Category: Career (page 2 of 7)

Alumni Spotlight: Blanca Lesmes, Texas Executive MBA ’11

Everyone has something they’re passionate about, and for Blanca Lesmes it’s increasing the accessibility of healthcare to women. Blanca graduated from the Texas Executive MBA Program in 2011 and has used her degree to propel this passion and save the company she co-founded, BB Imaging & Healthcare Consulting, ensuring increased access to ultrasound services for women in the Austin area.

We recently caught up with Blanca to see what she’s up to and to learn about her reasons  #WhyMcCombs.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA and why did you choose McCombs?

In 2009, my organization was struggling to remain afloat during the recession. I knew that I needed to expand my toolkit to ensure the survival of the company. After visiting a class at McCombs, I knew I wanted to be in an environment that encouraged as much learning from professors as from the talented professionals in the class.

What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside of the classroom — you learned while completing your MBA?

Oh wow, this is tough. I learned that success in business requires surrounding yourself with amazing people.

How has your McCombs MBA experience helped shape your success?

I have a better understanding of the business cycle. I am incredibly grateful for the network of people I now call my friends. They continue to challenge my assumptions and encourage my personal growth.

Tell us about BB Imaging & Healthcare Consulting. Why did you decide to start this company? What is your role?

BB Imaging & Healthcare Consulting provides ultrasound services and business solutions in healthcare. In 2004, there was a need in the obstetrical market for ultrasound solutions in communities surrounding Austin, this was the impetus for our inception. I am currently the President of the organization. I focus on business development In addition, our organization is a Federal Contractor and my role is to expand into providing consultancy services outside of Texas.

What do you love about your job?

MY TEAM!!! I am so lucky to be able to enjoy the folks I call my team. They are incredibly skilled and masterful at what they do. I couldn’t have imagined working with a kinder bunch.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I am passionate about working to increase accessibility of healthcare to women. Currently, I am on the board of an educational non-profit and a non-profit dedicated to providing women in Malawi (Africa) access to care. I love brainstorming new business ideas and problem solving. On a personal note, I have a tween and a teenager who keep me busy and fulfilled.

What advice do you have for future Texas MBAs?

Just jump! Do not overthink this decision. Many people do what I call “self de-select”. Meaning, applicants don’t even submit applications to the admissions committee because they determine themselves under-qualified. I challenge new candidates to present their best application and attempt this amazing journey. The worst that can happen is not enrolling in the fall which is the same outcome if one doesn’t apply. I say deal with “potential” disappointment and just jump.

Entrepreneurship at McCombs: Austin Startup Week

The McCombs School of Business, ranked #6 for entrepreneurship by U.S. News & World Report, offers many unique resources in one of America’s most innovative cities to prepare students for new business ventures. Many Texas MBA alumni have gone on to run successful startups not only here in Austin, but across the country. Check out some of the companies our awesome alumni have started as we gear up for Austin Start Up Week on October 3, 2016.

Sock Club: Noah Lee, MBA ’16

Sock Club offers a monthly sock subscription and customizable sock designs, with delivery straight to your door. 

  • Founded: 2012sockclub-847b3fcd4214f607a3f5e426e9e175b4
  • Advice to current students: Half the battle is getting started. You will never know if the idea will succeed unless you try it.
  • Favorite part of current position: Every day brings a new challenge.
  • Biggest challenge as an entrepreneur: Finding the time to get everything done and finding good help.
  • How did you and your partner Dane come up with the idea for Sock Club? We read a Forbes article on a subscription sock company that shipped black Italian dress socks, we liked the idea of a reoccurring revenue model, and thought it would be better to do it with colorful socks. Away we went.
  • How did McCombs and the Texas MBA Program help you in running your business? Running a new company requires managing your mistakes and opportunities, and is impacted by how effectively you can react to the results of your economic activity. The Texas MBA Program didn’t necessarily teach me how to do things. It taught me how to think about things and make decisions.

