From Michelle Hardy, Director of MBA Employer & Alumni Engagement
Each year, Texas MBA Career Management leads Treks to various cities to visit the main offices of different companies, giving students a great opportunity to learn more about their industry of interest and allowing them to become more familiar with the culture at these companies. Visits typically consist of presentations, Q&A sessions, and numerous opportunities for networking with alumni and executive management.
I have been on the Texas MBA Career Management team since 2007. My first role was as a Career Advisor for the Texas Full-Time MBA program. On my second day of work, I found myself on a plane to San Jose, California with 30 students from the Class of 2009 for a Bay Area Trek. That was one of two treks planned in that school year–the other was a fall trek to New York City for Wall Street Investment Banking and Financial Services. Fast forward to Spring 2016: I am now on the MBA Employer Relations team (formed in 2010) and we have planned 15 student Career Treks for the 2015-2016 school year.
Clearly, we have seen a lot of change in the past eight years. One of the biggest trends has been an enormous increase in student career interest in the West Coast. When I started at McCombs, 9% of our graduates landed jobs on the West Coast–we’ve nearly doubled that percentage with the class of 2014! Interest in technology companies has exploded, making it a large area of focus for our Employer Relations team.
Complementing those two trends, West Coast tech companies have been opening offices and/or growing their corporate presence in Austin i.e., Facebook, Google, Apple, Cisco Systems, eBay, PayPal, VMware and Electronic Arts just to name a few. We continue to build our relationships with these firms, as well as seeking new opportunities.
We have also seen every facet of student interest in entrepreneurship increase, from coming into the program already running a firm, or founding a company in business school, to working at a startup or fast growing company post-graduation.
In response, we have created many unique opportunities for MBA students to network with and connect to the startup community. We now host a biannual McCombs Entrepreneurship Night, which showcases startups founded by McCombs MBA students and/or alumni.
That event is held in conjunction with Austin Startup Week in the fall and during SXSW Interactive in the spring. We capitalize on SXSW, hosting a student-run booth during the SXSW trade show, allowing those students access to the 400+ companies showcased during the week-long event. The contacts we make during these events are invited to our Entrepreneur Society (ES) events during the school year, such as the Pitch Party in the Fall and ES Connex in the spring, a networking night for local startups looking to hire interns or full-time candidates.
The one thing that holds true across my tenure with the Texas MBA is the importance of our alumni as the key to companies opening their doors to our students.
We created a new team last year under the MBA Employer Relations umbrella to focus on MBA alumni engagement with both current and prospective students. We have come a long way and are excited about the future employment opportunities that await our Texas MBAs!
The Texas MBA Career Treks scheduled for the 2016-2016 school year include:
Houston Energy Finance
Houston Investment Banking (Twice!)
Dallas Asset Management
Austin Asset Management
Austin Big Tech
New York Investment Banking