Category: Career (page 4 of 7)

Airplanes, Austin, Classes, and People – My Texas MBA Allure

I’ve spent most of my life living in the eastern time zone, so moving to Texas was a wild departure from my past. As I chatted with prospective students who spent their whole lives in the Northeast, or maybe even outside of the US, it made me remember the questions and priorities I had when I was seeking out business schools. Did I find what I was looking for in Texas? (Spoiler: The answer to that question is “yes”)

Here are four main things I was looking for:

1. I want to go work for _______.

Inside, I’m still a small kid, fascinated by the prospect of two giant jet engines propelling a 300+ ton wide-body airplane up into the sky. I always wanted to work for the airline industry – yes, that pressurized metal tube, shoes off, delay-prone industry. Knowing this, I set out to find a school that gave me the best chance at fulfilling my ambitions. It was the active and well-connected alumni network, the well thought-out career support system, and Texas’ historic strength in the industry that made the school so attractive to me. In fact, it was one of the alumni that helped convince me that I would have the connection and resources at McCombs to get where I wanted to be.

Importantly, it’s not just the connection to a dream job or function that mattered. The relationship to my career aspirations, the career management staff and system strength, and diverse experiences of my classmates mattered just as much. I asked my self, “can I develop a connection with the career staff who will have my best interest in mind?” “Is the career support system proactive?” Thinking back, I made absolutely the right call.

(For brevity sake, I left out the next seven paragraphs about airlines. I have been known to talk people’s ear off about it…)

2. The Neat Outdoor-sy City Called Austin

First off, I spent most of my life in the frigid tundra of the Midwest. I loved the snow (and snow days!), and thought it had a bad reputation. When I descended on Texas, freezing weather was somewhat a foreign concept.

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Austin’s Freezing February

Seriously though, Austin’s an outstanding outdoors town. It’s actually a neat town in general. I like to spend a lot of time outdoors – playing tennis, ultimate Frisbee, jogging – and in the ten different cities I’ve lived in my life, Austin’s has by far the best trails, courts, and the weather to enjoy it all. If you’re not familiar with the area, definitely check out Barton Springs Pool the next time you’re here. It’s Austin’s natural river open for swimming nearly all year-round

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Hiking the Barton Creek Trail with Classmates

3. A Customizable Curriculum

By now, you’ve probably heard about our class structure – two years, four semesters, mandatory core classes to start. But it’s the brevity of the required core curriculum that was especially attractive. After all, the Full-Time Texas MBA Program is only two years / four semesters long.

When I was looking at the Texas MBA Program, I was concerned that the small class size meant less options for electives. Many case/discussion-based classes need critical mass to tap into the proverbial “wisdom of a crowd”. That said, I discovered a surprising number of interesting electives for a program that currently averages 270 students per year, because there’s so much time to take electives (nearly three-quarters of the program are reserved for electives).

A great example of a course that shows the diversity of our electives is “Corporate Governance” taught by Professor William Cunningham. To analyze a Board of Director’s important duties and responsibilities, the Professor invites several former and current senior executives from various companies to address the class. I’m taking this course this semester; it’s a rare opportunity to take a course where we can learn from today’s business leaders. And so far, it has been quite a treat.

4. The People

It’s a bit of a clichéd concept, but I believe that people can make the greatest difference. I always tell this anecdote about how I started to see UT as the place for me. Last year, I was making my decision on business schools, and visited Austin to check out the city and the university. Incidentally, it was the Austin Marathon weekend. There was something about the volume of energy and excitement around the city that surprised me, even if it housed a very large public university.

When I visited McCombs, it was much the same. The important thing to ask is – do I see myself with these people as my classmates? Would I enjoy their company, and be able to work with them? After talking to the current students, the faculty from the class I was able to shadow in, and even random people in the atrium, I think I saw myself fitting in just fine.

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Texas vs. Cal from the MBA Student Section! (I believe we were winning at this point…?)

Exploring Career Paths with Texas MBA Career Management

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.

Texas MBA students at the Google corporate office during the 2015 Bay Area Trek.

Texas MBA students at the Google corporate office during the 2015 Bay Area Trek

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.

Texas MBA Students at the Intel Corporate Office as part of the 2015 Bay Area Trek

Texas MBA students at the Intel corporate office during the 2015 Bay Area Trek

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:

Texas

Houston Energy Finance
Houston CleanTech
Houston Investment Banking (Twice!)
Houston Consulting

Dallas Marketing
Dallas Consulting
Dallas Asset Management

Austin Marketing
Austin Asset Management
Austin Startup
Austin Big Tech

New York

New York Investment Banking

California

Bay Area

Washington

Seattle

Texas MBA at Mexico City Alumni Spotlight

The internationally-ranked Texas Executive MBA at Mexico City Program is a part-time, two year program designed for mid-career professionals and executives who want to stay close to home, but still earn a U.S. MBA. This dual-degree program awards an MBA from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s of Administration from Tecnológico de Monterrey – Campus Santa Fe.

