Category: Austin (page 1 of 3)

Connect with the Texas MBA Program at SXSW 2017!

SXSW 2017 is almost here! The Texas MBA program is gearing up for panels, pitches, and parties. Register to join us at one of the many events happening around Austin, and follow the conversation at #WhyMcCombs.

McCombs Entrepreneurship Night

Kick off SXSW 2017 with the Texas MBA and Texas MSTC programs on Saturday, March 11th, where you’ll have the opportunity to network with SXSW attendees, local entrepreneurs, McCombs students, faculty, and alumni!

This event is held at 3Ten ACL Live & is open to the public with RSVP. Priority access will be given to SXSW Badge holders, so be sure to arrive early. Due to capacity restrictions, RSVP does not guarantee entry.

Meet These MBA Startups at E-ship Night!

More McCombs & UT at SXSW

In addition to McCombs Entrepreneurship Night, UT & McCombs are hosting a series of SXSW events. Don’t miss these opportunities for networking, professional development, and fun!

Date
Event
Access
Event Info
March 11–12 UT Live @ SXSW SXSW Badge or Wristband required UT Live is two days of panels, parties, and exhibitions led by the brightest minds at The University of Texas at Austin. The event will highlight the research, innovation and thought leadership of UT’s faculty, students and programs.
March 13 ATX Startup Crawl Free and open to the public Stop by to say hello, pick up some swag, and learn more about the Texas MBA program, Texas MSTC, and the Jon Brumley Texas Venture Labs.
March 15 Entrepreneurship and Higher Education panel SXSW Badge or Wristband required Discussion of the pros and cons of higher education as it relates to starting your own company. Panel hosted by McCombs, the MBA Entrepreneur Society, and the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship.
March 15 PitchTexas MBA Pitch Competition Finals SXSW Badge or Wristband required MBA startup pitch competition hosted by the McCombs School of Business, the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship and the MBA Entrepreneur Society. Finalists will pitch their startup ideas at the SXSW Startup Village.

Check this SXSW 2017 Preview on the McCombs TODAY blog to consider other sessions featuring members of the McCombs community. For more info about the Texas MBA programs, visit our Facebook page or contact us!

See you at SXSW 2017!

Professional or Executive: Which MBA Program is Right for You?

This Insider info is from Sharon Barrett, Director of Working Professional & Executive MBA Admissions:

If you compare the class profiles of our Texas Executive MBA and our Professional MBAs (Texas Evening MBA, Texas MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth, and Texas MBA at Houston programs), the differences can seem quite obvious. But there’s actually a broad grey area, career-wise, where many professionals could fit very well in either type of program.

In the end, it’s your call on where to submit your application, but remember it’s a two way street. You decide where you belong, and the admissions committee agrees. Here is some advice on how to make an informed choice about which MBA program would be your best fit.

Consider Your Level & Years of Work Experience Carefully.

Here’s our average work experience for the Texas MBA Program:

Program 80% Range Minimum
Professional MBA 3.25-11 years 2 years
Executive MBA 8-22 years 8 years

While people with the minimum eight years of experience do join the Executive MBA program, there are relatively few. Executive MBA candidates become more competitive within the 9-10 year range of work experience. On the other hand, Professional MBA candidates must have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience, and candidates get competitive with closer to four years. The admissions committee doesn’t simply count the years, but evaluates the quality of your work experience (the impact you’ve made to your organization, advancement in your role or responsibilities, and other factors), and also your level within the organization.

Generally, students in the Executive MBA have managed people, either directly or dotted-line, as well as budgets. Some rose to this level sooner in their careers than others. If you work in a small organization, your responsibilities can elevate very quickly. There are many manager level employees in the Professional MBA programs as well, but also quite a few individual contributors.

Executive MBA candidates on the low end of work experience and unsure of whether or not they would be a fit, should request a resume review. A short chat with a member of the admissions committee can allay any doubts about whether or not your work experience is appropriate and/or competitive.

Visit a Class to Get a Firsthand Experience to Gauge Your Fit.

