranked #8 in the U.S. by Poets and Quants, and our admissions committee is preparing to put together another elite class of students to bring their skills and experience to the McCombs network.

This past August, our newest enrolled students started their MBA journey at Rowling Hall. Introducing the Executive MBA Class of 2021:

stats for the Executive MBA program class of 2021.

 

The Executive MBA welcomed 48 top-caliber business professionals to the Texas McCombs MBA network with women leaders making up 21% and international students making up 18%.  We also have a growing military population throughout all programs at McCombs with 10 veteran students included in our Executive class this year.

These executives represent a wide array of industries, including technology, energy, government, banking and finance, and consulting. Our students also have rich educational backgrounds, as 27% of the class already hold advanced degrees.

They also have an average of 14 years of experience, signaling their skills in managing teams, decision-making, and entrepreneurship. Their experiences will challenge and inspire one another in order to reach new heights in their careers over the next two years in Austin.

As Austin continues to grow, 28% of Executive students live outside the Austin metro area and commute to the city every other weekend for classes. Commuters are not uncommon for the program and all students benefit from the strong, expansive business culture of McCombs and Austin.


We feel humbled by the amazing experiences and perspectives making up the Texas McCombs MBA Class of 2021 and cannot wait to see what they accomplish during their time in the program. If you’d like to join them as part of the Texas McCombs MBA network, start your application!  

To learn more about the MBA, download our brochure, check out other Executive MBA events, or follow us on Instagram for an inside look at student life. We look forward to meeting you and reading your application.

Hook ’em!

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