Nicely Noted: Perry Nelson, MBA ’10 

A stationery subscription service that delivers a curated collection of letterpress cards and stamps to your mailbox every month.

  • Founded: 2011xnorsrpc
  • Advice to current MBAs: Take risks while you have the safety net of being in school. You have unique access to almost anyone in the business community by approaching them as a student; take advantage of it.
  • Favorite part of current position: Wearing many hats! Every day is different, and the challenges run the gamut from working with developers, training interns, and pitching press for editorial coverage to assembling the monthly mailing, and more.
  • Biggest challenge as a business owner: Prioritizing and keeping the core value proposition at the forefront of all your efforts.

Beatbox Beverages:  Aimy Steadman, Justin Fenchel, Dan Singer, & Jason Schieck, MBA ’13

A ready-to-drink mixed alcohol beverage, prepared in Austin. 

Justin Fenchel says:beatboxlogo_retina

  • Founded: 2011
  • Advice to current MBA students: Take a chance — you have two years to explore what you really want to do. Try not to get caught up in the chaos of who has a job and who doesn’t. Take the time to find out what you really want to do because you’ll never have a better opportunity.
  • Favorite part of current position: Working doesn’t feel like work.
  • Biggest challenge as an entrepreneur: Stress and fear from starting a business in an industry that we effectively have no experience in.

You’re Invited to McCombs Entrepreneurship Night!

Smart People. Big Ideas. New Connections.

What happens when you combine Austin Startup Week with McCombs’ renowned faculty, world class students and alumni, and Austin’s hottest tech startups? McCombs Entrepreneurship Night!

Come meet successful McCombs entrepreneurs from the Texas MBA and Texas MSTC programs showcasing their startups. You’ll have the opportunity to network with current students, alumni and local entrepreneurs from the growing Austin Startup scene. Join us for discovery, a great time, and complimentary food & drinks.

Register for McCombs Entrepreneurship Night

Meet Us During the ATX Startup Crawl!

The ATX Startup Crawl is a celebration of technology and entrepreneurship in Austin! The Texas MBA Program will be present during the event to answer answer questions and share with you how an MBA degree from The University of Texas at Austin can help you increase your potential and jump start your career.

RSVP today to grab your spot to network with more than 90+ Austin startups and don’t forget to stop by our booth!

Thursday October 6, 2016 5:00pm – 10:00pm
800 Congress Ave, Austin TX 78701

RSVP HERE

Check out more startups started by McCombs alums: http://www.today.mccombs.utexas.edu/2013/12/mccombs-alumni-product-guide

Alumni Spotlight: Maggie Row, Texas MBA at Houston ’07

maggie rowSince graduating from the Texas MBA at Houston Program in 2007, Maggie Row has been helping to provide high-quality cancer care to patients around the world through her work at MD Anderson. Her MBA education provided her with new insights into the healthcare industry, and not only gave her the skills to become a better leader, but a better healthcare provider as well.

 

We recently caught up with Maggie to see what she’s up to and to learn about her reasons  #WhyMcCombs.

What were you doing before you decided to pursue an MBA?

I was the medical director for the Emergency Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center and a practicing emergency oncology physician.

Why did you decide to pursue and MBA and why did you choose McCombs?

Upon completion of my residency in 1994, I decided to pursue an MBA. I always enjoyed business, in fact, I did the accounting for my dad’s business while I was in high school and college. At MD Anderson, I’ve been given many different leadership opportunities and I felt that the additional skills I would gain would help me to be a more effective leader.

I chose McCombs because of the excellence of the program and the opportunity to stay in Houston –the program was literally two blocks from my house.

What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside of the classroom — you learned while completing your MBA?

Time management. My children were in kindergarten and first grade when I started my program at McCombs and I was also working full-time at MD Anderson. I had to be very disciplined, so I was able to be a mom, while at the same time being a wife, a student and a physician leader.

How has your McCombs MBA experience helped shape your success?