There’s no better way to self-assess than to sit in on an actual MBA class, especially one of the discussion-based ones. You can sign up now for an Executive MBA, Evening MBA, MBA at Houston, or MBA at Dallas/Fort Worth class visit now.

During the class, you’ll witness the collaborative and team-based environment that’s a big part of the fabric here at McCombs. The questions you should be asking yourself during your visit are: What can I contribute to this conversation? What assets would I bring to my study team?

Start Your Application by Our Next Deadline: March 7th, 2017

Texas MBAs are collegial, yet competitive. And the program you join will define your close-knit, professional network while in the program and beyond. Attend an event soon, or reach out to us with questions. Strategic thought about where you begin your relationship with the Texas MBA network sets you off on the right foot for your MBA journey and your career goals beyond the program. Ready to apply?

Hook ‘Em! \m/

Learning on the Job with MBA+ Projects

I know, you’re pouring over the McCombs website doing your due diligence researching all of the great programs the Texas MBA Program has to offer, and you’ve most likely come across the MBA+ Leadership Program.

Those smiling faces and their Starbucks aprons. “I want to try out my new b-school skills consulting for real live companies!”, you think. I know, because I wrote about it in my application essays, too. It is one of the unique experiential learning programs that drew me to McCombs. Now that I’m a real life McCombs student doing a real live MBA+ project, I’d like to share a report from the front lines.

First, it’s worth saying that I had no idea what to expect. I came to McCombs from the education sector, so I knew very little about business or consulting, except that I wanted to learn the tricks of the trade. Consulting (and all things business, for that matter) seemed like a black box. You put numbers and analysis and strategy meetings in on one end, and out come decisions.

For my MBA+ project, I’m working with Deloitte’s Human Capital practice to research the impact of the “Industrial Internet of Things” on people. How will workplaces change? How will people’s jobs change? How can companies proactively position themselves in the midst of this change? It sounds pretty high-level and vague, but the reality of the project has been more than I imagined: more company face time, more learning, and more fun.

DELOITTE 2015

1. Company Face Time

We interface with a team of six Deloitte employees who are company leaders at various levels. Across the board they have bent over backwards to make themselves available and to make this a positive experience for the McCombs team. Senior consultants fresh out of McCombs help to guide and navigate us through the process, and senior partners generously take our calls and emails. Everyone provides thoughtful advice and feedback. Who knows how many potentially billable hours of their time we’ve racked up at this point…

As a “nontraditional” student interested in transitioning to strategy consulting, it’s been an excellent way to hit the ground running right from the beginning. It’s true that making an office visit is a great way to get a feel for what it would be like to work at that company. Doing a MBA+ project is even better, in my opinion. You get a feel for what makes the company tick,  you know people at the company, and they know you.

2. Learning

I knew literally nothing about consulting at the start of this project. In the words of one of my fellow MBA+ teammates, “I thought a vertical was how high you could jump.” We’re halfway through our project, and I can say that I now understand what consultants do (kind of) and how to do it (ok, that’s a gross overstatement, but I know more than I did).

I’ve learned from my peers, many of whom are former consultants, and can style the heck out of a PowerPoint deck. And I’ve learned from jumping in. Week one of the project we were meeting with senior consultants who were giving us the rundown on the project trajectory. Week two we were on a call with partners. Week six we were presenting to those same partners.

And from all that work, I now feel like I’m starting to gain two very consultant-y (and generally useful regardless of industry and function) skills: I’m comfortable with ambiguity and I can work with a team to structure an unstructured problem. They’re skills I already had, but the project has helped to refine them, strengthen them, and make me view them in a new light.

3. Fun

On our launch call, an hour into a slew of tips and frameworks and ideas from Deloitte, one of the higher ups closed with this advice:

“You’re getting to do consulting without any of the downsides—don’t forget to have fun! There’s no downside, only an upside.”

I’ve gotten to work with five stellar fellow first years and have gotten to know them and learn from them. We’ve gotten to play consultant and present in a fancy downtown conference room. We got to spend hours reading fascinating research, talking to industry leaders, and coaxing a neat, structured final deliverable out of the mass of available information. It’s basically a playground for a b-school nerd. What more could you want?