Daniel Galvan DuqueAlumni Spotlight: Daniel Galvan Duque

A recent graduate from the Texas Executive MBA at Mexico City Program, Daniel Galvan Duque, has worked his way up through PepsiCo Mexico. As the Senior Marketing Manager for the Gatorade division in Mexico, Daniel is in charge of building and executing the strategic marketing plan for the sports brand. By conducting data analysis on consumers’ behavior and market trends, Daniel and his team develop the marketing campaigns that we are exposed to in our day-to-day. However, Daniel did not start his career on the Gatorade account.

In the beginning stages, Daniel worked on the bottler side of the business, working on implementing marketing activities in the field. His time on that side of the business “was interesting and educational” as he began “to understand the difficulties of implementing a marketing strategy at the consumers’ touch points,” Daniel recalls. Moving forward in his career, Daniel was given the opportunity to manage the marketing strategy for the Pepsi brand. This was especially challenging and exhilarating for him as he implemented his strategy in Mexico against large and tough competitors. Excelling in this position brought Daniel to where he is now, Gatorade, the perfect fit for our sports-loving alumni.

What was the most valuable lesson — inside or outside of the classroom — you learned while completing your MBA?
I loved the fact that there were a lot of smart people in the classes and that the weaknesses of some were the strengths of others and vice-versa. I was able to understand how important it is to work with the right people. You really do not need to know everything, you just need to make sure you are in a group of people that complement each other and the results can be amazing.

How has your McCombs MBA experience helped shape your success?
I think McCombs gave me a higher level view of business, it gave me perspective. I am much more capable of having more senior conversations with top management, which is really beginning to put me more in the spotlight. I still need to continue working on becoming a better advocate, but I do strongly believe that the program helped shape me into a better leader and a more balanced businessman.

What was your favorite memory of Austin Intensive?
I really enjoyed all of the intensives. It was a glimpse of living the Austin life. I always wished they lasted longer or that there was one every semester instead of just once every year. From walking around the 40 Acres to hitting the Gregory Gymnasium for an early run, from the case competition that kept us awake until 4:00 a.m., to going for a burger at Hopdoddy on South Congress. I would do it again anytime!

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!

A Texas MBA Degree = A Head Start to Your Dream Career

That six figure salary; The desire to travel the world; The ambition to make a difference. These are some of the reasons  that bring us to business school and we all hope to fulfill these aspirations through that dream job at the end! At McCombs, the faculty strives to help us to do exactly that through the many resources the business school has to offer.

If you see the class BA181 in the MBA curriculum and wonder what it’s about, I’m sure you are not alone. When I came to business school, I was surprised to find not only core classes in Finance, Accounting, Economics, Marketing and Operations but also one dedicated to Career Management. This unique class is perfectly designed to prevent the ever-busy MBA from losing sight of that end goal: To not just get a job, but the right job. It is led by an extremely talented Career Management team who provide you with a road map to reach your goal. Outside of class, they are always accessible to provide advice on topics ranging from career switching, networking, resume writing, interviewing, or sometimes just providing a shoulder to lean on for advice.

Besides a dedicated Career Management team we also have access to communication coaches who help up build our brand and communication skills through personal coaching sessions. Being an international student still learning the ropes of a new culture, these resources have been extremely useful to me. I am able to walk up to the team with questions that sometimes seem silly to me, but have always gotten the support I need. This has helped me greatly during networking events and career fairs. Learn More.

Our schedules are packed with information sessions and networking events with over 350 companies visiting campus! This can sometimes get stressful with homework, exams,  and networking all happening at once, but it has opened up a world of opportunities.

   CC Reception 1015

           Networking Reception at McCombs Career Fair          

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 Tech Trek visit to Facebook

Career resources come in many forms and one of the most valuable is the UT network. Being part of this big network gives you access so alumni and seniors who are always willing to help the next generation of graduating MBAs. My personal experience reaching out to alumni has always been extremely pleasant. They are always willing to take time out for students from their Alma Mater no matter how busy their schedule. The collaboration that the Texas MBA program fosters stays with you long after you leave school. Alumni and staff are always there to help you succeed.

Finally, the biggest resource offered is the University of Texas and McCombs brand. Every day I learn of the many doors this brand opens up to students. With alumni spread across many industries and companies all around the world, the brand brings with it immense opportunities that I am learning more about every day.

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