I think a business background is essential for a well-rounded clinician. The knowledge I learned in business school has been useful in every faucet of my job, even with direct patient care. This expansion of my skill set allows me to see medical issues, both business and clinical, from a different viewpoint. The ability to understand the financial and economic aspects of health care decisions has been a valuable asset.

What is your current position at MD Anderson?

I am currently Vice President of Operations for the MD Anderson Cancer Network. Our network works with hospitals and health systems around the world to help provide high-quality cancer care to patients in the communities where they live. In my role, I’m responsible for making sure that the exceptional care we provide here at our Texas Medical Center campus is integrated into our network member sites.

What do you love about your job?

I love that I’m helping cancer patients receive better care by extending the knowledge from MD Anderson to oncologists worldwide.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I spend time with my family – Jim, my husband, and children, Catalina (16) and Billy (15). We are either traveling, running, golfing, going to movies or just hanging out at our pool in Houston.

What advice do you have for future Texas MBAs?

Enjoy your undergraduate experience and learn as much as possible about life and the opportunities available for your future. I didn’t know what I was going to be doing when I graduated from college. Taking the time to work and obtain additional education helped me gain the tools I need to navigate my career.

Alumni Spotlight: Becky Bui, Texas Evening MBA ’09

Since graduating from the Texas Evening MBA Program back in 2009, Becky Bui has joined the team at Facebook and relocated to Dublin, Ireland to head up their Mobile Gaming team for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the pursuit of taking risks to find success, she co-founded FocalPop, an online marketplace, during her time in the MBA program. Now, when she’s not exploring the world with her family, she’s working on developing Facebook’s business with companies such as Social Point, Game Insight and Pretty Simple.

We recently caught up with Becky to see what she’s up to and to learn about her reasons  #WhyMcCombs.

What were you doing before you decided to pursue an MBA?

I had spent most of my career in advertising agencies, consulting brands on their marketing and advertising strategies.

Why did you decide to pursue and MBA and why did you choose McCombs?

My career had been going well but I felt I needed a more well-rounded view of the business world in order to better understand my clients’ businesses and to open up additional opportunities in the future. McCombs was an obvious choice for an outstanding education as well as access to a strong MBA alumni network. The Texas Evening MBA Program was especially appealing, because I wanted to continue working full-time in Austin while pursuing my MBA. I applied to other programs, but halted the process as soon as I received early acceptance to McCombs!

What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside of the classroom — you learned while completing your MBA?

The importance of taking risks. I am naturally pretty risk-averse and, in hindsight, I had not grown as quickly in my career because I had always played it safe and avoided failure. At McCombs, I was able to explore the New Venture Creation program and started a company with my classmates, which was an incredible experience. I also watched my classmates regularly take risks with confidence and have pushed myself to do the same ever since.

How has your McCombs MBA experience helped shape your success?

As mentioned, the New Venture Creation program and Texas Venture Labs helped me to launch a start-up called FocalPop coming out of school. This was an incredible learning experience and helped me take an entrepreneurial approach to my work, both professionally and personally. Having the McCombs MBA on my resume also helped me to move into a leadership role at Facebook, an incredible opportunity that likely would not have happened without the Texas MBA.

What have you been doing since getting your MBA? What is your current position?

FB-f-Logo__blue_512For the majority of my time since getting my MBA I’ve worked in leadership positions within the Global Marketing Solutions group at Facebook. I spent four years leading retail and eCommerce teams in the U.S. and the last year leading the Mobile Gaming team for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa).

What do you love about your job?

There are many things I love about my job, but if I have to narrow it down to a few:

1. I love working for a company that is having an incredible impact on the world. When I started, Facebook had around 700 million monthly active users and now we have nearly 1.7 billion.
2.
I have really enjoyed being on the front-lines of a fundamental shift in marketing, particularly in the mobile space.
3.
In the last year I’ve had the opportunity to live abroad, travel to 20+ countries, and truly learned how to conduct business with a global lens.