Is it hard to focus on the project because there is a ton of other things going on at this point in the semester, most of which involves grades? Yes. Does the project help to ground me in the reasons I came here in the first place, and give me a taste of what I can do on the other side of this place? Heck, yes. So when you get here, just know that your very own MBA+ project awaits!

How to Survive as a Liberal Arts Major Turned MBA

When you hear “debit,” do you think about your bank card? What about statistics? Does it make your stomach churnI Regret Nothing - Friends GIF just a bit? Is Excel only a program that’s used to conveniently sort rows and rows of data? In undergrad, did you purposefully avoid expensive calculators and figuring out what X was (again!)? If so, you’re probably one of my fellow liberal arts majors: Journalism, human resources, psychology, history, the list goes on and on.

While we know that most of our majors are divergent in practice, there is at least one glaring common thread that binds our educational and professional experiences together: Relatively minimal math.

Now, this is definitely not a slight to any of you that may actually regularly use quantitative skills on a daily or even weekly basis in your current position. However, notice that I said “relatively minimal.” Compared to many of your classmates who will be sitting next to you on the first day of class, you’re behind the math curve, and in the MBA classroom, learning these skills isn’t just part of the curriculum – it’s an expectation, and if you’re less familiar than those who have more advanced skills in these areas, the effort to maintain pace can become much more exacerbated.

So, let’s assume that you’ve taken the GMAT, you’re pleased with your score, and you’ve submitted your applications. Now what? Well, as you prepare for interviews, and even after you’ve plunked down your deposit on your choice program, it’s time to strengthen those quantitative muscles so that you’re able to flex them on day one.

Pro Tips! Here’s a list of things I recommend for those idle days pre-MBA:

    • Take an Intro to _____ class: Fill in the blank on this one. At McCombs, our core classes are very quant-heavy. In the first quarter of the semester, you’ll take Accounting, Finance, and Statistics, and in the second quarter, you only build on the skills you learned in the first, so it’s very easy to become overwhelmed if you’re not familiar with the material. Further, many in your class will have been a strong business or engineering background, so many of the concepts will be more review for them and may be completely new and foreign to you. Taking an MBA-level stats class as your first statistics class has a very steep learning curve, so audit a community college Intro to Statistics or Intro to Finance class during the spring or summer. If you’re able to know what a Z table is before the first day of class, you’re already one step ahead of where I was. An added advantage of taking a class at a local junior college is that it begins to prepare you to actually be back in the classroom, which will help with the initial transition from work back to school.
    • Read up on Excel: I used to think I was really good at Excel, but it turns out, it was only because everyone around me was not as good. Lesson learned: It’s all relative. I have a classmate on my study team who is a former IT analyst, and when we worked on Excel models together for homework, I would never, ever see him touch his mouse. He was a true Excel ninja, and the rest of my study team were in absolute amazement. Don’t take this to mean that you have to learn all of the Excel functions, shortcuts, and formulas before you begin your program, but you should have more than a basic understanding of what Excel is able to do prior to your first class. I recommend reading Marketing Analytics by Wayne Winston, which is our textbook for Analytics of Markets. It’s not a book that you read at leisure (it’s over 700 pages), but it does show you step-by-step how to use Excel functions in ways that you will be expected to know. The best part is that on the book’s website there are a ton of Excel spreadsheets that serve as companions for the exercises in the book, so you’re actually getting hands-on experience. Also, you may ask someone who knows Excel pretty well to sit down with you and teach you the basics, but it’s a bit more difficult to do this when you don’t know what you don’t know.
    • Don’t be scared of numbers: It took me a while to decide to come back to get my MBA because I was honestly scared of numbers. Studying for the GMAT helped me to mitigate that avoidance a bit, but I wish I had done more to really prepare for MBA-level math because the concepts come quick and it only builds from there. Go to a used book store and get an MBA-level textbook, read the chapters, and do the practice problems. The best thing you can do as a student who has more qualitative skills than quantitative skills is to recognize that and commit time and energy into strengthening those areas. On the first day of class, you want to feel like you have a reasonably good idea of the segments of the curriculum, which will strengthen your ability to positively contribute to the class.
    • Utilize free online courses: There are so many free remote learning resources available, and I would recommend browsing sites such as Coursera.org or Smart.ly to find a course that is most tailored to the skill gaps that you may have. My favorite site pre-B-school was Coursera. It includes dozens of free MBA classes that are taught by top MBA professors. For instance, I enrolled in a free accounting class, which allowed me to really understand the basic and more advanced concepts before I began my actual coursework. An alternative to these sites is MBAMath.com. It’s a bit dry in its delivery, but the content is absolutely necessary. Although it does have a flat annual subscription fee, it’s minimal, and you are able to access the site throughout the year for supplemental learning as you continue through your actual MBA coursework.

Good Luck and Hook ’em!

How We “Slack” in The Texas Executive MBA Program

slack user growth

Slack is a new online collaboration tool (and is super addictive!) [.gif source]

If you read the title of this post and thought it would be about Executive MBAs slacking off, you’re about to be slightly disappointed. Slack is a new, hyper-addictive online messaging tool that the Texas Executive MBA Class of 2016 started using last August, before our first seminar, to communicate with one another. One of our classmates, Josh Treviño, uses Slack at his office and suggested we set up a team account. Slowly but surely, students began trickling in, tentatively posting questions about pre-readings or class schedules.

The early days of our Slack environment were like being in a library: a place to request or look for information, quietly and without bothering anyone.

Fast-forward to nearly a year later, and our Slack team is more like a bustling conference at a convention center, with hallways and rooms to duck in and out of, people laughing in one corner and others sharing useful tips and tricks in another. Not only has Slack helped us find the program information we need, but many credit the tool with our class’s ability to form strong bonds with one another. Inspired by Bill Morein’s How We Slack at FiftyThree, which discusses business uses for Slack, we wanted to share how Slack has helped busy students like us, as Slack’s tagline promises, “be less busy.”

slack for education and universities

General Channel

We have one channel, #general, that anyone can join – and pretty much everyone has. This is where the chit-chat takes place, and can run the gamut from people asking questions about which elective to take, to updates received by individual students about the program, to people testing out their Slackbot-programming skills.

Class Channels

Channels named after our classes each semester help keep things organized. Think #financial-management, #managerial-economics or #strategic-management. If you’ve got a class-related question, need to track down a file, or are just looking for some motivation to work on a paper or study for a big test, this is the place to do business. These channels are archived by the moderators a few weeks after classes wrap up so they don’t use up valuable storage space.

Funny Quotes Channel

Being in one of the Top 20 MBA programs in the country means you’re always surrounded by smart, quick-witted people, whether they are your classmates or professors. A few weeks into our first semester, there were so many funny verbal exchanges happening in and out of class that often times were also some of the best learning moments. #funnyquotes is where the greatest ones get memorialized. A gem from the #funnyquotes feed recently: “Shake hands, kiss babies, and never confuse the two.” That’s Dr. John Daly, professor of our Advocacy elective.

Jobs Channel

Whether you’re looking for a new job or know someone who is, our #jobs channel has helped several people swing to the next vine. It also serves as a place to ping classmates for connections within companies (usually someone has an “in!”), solicit resume advice, compare notes on the executive coaches in the UT Career Services program offers, and offer referrals of candidates who may not be in our program.

Hobby Channels

We’re a diverse group and that extends to our hobbies. Among our hobby channels, we’ve got #field-and-stream for the outdoors-men/women in the program who like to hunt and fish, #wine-club for the group that shares a mutual love of wine after class on the weekends, #chinese for those who want to learn more about the Chinese culture prior to our class trip to China next May, and #hangout which serves as a catch-all for people who want to coordinate grabbing lunch or a drink with a classmate in the area.

Private Groups

There is the option in Slack to send private messages, as well as create private group messages. In my study group’s case, we have a private group titled “Goose” (named after our team name, “Two O’s in Goose”) set up to share notes about group work, gatherings, and inside jokes (most of which, unsurprisingly, involve references to Top Gun).

Questions about Slack or its uses for student communication? Feel free to leave them in the comments below, or tweet at me at @racheltruair.

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