What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy exploring the world with my husband, Ben, and my three-year-old, Berkeley. (And soon a baby boy will join the adventure!) Together, we started the Dublin chapter of Little Helpers, a service organization for families, so we spend time planning service events and volunteering with the kids. I also just launched a podcast in order to highlight stories of successful female leaders. It’s called She’s a Boss Podcast and is available on iTunes and the Stitcher Radio App. Follow the show on Facebook to be informed of new shows or to suggest more amazing women I should feature.

What advice do you have for future Texas MBAs?

Make time to invest in relationships with your professors and classmates. Your network will always be important throughout your career and the Texas MBA Program provides a unique opportunity to form relationships with a diverse group of talented people. Take advantage of it and make the effort to stay connected after your graduate.

Alumni Spotlight: Justin Key, Texas MBA ’16

Despite having just walked the stage two months ago, recent Texas MBA graduate Justin Key is already well on his way to leaving his mark on the tech world. Prior to his time at McCombs, Justin entered the Texas Venture Labs Scholarship Competition with the idea for an app that would allow friends to compete against each other while watching Netflix by answering trivia questions pertaining to a specific show or movie. His idea won first place and after being accepted to McCombs as a part of the Class of 2016, Justin was able to make Plot Guru a reality. AAEAAQAAAAAAAAR4AAAAJDRmZGE5Zjc3LWI1YjctNGViYi1hMGZhLTJmOGQ3ZjUwZmRkOAHe and the rest of the Plot Guru team launched the app in November 2015 and have already had tremendous success. In order to continue to develop his entertainment tech skills, Justin recently made the move to Seattle, WA to embark on a new exciting adventure and join the team at Amazon.

We recently caught up with him to see what he’s been up to since graduation and to learn about his reasons  #WhyMcCombs.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA and why did you choose McCombs?

After six years in consulting I was ready for a change. I had been working on a startup idea on the side for some time, and was looking for a program where I could pursue a top-tier graduate education while also pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. I found the experiential opportunities at McCombs to be just what I was looking for. After visiting the campus and getting a sense for the student culture I was hooked – no pun intended!

What were you doing before you came to McCombs for your MBA?

I was a strategy consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers for about six years. I spent the latter three years based in their Zurich, Switzerland office, and was based in Washington, D.C. prior to that.

What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside of the classroom — you learned while completing your MBA?

Two things: The value of hands-on experience and the importance of networking. Both are instrumental in getting a job and succeeding once you’re there.

How has your McCombs MBA experience helped shape your success?

The Texas MBA Program gave me the opportunity to explore new career paths, including entrepreneurship, while I was still in school. The classroom experience was important, but the opportunities that McCombs gave me outside the classroom really helped prepare me for the next stage in my career.

Tell us a little bit about Plot Guru. How did you come up with the idea for it?

Plot Guru is all about making the television-viewing experience more interactive. Our app syncs with the show you’re viewing online and sends you games and trivia in real-time based on what you’re watching on-screen. The idea for Plot Guru started during a weekly gathering of friends to watch one of our favorite shows. Before the episode started we would always compete to see who could guess what would happen next in the show. At some point my wife suggested, “What if we made a game out of this?” The rest is history.

What is your role at Amazon and what will you be working on?

AmazonVideoDirect_200I recently started a new job as a Sr. Product Manager at Amazon. I’m working on a new platform called Amazon Video Direct, which is a self-service program for content creators, such as independent film makers, to make their content available to stream online through Amazon Video. I’m really excited to use my experience in strategy, technology and entertainment to help small film producers get their content in front of millions of viewers on Amazon Video.

What else have you been up to since you graduated from McCombs, outside of work?

I’ve been pretty busy with the move up to Seattle, starting the new job and continuing to work on Plot Guru in my spare time. Besides all that, I always make time for travel. In the past couple months I’ve visited seven states and two countries!

What advice do you have for future Texas MBAs?

Figure out what you’re interested in and get as much hands-on experience in that area as possible! Take on MBA+ projects, fellowships, internships, and independent studies. You’ll never have a better chance to try out new things like you will during your time at McCombs.

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